Thursday, May 30, 2013

Swirly-Stamped Ruffian Nail Art featuring Born Pretty Store March Nail Lacquer

Hi everyone!

Today I have a "new-to-me" polish brand to share with you, accompanied with a cutesy nail art look to go along with it.

Before receiving this color I hadn't really looked into the actual nail polish section of Born Pretty Store.
I wish I had sooner, because they are so many varieties of brands, finishes and shades.

Below is March Nail lacquer Sweet Candy Colors #5, a light to medium purple that skirts the line between lilac and lavendar.

Before I even talk about the polish, do you see the bottle?! How precious is that?
I won't lie, I was sold at the bow alone.

Now I really wish I had looked into BPS's nail polishes sooner. The formula was divine! It has a rather thin consistency, but is still opaque in one coat! You could add an additional layer to further saturate the color, but  it doesn't really need it.

The only downside to this shade wasn't even a polish issue, it was just a pain to photograph!
It's a warm toned purple, but it displayed more blueish cool tones depending upon the angle of my hands, the lighting and the background.

I'm pretty positive this will be one of my new go-tos as far as lighter purples are concerned. 
The formula is just too good not to work with.

It's so good, I immediately knew I had to feature it in some sort of nail art look!

I already had my March Nail Lacquer base, so I decided to stamp over it using Pueen Plate #13 with Sinful Colors "Snow Me White." 

Using the same white, I freehanded a ruffian edge along the top of the nail with a small nail art brush. I got a little carried away and made the lines a bit thick as a touched it up more and more, but it's one of those things that's only notable when referring to close up photos.

To add an extra pop of color, I took a dotting tool and dotted the center of the swirls with  Sinful Colors "Anchors Away"  from the new Sail La Vie/Ahoy There collection (review coming soon!).

The ring finger began with Sally Hansen Sugar Coat "Sugar Fix" (another review coming soon!). I originally through the texture would  provide a balanced contrast to the intricate design of the other nails, but it didn't really. Instead of removing and applying a white creme, I'll be honest and say I got lazy and just added a layer of top coat over it.

I knew the nail needed something, and I ended up turning to a wheel of teeny tiny caviar beads I purchased off eBay over a year ago. 

If you're wondering why you've never seen me use them before, it's because they're awful. The color bleeds terribly, but for $0.99 they were good for trying out.
If you have a brand of caviar beads you love, comment with your recommendations!

I ended up using the beads when I discovered that two of the colors matched perfectly with the polishes I had just  used. 

With the top coat still squishy on the nail, I just barely added a bit of top coat to the tip of my dotting tool, picked up the beads one at a time and placed them in an alternating linear pattern you see in the photos.

Overall I love the finished look, despite the slight sloppy execution.
(My sleep schedule as been suffering as of late, so I've been in full zombie mode this past week.)
The March Nail Lacquer shade was just perfect and I can guarantee I'll be scooping up more shades soon.

Want March Nail Lacquer for yourself?

You can view all of the available shades at Born Pretty Store's website here. The polishes are priced at $7.29 with free shipping.

Even better?

Use my special promo code, "BHL91" and get 10% off your entire order!

What do you think of this design?
Will you be adding March Lacquer to your stash?

Let me know in the comments below and give this look some love on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest!

Thanks for reading!


**Born Pretty Store products for provided in exchange for my honest review. All other products and materials were purchased with my own funds.
Please refer to my disclosure policy for additional information.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Indie Spotlight: Flossy Lacquers Swatches and Review

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

I know I'm a day behind, but I wanted to continue on with Indie Spotlight Weekend as planned.
I mean, a Monday holiday counts as a three-day weekend, amirite?

Today, I'm excited to introduce you a very new brand called Flossy Lacquers!

As much as we polish addicts have a long list of lemmings of the normal indie cult favorites, sometimes it's much more exciting to stumble upon a true indie name with not a lot of press. 
When I just happened across this shop on Etsy, I immediately knew I had to see them in person.

Flossy Lacquers is 3-free brand created by Nikki of Minnesota, a fellow polish addict like ourselves.
She was very generous in providing the following four polishes for me to share and review with you all.

Make Believe

 Dive Queens and Jelly Beans

Electric Limelight

Purple People Eater

Make Believe is a milky white polished mixed with pastel pink, purple, blue and green glitters with a hint of holographic sparkle.

