Sunday, May 29, 2016

Supernatural Lacquer Acetone Additive

Let's talk acetone. Like, how it's destructive and leaves your skin all ashy, white, dry and cracked and smells horrible. But it's by far the most effective stuff to remove all those pretty colors we like to slather on our nails.

So what do you do when you want the best stuff for the job but don't want to sacrifice your skin? You suck it up and finally give in to this crazy idea of acetone additive.

If you're like me, you've seen it around. You've heard that it exists. And you've wondered if it's really worth all the hype. I'm sure you have questions... I did, too. But allow me to break it down to real for you. It works. Like magic serum.


My nails immediately after first time using SPNL's acetone additive.

When I finally decided to give it a try, I went with Supernatural Lacquer. (<--- click that. Buy some. Use code TBT10 for 10% off.) Initially, I ordered two scents. Pumpkin Cranberry and Cappuccino. I was sold with just one use. My collection now includes Mango Pineapple, Cappuccino Espresso, Cream Soda, Better Than Sex Cake, Cranberry Buttercream, and my newest additions of Bartlett Pear and mmmmmmmmmmm Blueberry Cobbler.




So how does this work? Pretty simple, really. Each bottle of Stefanie's acetone additive is packed with goodness - 100% USP rated vegetable glycerin, distilled water, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and other essential and fragrant oils. The oil blend counteracts the skin drying properties of the acetone without affecting it's ability to strip away a paint job like the best chop shop in town.

You choose your scent (26 listed at the time I write this and more being added) and your bottle of beautiful arrives ready to be shaken well then poured into your acetone.  Each 1oz bottle treats about 16oz of acetone, so depending on the size of your acetone bottle, you can do some simple math to get it right. Or... if you're like me and buy acetone by the gallon (seriously), you can take a less exact - yet still highly effective - route and eyeball it. The bottles in the picture above are 4oz plastic bottles (get them here) and so I pour roughly 1/4 of the additive in. Plus, this method allows me to have a different scent on hand at all times and to readily offer people the scent of their choice when I do their nails.

I used to use cuticle oil after removing my polish, always as an after the fact healing measure since I had already damaged my skin and dried it all out using straight acetone. Then I would have to go wash my hands or wait for the oil to soak in or, worse, wipe my nails with acetone again to remove the oil so I could polish my nails. Since I began using this stuff? I don't have to wait for any oils to soak in between paint jobs. For me, that's awesome.

Anyway, I'm a fan. A huge fan. Top 3 nail products, easy.

Have a great day, everyone, and as always - thanks for reading!

Monday, April 11, 2016

How to Fix a Broken Nail

I broke a nail a little over a month ago. Yeah. Cindy got trapped in a ladder at work. Alright, so - yes. The whole ladder and manual labor thing goes completely against the concept of protecting your nails at all costs, but we have to live, and sometimes we have to endanger our digits.

First I have to point out this tragic sight:

This is my break. 



As you can see, this was a pretty painful break. But that being said... can we just say a big howdy hallelujah to the fact that my nail polish kept this ugly thing from becoming a tattered bloody mess? This, folks, is why we wear polish. Just kidding. We wear polish because it's fun and makes us feel like superior beings. The added protection factor is simply a super ultra mega bonus.

ANYway.

Because I'm stubborn and a little fingernail OCD, I immediately went on the search for the best way to mend my poor injured nail. First, I thought about my past experiences with the tea bag and super glue method. Well, uhm, I say "experiences" and not "successes" because I can honestly say that while I have been able to prolong a bad break using this idea, it's messy, makes your nail tough and ridged, and even when you try to file away the bumpy facade, you end up weakening your nail, thus causing chipping, stripping and breaking at a later date. Oh, And it doesn't bend. So catch it just right on anything and BOOM. Broken beyond repair.

So I wanted to take that same concept and kick it up a notch. Like, oh, I don't know. Using legit methods. Keep in mind that I'm not a nail tech, and knowing that should this work, I would be writing a blog addressing a lot of people who, like me, are looking for a fix anyone can do without special skills and knowledge.

I went to Sally Beauty supply and looked through my options. There were a few I could've run with, but I didn't want to put acrylic on my nails, nor did I want to have to cure anything I used. I knew the tea bag and glue method was pretty solid and I decided silk wraps might work. I picked some up. Then right below the wraps, I saw some nail bandages - little clear stickies that boasted a quick fix. Ah, why not. Grabbed some of those, too. In order to set the wraps, I picked up some brush on gel resin.

First I tried the nail bandages. Give them a shot, right? Well, I guess if you're not going to be using your hands they work. Sorta. All in all, a quick fix that would help you not lose a nail if you broke one and didn't have the time or tools needed for a more solid fix. Ultimately, the positive is that you can quickly adhere them to a break to protect it while you make your way to a more permanent solution. They don't show much under thick, dark polishes, but you definitely don't want to go without some stamping if you're using a multichrome or light holo over it. Plus, I ended up having to use two to make it hold better. (As you can kinda see in this pic.)



