Sunday, June 24, 2012

NOTD: Flakies!

Lab Muffin recently did an excellent article breaking down why flakies look a lot better over dark colors.  I did a darker manicure yesterday, and felt the need to jazz it up to make it a little less fall-like, so I threw some flakies over Zoya's Valerie and Edyta, and came up with this gorgeous manicure!
Flakies add so much depth to a plain manicure, I just LOVE them!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

4th of July giveaway!

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday.  It's so wonderfully low-key; go to a parade, eat a hot dog, watch some fireworks, wave a flag, go to bed.  It's easy, it's fun and it celebrates something I really like (I really do like America).

I can't spend this 4th of July with my family in my hometown, as it falls on a Wednesday and it's just not practical to fly 800 miles one way for a single day.  My hometown has an annual parade where half the city is in the parade, and half is watching.  Then we'd have a barbecue with whoever is around for the day, and watch the city's fireworks display.  You can actually see the fireworks from my bedroom window.

I'm sad I can't be there, but I'll have fun in my new town, going to a festival and seeing some fireworks here. It's time to start some new 4th of July traditions!

To celebrate further, and to share my total love for the 4th of July, I'm giving away 3 nail polishes to one winner!  Julep's Molly is the red,Maybelline's Colorshow in Porcelain Party is the white, and FingerPaints Electro-Midnight is the blue (and it's magnetic!).  Simply fill out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter; this giveaway will end on June 26th, and the winner will have 24 hours to e-mail me their address.  If they don't contact me in the allotted time, I'll pick a different winner.  U.S. only for now, sorry! Good luck!
4th of July giveaway!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nail of the Day: OPI DS Extravagance

I love this polish.

DS Extravagance is fairly pretty indoors, a dark purplish garnet color with a little bit of shimmer.  I was actually a little disappointed with it at first, since I put it on in the evening and could only see it by lamplight, where it was a rich, deep color, but totally not summery.

But this morning, when I saw it in the sun? Holy moly!  Just stunning!  Scattered holographic shimmer! Raspberry color!  I'm in love!

Not only that, but this is a single, solitary coat.  It took me 5 minutes to paint my nails, and they were dry in no time with my Out the Door topcoat.  Can't beat that!

I'm hoping to put a gradient over this later, so I'll make sure to post pictures once it's done.

Julep June Mystery Box!

I love the Julep mystery boxes; every once in a while (usually around a holiday, or just for fun), Julep offers a box for $19.99 (they provide a link to the box and a code to make sure it is discounted to $19.99) that has between $60 and $200 worth of product.  You don't know what you'll get, but I have yet to be disappointed!

I have bought 4 mystery boxes including this one, but the first three were smaller boxes.  I still loved the colors, and the boxes prompted me to sign up for the Julep Maven program because I liked them so much, but this month I got the big box!!

I got the Pedi Creme (I have never had such soft feet, I swear!), their basecoat, fast dry topcoat, Alyson (a camel colored creme), Amy (a turqoise blue), Sienna (a white-gold that is STUNNING), and Megan (mermaid blue!).

I also got their plumping lip gloss in Arousal (terrible name, nice product, but you definitely feel the burn from the plumper!), the Julep Reveal nail serum, and a pomegranate body creme and scrub.  Not too shabby for $19.99, huh?

You can get the monthly Julep box for just $0.01 by using the code MAVENINTRO when you sign up at!

Disclaimer: the links in this post are referral links for my account with

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ruffle manicure!

I found a tutorial at Chalkboard Nails on how to create a ruffle manicure, and it looked so appealing that I couldn't wait to try it out.  I used a sewing pin with a large plastic head to make the dots, and while I wish I had put one more row near my cuticle, I'm pretty pleased with the result!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Field Test #1: Milani Digital

Why am I showing you a manicure with a chip in it and dry cuticles? Because I just spent the day stripping wire, wiring sensors, attaching the sensors to experimental trees, and generally crawling around on my hands and knees in the dirt endangering my nails.

I got a new job recently that involves a lot of fieldwork, and I figured it'd be a great opportunity to test out the durability of polishes!  Milani held up really well; that chip on my thumb was in a spot I dented last night after I painted my nails, so field work can't be held entirely responsible.  I used the Julep basecoat and Out the Door topcoat, with 2 coats of Digital between.

I think the Milani 3D line is highly underrated; a beautiful scattered holo polish with a fast dry time and only 2 coats to hide a visible nail line.  I just love them!  Here's a manicure with three other 3D polishes, Hi-tech, Cyberspace and Hi-Res:

I'll be field testing (literally!) different polishes this summer, so stay tuned for durability testing galore!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Jazzing up a manicure with stamping!

Yesterday's manicure was plenty of fun, but I thought it could use a little jazzing up.  I created a Dusk/Dawn look with Salon Express plates SE20 and SE21, putting little setting/rising suns and stars on my nails!  I'm really pleased with how this turned out, I've definitely gotten way better at stamping.  I'll do a full stamping tutorial post someday, but you'll just have to enjoy this pic for today!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Julep Maven June Box and Gradient Manicure!

What's a Julep Maven?  I am!

Morgan, Sandra and Sasha
Julep is a salon on the West Coast that has started selling their own line of nail polish.  They decided a good way to gain a national audience was to set up a monthly subscription service where you pay a flat fee and get nail polish delivered right to your door!  Enabling? Yes.  Fun? DEFINITELY.

 Above is the June It Girl box; I got 3 polishes, a bonus SPF 15 chapstick, and two pixi stix!  I also got a voucher for a free polish, since this is my first monthly box (you start getting the monthly boxes after you get your intro box).  The freebies for newbies seem to change around (a makeup bag was the last one), so if you sign on, you may get a different one!  I paid $19.99 for this box; that's the typical monthly fee, and you get at least $40.00 of product; some styles get 3 polishes, some get 2 polishes and a spa product like lotion, sugar scrubs or cuticle oil.

I did a sponged gradient manicure with Morgan and Sandra, and I love the look!  It reminds me of Lisa Frank folders, and is pretty simple to do.  Zoya has a great tutorial on how to get the look.  I have plenty of pinks in my collection, but I definitely don't have any purples like Morgan!

How do you become a Julep Maven?  Go here: and take the style quiz to see what style you are.  You can use the code PENNY or COLORS4ONE to get your first box for $0.01! (taxes may apply for your state)  Monthly boxes cost $19.99 regularly, and you're able to decide to skip or cancel your subscription before the 24th of each month if you sign on.  

When you sign up for Julep Maven, you take a style quiz to see what your personal style is, and you'll be assigned that style for your monthly subscriptions.  My personal style turned out to be Classic With a Twist, but the great thing about Julep is, you aren't locked in to your style.  I liked the It Girl colors better this month, so I just logged in and chose that style for this month!  You can also skip a month, if finances are tight or you just aren't feeling the colors.  It's a pretty great program, flexible and convenient.

Disclaimer: All products in this review were purchased by me.  The Julep link is a referral to the Julep Maven program provided to my by