Monday, November 30, 2009

NotD - Purple Coil

After my über-cute Spongebob manicure I really needed something darker and this layering job definitely works. It's another one on those hard to mess up  freehand manicures in six easy steps.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tagged! 15 blogs I frequently read

The lovely gildedangel tagged me for this award! *blushes*

The rules:
Accept the award by posting this pic and linking to the person who tagged you.
Post your own list of 15 blogs you love and read frequently.

Blogs I love in no particular order:

By the way, I'd love you to recommend blogs that you think should be on my blog roll!

NotD - Spongebob, Patrick and Squidward

After approximately 18 hours of watching Spongebob Squarepants I started painting my nails Spongebob style. Annoyingly, my top coat smudged my already less than thrilling Squidward nail art. We are not amused.
Here's what my nails look like (pre-clean-up, sorry):

Friday, November 27, 2009

NotD - Seirios en Kosmoi

I'm wearing Eyeko again! Today I chose Cosmic Polish for space age nails, which is so awesome I only added some star-shaped foil thingies and rhinestones. Cosmic applies very well, unsurprisingly the first coat is streaky, but two coats are quite opaque and even, three are perfect. So far all new Eyeko polishes are fairly runny; they don't level out as nicely as China Glaze, for example, but with a decent top coat that's not a problem.
Cosmic Polish is black with multicoloured microglitter. Absolutely gorgeous! If you like sparkly dark polishes, you need this one. I think it's similar to China Glaze Cosmic (which I don't have), but the glitter is denser and not as fine.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nail Quickie - Gone Dottin'

I'm still in my new-Eyeko phase, so here's a bit of dotty nail art with Eyeko Nude Polish and a few nail art pens.
First I applied three coats of Eyeko Nude over my usual base coats, it's a bit sheer, so that was needed to get an even finish and good opacity. The colour is very a nice pinky-beige with a hint of peach. Not one of my favourite colours, I much prefer bold bright or dark polishes, but good for a subtle nail. Nude applies well, it's a bit runny, but doesn't pool near the cuticles.
Then I added dots with my Two-Way Nail Art Pens (purple, red and blue) in a diamond pattern to add a bit of colour to an otherwise bland base.
A bit of Seche Vite and it's finished!

After the first three nails my blue nail art pen clogged up, so some dots are not as neat.
What colours would you choose to make a nude nail more interesting?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NotD - Midnight Lavender

I was thrilled to get my latest Eyeko order yesterday, including five new polishes (annoyingly, the green Vintage polish was not included in the set I ordered). After a bit of cardboard-swatching I decided to do a simple two-coloured nail with Lilac Polish and Indigo Polish, which I really like next to each other.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NotD - Elemental, Dear Mendeleev

Tonight's Nail of the Day is dedicated to my favourite subject back in high school, Chemistry. For a brief time I even considered taking Chem at Uni... I wouldn't have needed to cheat then, but I'm pretty rusty by now, so I used this periodic table of elements. If I ever get airbrushing supplies I will find out how to make my own stencils and do a proper PTE, with valence electrons and electronegativity and so on. (Geek Alert!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shades of Yellow

Today I have all my yellow polishes for you, all four of them... Yes, I know that's not much, but I never even considered yellow as an acceptable nail colour until this summer. I bought my first one on sale and fell in love.
In case you're wondering, I'm uploading all my polish swatches to Flickr, the NotD pictures to Picasa. For some reason that made sense at some point.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NotD - What is the Matrix?

Whenever I start preparing my nails for a fresh manicure I spend quite a long time trying to think of a theme or design. I have finally started a list, so I'll hopefully remember to jot down ideas as inspiration strikes. Now I just have to develop my fine motor skills to actually pull my ideas off.
Today I attempted to do some freehand nail art inspired by a movie I've loved ever since it came out a decade ago, The Matrix.

NotD - Pearls on Teal

Yesterday's manicure of essence Meet You in Budapest turned out to be more stable than Flowerfields, so I decided to add a bit of nail art. I'm still busy trying out my bunch of new nail art pens, so expect more of those in the near future.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Swatches - essence Secrets of the Past

I picked up some cosmetic-y stuff at dm a few days ago, amongst them two polishes from the Secrets of the Past collection by essence. There were two more colours, but not very exciting ones. The two I picked are 02 Meet You In Budapest and 04 Flowerfields.

Have you seen this Giveaway?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Swatch - Barielle Decadence

According to the Barielle site Decadence is 'turquoise metallic.' I'd rather call it teal, it can be very close to green depending on the lighting.
Barielle Decadence applies fairly well; it's a bit thicker than I prefer, but with the right amount of polish spreads well. The opacity is very nice, I applied two coats can barely see the tip.

Nails vs. Cleaning

Today was flat-cleaning day chez Cucumpear. I have found out over the last half year, since I started letting my nails grow, that if I'm prepared I need not fear those days of scrubbing.
For years I was convinced that nothing could make my nails grow without constant tearing. I filed them, buffed them, occasionally applied nail hardener and ignored them. I had no idea that my nail hardener contained formaldehyde and that long phases of completely bare nails could be responsible for the tearing and peeling.
Then I discovered a polish blog, then another, and I learned how to take care of my nails properly. They still tear. The nail of my right thumb peels regularly. But I actually have long nails, relatively speaking, and I love them. So I try to protect them when I have to wash my hands a lot or use cleaning products. I found that I couldn't use gloves, they just feel wrong.
What I do is quite simple and not something that needs extra effort: nail art. Or rather double topcoat. If I seal the polish pre-art and then once more post-art, my nails will be strong and easily survive the scrubbing. I also coat as much of the underside of the free tip as possible with my nail treatment du jour. This works very well for me.
Of course my cuticles need some attention after cleaning, but a bit of hand cream and 15 minutes of nail oil fix them right up. I'm lucky to have pretty good skin on my hands.
What do you do to protect your nails during cleaning?