I moved on to the silk wraps. Just... a hot mess. When I finally did get them to stay where I wanted them, I had to poke out the air bubbles after brushing them with the gel. (Okay, real nail techs that may read this... again... I was going for layman's fixes here.) After a few tries, I managed to get them situated and looking pretty damn good, if I do say so myself... and then I went to work. The wrap popped up splitting the break again as soon as any pressure was applied to the tip of my nail. *sigh* All that for NOTHIN'.

Third time's a charm, right?

So screw the fancy, schmancy products... I went straight for the brush on gel resin. I knew that gel overlay helped strengthen nails from my time as a waitress when I used to overlay my natural nails to help them withstand huge plates of steak on a platter. Seemed to work then. I separated the break a little, brushed a dab on and held it tight till it dried (about 2 minutes for good measure). Then I just brushed on the gel resin like I would a base coat. I let the first round dry about 5 minutes then added a second coat, letting that dry about 5 minutes. At this point, my nail is looking ragged. It isn't pretty, folks... but it sure is stiff. So I break out my 4-in-1 nail file (which I never use on my nails, BTW, not my favorite for general maintenance) and start filing and buffing. The 4 grits on this particular file seem to have been made for making my newly gelled nail look like it's 9 natural sisters. Which, in case you were wondering, IS a good thing.  You'll notice that I filed my nails down to a manageable length after this break. Looks pretty good, right??

Left: before gel resin Right: after gel resin and filing


So here's the real test. I work retail and have to open shipment and stock shelves along with my selling prowess. I also have 4 kids and have to clean and pick up a toddler on occasion. I deal with car seats and clorox and two cats and a dog - plus I use pure acetone when I do my nails, oh, say, 6-10 times a week. So this crap better be good.

How did it work, you ask? Well, it worked like a charm. I did repeat the gel process about every other nail polish change, which for me was every other day, but that's because the acetone eats away the gel resin and I wasn't gonna take a chance, y'all. After roughly a month of fixing (reinforcing) my nail, I was finally at a point where I was willing to lose the very tip and be done with the break. This is my nail today:


A little shorter than her sisters, but all in all, well on her way to redemption and just as strong as ever! This picture is after I used acetone to remove the remaining gel, pulled off the broken part (you should always file or clip the break, do as I say, not as I do), filed my nail even and polished as usual. No smoke and mirrors.

An added bonus tip for you all, if you ever have an underwire pop out of it's rightful place in your bra, this gel resin works amazingly to hold that rowdy ronda in her place. And considering I have huge, expensive bras and have tried every "fix hack" on the inter webs for that, too, this is a huge development. Just make sure you cover that fix with moleskin, though. Gel resin ain't soft. 

Moral of the story: A deep break doesn't have to mean that you lose your nail or you have to cut all the rest down to size. During this little experiment, I actually snapped my left thumb nail clean off and thought, hey, why not... so I used the same method to glue that bad boy back on. Left it for about 2 weeks until I figured I'd rather focus on more important things. Ol' Thumbelina wasn't broken short enough to warrant wasting my time. But it definitely worked, even for a complete break.

So next time you have a break, it's worth a shot! I know that I now keep a bottle in my purse and one with my nail supplies. You never know when you're gonna snap a nail or pop an underwire.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lemming Lacquer Body Products

Hey, guys! It's been a little while since I posted any blogs... I have excuses, good ones, too... but suffice to say that I've just had life happening over here. All that aside, I want to tell you about a couple of things I've been using in my "quiet" time - and they're all from Lemming Lacquer today! If you've read my mani bomb blog then you already know how highly I regard Cassie's delectable fizzies. But what you don't know YET is how awesome some of her other hand and body products are.



I'm just gonna jump right in and drop some experience knowledge on ya.

First up:

SILKENING BODY LOTION

This stuff right here is an absolute "keep one in your purse" (and everywhere else) kind of thing. I got my first bottle a little after Christmas and thought "oh, how nice..." but didn't immediately fully comprehend the magical serum I held. Now that I've been using it for a couple months, I honestly couldn't imagine not having a bottle on hand.

It's a brown sugar and fig scented little diddy and the scent is soft and faintly sweet without being overpowering. It's also moisturizing without being greasy. See, I started this new job (which I LOVE, BTW) and it's really important that my hands don't have a strong scent and that I don't risk dropping the goods. When you work with heavy, glass, scented candles all day, well... these are most definitely things you have to consider. If you don't work with candles it's still nice to have a universal hand cream that keeps you soft and smooth without the excess smelly stuff. (Time and a place, people. Time and a place.)

I also work with cardboard boxes (working through shipment) and as anyone who has ever worked with a lot of cardboard knows, boxes will zap your skin of all things good. I keep a bottle of this lotion in my apron and use it 2-3 times a day to keep my hands in the best possible condition. That being said (and true), it only takes a little bit and my 2 oz bottles are still going strong.


