Holiday Sprinkles

Warm up the hot chocolate and the chai, it's Christmas time!

I got in the spirit today by decorating the office for the holidays. For those that don't know, Andy and I work together and live together. We're interns, but we've worked there just shy of a year. So tasks like decorating, planning parties and making lunch runs aren't uncommon at this point in our jobs. I consider it a perk most of the time.

Decorating for the holidays means putting up lights, trees and ribbon. The trees and ribbon were easy, but when it came time to put up the lights, there were hurdles. Hurdles meaning dead bulbs...meaning half-lit strings of lights. Zuzu says that every time a bell rings, an angel gets it wings. Well, every time a bulb burns out, a devil gets its horns and proceeds to royally screw up your next few hours.

Commence unplugging and plugging in of suspected burned out bulbs causing the lackluster light display. What do you get? Nada. Nothing great or grand or Christmas Vacation overkill. Just the same stupid lights, staying same stupid broken. :(

BUT! I refuse to Grinch out. So I took a little inspiration from Ashesela at Art Evolve and whipped together a rather easy and scrumptuous manicure, despite the ruined right hand thumb. Should've taken the advice I've seen that says never to use your nails as a tool. You'll also notice the festive red background instead of my usual black.

These holiday sprinkles are brought to you by Zoya Ginessa and China Glaze Twinkle Lights. It's one of the more simple manicures I've featured on my blog thus far, but what's the harm in that?

I dig it, and this is only the first of many holiday manicures waiting in the wing.

Studly Stubs

Alliteration. It's hard not to use it. Look at my blog titles thus far. See a pattern? Of course you do, because it's alliteration. Alliteration is "the repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of a series of words or phrases" and in my case, the first letter of the words in the phrase. "Pretty Pinks", "Glutton for Glitter", "Smooshed Skittles." I'm totally guilty of alliteration obsession.

It comes as no surprise then that today's manicure, while sophisticated and sleek, comes with another doofy title, "Studly Stubs." I may just make a thesaurus to reference when talking about hands, fingers, or nails.

The dark brown Get in the Expresso Lane (OPI) almost looks black both in the images shown, and in real life. There's such a small strip of it showing, and it's contrasting so vividly against the gold of Passion (China Glaze), that the rich brown flavor is lost. No mind though, I was going for deep and dark.

So, superfluous alliteration sidelined, is this sick? Would you want to wear it awhile? Would that damn detailing drive you daft?


Early morning edit. This next week, particularly Thursday, does not bode well for my skin or nails...

Persian Rug

I love this design. It's so fun and makes everything look classy. It took me a long time to get the pattern mostly straight but that's my own damn fault. Pretty gold is the Sally Hansen Color Quick color pen Gold Chrome. Pretty blue is Savina's Caribbean. The plate is Red Angel's #120. It makes me think of a Persian rug.

The blue isn't quite as bold in real life. It appears much deeper, much more navy. Still gorgeous though!

Pirate Scales - A Tale of Woe

Before we begin, check out the new page at the top of my blog, Red Angel Plates, for images of all the Red Angel plates I recently got from Amazon. Links to posts using the designs, as well as a link to purchase them from Amazon are all provided.

Another gorgeous Red Angel plate design for you. This design took a LONG time for me to get done. Let me share my tale of woe with you.

I had been wanting to use my Planks a Lot from the OPI Pirates of the Caribbean collection for a while now. Since I had just purchased As Gold as it Gets from Essie's Luxe Effects collection, I thought I'd slap that on. It looked great!

It looks really similar to a manicure using Sally Hansen's Hidden Treasure or Nubar's 2010, but the flecks aren't as gold and don't change color quite as much. They stay more gold, rather than change to that iridescent, bubble/oil effect. I like it.

Since Red Angel plates have been requested by a few of you, I wanted to use one of them, and wound up deciding on plate 111. I tried the floral pattern on it first, but didn't like the way it looked with the flecks in the background. So wipe. I then tried the pattern I wound up using, but I used Awaken by China Glaze first. Didn't like that either...not enough contrast. So wipe. I chose to use old faithful, Black on Black from Sinful Colors instead.