Friday, November 13, 2009

NotD Autumn Swirl

For once I'm doing something that actually matches the season. I originally tried something more complex, but my freehand skills still suck, so I'll try it again in a couple of weeks.
But for now I have a Nail of the Day that's based on a polish I mixed a few months ago. I don't have a 'recipe' for this one, I just poured together various shades of orange and bronze and a bit of pink. The result was a very pleasant shimmery peachy orange.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NotD - Where's My Slytherin

I've been loving ORLY recently, haven't I? Today I felt like green and decided to go for ORLY Mint Mojito. It's a lovely green that's very hard to capture, every picture you find will be different! At first I didn't know what I might use to embellish today's manicure, so I just started with the basic application.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Almost Forgotten Rimmel Products

Today's post is dedicated to three products by Rimmel that I purchased years ago and rediscovered recently. I'm sure many of us have a few items hidden in their make-up bags or some drawer that they love but forgot about. It happens. And when rediscovery occurs it can make us happier than buying something new. This is such a story.

Monday, November 9, 2009

NotD NYX Jungle

To my eternal shame I have to admit that I've had NYX's polish in Jungle for some time and this is the first time I've used it. Huge mistake, this colour has blown my mind and it is now one of my favourite polishes! Though I own very few colours that I don't love, thanks to the swatches all the lovely bloggers seduce me with.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NotD - Almost Basic French Manicure

When I was a teenager I bought a French Manicure kit. I tried and tried to get it right, but the guides would either take off the base coat, leave behind a sticky residue or just fall off. In the rare case that they stuck where they should, some of the white polish would get peeled off with them. I still have several sheets of guides, but I doubt that I'll ever use them again.
Then I bought the French Tip Konad set, this worked much better, but I still had problems with the proper alignment when stamping. Maybe a transparent stamper would help.
So when I decided to try and do a basic French Manicure today I grabbed a white nail striper and went freehand.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NotD - Green Lace

After last night's total failure at water marbling I decided to do something completely different.The look I was aiming for was a sheer base mostly covered with lace-edged fabric and one nail with corset-type lacing. This would probably have been easier with the right Konad image plates (which I don't have).
I thought I'd give a step-by-step tutorial a try. It would have been better to chose contrasting colours rather than a tonal colour scheme, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

The lovely Mighty Lambchop tagged me for the Kreativ Blogger Award! You can't believe how much I'm blushing right now.
Apparently I'm supposed to tell you seven things you didn't know about me and tag some bloggers (technically seven, but everyone's done that already).

  1. The only one I've told about this blog in RL is my best friend. Mostly because I was afraid I'd do a couple of posts and then stop.
  2. I'm fluent in German and English, but I've also learned (with varying success) Latin, French, Russian, Ancient Greek and Etruscan (well, I can read and translate Etruscan inscriptions...).
  3. Like many other beauty bloggers I have cats, two girls, whom I share with my flatmate/sister. I sometimes have hamsters or mice, too.
  4. I used to sing in choirs and I love being a contralto!
  5. While I enjoy having pretty nails and perfect make-up, I can't do anything with my hair. I usually just twist and clamp or do a messy ponytail. I can't bear having product in my hair.
  6. I love to knit and am able to produce uneven yarn with a drop-spindle.
  7. My kitchen contains mostly ingredients, no frozen food that I haven't cooked myself. I just enjoy cooking and baking.
I'm tagging the most deserving Nora - Nail of the Week and Melissa - Daily Nail

Review - Spooky Nail Art Pens

After a long phase of fearing freehand nail art I recently decided to get some nail art pens. Bright as I am, I bought the four Spooky Nail Art Pens I'm reviewing today on impulse instead of waiting a bit and buying a bunch for less money on ebay.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ORLY Hot Shots - Recap and Swatches

As I finished the separate reviews of the four polishes making up the ORLY mani minis set Hot Shots earlier, I have decided to do a quick recap and also to show you some swatches of the polishes over a white base and mattified.

The pretty box (all photos with flash):

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NotD - ORLY Blue Collar

I had hoped to wear my KoL-manicure for at least a couple of days, but a torn nail destroyed that plan So here is the last ORLY Hot Shots polish, Blue Collar. It's not a true neon, but a rather pretty bright blue, almost turquoise cream.

Monday, November 2, 2009

NotD ORLY Hottie KoLified

As I promised last night (or earlier today) I added some Kingdom of Loathing nail art to my ORLY Hottie manicure with my black Spooky Nails liner/pen. And they turned out fairly well, I think.
The following designs (pinkie - thumb) were taken from the KoL wiki:

with flash:

I'm loving this so much! How about you?

NotD - ORLY Hottie

Today I have a review of the third ORLY Hot Shots polish, Hottie for you. It's a pink neon and so, so beautiful. I have a hot pink habit that is only rivalled by my green polish addiction. I have tried many bright pinks, but none come close to Hottie in vibrancy. I was immediately reminded of my much-worn Kingdom of Loathing Disco Bandit shirt (sadly no longer available). I will try copying the design later.
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