- My well loved and slightly waterlogged bottle... don't worry, yours will be original pretty. -

Beyond just me, my kid has really awful eczema. A lot of the heavy lotions we use for her scaly spots are greasy (obviously you already know this one isn't) and burn her. She really loves this one, though, because it doesn't make her clothes stick to her and it doesn't hurt. As a parent, I love that, too. I also love that it absorbs quickly but leaves a long lasting moisturized feeling.

So far, this is my favorite "got a dry spot?" lotion. I dole out tiny dollops for co-workers when they need a little something, I give my kid relief and I keep a bottle with my nail stuff because when I need to soften my hands but don't have the patience for cuticle oil, this stuff is there for me. So worth it.

Next Up:


If you know me at ALL then you know how I adore sugar scrubs. Or if you know me too well then perhaps you've tuned out all my talk and this is all news to you. Either way, Lemming Lacquer has recently released a very cool one.


It's freakin' cake scented. 

I personally think that LL has some of the absolute BEST scents out there as far as mani bombs go and this birthday cake scented scrub is definitely right on par with what I've come to expect. It's a whipped sugar scrub which means that it's lighter and fluffier than a standard dense sugar scrub. I happen to like both types, I think they both have their merits. 

I love the texture and consistency of this scrub. Like nearly every other oil infused scrub on the market, there is a little stirring necessary for best results, but that's the norm with these types of products. I usually just t use my finger since I'm gonna be using it to dip some out anyway. No harm there. This is light and soft and seems to be more gentle on the skin than some other scrubs I've used before. It doesn't seem to have the heavy oil base that some of my denser scrubs contain and that's actually okay. Like I said, each scrub has it's merits. It does mean that you don't get the "water beading off" effect that happens with some others, however you feel about that.

This is a great face scrub (because it doesn't have super heavy oils) and its also a great scrub for more sensitive skin since it has a softer texture. I typically follow this scrub up with the aforementioned body lotion and have found that they make a really awesome team. 

And let's just revisit that scent one more time. I said it smells like cake, right? It smells like cake. Okay, okay, I know not everyone likes cake (*gasp* weirdos) so just in case, there are a few other scents available and I guarantee you they're all just as wonderfully decadent (and would pair nicely with the soft presence of the body lotion up there...)

And last but certainly not least...

The CUTICLE COULIS

This little bottle of "more than meets the eye" isn't listed in her store as I write this... but soon. I was lucky enough to find this adorable friend in my most recent LL order and was initially a tad confused. I mean, what's "coulis" anyway, right? 



Everything I found via google said that coulis is a type of puree or sauce, something rich and thick made from fruits or veggies. In a way, this isn't at all different. Maybe it isn't a fruit or vegetable, per say, but it's good for you. Lemming's Cuticle Coulis looks (and is) thicker than the standard simple cuticle mix you typically find. It's definitely more of a "treatment" than a "oh, girl, you've only got 30 seconds for that shine to sink in" kind of thing, but I'm pretty positive that's how it was intended - to be a thick nail sauce.

I like to throw a little on right before bed after I've finished messing with my nails for the night. I even like to put a bit on my big toes (gotta keep the south end digits up to code, too, folks). Keeping your cuticles in shape is the whole purpose of this little guy. Don't let size fool ya.

In the grand scheme of things, it's a wonderful addition to an overall stellar line of hand and body care. It doesn't smell like cake, but a girl can forgive a simple, harmless transgression...

...besides.

When theres so much to love about an indie brand - and so many sweet scents - maybe a little simplicity is in order. That... and I've always got my vanilla latte mani bombs.

In case you didn't know, the hyper links in this blog will take you right to where you can snag some of your own amazing Lemming Lacquer body products. I suggest you click away and see what you didn't know you needed. Because you definitely need it.

As always, thank for reading and have a WONDERFUL day!!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Ünt Ready For Takeoff - my take on it

There's been a lot of people asking about peel off base coats lately. And that's a super important thing to know! I mean, after all, the growing trend is glitters and crellies packed so full of beautiful frustration that once you finally decide you HAVE to wear one you're immediately panicking about how the hell you're gonna get it off!! Well if you haven't gotten your own system down, never fear! I have a few tips and tricks (mostly tried and confirmed worthwhile and effective by yours truly). I'll cover a couple non-peel off base coat glitter removal options at the end for those of you not sold on a peel off.

First, let me tell you that Cristine from SimplyNailogical has an awesome YouTube video out that details the most popular peel off base coat options and ranks them on things like application, drying time, formula and how they work under multi-chromes and glitters. I suggest you watch it when you have the time because you'll learn some stuff and because she's entertaining... but I'll give you the short version *spoiler*:

The winner is Ünt Ready For Takeoff. You can find it on Live.Love.Polish. and Amazon for $10 (but go on and support indies... unless you're Prime and get free shipping, then, well, support indies anyway because they give you rewards).


