Its the last day of February! Im so so so ready for Spring and warmer weather. During February I challenged myself to use as many untried polishes from my collection as I could.

I picked an olive green by Cherimoya along with Beetle by Hard Candy. Once I had the olive green on my nails, I knew I needed flowers. I recently saw a tutorial for roses by The Nailasaurus. I cant believe how easy this was! 

For the roses, I used Essie Cute as a Button, Bachelorette Bash, and Mojito Madness, along with a light pink from American Eagle. 

Im thinking about doing some tutorials over the next few weeks. What tutorials would you like to see? 

Glitter Gradient

I love glitter. Thats really all that needs to be said. This glitter was untried for me and now that Im wearing it I cant imagine what took me SO LONG. Ive had it for a few years. Yeah you read that right. Years. 

The base of this mani is Illamasqua Raindrops. The glitter is Maybelline Believe me, Its Real. And its all topped with China Glaze Fairy Dust. Because Fairy Dust is magical and makes everything better. 

This picture is directly under the lamp but the sparkle still isnt coming through as much as in real life. So gorgeous. 

Xoxo Danele

Loaded Lacquer Jelly Sammich

I finally did it! Its not my first jelly sammich ever (I'm talking about nails, but its kinda making me hungry....) but it is my first jelly sammich using Loaded Lacquer polishes!

I used Loaded Lacquer Island Punch and 40 Below to achieve this look.  If you don't know anything about Loaded Lacquer Jiggles, see my previous blog post!  I used a base coat, 2 coats of Island Punch, 1 coat of 40 Below, another layer of Island Punch, and top coat.

Left: Island Punch  Right: 40 Below

Diffused Artificial Light

Direct Artificial Light

I just love the way this looks! I can't wait to try other combinations! I may even need to add a few more jiggles to my collection :)  

I later mattified this mani and added chevron accents. 

Loaded Lacquer: The Jiggles Collection Swatches & Review

Loaded Lacquer is an indie nail polish company owned and created by Heather.  Her shop has only been open for a few months, but she is already very successful in creating and selling her amazing handmade nail polishes.  She specializes in these amazing glitter bombs that are 'inspired by nature' however, she recently released a collection of jelly polishes called The Jiggles.  These jelly polishes were created so that we could all make awesome jelly sammiches with her glitter polish!

What's a jelly sammich?  It's when you layer a glitter polish in between layers of a jelly polish.  Jellies are sheer so you can see the glitter peaking through the layers.  It really is a cool effect!

I recently purchased 2 jellies from The Jiggles Collection.  Here are my swatches and reviews.

Toasted Marshmallow

Toasted Marshmallow is a grey jelly.  The application is smooth and goes on easily.  Swatch is 3 coats, no top coat.  I love how light and soft this color is on its own.  Its also very shiny without a topcoat!

So shiny, so squishy

Island Punch

Island punch is a bright blue jelly.  It reminds me of the blue Hawaiian Punch.  Just like Toasted Marshmallow, the application was smooth and easy to apply.  Swatch is 3 coats, no top coat.  Im sorry my yucky stains kind of show underneath :( But Im loving this bright color! I have several glitters I cant wait to layer with this!  Island Punch is also very shiny on its own. 

I haven't tried a jelly sammich yet with these, but I know once I do it will look gorgeous!  I have several Loaded Lacquer glitters that I can't wait to try it with.  I hope you will go check out Heathers store and buy some of her pretty polishes!  I don't own many indies, but hers are definitely my favorite!

Manicure Basics Week 2: The Tools

Every good manicure requires a set of tools to accomplish perfect (or near perfect) looking nails.  This week I'm going to show you the tools I like to use when doing my nails.

Nail File

Starting with the nail file on the left.  I use a Nail Tek glass nail file.  I made the switch a few months ago from the typical emery board.  Emery boards tear up the end of my nails, leaving frayed bits underneath my free edge.  After switching to a glass file, I don't have this problem anymore.  It takes down length much quicker and is also easier to shape with. I will definitely never go back to a plain emery board ever again. 

