Stocked Up on T.I.P.S.

For the last year my nail situation has been dire. I have been pick, pick, picking at them and the cuticles so much that I am embarrassed to show my fingers in public let alone online in a photo. Nope, not showing you. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Last week I decided to restock my T.I.P.S nail conditioning product because I have been out for some time and have been putting it off waiting for a deal. I bought three bottles and two brushes. I ordered on the weekend and they arrived the following Tuesday. I was very excited when the box arrived.

I opened up a bottle and put it in the bathroom and then I opened up another bottle and put it in the livingroom next to my “TV chair”. So far I am feeling good about getting in at least one to two treatments a day. Either in the morning or at night during my wash up routine or when I am watching something on the tube.

I still have a long way to go but from past experience I am confident in the product that I will be taking pictures soon.

Bingo Pattern Nail Art Ideas

There are many steps in a woman’s beauty regimen, involving toners, creams, lotions and a whole bunch of other products to keep our hands, face, hair and the rest of our body in the best condition possible. A study posted on Women’s Health reveals that we spend about 55 minutes a day working on our face and hair alone, which does not even compare to the amount of time we spend on our manicures! Though some of us do not notice the time that goes into our nails since we end up turning our trip to the salon into a social gathering.

While it is nice to be waited on hand and foot (literally!), doing your own manicure is equally, if not, more satisfying, especially for those of us who have an artsy side. Having a home nail spa allows you to take creative liberties with your designs, letting you experiment with different colors, patterns and even textiles.

Over the years, we have seen some eccentric designs, including cable knit nails showcased on Mashable, but one pattern that many people have started to take an interest in are those that are bingo inspired.

For a while, bingo was nothing more than just a way to entertain people, but as the growth of online bingo communities flourished, fashion and beauty experts saw the positive influence the game could have on their respective industries. Other than Beauty Bingo events that rewarded attendees with an amazing salon and bingo experience combined, gaming operators often use make-up and shopping giveaways to increase gameplay as well as offer titles such as Make Over Magic on Iceland Bingo to solidify the strong connection between bingo and beauty.

Not sure where to start with your bingo nail look? First things first. Traditional bingo balls have five colors: yellow, green, red, blue, and white. There are a total of 75 numbers to choose from. The numbers are divided up as follows: B 1 to 15, I 16 to 30, N 31 to 45, G 46 to 60, and O 61 to 75. You can pick a number from each letter and put a different color on each nail or you can pick your favorite colors and limit yourself to two or three colors.

Traditional bingo balls have the following layer. Bright color, white circle, followed by a small letter above a larger number. Nothing says you have to follow this format. Go where your creativity leads you, or the size of your nail bed and length of your nails. Here is a basic layout to get your started:

Traditional bingo nail art using base colors and numbers on each finger spelling out the word.

If you don’t like the starkness of the surrounding colors you can add little white dots to break it up.

Bingo Nail Art patterns do require small paintbrushes and steady hands but do not let that keep you from trying. At the very least a dotting tool can be used to make the white circle then use a Sharpie to write in your letter and number. Or you can paint your nails one color and practice your favorite number on your thumb (like O clickety click — true bingo-aholics will know what that is). If these still appear too difficult for you to execute, you can always bring a picture with you the next time you have got an appointment with your nail esthetician.

A Fresh Start to a New Year

I wouldn’t really say this is a New Year resolution, more like a recurring challenge that I win and lose year after year on a month by month basis. The last few months I have been going through another bout of nail and cuticle picking. If you are not familiar, it is the equivalent to biting your nails without the biting; basically I pick them into oblivion, where my finger tips are so sore I need Tylenol to sleep at night because of the throbbing.

It’s a horrible habit. One I’ve managed to break many times over the years. Most of my success is brought on by forcing myself to wear nail polish regardless of how extremely short my nails are. Whatever works.

