Sunday, January 31, 2010

Essie Billionails - it worked!

Essie Billionails

I picked up Essie Billionails at TJMaxx for like, a buck or something ridiculous.  I've been using it nearly every time I polish for the past month and a half now, and I have seen pretty good results.  I have always had very soft, bendable, peely nails that grow super slow.  Such a pain. I used Nail Tek for about a year nine years ago which I guess helped, although I never really noticed any difference to tell you the truth.  I have noticed a big difference with Billionails.

I started using Billionails on December 11, 2009.  My most recent nail photos are from January 24, 2010.

Lets go back in time!  These photos begin with the most recent pictures.
Now you get to see my horribly stained bare nails.  Yuck.  I'm sorry.

Jan. 24, 2010
yay!  long nails!

Jan. 5, 2010

Dec. 16, 2009

Dec. 11, 2009 (start date)
boo! short nails!

Now I can start filing my nails again!  Have any of you tried Billionails?  I'd like to buy another bottle but can't seem to find it.  Has it been discontinued?
edit: just found it on transdesign!  They also have a Millionails and Trillionails - cute!

And another question.  I'm trying to build a website for my Dad's business.  
Any web-building advice?  
I'm clueless!

Have a fun day everyone!

PS: Tomorrow is the first day of my 14 Days of February Pink Nails.  
14 days of pink polish - what color be better?  :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Starry Night Mani

Maybelline Twinkle, Twinkle
How beautiful is this color?  I realized after I took the picture that I hadn't even put my top coat on yet, and they still were so shiny and glossy looking.  I used two coats, both dried fairly fast.  I love this one!
Twinkle, Twinkle is a deep, dark blue with a medium-heavy amount of fine silver glitter.  It covered really well and didn't give me that rough feeling that I found with Atlantis.  Of course, this didn't have as much glitter as Atlantis, plus the glitter particles are smaller.

Various lighting (it looks more like the right - the darker look).

I know there is a dupe out there for this one - I've seen it swatched on blogs before, but I can't remember what it was.  Any ideas?

AH HA! solved!  Essie Starry Starry Night!  Any others?

I'm going to the Melting Pot with my mom and sister today :)  I LOVE cheese fondue!  Plus I love spending time with my family.  Yesterday I had coffee with friend and fellow blogger, Liz, and then had a sushi and polish party with my longtime friend, Michelle.  And Sunday J and I are trying out a new restaurant!  Yay!  Oh, and I'm going to do a little cleaning this weekend - not yay, but that's ok.  Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

Have a great day all!

Friday, January 29, 2010

China Glaze Atlantis

Photo Overload!!

China Glaze Atlantis

I FINALLY got it: the stunning China Glaze Atlantis!  I took nine gazillion pictures because I couldn't get it to photograph accurately.  It is way more sparkley than it looks.  There is a ton of glitter in this polish.  I used three coats, but I wish I had stopped at two because it got a little too thick and chunky.  Even after three (yup, I sad three) coats of top coat -- Seche Vite at that -- I could not get my nails to feel smooth.  So while I LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of this polish, the texture bothered me a bit.  Atlantis is a stunning blue loaded with holographic glitter.  This is a really unique polish and I think it belongs in every polish collection :)
I tried painting over top of purple (I was doing a purple comparison so I had SpaRitual Thunder Road, OPI Do You Lilac It, and Zoya Miley on) and it looked really great.  Painted over the purple gave it a bit of a deeper blue that I really loved.  I wish I had taken a photo - I was just doing it quickly to try it out before I did a full mani.  I'll do a full mani in Atlantis over purple soon to show you how nice it looked.

Yeah, it's blurry, but this is probably the most accurate picture.

And in the pictures below, I topped it with a sheer, iridescent OPI.  Hmm, what is the name... any ideas?  it's my mom's and I can't get a hold of her to ask her what it is called.  I'll update here when I get that name!
But, that nameless color gave it more of a green tone.

