Monday, June 30, 2014

NCC Black & White-Week Four

Hey! Happy Monday (that's actually an oxymoron).
I have my final Nail Challenge Collaborative post for the month of June, tonight. Nothing like going down to the wire!!

For this cute kitty, I started with two coats of Zoya Storm on all fingers but my ring finger. That one took two coats of NYC French White Creme. I topcoated everything and waited a few minutes. Once it was dry, I took Wet N Wild Black Creme and drew my kitty friend. I started with a half-circle outline, filled it, added triangles for ears and added detail using Color Club Flamingo for the ears and nose, and French White Creme, Icing Get Lei'd, and Black Creme for the eyes. I let it all dry and topcoated once again. It was super easy and I'll definitely be doing this again for Halloween :)

I took the top two pictures in indirect sunlight, so below is Storm in full sun so you can see all the holo-y goodness.

I'm really proud of myself for doing all four manicures. I really want to impress the girls in this group-I look up to them all so much and have been reading their blogs for a long time. I can't wait to work on next month's theme!!

Be sure to check out the grand finales from the other NCC ladies, below!

xo, ali

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nail Challenge Collaborative-Black and White #3

Hey there! I'm back with another Nail Challenge Collaborative mani. This is number three of four for the month. The fourth will be coming later this week.
I hope to have a little more time to do some other fun manis and swatches in the coming weeks as things should be calming down for a minute, aside from the concerts I'm going to-Phillip Phillips, Fitz and the Tantrums, Miniature Tigers, and Bleachers/Bear Hands/Cage the Elephant. That's just July!! I'm planning on seeing Andrew McMahon from Something Corporate/Jack's Mannequin in August. Buffalo just got a rad new radio station that plays newer alternative and they've been bringing a lot of awesome bands to Buffalo. I'm most excited for Bleachers. I love Jack Antonoff. Did you know he was in fun. and Steel Train?
Isn't he just adorable? And he can write songs that are catchy as HELL. I've been listening to the few songs that have been released, non-stop. I can't wait for the album to drop on 7/15. I have plans to do a Bleachers themed mani for the show. Bleachers.

Okay. You're not here for eye-candy and rockstars (but that is an added bonus). Let's look at what I put together.

For this mani, I used two coats of a frosty white Migi nail art pen. It covered well in two coats and I wasn't worried about brushstrokes because I knew I'd be covering it up with some stamping. For the stamping, I used an image from Konad plate m95 and Wet n Wild Black Creme. I love Konad plates. They stamp so well and so clear!! After stamping, I took the pink end of my nail art pen, and using the tiny, pinpoint end, I colored in the empty diamonds. To me, this looks like a harlequin clown's outfit and I'm really proud of this manicure because I managed to stay inside the lines for the majority!

I have something really cute planned for my last NCC Black & White manicure and that's coming later this week :)
Be sure to check out the other week three manis, below!

xo, ali

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nail Challenge Collaborative: Black and White-Week 2

Hello! Happy Tuesday! I hope that your week is going well :) I'm in planning mode because my best friend's bridal shower is on Sunday and I'm trying to tie up a few loose ends with the other girls in the wedding party.
Tonight, I have my second Nail Challenge Collaborative mani for this month's theme-Black and White. This time, I added a pop of color!

Julep Bunny, Zoya Raven, and Urban Outfitters Bandeau

For this mani, I did two coats of Julep Bunny, which is a white creme with faint gold sparkles throughout. The formula is actually pretty decent for a white if you take your time. I used Beauty Plus Salon top coat and waited a few minutes. Next, I placed a piece of washi tape on each finger at a diagonal and painted Urban Outfitters Bandeau, which is a blue-leaning purple (and that's why it looks blue in my pictures). I top coated and waited. Once those layers were dry, I used more washi tape to create a french tip and used Zoya Raven-black with sliver shimmer. After removing the tape, I top coated once more.
I love this mani. I've done it a few other times with different colors and it just looks so cool and really modern to me.

Be sure to check out the other Week 2 manis from the talented members of the NCC!

xo, ali

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Nail Challenge Collaborative-Black and White #1

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. I know I did :) Saturday was my busy day-my dude BFF from this post came to visit and we went hiking. We got lost in the woods, but we made it out without snapping or yelling at each other, even once. After he left, I went to my other best friend's birthday party for a bonfire and some snacks. I was happy to be lazy on Sunday, have a Google+ hangout with my mom and play with some legos.

I also did a manicure for June's theme of the Nail Challenge Collaborative, which I was just accepted into. That was a very exciting day for me. I am in some amazingly talented company and I definitely have my work cut out for me. I'm really hoping that this will help me to hone my nail art skills and step out of my comfort zone.

For this mani, I started with two careful coats of NYC French White Tip and topped it with my quick dry Beauty Plus Salon. Once the white dried, I took washi tape and placed it at a diagonal. Then I used Color Club Revvvolution, which is a gorgeous black, linear holo. The finishing touch was a few dots of contrasting color on each side of the diagonal. More top coat and it was a done deal.

I really hope you all liked my very first NCC mani. I have lots of ideas for the remaining three manicures and I absolutely can't wait to see what each month brings.