The last few weeks I’ve been working on diligently nourishing my cuticles as well as clipping and filing any tags so I would not be tempted to pick at them. I failed a lot. It is still a weird struggle. Things were looking so bleak I just did not want to post. But today I decided my nails and cuticles, although still in rough shape, were presentable enough for a new polish post — and because the reality of life is that we don’t always have perfect nails and cuticles all the time.

If you are sensitive to bad nails/cuticles… leave this page now! I know right? I have to post a disclaimer for bad cuticles because of a few birds who freak out over images of bad cuticles. What’s the world coming to?

This is my first time using Cult Nails lacquer. This deep berry nail polish is called Iconic and has a little sparkle and gold shimmer. This is two coats of Iconic with a base coat and no top coat.

Wearing Cult Nails for the first time in Iconic.

And this is it with a top coat. It is a nice formula that dried fast enough but not too fast that I couldn’t manipulate it.

Iconic by Cult Nails -- a deep berry red with gold shimmer.

The official Cult Nails closed down (according to their Facebook page) but this color and a few other colors are still available from Nail Polish Canada (ships to Canada and U.S.). If you know of someone else carrying leftovers please post in comments.

Topic Links
* Get your Cult Nails polish from Nail Polish Canada

Cancelled My Julep Maven

This passed weekend, after using up all my Julep points I decided to cancel my Julep account. Over the last year and a bit I’ve enjoyed the customer service and the product but I am just tired of being locked in. Even with the option to skip a month, sometimes I would not be on computer for days at time, it was just not making me happy.

My last Julep order with all my Maven points used up.

I have a lot of their nail polish and will continue to share my favorite colors that I haven’t shared already, and there are a lot! It just felt like it was time to move on. There are so many brands out there to try.

Now if a nail polish beauty box came out with a selection from across the board, I’d snap that one up. I’m fickle with my polish like I am with my beauty products which is why I like beauty boxes so much.

Anyway, I called on Saturday, because you have to call to cancel your account (this is incredibly irritating by the way). I was expecting a hard “Don’t Leave” sales pitch but the woman I talked too was polite, took my email, confirmed my name and said I would get an email in a few minutes confirming. Cool. As of Monday afternoon I still hadn’t received my email so I gave them a quick call a few minutes ago and another nice woman confirmed that indeed my cancelation was in the system but the confirmation emails go out in batches and I would probably get one later tonight. If I had a problem I should call back but I needn’t worry.

Overall, I have had a great experience with Julep, I have gifted it to people I love on numerous occasions, and if ever I had a problem they were quick to fix and provide me with a token of appreciation for the trouble. Even though I am leaving, I would totally recommend them if you are a fan of nail polish or want to build up your color collection quickly.

Topic Links
* Visit Julep and find out about their Maven program (no, it is not an affiliate link).

Groove is in the Heart Pink

Groove is in the Heart is a “flamingo” pink “crème” nail polish from Deborah Lippmann. I would describe this lovely bright polish more as a peachy pink that doesn’t bring to mind flamingos, real or plastic. And while it is called a crème, I felt it was too sheer. I needed to put on three coats as it was a bit thin and streaky. It probably could use one more coat actually (I haven’t added a top coat yet so this is its natural shine).

I'm wearing three coats of Groove is in the Heart nail polish with no top coat.

This was a bottle I received in one of my Top Box’s (I actually have two and thought it was about time I tried it — I’ll have to give the extra to my friend Lana!). It is definitely a comfortable color to wear, bright, but not too flashy. And after a few days it seems to be holding up well.

I did a quick search online and could only find it still available at Sweet Potato Boutique for $19.

Blowfish Hot Pink Nail Polish

One of the first things I check when I get a new polish is the name of the color. If it turns out to be just a number I’m like, “Meh!” and may lose a little excitement but if there is a cute or witty name I am somehow a little more psyched to try it. Such was the case with LASplash’s Blowfish Hot Pink. I’ve never seen a hot pink blowfish but the image is amusing. The color turned out much bright and dare I say neon than I expected.