I'm pretty positive I squealed when I saw this combo.
I love any glitter combo with a white base, and this mix is so springy and delicate.

The formula on this one was the only one I found to be a bit tricky at first. It was streaky on the first coat, but managed to even itself out with three total layers. 

That wasn't so much of a concern at first, as I was more concentrated on the texture. It has a gritty feel to it that is still visible on the nail even after two or three or coats. I don't have extensive knowledge of the actual polish-making process, but I had a suspicion that this was actually glitter in disguise. To be completely sure, I contacted Nikki who confirmed that is in fact part of the formula.

All that being said, the finished look is gorgeous. Two layers of top coat smoothed out the surface (for the most part), and I was left with the dainty but eye catching nails you see in the photos.

Diva Queens and Jelly Beans is a cool-toned medium grey polish sprinkled with medium-sized white hex glitters, small pink square glitters and ultra fine white glitter.

It has a semi-sheer formula, so the grey takes some building up. This allows the glitters to have more depth, so I'm all for it. The bottle may need a roll or two to reach the glitters, but I think the sparse application actually makes the finished look "pop" so much more. The texture wasn't as severe as Make Believe, but I still chose two layers of top coat for an ultra-glossy effect.

Oh how I love this. And I mean really love this. It's youthful, but sophisticated. The colors are a smart combination that somehow manages to be edgy but feminine, mature but fun all at the same time.
In my opinion, it's a must-have. 

Electric Limelight is an ultra fine neon green and yellow glitter topper that Nikki brightly described as "nothing but tasty."

Tasty is right. It reminds me of sour powdered sugar from Fun Dip or straight off some sour gummy worms.

The formula is incredible. It's not thick or goopy at all, and the glitter just glides on densely, but evenly.
I went for the shock value and used one coat over black, but it's actually a lot more versatile than I thought.
It's green, it's extreme and it's a winner to me.

Here I have Electric Limelight shown four different ways:

Index Finger - One coat over Julep "Madison."
Middle Finger - One coat over China Glaze "Grape Pop."
Ring Finger and previous photos - One coat over Sally Hansen Hard as Nails "Black Heart."
Pinky Finger - Three coats with no "undies."

Purple People Eater is a jelly based purple jam packed with purple and pink glitter.

Stunning? Irresistible? All of the above!
There's something exquisitely unique about this shade. The warm, plum-toned jelly base coincides with the pink glitter in such a way that I surprisingly could not find a match for it in the rest of my collection.
It's bold enough to be a summer statement color, but has a festive quality to it that will surely have me whipping it out even in the winter months.

The formula was fantastic and opaque in two coats.
It also dries quite fast, which makes it a great polish-and-go color and great for toes!
(...because who likes to wait around forever waiting for their toes to dry?)

I can't begin to describe how delighted I am to have found Flossy Lacquers.
For a up and coming brand, these polishes already make a statement.
From the bottles to the business cards, Nikki has created a polish line that is sure to stand out,
and it was a pleasure to be able to share them with you all.
(Oh, and did I mention her business card doubles as an adorable magnet! Love it!)

Want Flossy Lacquers for yourself?

You can find all of the available Flossy Lacquers on Etsy, priced at $7.25 for 15ml bottles.

Purple People Eater is already available to purchase, and Nikki announced that the other three I showed you should be up by the end of this week.

This brand is entirely new, so there is no official Flossy Lacquers Facebook, Instagram or Twitter Page.
However, you can give these beauties some love and spread the word through my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Indie Spotlight: Pipe Dream Polish Swatches and Review

Hi everyone!

I'm happy to kick off another Indie Spotlight Weekend with a cute little Etsy brand known as Pipe Dream Polish. 

PDP is owned by April of Tennessee, lover of nail polish and all things paisley.
All of her polishes are hand-mixed and 3-free (no Dibutyl Phthalate, no Formaldehyde, no Toluene).

She was generous enough to provide a few polishes to me at a discounted rate for an honest review.
I'll admit, just by the bottles I could already tell I was going to love them, so I sprung for three full sizes of the following shades:

It's Not Sane

Pink Elephants and Lemonade

In Through The Out Door

It's Not Sane is a crelly, egg yellow sprinkled with golden microshimmer, and smothered and covered with "medium orange, royal blue, coral, fuchsia, and purple iridescent hex glitters.
(Anyone catch my Waffle House reference?)

