Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Challenge - Easter Eggs

Happy Easter to those who celebrate! And if you don't celebrate, then I hope you can still enjoy my pretty pastel nails! I really went wild with the spring colors for today's nails.


I think I might have gone a little overboard, but I'm still enjoying all of the color! I guess this is the time of year for me to get my fill of mint and peach and pastel purple. I decided to add in a couple of other colors as well.


I painted each nail a different color again, so I started off with Skittles nails. I used Nicole by OPI Paparazzi Don't Preach, Confetti Margarita Senorita, Revlon Jaded, Deborah Lippmann Let's Hear it for the Boy, and Sinful Colors Sweet Tooth. I used the same colors to decorate my nails too.


I thought there was really no incorrect way to decorate Easter eggs, so I just started free handing random patterns. I didn't plan any out and just sort of went for it by adding straight lines, zig-zags, and dots. I used a very small nail art paint brush for the lines, and a medium dotting tool for the dots. 


I don't normally use separate brushes for my nail art, so some of the lines are a bit uneven. I even somehow managed to make the dots look a little wonky too! But I still think they're pretty and were a great way for me to use a bunch of pastels at once!

I think it's also a great time to compare them to last year's Easter nails I did. That was right after I made my blog. I think I've come a long way!



As always, you're welcome to join in on the challenge! Feel free to share your nails with me on my Facebook wall
There are lots of great bloggers participating in this challenge too! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Challenge - Bunnies

Day two! Today's theme is bunnies. I was considering having today's theme on Easter Sunday, but the day before is close enough! I suppose bunnies don't have to be related to Easter though, and can just be cute spring-related animals.


Unfortunately I got a bit of black on a couple of the bunnies from dotting their eyes, but I think they still turned out cute! I also couldn't decide on one color for the background, so I used a different color on each nail.


I wanted to use pastels for the background colors, but I also wanted the colors to  be dark enough that a white bunny would contrast with it and show up! I still chose pretty light colors, but I think the bunnies ended up being visible enough.


I used Confetti Margarita Senorita, Essie Navigate Her, Sinful Colors Sweet Nothing, Sinful Colors Orange Cream, and Revlon Lily for each nail. I then used Ulta Snow White to free hand a semi circle on the tip of each nail to be the heads of the bunnies. 


I then took a white striping polish and free handed the ears. They looked odd being all white to me, so I added some pink in each one, and also dotted a pink nose. I then added whiskers in black and dotted the eyes with black and white. The faces are pretty simple, but I think they're cute! 


I really like how they turned out except for the bit of black that got on them from dotting. The black polish started to dry and thicken, so when I picked up the dotting tool off of my nail, it left a really thin line on them. Oh well! 


As always, you're welcome to join in on the challenge! Feel free to share your nails with me on my Facebook wall
There are lots of great bloggers participating in this challenge too! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Challenge - Grass/Flowers

It's the first day of another mini nail art challenge! This one is also only five days long, and runs from today (Friday) through Tuesday. I figured Good Friday would be a nice start for an Easter challenge. And even if you don't celebrate, I tried to keep the themes for this challenge spring related! 


For today's theme, we have grass and flowers. One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of spring is the lush green grass and blossoming buds after winter. Granted, it's usually pretty green all year here in Florida, but we still get seasonal changes! 


I also was excited to jump right into pastel season. I love pastel colors and spring shades, so I chose a light purple for the background. I suppose the purple and green are a bit bright and not really pastel, but the colors look "springy" to me! 


I started by painting my nails with two coats of Revlon Enchanting. I then took a light green striping polish and free handed random blades of grass and flower stalks. I dotted the flower petals with a medium dotting tool and Ulta Snow White, and added little yellow centers with Julep Blake


Since I chose a medium dotting tool, I couldn't fit too many flowers on each nail without overcrowding it. So I just put three on each one. I think they look alright though, and I really love the color combination! I also don't usually wear purple, but I'm really loving this shade. 