I was in the mood for hot pink nail polish and LASplash definitely fit the bill with their Blowfish Hot Pink.

I also found the formula very thick and hard to control. After two coats I had to use the top coat to fill in the unevenness I was left with. Great color though.

This is my first experience with LASplash. This hot pink nail polish came in my LASplash Top Box with two other colors (I haven’t had a chance to try them yet). Have you tried LASplash nail polish? What do you think of the hot pink color?

[Yes, my cuticles look like that. I have been working my way back from a year of ignoring them. They are actually in good shape considering what they’ve been through.]

Topic Links
* Visit LASplash’s online boutique

Belvada Nail Polish Remover Pads

I was really excited to receive Belvada Nail Polish Remover Pads in one of my Top Box subscription beauty boxes. It was a purse size sampler with 28 pads, lemon scented, and acetone free. The ingredients are listed as: propylene carbonate, parfum, propylene glycol.

The sample container of my Belvada Nail Polish Remover Pads comes in a nice compact twist container.

The saturated pads are quite thin which I find awkward to work with — I usually use a cotton pad that has some thickness to it. The smell reminds me of citronella candles which is neither good nor bad during the removal process, definitely an improvement on standard nail polish remover scents, but it lingers afterwards.

The thin nail polish remover pads from Belvada.

Does it remove my nail polish? Yes. But if I am not careful it ends up transferring a nail polish stain to my skin around the nails — then I have to use a clean pad to clean that up. I find these pads very messy because the whole pad is saturated (even with it being thin there is a lot of solution). These are impossible to use if you just want to touch up one nail because they are so messy. I also thought I would be able to use one pad for all my nails, not the case. Depending on my nail polish and number of coats it was more like three or four. It does remove polish with glitter and I didn’t find it any harder or easier than regular remover in that sense.

I thought this would be a great travel pack but I definitely need to wash my hands after using them because my fingers feel sticky and to get rid of the lingering scent.

I haven’t been able to find these pads anywhere so I’m guessing it was an experiment gone wrong but if you come across them, unless they are free, I wouldn’t bother.

Topic Links
* Belvada Cosmetics

Models Own Valerian

I picked up my first bottle of Models Own nail polish from Nail Polish Canada a few months ago. It’s very dark in the bottle and has a nice multicolour small glitter throughout. Keeping with my blue feeling theme it seemed like the perfect time to try it out. Models Own is a UK brand and sells for about $9.50 here.

Surprise! My nails are short again. I had a lot of sanding to do (refinishing kitchen cupboards) and it was too awkward with the length my nails were getting so I chopped them off to a working size that didn’t get caught up on the sandpaper (ouch!).

The color is called Valerian (NP178). It comes in a stocky bottle with velour-ish cap (part of the Velvet Goth Collection). Surprisingly I didn’t mind the wide cap while applying the polish.

My nails with Models Own Valerian blue glitter nail polish.

It dries to matte finish. After two coats I really wasn’t too sure about it. The formula was a bit finicky to apply.

My nails with three coats of Valerian nail polish.

I decided to put a third coat on and by the time I finished with my top coat my opinion of it improved as well as the unevenness.

Three coats and a top coat.

By the next day color and hint of sparkle had grown on me and made me quite happy when I looked it. As the day went on more sanding ensued. I was shocked only to have a small chip on my middle finger which was easily fixed. I thought for sure they would have all chipped — I’m brutal with the sandpaper.

I wasn’t turned off by the finickiness of this formula so I will probably try another bottle from this brand; probably without glitter to get a feel for it. Have you tried it?

Jet Set Blue Nail Polish

Continuing with the blue theme, here is L’Oreal’s Jet Set to Paris (540). I love, love this shade of blue. The first coat turned out sheerer than I expected and is horrible looking on its own — ok maybe not “horrible” but I’m not a fan of sheer blue. As you can see it is a just a wee bit streaky too but otherwise the formula goes on nice.