Let me know what you thought in the comments and be sure to check out what the other NCC ladies did for their first mani of the month!

xo, ali

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Gridlock Lacquer Mini-Spam

Happy Wednesday, everyone! We are halfway through the week...and I can't wait for the weekend.
Today, I'd like to share with you a great indie polish line that is mixed and sold right in my home city of Buffalo, NY! Most of the polishes from Gridlock Lacquer take inspiration from many places and things that can only be found in our fair city from The Aud (where my beloved Sabres got their start and I saw many a Disney on Ice performance) to Loganberry and Beef on Weck inspired polishes. As soon as I heard about the brand, I made plans to find Gridlock's booth at the Broadway Market in Buffalo.

Today I'm going to share three lacquers with you-Delaware Park, Loganberry, and Pussy Willow.  And, so you can feel like you're a true Buffalonian, I'll tell you why these places are so truly Buffalo.

First up is Delaware Park.

Delaware Park is basically the city's playground. It's home to an 18-hole golf course, numerous playgrounds, basketball courts, Hoyt Lake, grassy knolls, and the Buffalo Zoo! Plus, Albright-Knox art gallery is right across the street. I attended college just a few minutes, walking distance, from Delaware Park and Hoyt Lake (pictured) was one of my favorite thinking spots.

Delaware Park is a yellow-toned green with a slight duochrome effect and some scattered holo shimmer. For application, I used 3 1/2 coats. I added an extra coat to the ring and pinky fingers to even out some sheer spots. While the formula is great, it is a little sheer and careful application is a necessity. This color is truly unique to my collection. The spring green to gold-green duochrome is gorgeous and I don't have any other greens like this. It reminds me of the way the park looks in late summer when we hit our dry season. Perfect!

Next, I have Loganberry. Loganberry is a locally loved beverage that accompanies our wings, beef on weck, and Mighty Taco.
Loganberries are actually a thing and they are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry. The drink itself is an uncarbonated soft drink that you can only be found in Buffalo. I grew up drinking Aunt Rosie's Loganberry because my brother loved it. Every now and again, I get a hankering for a glass. Luckily, the pop fountain in the cafeteria at work has it :) The nail polish is just as addicting.

Loganberry went on in two easy coats, with the perfect consistency. It's a gorgeous brick red with eye-catching shimmer. However, those two easy coats need to be applied with a little TLC to avoid brush strokes. This is not your typical red. It's a little brown around the edges that gives it a sophisticated twist.

Finally, I have Pussy Willow. 
Pussy Willows are a sure sign of spring in Buffalo and they are used in one of our favorite holidays-Dyngus Day. There is a HUGE Polish population Western New York and our fair city is the Dyngus Day Capital of the World, despite what Anderson Cooper might think. As legend goes, pussy willows are brandished by Polish girls and used to spank the boys they like. Polish boys reciprocate by squirting the girls with water. We celebrate hard, here in Buffalo, and it's a blast. 

Pussy Willow is a mix of copper hex and micro glitters, white satin square glitter, iridescent hexes, and small and large white satin hexes. The formula was a little thick so I added a few drops of thinner and that cleared right up. I layered one coat of Pussy Willow over Loganberry. For the most part, the glitter spread easily but I did have to fish a little bit for the large white hexes. And interestingly, the base didn't have the typical nail polish smell. It smelled like bananas! This perfectly captures the essence of the pussy willow. I can't wait to wear this combo for Dyngus Day, next year!

To purchase Gridlock Lacquer, you can visit her website: Gridlock Lacquer.
The polishes retail for $6.00. You can also purchase Buffalo-themed soaps and synchronized swimming themed lacquers.
You can also keep up with all the new happenings, like the soon-to-be released summer collection on social media:

I hope you guys enjoyed these as much as I did! I still have two more Gridlock glitters to swatch for you guys, so watch this space!

xo, ali

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Nicole By OPI-Iceberg Lotus

Happy Sunday! I know I've been gone for quite a while. I'm sorry to leave y'all hanging but a lot has been going on. I turned 30 on May 20th and celebrated a lot for that. I was spoiled by all my friends and family, near and far. It was amazing. In addition, I had another biopsy related to my thyroid issues and I'm finding out the results tomorrow. I'm nervous, so send me pretty polished good vibes.

Tonight, I'd like to share a polish with you that has sentimental value. This is probably the only polish in my collection, aside from my recent Deborah Lippmann acquisition, that has that kind of value to me. And the reason why is because it was given to me for my birthday last year by one of my very, very good friends. He is a person that knows me very well, even though we've only known each other for a short time and he's been a great source of support and clear-headedness through a lot of my thyroid issues. And, half of my current favorite songs started as Spotify links or playlists from him. The best part, and the part I love the most, is that he picked the polish out without any peeks at my wishlist or collection. To date, my homie is the only guy that has given me nail polish for any occasion and that is a major reason why this polish is so special to me.

Let's look!
Will you just look at that gorgeous blue/purple around the edges?!

This is three coats of Nicole by OPI Iceberg emerald glass fleck in a green jelly base. The glass flecks flash blue, purple, and even pink in certain lights and it's just a stunner to look at in the sunshine. I wore this for one of my birthday manicures and got so many compliments on it. It's definitely in the top 5 of my stash and will probably stay there for a very very long time. And it's funny--I never would have picked this out on my own in the store but here it is, one of my favorites. 

I hope you enjoyed tonight's post! I've got a lot of good things coming up, including some mini-swatch fests of a local to Buffalo indie nail lacquer and I recently joined a challenge group that I've been following for a while and you'll see my maiden manis for this month's theme here, soon. Stay tuned!!

xo, ali