Counting Sheep… and my first stamping set

I’ve been wanting to try stamping for a long time, but honestly, I didn’t really know where to start.  And then KKCenterHk generously offered to send me a some products for review.  Of course I jumped at the chance, and picked out a few plates.  This is what they sent me:

I got plates M80 and M92, as well as a stamper/scraper set.  This is my first experience with stamping plates, so obviously I can’t compare them to other brands.

To be honest, stamping is much more difficult than I thought it would be, at least for me.  This was like nothing I had tried before.  It took over an hour of practice just to get something decent looking, but I think I got the hang of it.

The stamper is smaller than I expected, but I think that helps see what you’re doing, and it is big enough for all my nails.  I like the scraper because it is plastic, so it doesn’t scratch the plates like I’ve heard the metal ones do.  Like I said, I have no way to compare, but the plates themselves seem to work well.  I had to experiment for a while to find which polishes worked best, and found that super opaque (obviously) or old, goopy polishes were best.  I really like the designs and can’t wait to try more!

This is my first stamping mani! I’m clearly still learning, but I think it turned out really cute.  I started with a few coats of Essie Mojito Madness, and then I used Spoiled Correction tape to stamp the little sheep image from plate M80.

I had a little trouble placing the image where I wanted, but I think that’ll improve with practice.  And I definitely need to work on my timing – you have to work pretty quickly with these!  They did get a little smeared when I added topcoat, but that’s just a matter of waiting a few extra minutes next time.

I think the little sheep are adorable! Will definitely be using this image again!

You can shop these products and more at KKCenterHk – they have everything from wigs to nail polish to water decals and microbeads, so you should definitely check them out if you’re interested in nail art!  They have some really cute water decals I might just have to order soon 🙂

AND all my readers can use coupon code THEPOLISHSQUIRREL to get 10% off any order from KKCenterHk until the end of January! Let me know what you get!

I can’t wait to show you the stamping mani I put together for tomorrow! I absolutely love it!

Checkin’ Into Rehab

This polish is gorgeous! It’s also impossible to photograph, so I did the best I could.  Really, you should just go buy it and see for yourself.

This is Checkin’ Into Rehab from Spoiled by Wet n Wild.  It is a dark purple jelly with tiny flakes that shift from pink to orange and a little bit gold.  This reminds me a little bit of Deborah Lippmann’s Ray of Light, but this is purple instead of blue and the flakies are much smaller.

I think this was around four or five coats.  This is super sheer, but totally worth it.  I might try layering this next time.  Maybe Essie No More Film?  I had to use to coats of topcoat to get this to dry.  Again, totally worth it.

The sparkle in this is subtle, but really comes out in bright light.  Even when it’s not visible, the purple jelly itself is beautiful.  I really do love this polish.  Contemplating Top 10 status.

And in case you couldn’t really tell from the first two pictures, just look at this:

It’s a little more purple in real life, but photographs blue, and this is the furthest I could adjust the color without completely messing it up.

And the best part? This was $1.99 at CVS (so I don’t think it totally counts as breaking my no-buy).

I have been pretty impressed with the Spoiled polishes so far, the polish itself is pretty great quality for the price.  The only thing I don’t like is the brush, which is super wide – much wider than the OPI brushes and even wider than my pinky nail, making it impossible to not get any on my cuticles.

What do you think of Checkin’ Into Rehab? Have you tried the Spoiled polishes yet?

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Graduation/Birthday Haul

Last month, I graduated from college and turned 23.  I had a little extra cash from gifts, and I pretty much spent it all on nail polish, so I thought I’d share what I got.  This is my first haul post, so please let me know what you like or don’t like (and if I should do this again).

I’ve already shown you some of these, but I was waiting for the last ones to arrive before posting.  You can click on the picture to see them bigger.

Top Row (L to R): Windestine Pansies, Jeweled Sand (mini), Hydrangeas (mini), Star Bright (mini), Jeweled Sand, Nails Inc. Tate, Westminister, Hampstead Gardens, Fashion’s Night Out.

Middle Row: Dandy Nails Colorblind², Colorblind, Dollish Polish Expecto Patronum, It’s A Me Mario, Sally Hansen Salon Effects Love Letter, Sephora by OPI Slushied.

Bottom Row: Sinful Colors Opal Glitter, Pearl Harbor, Go Go Girl, Spoiled Paying with Platinum, Visually Slimming, Correction Tape, Jewelry Heist, Essie Mojito Madness, Bikini So Teeny, Off the Shoulder, Fear or Desire.