Cuticle Nippers

To the right of the file is a cuticle nipper.  These happen to be Sally Hansen cuticle nippers.  I didn't own these until recently because I had always heard horror stories of girls cutting their skin instead of their cuticle and causing infections.  I decided to do some research about how to properly use cuticle nippers and now feel comfortable using these.  I don't really use them to get rid of my extra cuticle around my nails.  I mostly just use these to snip off any hang nails that occur.  These are very sharp and do the trick!

Dotting Tool

Under the nippers is a dotting tool.  This dotting tool is made by Essence and I picked it up at Ulta for under $2.  Any dotting tool will work.  I would like to get more that have a larger size.  This one is double ended with a different sized dot on each end.  I use it for doing dotticures but I also use it when I do other types of nail art as well.  I have a small paint brush for nail art but I don't reach for it very often because dotting tools are just easier to clean and manage. 

Clean up Brush

Next to the dotting tool is an ELF concealer brush.  This is my clean-up brush.  I dip it into acetone and run it along the edges of my nail to clean up any nail polish that may have got on my skin.  I also use it to clean up the line around my cuticle.  I like this brush because it is only $1 and can be found at Walmart and Target.  I bought this one in November and it is still going strong!  

Buffing Block

Last but not least is my 4 sided buffing block.  I think these are kind of controversial.  I've heard some people say its a bad idea to buff your nails.  Maybe for those ladies with very thin, frail nails but for me, buffing my nails keeps the surface smooth and helps elongate polish wear.  I lightly buff with sides 1-3.  If you buff with side 4 it will make your nails really shiny and the polish won't adhere to the nail as well.   This is especially helpful for peelies (when the top layer of the nail starts to peel in strips.) I like to lightly buff out any peelies that occur.  

These are my favorite most used tools.  What tools do you use for your manicures?  As always, thanks for stopping by! 

Neon Gradient with new Maybelline Street Art Glitter

I topped my neon gradient with the new Maybelline Street Art glitter in Blue Beats.  I LOVE the way it turned out! I wore these to a party last night and they definitely caught a few girls' attention.

Who else is ready for summer?! I know I am!

xoxo Danele

Lavish Polish 1990

I recently discovered Lavish Polish and fell in love with a few of their polishes. This is one of them. I knew by the swatches I saw that I had to have it. Its seriously gorgeous. A teal jelly with teal holographic glitter, including those awesome large circles.

This is 3 coats plus top coat. 

Diffused Artificial Light

Direct Artificial Light

Isnt it so puuuuuurdy! Go check out the store at www.lavishpolish.com 

Xoxo Danele 

Neon Gradient Nails

Yay it's the weekend!  And I am wearing these super bright, super fun neon gradient nails.  They make me think of summer, heat waves, the beach, and palm trees.  You get the picture.

This was my first time trying a gradient with more than 2 colors.  The only other gradient I attempted was a French Manicure gradient, so it only involved light pink and white.  These didn't come out perfect but I like them!  I think I need to wait longer in between "coats." I'm also trying to decide if I should top these with a  fun glitter or leave them as is.  What do you think?!

I used China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy, Kiwi Cool-ada, and Sinful Colors Endless Blue to achieve this look.

Diffused Artificial Light - look how bright that is!

Diffused Artificial Light

A not so great picture in Natural Light

Have you ever attempted a sponged gradient?  What colors did you use?  I hope everyone is having an awesome weekend so far! 

xoxo Danele

Color Club Eternal Beauty with Galaxy Accent Nail

What a freaking gorgeous polish.  Color Club Eternal Beauty is from the 2013 Holographic Halo Hues collection.  It took me awhile to get my hands on these, but I'm so glad I did!  This might be my favorite polish of all time.  Or at least for now.  

Accent nail is galaxy-inspired nail art.  