I'm really happy with these nails and I think they're a great way to begin spring! I love the delicate little daisies and can't wait to see a bunch of real flowers spring up everywhere outside. 


As always, you're welcome to join in on the challenge! Feel free to share your nails with me on my Facebook wall
There are lots of great bloggers participating in this challenge too! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Born Pretty Store - Nail Foils

Nail foils are something that I haven't tried for nail art before. So I was pretty excited to try out a few colors from the Born Pretty Store. I got three colors to test out.


The three colors I tried were blue, green, and silver. The blue and green are metallic, and the silver one is holographic. I wanted to show them over a nice color other than just black, so I tried them out over Revlon Grape, a shimmery deep purple. 


The foils themselves are pretty interesting. They come in these little clear containers and are basically a very long ribbon. I didn't measure each one, though the product page says they're 113cm (44 inches) long. I think mine was actually longer than that, but either way, over three feet of foil is more than enough to do nail art! 


Once I had pulled one out, it was a little tedious to roll it back up and put inside the container. I think it's easier to find where one of the ends is inside, and lightly tug on it. Then you can snip off small pieces without having to unravel the whole thing.


As for application, they're a bit strange to get used to. While your polish is wet, or tacky I should say, you put a piece of the foil on, and then pull it off. It should leave the shiny part behind wherever it made contact with the tacky polish. I applied one coat of Revlon Grape and let it dry. I then applied a second coat, and when a gentle press would leave a fingerprint, I applied the foils.


I cut the foils into pretty small squares and then randomly put them on to mix the colors up. Sometimes the polish was too wet and it would come up with the foil. Other times the polish dried too quickly, but it may have also just been the polish I happened to use. Instead of just adding more polish, I would add a bit of top coat and then press the foil into that. It works the same as with the wet polish. When I had enough color on each nail, I added one coat of Seche Vite to seal the design.


I think the silver and the blue ones were the easiest to use. The green one seemed to give me more trouble for some reason. I also must point out that when you use them, make sure the design is facing up. Born Pretty Store has an instructional video for this product so you can see how to use them. 

I really like the overall design! It looks really interesting with a few colors. It almost looks like splatter nails, or some of the shapes almost look like continents on a map. They're really shiny and fun looking though, so I might have to get some more colors to make a full rainbow! 


You can purchase these nail foils from the Born Pretty Store. They currently have 24 different designs and colors for $2.99 each. Plus they always have free international shipping! If you order, don't forget to use my code above for 10% off your order as well. They have plenty of other great nail art items too. 

Product sent for consideration. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SensatioNail - Gel Polish Starter Kit Review

I'm very excited to share this product with you all! I was lucky enough to receive SensatioNail's gel polish starter kit to review. I had never tried a gel manicure before, so I was very eager to see what it's all about.
There are a lot of photos in this review, so this post is a little picture-heavy!


Since some gel polishes need UV lights to set the polish or dry, I was a bit worried that I would end up with a bulky light to store. But the whole SensatioNail package is pretty small! I was surprised that they fit everything you need for 10 complete manicures inside, including the LED lamp.


Here is everything inside the box:
  • LED lamp with electrical adapter (no batteries!)
  • Gel cleanser
  • Gel primer
  • Gel nail color (Raspberry Wine in this kit)
  • Gel base & top coat
  • Lint-free wipes
  • Double-sided nail buffer
  • Manicure stick
  • Instruction pamphlet
  • Card with application and removal methods


Here's a closeup of the products right out of the box. There are only four bottles, so it's not a confusing system at all. Here's how it works:
  1. Prep your nails with the gel cleaner and a lint-free wipe
  2. Apply the gel primer and allow to air dry
  3. Apply the gel base & top coat and cure it under the LED lamp for 30 seconds
  4. Apply one coat of color. Cure for 60 seconds.
  5. Apply second coat of color. Cure for 60 seconds.
  6. Apply the gel base & top coat again as your top coat. Cure for 30 seconds.
  7. Remove excess moisture with the gel cleanser and lint-free wipe. 
And you're done! It really doesn't take a long time since the curing is only 30 seconds for base coat and top coat, and 60 seconds for the color. You don't even have to time it - the lamp will beep at 30 seconds, and shut itself off after 60. 