My favorites are definitely the indies (I may or may not have ordered three more in the past two days), but I really like the others I picked up, too.  The Spoiled ones I got only for nail art because they were $1 each – I like them, but the brush sucks.  I couldn’t pass up the SOPI (which I’ve wanted for forever) and the Nails Inc. on sale for $5 at Sephora.  I was surprisingly impressed by the Sinful Colors polishes – definitely getting more of those soon.  I have no idea when I’ll use  Sally Hansen Salon Effects, but I had CVS Extrabucks and couldn’t resist the pattern of this one.  I’ve already swatched most of the Essies, but when I saw it in person, I decided to add Off the Shoulder to my collection, so you’ll see that one soon.

Which one of these pretties do you want to see first?

Day 29 – Inspired by the Supernatural – Nightmare Before Christmas

I was a little stumped by today’s challenge.  Originally, I had thought to do a Ghostbuster’s inspired design, but at the last minute, I changed my mind.  And I am really glad I did.  I think these turned out great! The only one I’m not 100% happy with is Sally, and that’s only because I re-did her eyes about six times and finally just left them instead of starting the whole nail over.  It’s too bad my camera failed to pick up the subtle shading – they looked much better in real life.  Overall, I really love how these turned out!  This challenge has definitely improved my painting skills.

I only used Spoiled Correction Tape (white) and Spoiled Visually Slimming (black) and mixed them together to create the various shades of grey.

I can’t believe I only have two days left in the challenge! The last day is “Re-Create Your Favorite Challenge.”  Which do you think I should do?

Day 28 – Inspired by a Flag – Union Jack

It’s been done, I know.   But I am a total anglophile, so I had to do it at least once and I thought this was a good opportunity since it fit into the challenge and coincided with Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee celebrations.  I tried to add a little twist on it by making it look vintage-y, and I kind of like it.  These are definitely not my favorite (probably because they frustrated me), but I do really like them!

I started with a base of Spoiled Correction Tape.  Then I cut strips of Scotch tape and put them where I wanted the white to be.  After that, I painted on a dark blue franken and peeled the tape off.  I really need to invest in some striping tape because the Scotch tape melted in some spots and was a total pain to get off.  After that experience, I decided not to use tape for the red parts – which are Sinful Colors Go Go Girl – and just freehand them.  Finally, I sponged Essie Hot Coco and Brooch the Subject over the whole thing.

Honestly, these were much more difficult than I had anticipated, and even though I really enjoyed wearing them, I probably won’t do these again anytime soon.

Day 27 – Inspired by Artwork – Chihuly

Today’s mani was inspired by my favorite artist, Dale Chihuly.  Even if you don’t know who he is, chances are, you’ve seen his art at some point.  He is an extremely talented glass sculptor, and his pieces are beyond amazing.  I actually accidentally got to meet him last April at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston when I went to see his exhibit!  His most famous piece is probably one some of you are familiar with – the ceiling at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

Anyway, on to the nail art.  For these, I attempted a new technique to replicate his most popular type of piece – the glass flower ceiling.  I used drops of acetone to spread the polish on my nails to make them look like watercolors.  They didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped, but I still like them, especially since they were my first attempt.

I used Spoiled Correction Tape as a base with Zoya Arizona, Zoya Pippa, China Glaze For Audrey, Essie Mesmerized, Essie Pretty Edgy, and Sinful Colors Go Go Girl.

And here is the piece I was inspired by.  There are many different versions of this, and like most of his pieces, each time it is moved, it is assembled differently so it looks different every time.

And just because, this is my favorite Chihuly piece:

All of his work is blown by hand! Amazing, right?  If you ever have the chance to see one of his pieces in person, do it!  Pictures cannot capture the scale and beauty of his work.

Have any of you tried watercolor nails? What technique did you use?

Day 26 – Inspired by a Pattern – Herringbone

For today’s challenge, I chose to replicate a herringbone pattern.  I LOVE how these turned out!  I’m really liking white nails for summer, and this  is a great way to dress them up without changing the color too much.  It’s pretty simple to do, and I’m sure this patten exists on a stamping plate somewhere for those of you who stamp (I really need to get a set).

I decided to use some new colors I picked up yesterday.  Spoiled polishes are currently on sale at CVS for a dollar, and I couldn’t pass that up, so I picked up three even though I’ve never tried that brand before.  I actually really like them, which I wasn’t expecting.  I used Correction Tape as a base and painted on the patten using Paying with Platinum.  On my thumb, you can see the purple flash, which was more apparent on all my nails in real life.