There's something to say about a holo when you can see the rainbows inside of a lightbox.  

I'm drooling over here. 

So if you don't own any of these, you should probably buy some. now.  right now. seriously. NOW!  I ordered mine  from www. enospring.com  for $7 a piece.  

What are your favorites out of all the Halo Hues? 

xoxo, Danele

Spring Stripes

Decided to do some nail art using my new Essies from the Spring & Resort Collections.  I used nail vinyls that I bought from www.nailvinyls.storenvy.com to create the stripes.  I love these colors together! 

Colors used: Essie Resort Fling, Fashion Playground, and Hide & Go Chic

Til next time!
xoxo Danele

Manicure Basics Week 1: Cuticle Care

This is my biggest struggle in nail care.  Keeping my hands and cuticles well moisturized is a huge battle for me.  I am a preschool teacher so I am constantly washing my hands throughout the day.  I keep lotion on hand at work, but I don't always remember or have time to apply lotion.  The fact that it's winter right now also plays a huge role on my dry hands and cuticles.

Over the years I tried many different lotions, hand creams, cuticle butters, cuticle oils, etc etc. There are so many out there that it can be intimidating to choose one! And you never know if a product will work for you until you buy it and try it.

I have picked 4 items that have been getting me through this winter.

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, Eucerin Soothing Repair Creme, Lansinoh Lanolin, and Orly Argan Oil Cuticle Drops

1. Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover

I have been using this cuticle remover for YEARS.  Yes for years.  My mom used to put one in my stocking every christmas.  This little blue bottle works very well for removing the dried cuticle that is attached to the nail (not the skin around the nail).  Apply a little bit around the edges of the nail and after a few seconds use a cotton swab or paper towel to remove the gel and dissolved cuticle. 

2. Eucerin Soothing Repair Creme

I have also been using this hand creme for several years and have gone through several tubes of it.  It is a very rich and emollient creme that is truly very moisturizing.  As you can see, it shows a scale on the front of the bottle that it is as high as lotion gets when it comes to richness.  What I like a lot about this hand creme is that it has very few ingredients: Water, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, and Methylisothiazolinone.  I don't have any sensitivities to these ingredients and find them very moisturizing and healing. 

3. Lansinoh Lanolin

Yep.  This is Nipple Cream.  Yes it is for breastfeeding mothers.  Yes you can safely put it on your nails! (and on your lips too!)  Lanolin comes from a sheep's sebaceous glands and the lanolin found in Lansinoh is the highest quality.  No its not vegan.  But I feel completely comfortable putting this stuff on my skin and lips.  This stuff is very healing.  I like to use it at night as it is very sticky.  After I apply hand lotion, I rub this around my cuticles.  In the morning, my very dry spots are more healed and moisturized. 

I depotted as much of the product as I could into a small jar I found at Target in the beauty section.

4. Orly Argan Oil Cuticle Drops

This is a new product in my arsenal.  I bought this about a month ago in desperate need of something to help the health of my nails.  They were peeling and breaking more than normal.  I started using this oil on my bare nails and cuticles.  Despite popular belief, nails do not have to be bone dry before painting them.  I did not believe this until recently.  I would wipe my nails with acetone or rubbing alcohol before polishing.  I think this was partly causing my peelies. Since buying this oil, I have noticed less peeling and healthier nails overall.   I let the oil soak on my nails for as long as I like (usually 15 minutes) then I wipe off the excess with a napkin.  This allows for the oil to soak in a bit. Then I polish as usual.  

Other products worth mentioning:  There are a few other products I like that I did not include in the picture.  I have been using Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream for a few years.  I like the smell, I like the texture of it.  I think its moisturizing, but not quite moisturizing enough for winter.  I also like the Neutrogena Hand Cream.  It is a lightweight formula that soaks in fairly easily.  I keep it at work to use during the day.  