Here is the color right after applying and following the above instructions. I had never used a gel system before, and it was a lot easier to do than I thought it would be. This color, Raspberry Wine, is a jelly. I used two coats, and it's a lovely pinkish-red shade. It appears a tiny bit deeper in person.


You can see I got a little bit outside of my normal boundaries, around the skin and almost to the cuticle. You cannot clean this polish up with acetone like you normally might! So my advice is to work slowly. Paint one nail at a time, and wipe off the excess polish on your skin with the manicure stick. Once it cures under the light, it isn't going anywhere!


Other than working slowly, there isn't much else to it. You have to make sure to wrap your tips with each step, but that's it! I worked fairly slowly since it was my first time doing gel nails, and it probably took me half an hour to do. Since you get 10 manicures out of just the starter kit, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it and will be able to work faster. 

I also think this kit is worth it because of how long it lasts. The packaging suggests that your manicure will last up to 2 weeks. I tested it for 10 days, and here's what my nails looked like after those 10 days! 


They look about the same as right after I applied it, right? I am very impressed with this product and how well it lasted! And I'm not very easy on my nails - I was washing dishes and cleaning the bathroom and just doing everything I could to put them to the test.


The main difference between the before and after photos is my ring finger nail. I actually broke part of the corner off, and had to file it down a little. When it broke, it took a tiny part of the gel with it. That was the only chip I got, but it was due to me breaking my nail! It happened at the beginning of my trial, so I touched it up easily. I just put a bit of color on the tip where it was missing, and cured it. I didn't do the other steps since it was such a small area. 


You can barely see where I touched it up too. It blended so nicely! But the rest is honestly the same polish that was one the entire 10 days. I am stunned that it lasted this long. I always do my own nails and never get professional manicures done, so I love this! I will definitely be using this more often.

As for removal, there are a couple methods. The first method mentioned on the card below is the foil method. However, it says to use a SensatioNail removal tool, which the kit does not include. If you wish to get the tool, it's only about $4 more. I opted to try the soak-off method though.


I didn't get photos of my actual removal since I was afraid of putting my camera too close to acetone! It says to first buff the surface of the nail to break the seal of the top coat. Then soak nails in acetone for 15 minutes, and gently push the remaining gel off of the nails with a manicure stick.

 

For my acetone soak, I used this Kiss acetone nail polish remover jar. It has plastic brushes inside to help remove normal polish or glitter polish, but those don't help too much here. I just used it for soaking my nails in for 15 minutes. You can use whatever container you like though, just try to use 100% acetone so it's strong enough. I would recommend a glass container or bowl. SensatioNail also suggests pouring acetone into a glass bowl, and then putting that bowl into a larger bowl of hot water for quicker removal.


I also covered the acetone jar and my hand with a small towel. This helped keep my hand warm, and it also helped keep the smell of the acetone in there. That way I wasn't breathing it in for 15 minutes or longer! As for a tool to help remove the remaining gel polish, I used my Tweezerman Pushy. You could use the wooden manicure stick that comes in the starter kit, but I prefer to use a stronger stainless steel tool. Since the Pushy has two ends, I used the rounded end to help push off the remaining polish so I couldn't damage my nails with the sharper end.

As for how my nails fared, they did excellent! I was afraid of the harsh removal damaging my nails. As long as you don't scrape off the remaining gel polish too hard, you should be fine. Just be patient with it so you don't ruin your nails! Removal also probably took 30 - 45 minutes. Like I said, this is my first experience with gel polish, so I was going pretty slowly with every step too.