Based on this super stellar and thorough review, I logged on and bought my first blogger recommended product. I've been using Ready For Takeoff for 7 weeks so far and have done roughly 80 manis in that time (not exaggerating, just counted my IG posts - holy sheet I have a problem)... but what this means for you is that I can tell you that *ahem* I've got the trial and error thing covered for this product. I can also tell you that one bottle of Ünt Ready For Takeoff will do roughly 80 manis. Huh. Who knew.

So, with that part covered, I'm going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about RFT.

Q:  Does it damage your nails?
A:  When used properly, RFT doesn't damage your nails. I have found that it CAN peel up the top layer of your nail when you don't allow it to dry completely before polishing, though. You can't be impatient. As long as you wait until it's fully dry (3-5 min usually to be safe), I've had no issues.

Q:  Will my polish pop off when I don't want it to?
A:  Not gonna lie. It can. HOWEVER. I've found that for RFT to stay put, you really need to use it with a thicker polish or an extra coat and always top coat. I found that my glitters and crellies stayed put while my thinner polishes had a tendency to fly the coop when I was putting my hair up or bathing a kid. This problem can be pretty well corrected by going ahead and piling those crellies and glitters on the way the polish gods intended.

Q:  How long does it last?
A:  Well, kids, this is one thing I don't have a full answer to. Because I am a polish changing mad woman, I usually pop those bad boys off pretty quick. I CAN tell you that I have worn one mani for 4 days with no problems. I wore another for 3 days through 2 days of work, being a mom of 4 and having to take the toddler in for stitches right after bathing the poop off him... so overall I think it's safe to say that when used properly, this base coat can last as long as most others out there.

Q:  How does it compare to OPI Glitter Off & Yellow Stopper?
A:  I can't speak for Yellow Stopper personally (but click that highlight up there and Cristine can tell you aaaaaaaaaalll about it) but as for OPI Glitter Off? It's leaps and bounds better. Glitter Off is glue based and will dry your nails out ultimately leading to damage and breakage. Not only that, but it's hard to work with, doesn't apply or dry evenly and still doesn't always peel off the way it should. I used Glitter Off for a while but even knowing I had it, I stayed away from glitters because the base coat alone wasn't worth the hassle.

With those general things out of the way, I'm just going to quickly tell you a few things I've learned that can help you make the most out of your Ünt Ready For Takeoff.

  • When applying your base, don't go to the far edges of your nails. If the base coat extends beyond the polish, you risk it peeling up and is a pain in the butt to clean up around.
  • Always let it dry COMPLETELY before polishing. Not only will you be protecting your nails, you'll get the best wear and the best peel when you're ready to take it off. Plus, if it's not completely dry you can get strings as the tacky base coat gets pulled by your brush. Yuck.
  • RFT works best with those super hard to remove polishes: glitters, crellies, the thicker the better for this base. The harder it is to get off, the better it seems to work with RFT.
  • Always top coat. Always. It's a good general practice, but it really makes a difference when you go to remove your polish. It seems to hold everything together.
  • Don't rush the removal. I usually push the edges up with my fingernail, but I (and you) should be using an orange stick. NEVER METAL... bad juju. Ease the stick around starting at the cuticle and find a spot to get underneath the polish. Usually you'll be able to just pop it right off like this but sometimes you'll need to just get under it and use a little common sense to peel it off.
  • If your polish pops off before you're ready, and it could happen... you can put it right back on using RFT as "glue". Typically, if a polished nail pops off, it'll do it in one piece so it's easy to replace. Just apply RFT and place the polish back on the nail while it's still wet. (I've tried this with multiple other base coats and failed miserably. Just trust me on this one.)
  • If you're having trouble with your nail polish popping off regularly, a little trick I found is to put a dab of sticky base coat at the base of your cuticle before applying RFT. Using a toothpick or tiny dotting tool, just dab a little. It'll help hold that polish down, especially if you're seeing your polish pop from the base. It'll still peel nicely (like this one) but you'll need to use a little more clean up.

(This was after swatching 6 colors so forgive the hot mess-ness)

As long as you follow these guidelines, you should have no issue using RFT with your pain in the butt beauties and you can even use vinyls and stamps and charms and and and and... well, check out my IG (*ahem*) and you can see everything I've personally done all while rocking this Godsend of a base coat.

But what happens when you're already wearing your favorite glitter and don't have the super awesome benefit of being able to just pop it off when you want a change? Well, you can do a couple of things. 

You can soak a cotton ball/pad in acetone, put it over your nail and wrap your finger in foil. Not your whole finger, obviously, just the part where your nail is. Work with me, folks. Leave it there for a couple of minutes and let it do most of the dirty work for you. When you're ready to remove it, push gently on the foil/cotton while you pull the contraption off your finger. Finish removing whatever is left with another cotton ball and acetone/remover. I personally don't recommend this method because it's rough on your skin and cuticles... but if you're using acetone on your nails you NEED to grab a bottle of Supernatural Lacquer's acetone additive. If it's not showing in the shop, shoot her an email. Seriously. It's some pretty amazing stuff.