By this time, my nails had started to dry out, so I tried putting some chapstick around my cuticles to moisten and make cleanup easier. I'd never tried it before, but it seemed like a great idea. For science, I only applied it to one of my hands, so I had a control group to test this new technique. Felt good. My cuticles were thirsty.

SO...after setting up the test groups, I got to work. On my left hand, I stamped the design on my thumb. Gorgeous. Loved it. So I moved onto my pointer. Not gorgeous. Didn't love it. Only about 1/4 of the design wound up on the nail. So wipe. Tried it again. Worked well. Great. Moved onto my middle finger. Same thing happened to my middle finger that happened to my pointer the first time. Come on! What is going on? I was getting fed up. It had been too long already, and I was just thinking about the cleanup that I still needed to do, so I took a break. I grabbed a handful of chips, and as I was licking the deliciousness off of my fingers, I thought to myself, "This tastes a lot like chapstick."

That's why the stamp wasn't working. So wipe...with soap.

After all the stamping was done, I realized I had rushed it, and the edges of my nails had bald spots. Uuuuuuugh. Cue tape and black polish, Black Creme from Wet n' Wild. Finally, you have the end result, which I'm mostly happy with. I'm upset it took so long to finish (sorry Bree!). I also should've just used a nail art brush for the black stripe, as I'm sure it would've taken less time and less cleanup, but I guess that's just a lesson to be learned.

Another lesson to be learned. DO NOT leave nail polish anywhere that curious kittens can conspire with mischievous pups. Nugget (the kitten), decided exposed polish bottles are great toys, since they roll around in unpredictable directions. Unfortunately, they sometimes roll off of edges, and land on the floor. This brings Riley (the puppy) running, to see if she can steal the toy from the cat. All the while, parents (Andy and I) lie in bed, oblivious to the sounds. They sound so much like the chewing of a bone, but alas, they're not. They're Planks a Lot, in the crushing jaws of a seven month old puppy.

The result?

 A chewed up bottle top...

and a guilty looking dog.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner

Usually for Thanksgiving, we travel to Southern California to visit and spend time with my boyfriend's family. They've always had a tradition. This year, with full time jobs and no school vacation time, we decided to stay home so we could take more time off for Christmas and the New Year. So we made a smaller dinner, just for the two of us. It was delicious, and I'd like to thank Alton Brown for his delicious shepard's pie recipe. Andy made us a beer can chicken and creamed spinach as well, but since this is my blog, you get to see the steps for my part of the meal, the shepard's pie. I truly apologize for not being able to implement sensory internet and provide you with the smells that accompany these pictures. They would make you go weak in the knees...promise.

I think we've developed a new tradition.

Tealy Dan

You wanted more manicures using the new Red Angel got em'! Seriously, these patterns rock. They're the perfect depth for picking up the pattern easily. The annoying problem some plates present of not being able to pick up every line (especially the more narrow fine lines) has to be one of the most frustrating parts of stamping. You wind up spending a frustrating amount of time swiping, stamping, erasing and repeating yourself. I almost want to take a needle to those designs, scratch them out, and save myself the torture of ever trying that again.

Of the two designs I've used, this has not been an issue with Red Angel. I'm pretty thrilled about that.

Silver Sweep from Sally Hansen Insta-Dri and The Real Teal from Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear equally share the spotlight with Red Angels RA-112 plate. The other designs on that plate were hard to ignore. I guess I'll just have to do more designs.

If I'm not cooking, I'll probably be contemplating new designs today.

Peachy Keen

Sometimes the night just gets away from me, and before I realize it, it's 11:00, I have work in the morning, and I still haven't taken off yesterday's manicure. This means at least another hour before I can go to bed if I want to update my paws. That's what happened last night, so I went with a simple stamp with some mini beads.