Yay!  I LOVE Atlantis and I adore the name.  Such a fun polish!

Polish Bloggers Network: Lacquer Link Love! 1/29/10

Check out what's going on in the polish bloggers community!
A few fellow bloggers help Babbling Brooke come up with a Konad of the Day that's a dazzler.
Lavender lady bugs in silver spacesuits, Naive Nails shares her very cute, but accidental mani.
Bright Lights Big Color brings out the Vampy Varnish as she shows off the stunning OPI Blackberry Chutney
Blogger Euridice continues with her Rescue Beauty Lounge binge posts and shares a limited edition polish we lacquer fiends love.
To help those of you who might be taking advantage of Models Own's special 72 hour sale and in celebration of the fact they now ship internationally, Helen's Nice Things has decided to compile some of her personal Model Own Swatches, for reference and your polish viewing pleasure.
Polished Beauty Blog brings an old color back to life and shows a good thing can never go bad
Cucumpear shares with us her "applicious" mani that will surely leave you thinking about a Golden Delicious apple.
Polish Galore shows a shade I've deemed her new lucky polish and a few personal highlights as well.
Manicure Mommas has received her first Diamond Cosmetics package and shares with you the 8 new editions to her collection.
Polish Up breaks out a diamond dust polish and shows just how diamonds sparkle in the light.
and Chromatic Misadventures continues her "Week in Red" and shares with us different shades of this classic hue.
And now,
on to the Network Giveaways....
Tuli's Nails is having a fabulous V-Day giveaway for all her fabulous followers, so be sure to check her blog for the details.
Also, Babbling Brooke is having a contest to Thank all of her wonderful followers and has tons of goodies she plans to share as well.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back to School with China Glaze, Color Club, & Konad!

First, a great big
I took all of your wonderful advice about polish for today (first day back to school!) and combined it and came up with one fun color: China Glaze QT!

MightyLambchop suggested I go with a holo (and I do LOVE holos).
Velvet & Jo want me to wear a color that makes me feel smart (hmm, something shiny?).
Rebecca voted for a bright pink creme (which is basically my favorite kind of polish!!)

So China Glaze QT it is!  I've never worn it before, so I'm really excited to try it out.  Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!!

So lets check it out...

China Glaze QT
China Glaze QT is a dark pink holo with tones of red, gold, and purple.  It is a beautiful shade, but less holographic than I was expecting.  Under bright lights though, it still has that stunning holo shine that I love :)  It almost covered with one coat, but I used two for complete coverage.  It dried fast (love that!) - I was able to stamp on it within three minutes!

Two awesome colors?  Totally!

Color Club Worth the Risque
I stamped my thumbnail with China Glaze OMG (you know how much I love that one!) and then stamped my other thumbnail with Color Club Worth the Risque.  Worth the Risque is slightly more vibrant, so it looks nicer as a stamping polish, so I went ahead and stamped the rest of my nails with Worth the Risque.  It worked really, really well as a Konad stamping polish, and the holographic effect came out beautifully in the design.  Worth the Risque is an awesome holo and although it is similar to OMG, it is different enough that it is worth it (worth the risk?) to own them both if you're a holo lover (like me!).

ps: I used Konad plate m64 for this design (it's my favorite).


My sister was wearing China Glaze BFF yesterday, QT's younger sister.
China Glaze BFF
Here is China Glaze BFF modeled by my mom (she wore it last week).  She used Konad plate m64 and China Glaze 2030 for the pretty design.  How sweet is this polish?  I LOVE BFF and can't wait to get back over to their house to try it out on my own nails!

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to school I go (well, not yet, but it will be soon enough!)!  Wish me luck :)
Have a fabulous, fun day everyone!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Best Blog Award

Niki at Polish on Digital Paper nominated me for Best Blog Award.  Awesome!  Isn't this blogging community the sweetest and most supportive ever?