What I do recommend is that you cut yourself some felt squares and soak those in acetone - with the additive, of course. Using felt instead of cotton makes a huge difference. The felt grabs on to the glitters and it doesn't tear into little wispy shreds of disappointment with every pass. I've been able to remove stubborn glitters easily with felt when I would have usually been scraping them off piece by piece ...by piece... by... piece... 

And when you've finished removing that glitter with ANYTHING, let's face it. You're going to have some random glitter SOMEwhere. So I like to give my hands a good scrub using Aroma Rebel scrubs. I'm currently on a cranberry kick but my favorite is her caffeine drip which is basically coffee infused with stuff that makes you all soft. She'll be getting a blog of her own before long (because everything is amazing) but for now, suffice to say that the scrubs make getting that last little bit off so much easier. If you haven't got a solid scrub lying around, liquid soap and sugar can help you until you can get around to placing an order for some really good stuff. 

Well, I hope this has given you some helpful info on glitter removal and the revolutionary amazingness that is Ünt Ready For Takeoff... and if you have any questions that I didn't answer, please ask away!! If I don't have an answer then I'll try to experiment and see if I can find one! As always, thanks for reading and have a fantabulous day!! xoxo



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Monday, January 4, 2016

My Favorite Mani Bombs



Hey, guys!!! I'm super excited about this particular collection of posts. I love indie polish so much and have become immersed in the community, that you know. What you may NOT know, is that there are TONS of nail and body care items made the same way! Hand made with love and a personal touch, using some of the finest ingredients and making their customers' wishes come true... what's not to love?!

Obviously I can't try them all (unless you love me and want to send me all the stuffs), but I feel like I have tried enough to be able to effectively write this blog without you walking away thinking "well, that was a waste of time"...

So with that said, I've decided to separate these amazing products into a few blogs. Mani bombs, oils, soaps and scrubs and eventually hair products. I haven't gotten to those yet but it's on my list!

Today I'm going to jump straight into mani bombs! In all honesty, this is the one I definitely know the most about because I've been using them for a while and started using indie mani bombs months ago. It's also the most "nail related" product on my list. I'm going to give you reviews of 3 makers worth trying and I sincerely hope you'll click those links.

First up: ALL MIXED UP LACQUERS

This brand will be brought up again in my "scrubs" blog, but for now I'll just touch on her mani bombs. My "I wanna try it all!" order consisted of mani (and a bath) bombs (top left), polishes, scrubs and cuticle balm. So here's a hint, she has all that stuff I just mentioned. Spoiler, I've really liked every single product (just in case you don't want to wait for the product review).



Presentation is clean and the box smelled AH-mazing.  These mani bombs are big enough to use twice, which I did, but they're a little tough to break. Well, not all scents, so maybe it's hit or miss. I know with hand made mani bombs drying/curing time plays a part in how hard or soft they are so I'll just say that in general they were a little tough (but not impossible) to break. How hard or soft they are had no bearing on their actual use, though, as you can see here.

Some of her scents have micro glitter in them, and my train of thought went "oh, pretty... aw dammit... oh, that's cool... hmm, I don't know about this..." and finally "sweet. wipes right off..." It makes for a sparkly sheen on the bowl and while there's no real added benefit, there's no real harm in it, either. It felt a little funny while I was actively messing with it (rubbing my fingers together and trying to see how the glitter was going to stick or not stick) but if you aren't all weird like me and you just soak your freakin' hands, it's kinda pleasant. Who doesn't love a little burst of sparkles?

As for the end result? They did their job. My skin was soft, my nails clear and clean and from the wrist down I smelled fantastic. (The rest of me smells like sunshine and rainbows 100% of the time. *giggle* Except I'm a mom so that percentage is actually closer to 73.)

Best thing about these mani bombs over every other bomb I've used? Little to no residue in the bowl. I use a glass bowl anyway, but these bombs gave me the bubble and fizz and all the moisturizing without leaving a sediment in the bowl. I don't know if it means anything in the grand scheme of things but I just really like how they felt "clean" somehow.

As of right now, the scents available in her shop are:

Snowfall: a strong woodsy scent (kinda crisp and definitely musky)
Holiday Cheer: sweet orange cranberry scent

and these are usually available, so check back...

Grannie's Apple Pie: self explanatory... apples, cinnamon, sweet and delicious
Midnight Cocktail: this one smells like a margarita to me. Sweet, citrusy, light and juicy. It's the glittery one.
Rainbow Kitty: a flowery strawberry scent (this one is more floral than berry to me)


Next on my list is a brand I'm new to, but I think what she's doing in her circle of the indie world is awesome.

DOC LOODY'S

Doc Loody's has all sorts of stuff so Brandy may very well show up on one of these blogs again, but again, mani bombs.