The actual tone of this shade is quite the shape-shifter. 
Depending on the lighting, I noticed shift from a egg-yolk yellow, to a bright lemon yellow in direct sunlight as April describes, to an even softer banana yellow in the shade.
Either way it's deliciously beautiful.

The golden shimmer is just noticeable under bright sunlight or lamps, but it is there. I actually prefer that the shimmer only peeks through in the background, as it doesn't take away from the larger colorful glitters.

I've displayed a lot of yellow polishes in these recent spring months, and I've sounded like a broken record when describing the formula. Most yellows, especially bright and semi-sheer ones like this have a troublesome formula.

This may be a huge claim on my part, but as of right now I'm convinced that this may be one of the best yellow polishes EVER. 
Not once did I see any dragging, balding, streaking or otherwise uneven application. 
It did require two coats to reach full opacity, but without a more sheer formula the finished look wouldn't have as much depth as it does.

To add to my delight, working with the glitter was just as surreal. I didn't have to "dab" once.
Yeah, April deserves a round of applause for that one.

This polish also gets my boyfriend's seal approval.
He'd like me to put in his two cents quoting his exact words.
"I like that yellow. It's bright...very you."

Yeah, he's so is this polish.

Pink Elephants and Lemonade is muted turquoise crelly with matte yellow and hot pink small and medium hex glitters.

This is one of my favorite glitter combos. I see the elephant, I see the lemonade. 
It holds a special place in my heart as it remind me of the childhood book I still have somewhere about a kid who found an elephant and tried to hide it under his bed. The book cover is an exact match for this dusty blue.

The formula was pretty close to It's Not Sane, but just a tad thinner. You can tell it has a squishier, jelly-like appearance on the nail. 
The glitter applied extremely well, but I did have to spread it out once or twice. 

The color takes a built more building depending on how deep and saturated you would like the base to be. I used two coats for my photos and it fully covered the nail, but an extra layer will darken the base closer to the shadier photo you see below.

This is such a perfect summery glitter, but has a subtle quality to it that can be flattering to a wider age range of polish lovers. I can guess it's one of April's best-sellers, and it's earned it.

In Through The Out Door is a densely packed, sparkly mix of "fuchsia, raspberry, gold, and gold holographic glitter" suspended in a clear base.

I'm glad April had a description for the colors of the glitters. On the nail I could tell there's two different tones of pink, but I just couldn't put my finger on what the shades were exactly.

Now you can't see the holographic goodness in these photos, but I promise, one turn of the nail and this combo sparkles like nobody's business no matter what lighting situation you're in.

I was expecting a much thicker consistency considering how much glitter was in the bottle. But this is a glitter bomb done right. 

It is thicker than the previous two and requires a bit of spreading to ensure you get in all the nooks and crannies, but it's very easy to work with and dried faster than the average glitter polish.

 I was quite surprised at how versatile this is and it made me love it so much more. 
You can use it as a topper or build it up to a full glitter accent without any undies.

Below I have In Through the Out Door shown four different ways:

Index finger - One coat over China Glaze "Turned Up Turquoise"
Middle finger - One coat over Julep "Debra"
Ring finger and previous photos - One coat over Julep "Millie"
Pinky finger - Two coats with no undies

Which one of these Pipe Dream pretties is your favorite?

 I am completely over the moon for all three that I purchased. If this is the quality you can expect from Pipe Dream polish, than I must own them all. 

There is not one shade in her shop that I would not love to have.

Want Pipe Dream Polishes for yourself?

You can find all of the available Pipe Dream Polishes on Etsy.
The prices differ from shade to shade but currently are priced at $7.00 or $7.25.

Bonus! Purchase three or more full size bottles and you get a free mini bottle of your choice!
I'm not sure how long this deal will be available but I'd take advantage now!
Her prices are already lower than the average indie brand and the quality is incredible.

While you're at it, take a moment and follow April and Pipe Dream Polish on Facebook, and Instagram!

And don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin' because I've got more indie brands coming your way! (Yeah, I splurged.)

Thanks for reading!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Indie Spotlight Teaser and Life Update

Hi everyone!