And how original of me? I just titled this post, based on the peachy color of my polish. Then, as I looked at the bottom of my bottle to get the name of the color, lo and behold, it's Peachy Keen by China Glaze. (This does not bode well for my creative titling abilities.)

This picture's best for seeing the bead detailing on my ring finger.

The stamp is from Konad's m57 plate, and the white is stamped with Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri Whirlwind White. It's all topped with China Glaze's Matte Magic to soften this already feminine manicure.

For those in Southern California...

If you're living, or have a relative living in Southern California, get ready. My big sister lives there and recently hit the polish jackpot. She cleverly Google, Binged and Yelped until she found a few stores selling some of our favorite polishes for dirt cheap. We're talking $2.50 for China Glaze and $5 for OPI.

I've updated my Where to Buy Polishes page with all the info, so take note, and bathe in the glory that is supply stores!


Your wait is over. The manicure I bring you today comes with inspiration from Jane at Nailside and her killer tutorial on how to tape off and paint on a lightning bolt, and my newest nail plate collection (RA-110) from Red Angel.

A dubious task for anyone to undertake, this manicure requires three things: patience, topcoats, and steady hands. Of course, you'll need your essentials to actually create this electric look too. I chose Savina's Neon Yellow, Sinful Color's Black on Black (with striping brush Time Off), and my first Zoya, Ginessa. The foursome come together in an electrifying way, and may just remain on my nails for longer than one day.

I warned you yesterday, these plates are awesome, and their out-there designs will surely provide the backdrop for some gorgeous manicures from girls all over. I bought them with no idea how well they would work or how much I would like them, but I assure you, there are no regrets.

New Image Plates

Konad started an insane trend in nail art with their revolutionary nail art stamping plates. Girls fawned over the designs and doled out handfuls of cash to procure the plates. Then we met Bundle Monster, who offered the same designs plus additional patterns for a much cheaper price. The nail blogs filled up with the popular patterns, and we all patiently awaited the dawn of a new nail era. Well, your wait is over. I've found, tried, and adored a new series of plates, brought to you by Red Angel.

I'll save the post of the image I used for tomorrow, but I wanted to whet your appetites and get you excited about these new designs. I did a search on Amazon for  "nail stamping plates" and after sifting through the Bundle Monsters, Konads and Mash plates, saw this lonely little ad for a 21 piece set.

The thumbnail picture you're shown in the search results doesn't exactly scream "Buy me!" with the pixelated, sharp contrast between hot pink and taxi cab yellow, but click further ladies, and marvel in the wonders of the designs. With 13 of the 21 plates sporting full nail designs, I knew right away this was something I wanted to investigate.

But no reviews? Not a single star given out for these? Well, I figured for $11.99 before shipping, I couldn't be too disappointed if they didn't meet my expectations.

The package arrived today during lunch, and I couldn't stop thinking about which pattern I wanted to try when I got home later after work. Even when I did arrive home, I was overwhelmed with choices I adored that finally picking one came down to a game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

I'll tell you this much...I'm thrilled. The designs aren't for everyone, and by no means can be called "classic." But their possibilities are endless, as you'll see tomorrow.

Sleep well ladies, and don't fret. Come tomorrow, you won't be disappointed.

Pretty Pinks

After my post yesterday with all of my China Glaze's, I decided to use some of the pastel pinks I got. I don't think I own a single article of clothing that is pastel pink, but the way it makes my hands look rocks. It's like how wearing black slims you down, only these pinks tan you up. Winter's here, so any help I can get for looking more tan is welcome and appreciated. Especially with how pale I looked this morning.

The two polishes I used are from my most recent, and probably most expensive haul. You're seeing two from China Glaze: Something Sweet stamped with Admire. Something Sweet is from the Up & Away collection. I absolutely adore every single one of those colors. That collection probably describes me best, and you'll probably be seeing it a lot on my fingers. Admire comes from the Romantique collection. Normally I wouldn't touch those polishes since I'm not a huge fan of chrome, but for stamping, they can't be beat. To get an idea, look at what Bregje created, often using some of the Romantiques. I will probably only be using them for stamping, but no promises. They may make a debut or two as bases, but don't ever expect to see them solo.