 

My bottom line: I would definitely recommend this product. They have a wide array of colors to choose from, and they certainly last as long as they promise! It said my manicure should last up to 2 weeks, and while I only did 10 days, it really could have kept on going. The color looked great,  my nails felt really smooth, and they looked super glossy the entire time. 

Where to buy it: I've seen the kit in local pharmacies such at CVS. The kit retails for about $40 - $50 depending on your store, but the SensatioNail Facebook page currently has a $5 off coupon for the starter kit, as well as a $1 off another color coupon. If you buy from a store like CVS, you can also use ExtraBucks on your purchase. 

Is it worth it? In my opinion, yes. The kit is about $40 - $50 and comes with one color to get you going. You get 10 uses out of this kit alone. That's not even $5 per manicure! For nails that look professional and last this long, I definitely think it's worth it. You would probably spend $20 for nails like this at a salon, and that's not even counting a tip! Then once you have the kit, other colors are about $9 for 10 more manicures. I think the kit is an investment that's worthwhile. 

I will definitely be trying out more colors. They'll be perfect for week long or longer vacations too! 

Some products purchased by me. Some products sent for consideration. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Freeman Beauty - Body Scrubs

I've been working on a really great post for tomorrow, so in the meantime, I have a quick post about some Freeman Beauty products! I've been using quite a few of their products on and off ever since I got my first in a MyGlam bag. That was a cucumber peel off face mask, but I've been intrigued by their other products as well!


I picked up a couple Freeman Beauty Feeling Beautiful body scrubs. I got a guava salt scrub and a pomegranate sugar scrub. I wasn't sure whether I would like the salt or sugar better, so I grabbed both.


First up is the guava salt scrub. I was really interested in this one because I love guava stuff. I love the taste and smell of the fruit, so I figured it had to be great as a body scrub! Well it sort of smells like guava. The fruit scent isn't super sweet or powerful. I smell more salt than anything. It almost smells like a margarita actually!

I wanted to take photos of the actual product inside so you can see how textured they are. This is a good size amount in the palm of my hand that I spread out so you can see the individual pieces. The salt chunks are actually quite large, so this scrub is somewhat abrasive. 


I don't always use scrubs, so it was a nice change, but it's definitely strange to get used to. If you're into body scrubs, you will probably like it, but if you're new to them, you might want something with smaller pieces inside first.

As for the actual performance, my skin felt super smooth after using it. I used it mostly on my legs in the shower and will definitely be using it again. It's also very thick though, so I found that it was easier to just unscrew the entire top and squeeze it out than try to force it out of the tiny hole it has.


I also tried out the pomegranate sugar scrub. I like the smell of this one a lot more. It smells a lot sweeter and more like fruit. The pieces of sugar inside are much smaller than the salt chunks. This one is more of a gritty paste with a few bigger pieces than a really textured scrub.

I actually prefer this scrub since it made my skin feel very soft and smooth, but wasn't too abrasive. As I said before, I don't always use body scrubs, so I feel like this was better to ease into than the salt.


Since this one doesn't have the large chunks, it squeezed out of the tube nicely. You can use the cap on this one without having to take it off entirely!

While I like both, I think I prefer the pomegranate sugar scrub. It isn't too abrasive for me, but still smooths my skin. I also prefer the scent of it more. I will have to start using it in my normal routine from now on!

Products purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nicole by OPI Promotion

Kellogg's is doing a promotion with Nicole by OPI polishes. If you buy specially marked Special K products, you can redeem codes from the packaging for free nail polishes! 


The only restrictions are as follows:
"Codes must be entered by 3/11/2014. Participation in the Special K Challenge™ program is open to individuals who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are eighteen (18) years of age or older and registered members of Kellogg’s Family Rewards™"
You can register at the Kellogg's Family Rewards website. Then you can log in and enter your codes. Three (3) codes will earn you one Nicole OPI polish, and eight (8) codes will earn you three Nicole OPI polishes.