I'll go ahead and tell you what I dislike about these right off the bat, so I can get on with what I do like about them. All these are different but I have no idea what scent they are. They all look the same and there's no labelling or coloration to help me tell which is which. (EDIT: New year, new labels... my "I order a crap ton of mani bombs at a time" scenario shouldn't be an issue if you head over an place an order! Test that theory by picking up a Mani-versary box and your goodies should have names on them. :) )

That being said, not a big deal overall. They all smell delightful and I kinda like the shape and style. Also, no extra colors means that the water has only the basics needed to nourish your digits. It's a little frustrating because I can't specifically tell you which is my favorite, but I can at least narrow it down since she has pretty decent descriptions on her website.

As far as these go, they're definitely intended to be used in one go, not to be broken or crushed. You COULD do that, I guess, but I really wouldn't and I'll tell you why. These are hard bombs, not easily squished or broken, but the real reason is that since they are harder than the usual mani bombs, they give you a longer lasting fizz while you soak. I'm diggin' it. If you do relatively short soaks like me (I do 4-6 minutes tops), this thing will fizz for the majority of your pampering. I like that because it's like a little massage while you soften. See it in action here.

Like with the All Mixed Up bombs, there is very little residue in the bowl. They dissolve completely and evenly and leave your skin soft and feeling refreshed.

As of today, scents aren't available (she's got her Mani-versary!! Congrats!!) but from memory, she's got a little of everything. Minty, spicy, fruity, musky, sweet... stop by and grab a goody bag full of awesome and you'll see what I mean. There really is a wide variety and something for every taste.

Which brings me to my last but certainly not least indie mani bomb highlight:

LEMMING LACQUER

Cassie's mani bombs were the first indies I really fell in love with. The first time I ordered, like, 3 and now I order them 2 dozen at a time. I'm not kidding. They're that good.

This was my Halloween order:


Her scents are unparalleled and she hand paints every single mani bomb. Can you imagine?! I ordered a dozen sugar skulls (my go-to scent and perfectly sized) and every one is different. The sugar skulls are always in stock but she changes out her molds with the season and rolls out themed cuties for you to watch bubble away (go ahead, watch it).  

As of my writing this, the scents in her shop are:

*All descriptions are hers (except parenthetical remarks) since I haven't gotten my order of these yet.

Vanilla pumpkin marshmallowtop notes of luscious buttercream over pumpkin blended with sweet vanilla and creamed marshmallow

Dancing sugar plumsa sweet, fruity blend of peaches, strawberries, apples, grapes, and cherries on a sweet vanilla base

Snow Fairynotes of sugary cotton candy, apples, pears and vanilla

Gingerbreadnotes of allspice, nutmeg, and warm vanilla over a cookie base

Frozensnow and ozone top notes with juniper berry and rich forest woods

Pumpkin cheesecakescented with yummy, rich pumpkin cheesecake fragrance oil and decorated with a marbled style with sprinkles to look like cinnamon

Pink Sugar skullsa flirty and fresh fragrance smelling like sugared berries and cotton candy over a perfumey base (My take: it's a sweet scent, not overpowering and just perfumey enough to not smell like food)

Creeper Sex Ba-BombAn interpretation of the scent made popular by Lush, Sex Ba-bomb is a sensual, floral fragrance with notes of lily of the valley, lavender, and jasmine over a musky base of ylang ylang (My take: my least favorite but my neighbors absolute favorite. I like sweet smells and this one is a little too musky for my taste. It's still a pleasant scent, I just prefer her sugary/spicy scents!)

Personal favorite? OMG the cake bomb. If you can find her cake scents in stock, you've got to try one, even if you think "nah, I'll pass..." Don't pass. Everyone loves cake. You'll love the cake scented bombs.

A little downside mixed in with the "it's all good"... Lemming Lacquer is a brand new brand and has only been around since early 2015. Her site exploded with her amazing new collection and she got backlogged with getting the last round of orders out. (Like I've said before, these indies are small operations!) I personally don't mind waiting, I've got everything she's made so far (outside of the newest collection - yet) and I can personally assure you it's a really good brand. She's addressing how she can have quicker turnaround and I know that it's a short term issue attached to a much larger launch than anticipated, so don't let that scare you off!! Remember that hand painting thing? Yeah, her attention to detail and packaging flourishes are pretty amazing. (Although she's backing off on the cute extras a bit to speed up delivery for right now.)

Anyway, these pretty mani bombs work just as beautifully as they are crafted. The oils are top notch and I'd even venture to say that these pack a bigger "I have more oil than you" punch than the others I've talked about. Most of them can be broken into pieces for 2 or 3 uses and I've yet to use one I didn't absolutely love. They leave my hands, well, soft, moisturized, smelling awesome, yada yada yada... All that jazz.