The plate is #205 from Bundle Monster. Originally, I wanted to use the flowers that were on that plate, but the engraving must not be deep enough. I just about frisbeed the plate across the room, but just gave up on it instead. I'm still happy with this design, and especially the tricks it plays on your eyes used with the colors I chose. It's hard to tell what the stamp is, and what the base is.

More Ways to Follow

I've just added a few more ways to follow feats into nail polish. Nailed It now has not only a Tumblr, but also a Twitter and Facebook Page. These links will always be provided to you in the sidebar of my blog.

My blog (Blogger) is my primary place of...well...blogging. All the text in the posts are accompanied on Blogger. The other outlets are more to share the images and reach out to those not on Blogger or Google. Feel free to join as many or as few as you see fit.

And just to leave you with some nail goodies, here's some shots of my China Glaze/Savina Helmer drawer. (Savina bottles and China Glaze bottles are almost identical, so they fit nice and snug together in one drawer.) This drawer is by far the biggest, and by far my favorite.

A little over-saturation for your viewing pleasure.

Nugget, the helper kitten.

Booze Hounds

The delicate process of painting nails requires a steady hand and a patient touch. So a pairing of beer and manicures? Turns out, it's like pairing wine and cheese. Delicious!

My first attempt with sponging.

A beer manicure. Inspired by my friend Tyler, who brews his own beers when he's not spending time with his precious pup, Atlas.

These sudsy tips are brought to you by White On by Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear and China Glaze's Lighthouse.

Chocolate Daisy Candies

Using these new little beads I got over the weekend should prove to be interesting, challenging and limitless. The ideas I had for these little beads wouldn't stop crowding my brain space. It was like fighting for the master bedroom in your first roommate situation! Nevertheless, I did finally decide on a design, though not happily. What you see is actually the result of my last ditch effort to get my idea across to a live environment. Originally, I wanted to use a deep red instead of brown for stamping, but the only red I had that was deep enough, didn't translate well on a stamp. The design I also wanted to use was not transferring well, and I already had plans to make pasta with Andy, so spending long on stamping wasn't a feasible, or desired option. (The pasta, by the way, turned out excellent. Homemade herb fettuccine...molto delizioso!) So, again, this isn't exactly what I wanted, but the mini beads were fun to experiment with.

The beige is Nomadic Nude from the Back to Boho collection (Color Club). The chocolate brown is Konad's special polish, and the mini beads are from Michael's. The flower pattern is from BM16, a plate whose designs are too small for my thumb, which isn't an excessively large thumb. Its cameos have been sparse lately due to their cold weather damage. I thought I'd spare you the carnage.

The best part about this is the texturized surface my nails take on. If you've ever had braces, it's like rubbing your tongue along that top row of freshly banded braces, before they wear down from normal munch and crunch. That time when the metal is still sharp enough to make you think twice about digging in to get excess food out from under the brackets. As appetizing as that sounds, don't dismiss their use. Nails also work very well as scratching surfaces with these beads on.

Housesitting Haul

They see me haulin'
They hatin'
Patrolling they tryin' to catch me spendin' money

That was my first attempt at blog rap. It probably won't be my last, but it will probably be the worst. Don' hate!
I told you I'd show you my amazing haul from this weekend and show you I will. In fact, this may be the only picture post for today. I had to work late and after not being home for several days, I mostly feel like relaxing and doing nothing. After looking over my wins from this weekend though, I may have to try something.

First up is the polishes I scored, all under $10. The most expensive of the polishes was the 4 pack of mini Essies, which was $9.99 before tax (a surprising find at TJMaxx.) They also had a mini 4 pack of the wedding collection, but those colors didn't scream at me like these did.