There are lots of Special K products that should qualify for this. Although some select varieties may be excluded, so make sure the packaging mentions the promotion if you want your code! 
Participating products: 
  • Special K® Blueberry Cereal
  • Special K® Chocolatey Delight Cereal
  • Special K® Cinnamon Pecan Cereal
  • Special K® Fruit & Yogurt Cereal
  • Special K® Multigrain Oats & Honey Cereal
  • Special K® Original Cereal
  • Special K® Protein Plus Cereal
  • Special K® Red Berries Cereal
  • Special K® Vanilla Almond Cereal

  • Special K® Blueberry Cereal Bars
  • Special K® Chocolatey Drizzle Cereal Bars
  • Special K® Chocolatey Pretzel Cereal Bars
  • Special K® Honey Nut Cereal Bars
  • Special K® Raspberry Cheesecake Cereal Bars
  • Special K® Strawberry Cereal Bars
  • Special K® Bars – Variety Pack

  • Special K® Pastry Crisps: Blueberry
  • Special K® Pastry Crisps: Brown Sugar Cinnamon
  • Special K® Pastry Crisps: Chocolatey Delight
  • Special K® Pastry Crisps: Strawberry

  • Special K™ Dark Chocolate Granola Bars

  • Special K® Multi-Grain Crackers
  • Special K® Savory Herb Crackers

  • Special K® Cheddar Cracker Chips
  • Special K® Sea Salt Cracker Chips
  • Special K® Sour Cream & Onion Cracker Chips
  • Special K® Southwest Ranch Cracker Chips

  • Special K® Butter Popcorn Chips
  • Special K® Sweet and Salty Popcorn Chips

  • Special K™ Chocolate Caramel Protein Meal Bar
  • Special K™ Chocolatey Chip Protein Meal Bar
  • Special K™ Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bar
  • Special K™ Double Chocolate Protein Meal Bar
  • Special K™ Strawberry Protein Meal Bar

  • Special K® Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich Ham, Egg and Cheese
  • Special K® Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich Sausage, Egg and Cheese
  • Special K® Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich Egg with Vegetables and Cheese

  • Special K® Red Berries Waffles

Participating products should mention the promotion, like the example above. Kellogg's mentioned the promotion beginning in April, so you may already see these boxes on store shelves or may start to see them really soon! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hard Candy - Peach Pop

I'm loving these new Hard Candy polishes. I'm so glad that the Walmart near me had some in stock! I grabbed almost all of the polishes from the Candy Sprinkles collection. There's just something about colorful micro glitter in creamy bases that I love!


This one is called Peach Pop, and it certainly reminds me of peaches! The creamy light orange color flecked with bits of red and silver glitter is perfect. It really reminds me of a nice ripe peach with red and orange tones. 


I have to admit I was a little hesitant to get this one at first. I'm actually not a huge fan of the color orange, but I'm still glad I bought it. It's light, a bit lighter than in the photos. In some light it's almost an orangey nude next to my skin! It's definitely peachy-tan and not super bright orange.


As for application, Peach Pop went on pretty smoothly. It's pretty packed with glitter, but the glitter didn't make it difficult to apply. The brush inside is also pretty wide, more like an OPI brush, so it was really easy to get nice coverage. I used two coats and it was completely opaque. I then topped it with a coat of Seche Vite and it was smooth!


It's such a fun spring and summer color! I'll definitely be using this polish again soon. I think the only thing I didn't really like was how some of the glitter ended up hanging off the edge of my nails. I didn't manipulate the glitter in any way, so it's sort of my fault. I just applied two coats like I would with a normal, non-glittery polish. I'll either have to make sure the glitter doesn't dry hanging off, or I'll lightly file the stray bits. 


Even with that, I'm really pleased with this polish. I was also happy that it was only $4.00 at my local Walmart! However, it may be $4.00, but the bottle is only 0.26 oz instead of the typical 0.5 oz. You get less polish, but at least buying a variety won't break the bank!

Product purchased by me. All opinions are my own.