The rules of this award are as follows:

1. To accept the award, you must post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted you the award, and a link to their blog.
2. Pass the award on to approximately 10-15 other blogs that you recently discovered, and think are great!
3. Contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So now I'm supposed to nominate a gazillion blogs.  You always have to work for these awards, don't you ;)

Hmm, I think WAY more than 10-15 blogs are great.  I have a list of 198 fabulous blogs that I am following because I think they are all pretty awesome.  So since I'm not very good at this choosing favorites thing (plus, I have no idea who has already been chosen), I'm going to randomly (eyes closed and all) choose blogs from my rockin' blogroll.

Here we go...

1. Of Faces and Fingers
2. A Polish Problem
3. Aurora's Nails
4. Charming Nails
5. Also Known As
6. Polishing the Nails!
7. Frougal
8. Craftaholics Anonymous
9. A blonde walks into a blog...
10. Ella Pretty

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Charm City Cakes = Love

So I've been watching Ace of Cakes for many years now (aka, since the beginning!).  I love it even though I'm not particularly good at cake decorating (horrible actually - please see exhibit A:)

Exhibit A:
My attempt at a house cake
very sad.  very, very sad.

yes, there is a cake under this drooping mess of fondant.  a lot of cake, actually.

J's mother is an amazing cake decorator.  See exhibit B (or, the opposite of exhibit A):

Exhibit B:
happy cake!

So even though I am the epitome of Bad Cake Decorator, I adore the show.  And my love for Ace of Cakes is largely due to the fact that Chef Duff and I graduated from the same university.  AWESOME!  Yeah, he graduated in '97 and I was class of '08, but that crazy university gained major street cred when Charm City Cakes started rocking Food Network.  Seriously, before Ace of Cakes no one wanted to go UMBC - now its the mecca of coolness.

Reason number two I love Ace of Cakes?  Charm City Cakes is in Baltimore!!  Yay Baltimore!  I've got to admit, it is pretty awesome seeing places I know ('street I got mugged on. sweet!'), places I've been ('I walked on that floor! and it's on tv!'), and places I may have driven by ('that house looks vaguely familiar. wait - no.') on national television.  I have a lot of Baltimore pride - I've lived here forever and I think it's a kick-butt kind of town.  J thinks Baltimore is the arm pitt of the universe and refuses to drink 'Maryland Sewer Water' - so I play Ace of Cakes while he sleeps in hopes he'll wake up loving Baltimore one of these days.

Reason three Ace of Cakes has the number one spot on my DVR?  Duff, Mary Alice, Geof, Mary Smith, Anna, Katherine, Elena, Ben, Adam, and Cotton the dog (Cotton totally needs to make more appearances - and he kind of looks like Geof).  Ok, and everyone else.  They remind me of people I know - people I hang out with to drink crappy Maryland beer, play Wii, and watch tv shows like Ace of Cakes and Spongebob.

Reason four?  They do stuff with Girl Scouts, like make cakes in the shape of Girl Scout Cookies - and I like that.  Now here I'm going to reveal a huge, deep, dark, hidden secret. You ready?  Ok, it's not that huge, deep, dark, and hidden - I have it on my resume.  I was a Girl Scout for 13 years.  And somehow sticking to it for 13 years didn't even earn me a dinky scholarship.  But the inner Girl Scout in me loves every episode where the Charm City Cakes crew does something awesome for the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland - and I kind of wish I was still a Girl Scout so I could go eat a cake shaped like a Samoa.

Reason four?  I like cake.  And that is a good enough reason to love a show about cakes.

Charm City Cakes, you're awesome.  Keep being awesome.  And keep making Baltimore look good.  Because one day we're going to convince those Baltimore haters (ahem, J) to start loving this shiny little town.

*    *    *

ps: just to keep me from looking like a total cake failure, I've got a few pictures of the half-decent cakes I've made too:

This is the ever popular 'Throw Lots of Edible Flowers on it so it Looks Nice Even Though It's on a Paper Plate' trick.