Eh...did I score or what? I got both Back to Boho collections from Color Club (thanks Ross). My Savina's were picked up at Nordstrom Rack, and sitting next to each other there in the picture makes me want to pin them together. The Essies are from the latest summer collection. They're babies, but I don't mind. The two OPIs were also picked up at Nordstrom Rack. I've seen I Lily Love You there for a while, and never liked it much till I saw another girl layer it. Shoot...had to buy it. The other one just seemed really unique and pretty.

The other part of my haul (that is worth mentioning) is a little different. Definitely not your typical manicure essential, but after seeing Sam at The Nailasaurus use something like these for her Inspired by Fashion post, I knew I needed some. I headed over to Michael's and found some in the scrapbooking/memory book section. At first, I only saw the Martha Stewart version which was twice as expensive, but then I saw these for $6.99 per package and literally started smiling. Nice try Martha! You can bet that there will be plenty of posts with these.

They are SUPER itty bitty. I tried pouring a few out on my backdrop to get a closeup, and when it came time to clean them up, I gave up and used some tape to get them all corralled.

It was a fun mini-challenge, but I honestly can't wait to try these babies out! What would you guys like to see most?

I also have three collections of polish I want to use for a giveaway when I gather some more followers, but I won't post those yet.

B&W Mini Self-Challenge: Day 3

The last day of my challenge, and I'm pretty happy with this one. A different take on what Bundle Monster was hoping girls would use their number 217 plate for...french manicures. I chose to flip the design on my nail, literally. What should be at the tip, is now at the base, and oh the luxury it provides! Here's White On (Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear) over Wet n' Wild's Black Creme. (The brush on my black was awful, so forgive the flaws. I tried to fix some in Photoshop, but your artistic eyes will surely pick up some.)

I'm looking forward to trying the other tip designs as bases. I'm even more looking forward to putting on some of the vibrant, NON-blacks and whites after tonight. I'll drop my haul I got this weekend in tomorrow's post, so hold onto your panties!

B&W Mini Self-Challenge: Day 2

Bundle Monster's BM11 plate has been calling to me since I first opened the package. I finally removed that layer of protective film and gave the plant life on it some breathing room. I have been trying to figure out how to make a gorgeous green combination for the foliage, but fell short. It was actually the house that I'm currently sitting in that showed me what I needed. Black is the new green in this case, and the leaves came to life on OPI's Skull and Glossbones (which is quickly becoming one of my favorites).

The contrast with Black on Black (Sinful Colors) almost matches my thumb ring.

In addition to my pride for this manicure, I'm also overjoyed with the purchases I made today, both for myself, and for you, my fellow bloggers. I scored at Ross, TJ Maxx and Michael's. I'm probably most excited for the future giveaways I now have planned. There are at least two I'm planning, but more likely three. I'd like more followers before I reveal them, but I promise you they're drool-worthy.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go hunker down in this great big house somewhere and seek shelter from the howling winds coming through the chimney.

B&W Mini Self-Challenge: Day 1

Using the supplies from my previous post, I've put together something I'm excited about. The concept rocks, but I still need to brood on the best taping strategies. You'll see that the cuticles got a little ignored by Black on Black, but by the time I had un-taped and cleaned up enough to notice the oversights, I was pretty drained. So abandoned they'll remain. Poor cuties.

This manicure was actually inspired by Bundle Monster, and its first nail plates I bought. The pattern is from plate BM21, and it's one of the designs that isn't large enough to cover the whole nail of most girls, including me and my nubs. So, I sandwiched the pattern that did stick between two pillars of black. It reminds me of a decadent floor tile somewhere. The kind of place that would have a grand piano and at least one harp player. Maybe even a butler.

So I'll get some more taping practice, and revisit this another time. Not bad for a first attempt though! I just wish my nails were a bit longer, then it would look more delicate.

Oh, the white you're seeing is French White Creme from Wet n' Wild. It took quite a few coats to get it solid without streaking. So unfortunately, I won't be using it for stamping (which is why I originally bought it.) So far, Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri Whirlwind White is best for that.