My IG page has several videos of different shapes and colors in action if you'd like to see them. Because they have so much oil in them and they're colored, they're a little "heavier" than the others. Most of them do leave a sediment in the bottom of your bowl and there are a couple that leave a tinted residue on your hands (in the oils) that wipes right off - no staining. It doesn't bother me because they're such good quality but also because it doesn't stain your skin or nails at all. And all her dyes are skin safe, just in case you were wondering.

All things considered, these are my favorites. The oils are definitely top notch, but I'm a visual person and I'm a sucker for the artistry she puts into them. 

SO IF YOU'RE STILL WITH ME...

As for cost? All of these are between $1-3 and you can look for sales of join their respective FB groups for exclusive discounts. Not only is it a great way to save and keep your finger on the pulse of what's new, you get the chance to interact with the people who make the goodies that keep all of our nails looking camera ready.

Well, that's a wrap! Thanks so much for stopping by and hopefully I've given you something you can use here. As always, thanks for reading! XOXO


How Many Bottles Fit In A Helmer?


Hey, everyone! I should be asleep... but a conversation in the Facebook group For The Love Of Indies got me thinking: How many bottles really fit in a helmer?

First, I suppose I should've touched on nail polish storage and why the helmer is the absolute best, but that's for another day. Just know that for $40 and about 30-45 minutes of assembly, you, too can have a perfectly sized "nail polish filing cabinet" from Ikea in one of 4 colors. Then you can paint, contact paper, color on it, whatever to make it your own... if that's your thing. It's totally mine.

But back to the real reason for this particular spur of the moment post. How many bottles fit? I went through my personal nail polish collection, indies and mainstream, and lined them all up to see. Some important things to keep in mind with my numbers:

* This count is for full sized bottles, no minis taken into account.
* This count is for straight lines, no staggering, except where noted.
* I don't put my polishes upside down so I am not taking into account anything other than bottles sitting upright.
* Wasted space is noted. In a lot of cases with wasted space, you can put minis.
* This count is for same size/type bottles filling a drawer, not mixing and matching.
* You may find that you don't like your polish sitting under the lip of the drawer. I don't mind. My counts are for wall to wall fit.
* A helmer has 6 drawers but the "total" count is for one drawer with the width first, depth second.

So without further ado, here is my list:

OPI & FingerPaints: 6 x 11 = 66 with wasted space OR 5 x 11 with 14 staggered = 69 total
ORLY: 7 x 11 = 77 total with wasted space
Kiko: 8 x 14 = 112 (wasted space width, snug on depth)
China Glaze: 6 x 10 = 60 with wasted space
Color Club: 7 X 12 = 84 with wasted space

pipe dream polish, Different Dimension, Drip Drop Paint, MDJ Creations, All Mixed Up, Supernatural Lacquer and other plump, round bottles: 7 x 11 = 77 (with wasted space, these can be staggered to fit a few more)

SquishyFace Polish, Bliss, Colors By Llarowe, NvrEnuff, Mango Bunny, Love, Angeline and other medium bottomed square (and apparently round) bottles: 8 x 13 = 104 total

Lemming Lacquer: 7 x 15 = 105 total (7 across is a bit snug but fits)

Painted Polish: 7 x 12 = 84 total with minimal wasted space

Cupcake, Fair Maiden, Smokey Mountain Lacquers and like bottles: 8 x 14 = 112 total with some wasted space

So that's it. If you fit the biggest bottle into every drawer, your helmer is going to hold just about 400 polishes (give or take a few). If you have smaller bottles, it can hold up to 672. That's full sized with some space for minis. I think it's safe to say that a helmer will hold an average of 550 polishes. Yeah, I know THAT math isn't perfect, but I upped it a bit since most bottles aren't as fat and frustrating to store as OPI and China Glaze. If you're like me and like to store your babies by brand, then maybe you can try different bottle shapes in each drawer to maximize your space. Seems to work well for me.

If you'd like to check out any of the indies I've mentioned, click on their name for a link to their shop.

Let me know about other brands I've missed in the comments! Especially if they have a different bottle shape! And as always, thanks for taking the time to read my musings! XOXO


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Indie Polish - the addiction

So if you know me personally or follow me on IG (follow me), you've no doubt figured out that I'm all about some indie polish. I used to be an OPI girl, but somewhere around October 2014 and pipe dream polish's A Night In Vegas Cremes I got hooked. And I've never looked back. (Sorry fully stocked OPI drawer.) I get asked all the time "what's so special about indie brands?". So for installment number two of this blog, I'd like to tell you why I'm addicted to indies... and that you should be, too.



WHAT ARE INDIE POLISHES?

Indie polishes are nail polishes made by people who love nail polish. Most of these brands are mixed in small batches in someone's kitchen/craft room/somewhere in their house. They're very small operations, usually just one or two people who have found ways to bribe people who love them to help label, twist on caps, box and mail orders.

Indie brands are usually launched out of the maker's desire to have unique colors, textures, finishes or qualities. These people are often nail techs who are tired of the same choices and the poor quality or coverage of what they have to work with. And when you know what you're looking for but can't find it? You make it.