One coat of L'Oreal's Jet Set to Paris blue nail polish.

But two coats definitely makes this nail polish beautiful. I love the deep bright tone of this color.

Two coats of Jet Set to Paris on my nails.

Love the color, love the shine — it’s not a full on gloss shine (doesn’t matter because I put a top coat on anyway). It lasted my usual four days before it was time for me to move on to something else.

Here’s one more picture in day light.

My nails with two coats of Jet Set to Paris and a top coat.

What do you think of the color?

Bundle Monster Halloween Nail Stamp Plate

Nail Polish Canada (NPC) sent me a Bundle Monster Halloween nail stamp to try. This is my first experience with actual nail stamping. I bought a mini kit a while ago but haven’t gotten the chance to test it out. Since NPC only sent the plate I used the stamper and scraper from my other kit.

A bundle monster nail stamp plate.

I have to say. The whole process took me longer than I thought it would and the results were very poor.

Nail Stamp Attempt #1 — My excitement was pretty high. I decided to play with a few colors (they just happen to all be Julep) to see what kind of results I would get. I thought black, white, and fiona green were pretty much Halloween standards.

My first attempt with nail art stamping I used black, white, and green colors.

First up was measuring the designs with my fingers which surprisingly had a limited fit.

My forefinger against the nail plate images for sizing.

As was my thumb. I never really considered my fingers especially small but according to the designs on this plate… my fingers are dainty.

My thumb beside nail plate for size measuring.

As you can see, my first attempt was less than stellar other than the forefinger design (no idea what it is — bloody eyeball??). Part of the three pumpkins worked but it was too wide for my fingers. Overall, I think I prefer the black on white designs. The white on black would have been nice but I didn’t have enough polish (and it doesn’t fit my thumb).

The final results of my first attempt at nail stamping.

Nail Stamp Attempt #2 — With this attempt I stayed with the white and black.

My color choices for my second attempt.

Again, unless it is a bright thick white, it doesn’t show up on black. I tried a bright orange and a bright red. The bright red however looks awesome on the white — again the same stamp worked.

My second attempt at nail stamping.

Nail Stamp Attempt #3 — With this attempt I kept the black and white and swapped in the bright red for a base color. My work space was starting to get messy at this point and the novelty was wearing off a bit.

My third attempt at nail stamping with red, black and white.

The results were a little better. The red definitely looks nice on white (not surprised) and white on black is interesting too. Black on red didn’t work as well as I thought it would.

The results of my 3rd attempt.

Nail Stamp Attempt #4 — Finally I decided to do away with color as a base and went to white. And red for stamping. I was so tired at this point I didn’t care and pretty much gave up. Nothing was really salvageable from this attempt.

My fourth attempt at using the nail stamp plate.

As you can see from my above attempts, color and formula play a huge role in whether the stamper will work. Dark on light definitely works best; like with all nail art (but I thought I would try anyway). And definitely the slower the formula is to dry the better. But my biggest disappointment was the size of the designs.

It’s best to have plenty of cotton pads and nail polisher remover on hand and to work on a couple layers of paper towel as things get messy when it comes time to do some scraping.

My nail stamp and scraper.

After the fourth attempt I gave up for the night and even though I don’t feel I had any real success I want to try again with smaller designs and a better color plan in mind. With all the other nail arts I’ve tried I have practiced on fake nails beforehand but for some reason I thought this would be a piece a cake and didn’t bother. There is definitely some skill involved in the rolling of the stamper (and how the excess polish is scraped off) that I didn’t anticipate but like with all nail art I think it is something that can be easily developed with practice on a down day.

NPC has lots of Bundle Monster nail plates including more Halloween designs. Their nail plates sell for $4 each and if that is all you order their shipping is free (normally free with a purchase over $25).

Topic Links
* Get this Halloween Nail Stamp Plate from Nail Polish Canada
* Get this stamp plate from Bundle Monster