Here is the classic
'Stick Something Yummy on it so no one Realizes it is Falling Apart' trick.

And the most common trick of all - if all else fails, shape it into a fish!
Ok, this wasn't my cake, it was my mom's - plus it's a dip, not a cake.  But it's so cute!

Go watch an episode of Ace of Cakes - and enjoy a nice slice of poorly decorated cake in my honor :)  Have a great Tuesday everyone!

My First Franken

Inspired by Liz, I created a taupe Franken - my first Franken!  I kind of love the use of the word 'Franken' because it relates back to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (which I have read three times during undergrad alone).  Yay for literature and polish intersecting!!

I used 6 drops of China Glaze Recycle, 1 drop of OPI Do You Lilac It?, and 2 drops of PRO10 Incognito.  It is slightly raisin-colored.  What I learned from making my first Franken?  Make sure you make enough!  I mixed it in a paper bowl and discovered that I only made enough for one (thin) coat on each nail.  I painted it over top of my Incognito mani, which gave it a bit of a base, but I wish I had made double the amount.
I'm totally falling for taupes... and heading to the mall today to see if I can convince myself to spend $9 on $OPI Metro Chic.
and now time for some begging...

Please vote for me in Black Nail Polish and Lip Gloss's nail polish-free nail art contest!  I'm seriously lagging, so it is self-promotion time!  The voting bar is to the right and I am Pretty Print.  I used card-stamping tools to decorate my nails (and had a terrible time trying to get the embossing powder off my tips!). Thanks so much for your votes!

Incognito - my first first brown polish!

So lets start with a story.  I bought this same shade for my giveaway.  I've been eying up the bottle, which is sitting in my giveaway pile on my dining room table just begging to be used.  There is just something about it that really made me want to try it.  So after seeing all of Liz's awesome taupes yesterday, I broke down, drove to the store, and bought myself the same bottle of brown polish I am giving away.  Why can't I buy something for a giveaway without wanting to have it for myself too?  Well, I'm glad I got it, because I really like this shade, and I certainly don't own anything like it.  I wish I could have gotten it to photograph more accurately.  If you squint really hard it kind of looks color accurate (I can see you now, squinting away at the computer screen - it's ok, I am too).  I guess I'd say it's like a nice, rich dark chocolate, like an 80% cocoa variety.

<--- kind of not loving this design on the brown at all (so I made it tiny) :)
PRO10 Incognito
Like I said, I like this one significantly better IRL than in photos... I keep looking back and forth between my nails and these pictures and this polish just looks so much better right here in my family room than it does on my computer screen.
I believe this is called 'Incognito,' which is printed on the side of the bottle.  It is a very dark brown - nearly black - although in these photos it appears almost milk chocolate.  I used OPI Mod About You for the Konad design (I tried using a hot pink at first - notice the pointer finger?).
Incognito applied very smooth and covered well with two coats.  I am wearing three coats because I am a habitual over polisher - but it was totally opaque after two.  I really like this one!  It's kind of edgy, but still fairly neutral.

without flash
This is the most color accurate out of the 40-so I took.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Guest Polisher - Taupe Overload!

Hello fellow Babbling Brooke readers!  Recently, Brooke and I were discussing my obsession with finding the perfect polish in the taupe/brown/gray/purple family, so I offered to put together a guest post of my collection.  I had no idea how much work this would be!  Now I have a new appreciation for Brooke's willingness to post a new mani every day (as well as her camera's excellent fine focus)! 

OPI You Don't Know Jacques!

My search for the perfect polish began with OPI You Don't Know Jacques!  I'd read about it online, and when I saw the bottle, I had to have it.  Once I polished my nails, I realized what all the hype was about.  Part of YDKJ's unexpected appeal, for me, is that it is a bit of a chameleon.  Sometimes it looks more gray, other times it looks more brown, but it always looks fabulous.

