Sunday, August 26, 2012

Zoya Jolene with Sonoma Nail Art Sonoma Sunset

Pink and purple sunsets are my weakness - my husband proposed on the beach under a beautiful pink and purple sky at sunset in January forever ago. :) As soon as I saw this polish, I had to have it. I swatched it over Zoya Yummy, Zoya Malia, Zoya Caitlin, and Zoya Jolene - it looked amazing over all of them. But I really wanted to wear Jolene for this. Here's 3 coats of Zoya Jolene (why are newly produced Zoya creams so tricky?) with 2 coats of Sonoma Nail Art Sonoma Sunset on the tips and accent nail.
Hope you had great weekend everyone!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Stamping practice/comparisons - Konad Vs. Salon Express (and a Bundle Monster plate)

I have been trying to get into stamping. But it's hard to practice on a fresh mani and potentially mess it up. And I'm usually too excited to remove an old mani in anticipation for my next one to sit there and practice on something that's about to get removed. I have owned my Salon Express kit for a few months and I have tried a few times without much luck. I was ready to give up on stamping altogether but my lovely friend at My Life in Polish suggested I use her tried and true Konad stamper first. Which led to an idea about comparing the stampers and the plates.

I set out to practice - knowing full well I would have to repaint my nails several times. Luckily, this whole process only took about 11 painted/repainted nails. Not too shabby. These pictures show the brand of stamper used for each nail as written above the nail. The brand of the plate is written in the top corner of the photo.

First up we have Zoya Arizona stamped with Zoya Areej. I wanted to start with one of my oldest and thickest polishes and Areej has been worn a lot and never thinned. I practiced on about 4 nails and went for it. This is the Salon Express plate "SE22". While I need some practice with these full nail designs, and rocking the stamper to fit my curved nail, I really liked this design. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the Konad stamper gave a slightly darker result in real life. Since it's barely noticeable, and could be caused by the fact this was my first official set after little practice, I would probably call this one a draw.

Next is Zoya Caitlin stamped with Zoya Dove. Zoya Dove is not thick and has not been used much at all. Which was kind of the point in my test here. This is with the Konad plate m3. I randomly placed the stamper twice on each nail so the layout is not the same. But I did use the same 4 heart design each time. I probably had the hardest time with this plate. I'm not sure if it was the tiny designs or the Konad brand, but these hearts turned out terrible! And no matter how many times I tried, I could not get them to pick up any better. Could it have been the polish? Either way - the Konad stamper made more hearts that were actually filled in and shaped properly so I would call Konad the winner for this one.

The last comparison is Zoya Yasmeen stamped with Zoya Rory. Rory is a really great 2 coat polish that makes for a lightning fast manicure. I thought I had heard foils were good for stamping so I was excited to try it. This is the Bundle Monster plate 210. Now, I realize my pinky looks kind of terrible. This is the combination of a few factors. First, when I put the Konad design on it was so bad, I had to try and remove it quickly and salvage the paint underneath. In doing so, I think I compromised the final look. Second, placement was terrible and that is my fault. Of course this nail would look better if the design had been placed the way it was on my ring finger. But in the end - the clear winner is the Salon Express stamper. I actually really loved how my ring finger turned out and debated making an entire mani around it. But, I was kind of sick of painting my nails by the end of the process so I didn't follow through. Also - what the picture doesn't show is the eleventy zillion times I tried to load the Konad for this stamp and utterly failed. I have no idea why. I actually can't make sense of why the Konad would be fine for some of the other applications, then suddenly fail on this plate or polish?

  • My favorite plate is probably the Salon Express. I had the least amount of trouble with their designs.The Bundle Monster was pretty great with the Rory/Salon Express stamper. But since I had more trouble with the Konad stamper on that - I can't call it my favorite. The design I used from there though - love it!
The stampers are a draw for me.
  • What I like about the Salon Express is the big and small ends. However, the stamper ends seem to fall out kind of easily.
  • What I like about the Konad is the functional handle design. It's short but it seems easier to use with the contoured handle. 
The price point/kit angle:
  •  I like that I can get the Salon Express full kit and be on my way to stamping for $6-10 locally (Walmart, Big Lots, Ross, etc.). The selection of the kit plate designs is just kind of meh to me, but everyone has their different preferences. Being able to hold the kit in my hands to analyze it was a big selling point for me.
  • I like that I can buy a Konad kit on Amazon or eBay and have it all shipped to my door, and have the option to choose what plates I like. However, to a new stamper - all these choices can be a bit overwhelming. 
  • The scrapers were comparable with both kits, and I tried a credit card too. The biggest pointer I have here is to watch the angle of scraping so you don't scrape too much or too little. 
  • Seriously - you will need to file the stamper with a nail file to help it pick up the polish. It's scary, but I promise - just a little rough up, then practice, then rough up again if you still aren't having any luck. When it's working, you will just know. I can't describe what the polish does when it's working, but really - the clouds will part and a rainbow will shine when you have it figured out. :)
Overall, I am happy I started with the Salon Express kit. I remember being completely overwhelmed and unable to make a decision when I tried looking for a Konad kit that would work for me. Due to my difficulties with using it at first, I was worried it had turned me off of stamping. But it turns out I really just needed to file it with a nail file - and see how a "broken in" stamper should work to really wrap my head around the process.  Now that I know what I am doing a bit more, I feel more comfortable looking at the options online to choose more plates or experiment with different stampers for ease of use. I would suggest Salon Express to someone who likes to shop local, prefers to see before they buy, and wants an easy choice that is not too overwhelming. I suggest the Konad kits to those who prefer online shopping and want to be able to customize their choices.