I have a different type of post for you today.

I have a single photo teaser of tomorrow's review of an up and coming indie brand. I finally lifted my no-buy and have many new Etsy goodies to share with you all.

The polish will remain a secret for today, so make sure you're following me on Facebook, Twitter, and Bloglovin' so you don't miss out!
If you follow me on Instagram, you may already have a clue. :)

But why a teaser? 

As many of you know, it's been an extremely rough couple of weeks. First there was the terrible dog fight that inspired the nail art look below.

You can read the full post of how I created my furbaby inspired mani and more details of the incident here.

Then on Tuesday, just as Odie began to recover...this happened.

Yes, that is a tree and what used to be my front porch...and my roof.

This is in no relation to the recent tornadoes. I live in Georgia and the weather was perfectly clear. 

My boyfriend, other roommate and I were aware of the dead trees scaling over our house, but our landlord neglected to act on our warnings.

The wind wasn't even blowing. 
My boyfriend and I were actually standing outside when he started to hear and see the tree fall. I was talking to him, not realizing what was happening.
He grabbed my arm and drug me inside to the far end of the house as the breaking and crashing sounds followed behind us.
We just held each other for a moment hoping it wouldn't reach us, and then the sound stopped.

After confirming it was over, we realized we left poor crippled Odie behind.
We raced out of the guest room to find him safe and to see the living room and kitchen still in tact.
Our bedroom was what we were afraid of, knowing it would be the first thing the tree would hit.
Worse, my poor cats were locked inside.

The cats naturally panic at any large sound, and safely retreated under our sleigh bed.
It took me 15 minutes to fish them out from under there to get them in their carrier.

The bedroom scene was much better than we expected.
The side wall is cracked from end to end, which has worsened since and the entire wall is now bowed in.
The window shattered, but remained in tact due to an AC unit.
(Yeah, landlord never fixed our central air either.)

Overall the damage could have been much worse.

It's true everything on the wall fell and broke, and a cup of coffee sitting on my desk spilled over everything.

But by some miracle, out of the 500 bottles of nail polish I had displayed on shelves on the outer wall, only one Julep polish parished in the chaos. Although the spill did take out a few articles of clothing located in the hamper it fell in.

I was amazed.
On the desk was also my laptop, tablet, and my DSLR camera... but out of all the things that fell on them, the only thing destroyed was my computer mouse.

So what happened outside?

We opened the door, only to discover there was nowhere to go.

Turns out, the tree hit and stripped the roof and rolled to the ground, crushing our front porch into two pieces.

Everything was destroyed at the front end of the house.
Our ceilings remained in tact, but the roof was gone.


Yup, that's a cast-iron outdoor heater that was passed down to my broken in two.
Look at how the deck is angled. It literally snapped in half.

So where are we at now?
Three days later the house has revealed a bit more damage, as other walls have begun to crack.
Insurance adjusters have not finalized whether or not this will be covered.
If they confirm it was caused my landlord's maintenance neglect, we're SOL.

It was a close call for us, and a wake up call to my landlord...hopefully.
We can only hope he has realized things have gone too far.
Our house is not safe.
There are more dead trees ready to fall, the wooden siding is rotting and the foundation is crumbling from moisture from his refusal to put gutters on the house.
We have no central heating/air, no smoke alarms, and half of our doors are broken.
One more storm and this house can be destroyed.

We have been easy on him because he's an old man, and the father of an old friend.
But had we not run for lives, someone could have been seriously injured, or killed.

In the end we are all grateful the house is still standing and we are too.
The situation is not great, and we are exhausted and overwhelmed.

You have all been amazing and patient, and I love you all.
I have received so many good thoughts and well wishes in the past few days and I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me.

The Manicured Amateur will continue as normal.

There's not much more I can do for the house at this point but wait, and try to keep positive.
And one way I do that is sharing my nail polish adventures with all of you.
No matter how bad things get, I'm reaching up my happy polished hands in prayer that things will work out.

I have so many exciting new brands and goodies to share with you,
and to kick things off, starting tomorrow I will begin another indie spotlight weekend featuring a couple of up-and-coming brands I've already received from my recent Etsy haul. 

There's much more on the way, and I hope you'll stick around.

From my heart to yours, thank you for reading and all of your support!

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