I hope you found some of this information useful and that I have inspired you to try some of these products for your cuticle care routine.  What are your favorite moisturizing products?  How do you care for your cutes? 

xoxo Danele

Manicure Basics Mini Series

For the next 3 weeks, I will be doing a mini series of blog posts regarding the basics of the simple manicure.  I'll show you my favorite moisturizers and what I do for cuticle care.  I'll show you my favorite nail care/manicure tools, and I'll show you my favorite top and base coats for the perfect mani.

I know this has been done a hundred times over by all the other nail bloggers, but everyone has different likes, favorite products, and methods.  I hope you will gain some knowledge from my posts and perhaps even find a new product that works better for you!

The first post on cuticle care will be live tomorrow morning!

xoxo Danele

OPI Brazil: AmazON....AmazOFF Swatch & Review

How gorgeous is this color?!  It is a deep teal color leaning more on the green side on me. It is super pigmented.  Application was very smooth, it practically applied itself!  I love love love this color!  Swatch is 2 coats, no top coat. 

Artificial Light

Artificial Light

A slight warning: this polish does stain.  My nails were green upon removal.  I have also heard a few horror stories from other girls who experienced staining.  However, I have also heard some people say they experienced zero staining.  When I removed this polish, I had to use the foil method due to a glitter I was wearing on top of it.  Perhaps this was part of the reason it stained my nails so bad.  On the bright side, I was able to easily remove the staining with a toothbrush and my Colgate Optic White toothpaste.  

Overall - this polish is amazing.  I'm so glad I have added it to my collection!  What polishes did you get from the Brazil collection? 

Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo Danele

Essie Spring & Resort 2014: My Picks, swatches, and comparisons

Essie is one of my favorite polish brands.  The square bottles. The white caps.  The name beveled into the bottle (is that the right word??).  I just love Essie.  While not all Essies are perfect, I have had really good luck with the ones I have purchased thus far.

I added three more to my growing Essie collection.  2 are from the Spring 2014 collection and one is from the Resort 2014 collection.  I may go back for a couple more from resort.  They really are gorgeous colors!   I have heard a few complaints that several of these are dupes or too similar to previously released colors.  I thought this was the case too, maybe even for some already in my collection.

Here are my picks, swatches, and comparisons.

Resort Fling

Essie describes Resort Fling as an "alluring coral peach" which I would agree.  Its both alluring, and its both coral and peach in color (depending on your definition of coral and peach).  It has a jelly like texture and application but dries as a creme.   The application was very smooth, it practically applied itself.  Swatch is 3 coats, no top coat. 

I must admit, when I first saw the promo pic for this collection, I thought this shade looked too similar to Tart Deco or Haute as Hello.  Funny enough, if you go on the Essie website and click on "Colors" Resort Fling is located between Tart Deco and Haute as Hello.  So let's say they are cousins.  I don't own Haute as Hello, so I cannot say how Resort Fling compares with that shade.  But here is my comparison of Resort Fling with Tart Deco. 

These two shades are completely different to my eyes.  They have different tones and different finishes.  Resort Fling is more of a crelly (creme-jelly) while Tart Deco is a true creme.  Resort Fling is more of an orangey-peach color while Tart Deco is more of a peachy-pink.  The above photo has no top coat, but I know for a fact my Tart Deco changes colors with top coat and becomes more orange.  Maybe I'll revisit this and see how close they look after top coat.  

Dupes: Not even close!

Fashion Playground

I would describe Fashion Playground as a mint green with glass fleck shimmer.  The shimmer is one of the main reasons I bought this polish....along with my love of minty shades.   The texture was similar to that of Resort Fling, but less smooth.  It has a crelly like texture leaning more on the creme side.  Swatch is 3 coats, no top coat. 

I bet you thought this looked really similar to Mint Candy Apple.  I totally did too!  But I knew it was different enough to justify my purchase.  Upon comparing them, I was right.