3- FREE & 5-FREE

I used to see the terms "3-free" and "5-free" as a selling point and had no idea what it really meant. All these indie brands would bill their product as 3- or 5-free like it was a good thing, so I started googling. So first things first... what are the "3" and the "5"?

The 3 in question are: Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), & Formaldehyde

Add Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor and you've got all the things a 5-free polish does not.

What ARE these scary sounding words? Chemicals! Carcinogens, allergens, things linked to obesity and liver damage and birth defects and and and and... well... you get the gist. If you want to know more accurately what these particular chemicals are capable of follow the links and see for yourself. I remember opening a package of a dead frog preserved in formaldehyde in school and that's one of those things you just don't forget.  If it'll keep a frog fresh forever, I probably shouldn't be putting it on my body.

In terms of personal experience with 5-free polishes... The smell of the nail polish is no where NEAR the stench of a standard chemical packed bottle of polish. It's still nail polish, but that "nail salon stink" doesn't take over your living room when you want to pretty your digits.

As for my nails and cuticles? Without those chemicals, I don't have the cracks, splits, hangnails and other pesky dry skin related issues I used to have. Granted, I change my nail color more often than 99% of the civilized population. But I can say with certainty that my cuticles aren't cracked (until I do housework without gloves... see my last blog...) and my nails are clean and clear, with minimal yellowing or cloudiness. Overall, I had no idea that my nails were in bad shape until I used nothing but indies for a few months. The general health of my nails visibly improved with no changes other than what type of polish I was using.

INDIES ARE SPECIAL

Okay, yeah, I know that concept is the overview of this whole thing. But seriously. Have you ever been talking to the girl taking your order at Chick-fil-a and said "I love your nails... that's *insert color name* by OPI, right?"? Well... if you had ever gotten to that point maybe you've already switched to indies because, ahem, you, too, are a polish addict. The point in that is this: Indies are limited. They're below the radar. They're obscure. And at the risk of being one of those hipster types, I LOVE when people ask me where I got my colors because then I get to tell them all about *this whole blog*.

Why do people ask about my nail polish? Well because it's awesome! Holos, duo chromes, multi chromes, crellies, glitters, thermals!!! Don't know what those are? I'll write another blog. Point blank, the colors indie makers produce are the colors they couldn't find at the drug store. They set the trend. You want a bold color that is packed with spectraflair and will catch everyone's attention on a sunny day? They make it. You want neons that water marble perfectly? They make it. And when you want a clear polish to marble with those amazing neons? They make that, too. Because they listen and they know what polish lovers want and need. Even cooler, if you want a specific polish that's only in your head, most of these chicks will whip it up for you and BAM! You have something super exclusive and fabulous.

To top it off, most of these indie makers (and definitely those on my top 5 list) add a little flair in the packaging to make you feel like you're in this special club of super cool nail polish chicks... which, let's face it - you are. From candies to ribbons and hand written notes to backstories and collection cards, indie makers want to make sure you love their products because it really is an extension of them! So with that little bit of "why you should try an indie today", here are some links you can follow to order from some of my absolute favorites. I've even given you a "you should try" hint for each. So go ahead... check them out. And if their shop is in maintenance mode, remember they're human and occasionally take a break to ship orders, work on restocks or just have a little time with family. Check back later. I promise you won't be disappointed.

This is far from a complete list but it'll point you in the right direction!

Colors By Llarowe - You can't go wrong. Her holos are the best on the market.
SquishyFace Polish - Snow White is my absolute favorite white. It covers easily, is crisp and stamps!
Bliss Polish - I love her Holobliss top coat
FairyTaleFinish Polish - Subscribe to her Neverending Fairytales. Seriously.
Lemming Lacquer - I love everything about LL. She's new on the indie scene but amazing. Hand painted mani bombs and the best packaging!
Painted Polish by Lexi - If you love glitter polishes this is the place. Everything is awesome but definitely my all time favorite glitter maker.
NvrEnuff Polish - If you want bold and one coat coverage they've got you. And Unicorn everything.
All Mixed Up Lacquers - Her Baby It's Cold Outside collection is fantastic! And she has whipped sugar scrubs (blog coming soon!)
Glisten & Glow - HKGirl Top Coat and Stuck On Blu Base Coat. And, like, everything else.

...and for good measure:

You can get your nail vinyls at TwinkledTVinyl Boutique or Polished Vino. I use vinyls from all three of these and they each have their own style and work great!

The liquid latex stuff to use for easy clean up can be purchased from Bliss Kiss or Glisten & Glow.

And a super bonus: Check out Aroma Rebel for the most amazing soaps, scrubs and bath bombs. She packs every box so it's like opening a gift.

Well, that's a wrap for this installment, but I've been reviewing some new stuff so I plan to have a new blog out soon with a detailed account of what I think. And you know you wanna know what I think. Thanks for reading! And go show some small businesses some love. You'll be hooked!