Housesitting challenge

This weekend (through Tuesday), I'll be sleeping at a friend's house to care for their dog and their home. They live in a gorgeous house, and it's definitely peaceful, but it doesn't have my collection of polishes. Like I mentioned yesterday, I can't bear to leave polishes at home. I'm so indecisive already, I feel like leaving colors behind would make me feel like I didn't have enough options. So, I've created a challenge for myself. Until Monday night, I will only be using the materials shown here.

As you can see, I've left most of my colors in favor of blacks, whites and a few glitters. That's it. That's all I'll have to work with in terms of colors. I've also got my trusty tools, light tent, lap desk and lights.

It's going to be hard, but a gorgeous black and white manicure is timeless and amazing. Wish me luck!

Golden Glitz

Two posts in one day. I just couldn't wait to get these photos out for everyone to see. Plus, this manicure was so simple that I feel comfortable doing another one tomorrow, even though I'll be in a new house. I'll be house and dog sitting for a friend. I'm not sure how I'll manage to bring my polish with me, seeing as it's all stored in the famous Ikea Helmer. I do have my old container, but I hate leaving loved ones behind!

So tonight I'm thrilled with the stamping results. This is probably one of the cleanest attempts so far, and I'm not sure what to chalk it up to. Practice? The right amount of time allotted for drying? The depth of the stamp's (Konad plate m65) engraving? Actually, it could be that last one. Konad plates seem to be cut just slightly deeper than their Bundle Monster counterparts, which really does make a difference when it comes time to scrape. What are your thoughts?

The gold is Champagne Bubbles from the new China Glaze holiday collection. Sorry, I couldn't wait till the holidays to break that bottle open. (Though it seems like many stores and malls in the area can't wait either. Wreathes and baubles adorn plenty of signs here in Boulder already.) The black is trusty Black on Black from Sinful Colors.

Buttered Up Beauties

One glorious thing about nail art is that you can be as lazy or as ambitious as you want, and chances are, you'll end up with some gorgeous digits! Last night, I was pretty exhausted when I did this one, so rather than stamp out a pattern, I used some nail stickers. I still get warm fuzzies when I think of the massive sticker collection I had as a kid. I particularly remember one set of stickers that had scents, and in particular, pickles. Yep, pickle-scented stickers. They were awesome. Or gross. Probably gross. But when you're a kid, all the awesome things usually are gross. (Think earthworms and the unavoidable itch to put them in your mouth.)

Tangent aside, here's what I ended up with. I used my first and, so far, only Butter London polish, Snog. (Oh how glorious.) This pink was gifted to me by my sister, who said it didn't look good on her hands. I love the way it looks on mine, especially with the pops of yellow and white provided by the stickers. In hindsight, I could've eased up on the amount of stickers used on some of the nails.

The lighting here is different than lighting in my other pictures because it was taken in the morning, with one burned out light. I'll have to figure out a way to either replace or rig up a new light set up.
I've always loved the way hot-magenta pink and lemon yellow look together, so this is definitely a new favorite.

Warning - To those of you who enjoy or regularly find themselves picking at their polish, do not use stickers. Their raised topography makes them irresistible to the persistent picker.

Fiery Fingers

Mmm glitter. After the massive photoset of glitz, how could I not use one? Nicole by OPI's Orna-Ment For Each Other was pretty high up on my list of need to trys, so I gave it what it deserved. Something sexy, sultry, and fiery. (Isn't it weird that fiery isn't spelled "firey"?) Time Off by Sinful Colors provided the perfect solution. Time Off is one of their small nail art brushes that I LOVE.

I've used the white, black and gold glitter versions of the brush and they're all marvelous. I do have two neon colors (pink and yellow), and they...well...they suck. The color isn't pigmented enough for striping, so it's pointless to use them. You'd have to use about 4 coats to get close to 100% opacity, but who wants to go over a tiny line 4 times? I highly recommend the black and white though. Their brushes rock.

I just free-handed the "flames" over the hot red glitter, and I'm pretty happy with it.

Like the fill of my text? It's actually the pattern from my nails.

Feelin' hot now?