Again, the difference can be seen in the formula and the color.  Fashion Playground is a crelly with shimmer while Mint Candy Apple is a true creme.  Fashion Playground leans more on the green side of mint, while Mint Candy Apple leans more blue.  Mint Candy Apple is one of my very favorite Essies of all time.  Fashion Playground is giving MCA a run for its money.  

Dupes: No way!!!

Hide & Go Chic

I would describe Hide & Go Chic as a dusty primary blue.  It looks way more vibrant in my pictures that it does in real life.  It is a very pretty shade, unlike anything I have in my collection.  Again, the formula was very smooth and easy to apply.  I reached full opacity in 2 coats.  Swatches without top coat. 

Artificial Light

Natural Light, shaded.  Trying to capture the true color.  

Overall, I love my picks from these 2 collections.  My favorite from the 3 is Resort Fling, but I really do love them all.  Great colors, great finishes, awesome application.  I'm really impressed.  I think I need to check out a few more from these collections. 

What do you think of these collections? Which shades did you get? 

Thanks for stopping by <3
xoxo Danele

China Glaze City Flourish Collection: My Picks & Swatches

This winter has been miserable.  I live in South Carolina and while it does get cold here, I haven't ever seen it THIS cold.  We've had 2 ice storms in the past month.  I'm so OVER it.  When I first saw a promo pic of the China Glaze City Flourish collection for Spring 2014, I was so excited for some bright  springy colors.  I don't own a lot of pinks or spring-like colors, so I was glad to see some really pretty pinks.

Before this collection was even released in stores, I knew I HAD to have Peonies & Park Ave.  It's a super bright pink that almost exactly matches the Peonies I used in my bridal bouquet almost a year ago.  During my trip to Ulta last weekend, I was happy to see this collection had been released!  I picked up Peonies & Park Ave, along with Don't Honk Your Thorn.  Here are my swatches and review.

Peonies & Park Ave.

Peonies & Park Ave. is a super bright neon pink.  I wasn't expecting this color to be this bright based off of the promo pic, but I actually really love it.  It dries matte, as most neons do.  It has a pretty smooth application.  Swatch is 2 coats plus top coat. 

Artificial Light

Artificial Light

Don't Honk Your Thorn

Don't Honk Your Thorn is a nude creme-like polish with a very subtle shimmer.  The shimmer gives it a glowy-ness that makes it very unique.  I have several nudes and my husband asked me how this polish is any different from any of those (isn't he so cute :P) I told him it has a shimmer unlike my other nudes, and I actually like this one better than the ones I own!  The application was fairly smooth, it easily leveled out with 2 coats and a top coat.  I apologize for the peelies and dry cuticles.  Winter has been cruel to my hands. 

Artificial Light

Artificial Light

Oh yeah, how could I forget to show you how Peonies & Park Ave matched my wedding flowers!

Ignore my goofy face.  And I think that picture has a filter on it from IG.  But they are very very close in color! Seriously!

There are a few other polishes from this collection that I am interested in, but I'm putting my self on a no-buy for now.  Maybe I'll order a few more next month :)  What do you think of this collection?  What polishes are you loving?

Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo, Danele

OPI Push & Shove Swatch and Review

I wasn't going to purchase this polish.  I thought it was trendy and that I wouldn't really wear it that much.  But I kept seeing swatches of it on Instagram and it kept calling to me.  Yes, it was calling my name.  "Buy meeeee"  "You know you want meeeee"  …..is this creepy yet?

Alas, I was at Ulta last weekend and picked this one up.  I thought I would regret it if I didn't add it to my collection.  I was right.

I applied the base coat that comes with Push & Shove.  It's called Lay Down That Base.  Then I applied 2 coats of Push & Shove.  No top coat needed.

Artificial Light

Artificial Light

Natural Light

See how shiny it is?  It's very reflective in person.  It was hard to capture the reflectiveness through photograph.  I'm not going to say you need this.  But you NEED this.  Really.  

Til next time,