Forever 21 Light Gray

Shortly after I got YDKJ, I came across this light gray polish while shopping for cheap accessories at Forever 21.  I'd seen dove gray on other people and loved it, but this polish turned out to be as uninspiring as the name "Light Gray."  It just doesn't look right with my complexion.  Maybe I'll try it again this summer when I have a bit more color.

OPI Over the Taupe

The more I wore YDKJ, the more I liked it, but sometimes I wished it wasn't quite so dark.  I discovered that OPI Over the Taupe is a similar but slightly lighter shade, so I picked this one up next.  This polish is more brown than YDKJ, the shade is nice and warm, and it's a great neutral that goes with everything.  (It does need a third coat, though; all the others I swatched are two coats only.)

OPI Parlez Vous OPI

At the same time, I picked up Parlez Vous OPI.  In the bottle, YDKJ looks like it has a bit of a purple tinge, but that doesn't show up on the nail.  I was hoping Parlez Vous OPI would look like a grayed-out lavender on my nails, and that is a pretty accurate description.  I thought it was too purple at first, but after wearing it on my toes for about a week, it grew on me.

Sephora by OPI Metro Chic

Every time I wore YDKJ, I wondered how it would look if some of the purple I see in the bottle carried over onto the nail.  Then I saw Sandra Bullock's nails at the Golden Globes, and up against her purple dress, they looked identical to the color I had been imagining in my head.  Someone suggested that hers looked like Sephora by OPI Metro Chic, so I had to try this next.  It's perfect!  If Over the Taupe is the slightly browner sister of YDKJ, then Metro Chic is the slightly grayer sister with just enough of a lavender tinge to satisfy me.

The comparison swatch has, from top to bottom/left to right, Parlez Vous OPI, Metro Chic, You Don't Know Jacques, Over the Taupe, and Light Gray.  As you can see, each of the OPI polishes are slightly different hues.  I love all four!

I've been hearing about a few other polishes in this family, too.  Essie Mink Muffs looks nice, and I've read that Sandra Bullock's nails were actually Chanel's Particuliere.  I guess this is supposed to be this season's hot color, like Jade before it, but at over $20 a bottle, I think I'll pass.  I'm happy with the polishes I've found in the YDKJ family, and I'm happy Brooke gave me the opportunity to share them with all of you!

Liz is my friend, fellow grad student, and one of the most stylish people I know.  Read more at her thoughtful blog, Literature is Where I Go, plus check out pictures of what she calls her "unintentionally funny" (and oh so adorable) dachshund, Oscar! 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guest Blogging and a Guest Polisher

Check out my guest post at Body & Soul!
I have some awesome pictures of China Glaze Its My Turn, Color Club Wild at Heart, and my favorite Konad design.

Here for you today I have a shot of my sister modeling Color Club Wild at Heart.
I am OBSESSED with this purple!

Sorry for the short post today - I didn't have time to polish yesterday.  My horse got hurt yesterday so that was my main focus.
I have something really good for you all tomorrow :)
Have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fly Away With Me

Lets Take Flight!
I was inspired (while barreling down the freeway) to do a flock of birds mani.  Nearly every time I see a flock of birds lift off of the ground in unison and begin to soar, first one direction, and then another, I am just so inspired by the beauty that they capture as a community.

My little community of birds is a bit messy, but I still really like this mani.  I think it is a lot of fun - plus, I finally got China Glaze Recycle and this is the first time I've ever used it.

I started by painting my nails with two coats of China Glaze For Audrey.  They I painted little "V" shaped birds with China Glaze Recycle.

And then I added more birds!

And finally I added some black birds with my Konad special black polish.  They are supposed to appear closer.

I'd like to try this again and make it a little neater if I can.  But I had a fun time painting!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Konad Plates!!

I am SO EXCITED about the new Konad plates coming soon!!  These will be available for purchase around the end of February.

Check them out at OCNailArt and remember that you can get 30% off and free shipping on orders over $20 with coupon code: BabblingBrooke.

Here are the ones I am most excited about:

Polka dots!! FINALLY!

Love the feathers

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