Thanks for sticking it out and reading all of that. I hope you enjoyed my first small novel! :)


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

China Glaze Rare & Radiant - New Bohemian Luster Chrome collection

Good morning,

Today I have the other half of my two swatches from the latest China Glaze collection - New Bohemian Luster Chromes. This one is called Rare & Radiant. It's been on many blogs compared to Chanel Peridot and all the similar dupes. I mostly noticed gold and green, but had a hard time capturing the full green.

In the shade - a decent balance of gold and green.

A picture with not quite full sun.

Indoor with flash - just to show the metallic texture.
What's your favorite from their new collection?

Hope you are having a great week.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

China Glaze Swanky Silk - New Bohemian Luster Chrome collection

This week I have two colors for you that you normally will not see on me or my blog (you know how I love pink and purple by now, right? HAHAHA). My dear friend at My Life in Polish let me borrow two China Glaze colors from their latest collection - the New Bohemian Luster Chrome Collection. I am not a fan of duochrome, gold, or green - but I have been wondering what these polishes were all about. I also wanted to tackle the challenge of photographing them. For today I have my favorite of the two - Swanky Silk. I think the name is great. The color is mostly gold but it flashes a pretty warm pink that I really loved. I could almost swear there's a tiny flash of light green - but I can't tell if it's the polish or the lighting and I could not capture the full flash of pink or the suspected green on camera at all. I think this is a pretty gold and I love the glittery metallic of it in the brighter lighting. The formula was a little hard to use because I was desperately trying to avoid brush strokes - but for fans of metallics and duochromes, this seems like a great polish.

This is 3 coats of China Glaze Swanky Silk (but I think 2 would have been enough). This first picture is in the shade to try and get some of the pink flash.

Here it is in full sun:

Here's hoping you all have an awesome week ahead of you!


Friday, August 17, 2012

China Glaze Pink Plumeria, Julep Kate, F4 Polish Pink Cadillac

Hi all. I have a lovely polish today named after one of my favorite flowers. This is a beautiful shimmery almost coral kind of pink that is really beautiful. It changes depending on the light, but not in a duochrome type of way. The application was a bit tricky, but I find some polishes need a mani or two to thicken up to a better consistency. Also, it dries with the slightest matte finish so for me, top coat is a must. I also wanted to experiment with striping tape so I used that to create the design on my ring finger, then paint over it. I felt like I needed the glitter polish on top to kind of tie it all together. Maybe not my favorite combination ever - but it was fun. :)

Here's 3 coats China Glaze Pink Plumeria from the China Glaze Summer Neons 2012 collection, with an accent nail of Julep Kate and F4 Polish Pink Cadillac, with CC 0-60 Top Coat

Happy Friday!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Essie Carousel Coral and Candy Lacquer Surfer Girl

Here is my favorite coral cream - EVER, with a fun glitter indie top coat. This is 3 coats of Essie Carousel Coral (2 was decent, but I find brand new polishes are a little thin on the first mani). I used a few coats of the Candy Lacquer Surfer Girl to try and build up the glitter. I had some application issues with the thick base, but I'm going to contact the seller and see what she recommends. I have heard she is lovely to work with, and it could just be my climate that made the base thicken up so much.

It's been busy around the Heartfully household. New job, back to school, etc. So happy today has been a productive Saturday.

BTW, I have been meaning to ask - any tips on mastering the "glitter dabbing" application method? I'm not exactly sure what it is but I have heard it referenced for using with indies/glitters. Would love your feedback. :)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Zoya Katy, Color Club Age of Aquarius, Dollish Polish California Gurl

I recently came across Dollish Polish California Gurl and HAD to have it. I missed out on two chances to get it because I sat and debated it while it slipped right out of my cart. Luckily, I had a great friend hook me up with it and I could not have been more excited to get it in my mail box this week. To be a total dork, I HAD to wear it over Zoya Katy, since I'm pretty sure it's a play on Katy Perry's California Gurls song. Also, just so you know - I googled Katy's birthday to see if I could be a total nail polish name nerd. She is NOT an Aquarius, but this went well with the aqua/teal glitters mixed into this beautiful magenta glitter bomb polish.

This is two coats Zoya Katy with an accent nail of 2 coats of Color Club Age of Aquarius (in full sun). My accent nail has a few coats of the Dollish Polish California Gurl, but the rest is just one generous coat.

Happy Wednesday friends!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Zoya Rekha, Zoya Raven, Sonnetarium Samurai Princess - ladybug party!

My daughter's 4th birthday was last week. Her theme was ladybugs. I wanted to coordinate, without trying to experiment with nail art whilst busy making centerpieces and wrapping presents. I have been wanting to use Samurai Princess for a while now but somehow, I wanted to wear it over so many things - that I never wore it at all. Please tell me this happens to you? LOL!

So here's my adult ladybug themed mani - 2 coats of Zoya Rekha and Zoya Raven with 1 coat of Sonnetarium's Samurai Princess. This polish is one of the easiest glitter topcoats I have ever used. The glitter is very dense and I did not have to fish for glitter or dab and smooth, etc. I added a little here and there where my brush strokes were not perfect and there was maybe a need for more white on the black nails, etc. - but I think that had more to do with the base color than the SP.

Also, if you can handle feet pics (sorry, I know some just can't) - I did manage to do a very simple ladybug on my big toes. Again, same colors - no SP, and China Glaze Ruby Pumps for some shimmer. I just painted a straight line using a skinny art brush, then dotting tools for dots. I also used a big dotting tool to dot the eyes and drag a smile on with the white (Zoya Snow White).

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We had a blast at the party! I even rocked some red lipstick, and received a lot of compliments. Here's to a great week going forward, and more posts this week than the last few!