Bettina Ocean + Update

Hi there, long time no post!
In my defense, I have a good excuse.  As I mentioned before, I've been -desperately- looking for job and my payers where finally answered.  Last week I started in a new job.  I'll be on probationary term for 3 months and if everything goes well, it will be permanent. 
Please keep me in your prayers! :)

Now to the polish: here is what I wore on my nails a couple weeks ago
Bettina Ocean with some studs I got at Icing.  I took the picture 4 days latter, so that is why the gold stud is a bit peeled.

I have many more manis ready, pictures just needs to be cropped and watermarked, but I'm waking up at 4am to get ready for work and then getting back home at about 5:30 pm so I'm too tired to work with them.
Think once I finish with Pueen's Love Elements and Gals Fairy set, I'll be on track again.

Until next lovelies!


Pueen 2013 Stamping Plates Collection

Last month I won a giveaway Cazzy from SpecialGirl Nails was hosting - YAY!.  The prize was a $50 gift certificate from any online store of my liking - I choose Amazon because I was drooling over this plates.
Ordered them from my aunt's Amazon account because they had "prime shipping".  I thought the "prime" thing was just to save on shipping, but apparently it speeds it too.  I ordered on Thursday night and they where delivered on Wednesday next week.

The 2013 Collection includes 25 plates that come in this cute orange storage case.  

Each plate comes with a protective blue film cover.  I prefer plates with a colored protective film; this way people that are new to stamping notice that they need to remove it before using the plates.  When a plate is covered with a clear film, you can barely notice it.

Plates without protective film

backing of the plates with Pueen's logo

Clear shot of individual plates
You can see the designs on this plates are very well engraved.
I used this two plates for an AIS Challenge, the theme was to stamp over lilac.

Here are the results of my very first time using the plates.  I didn't even made random test stamps, so this was my absolutely first experience.  The first plate to try was 01.  The first stamps didn't came out so well because I was trying to scrape from different angles & directions until I found the right one.  In my experience, the right angle & direction to scrape can vary from design to design.  The accent nails came out great!

Base is Essie Lilacism, stamped with Color Club Wild at Heart, China Glaze Escaping Reality.

My impressions:

- Love the storage & display case!  If you own a vast collection of plates, another case might not be practical; but I only had the Bundle Monster, Salon Express & some randoms from Born Pretty Store  (which are stored in a ziplock bag - I know, shame!)  If Pueen decided to sell this case separately it would be a hit.  Each plate is stored in a clear nylon sheet, which is super convenient because not only you can have them neatly stored in order, but you can browse the design without having to take them out of lil' pocket.

- It is a little bit difficult to take the plates out of the nylon sheet, they are quite snugged in there.  I'm on the fence with this - it requires a slight pull to get them out, but I would hate them to be loose and falling out of the sheet; which is what happened with my BM plates when I put them on baseball card holders.

-  The borders of the plates are very smooth, so +1 for safety!

- Each plate includes 4 big images and 2 small ones (150 images total).  There are no french tip designs, which I rarely care for.

-  The set includes a great selection of designs including geometrical shapes, flowery and abstract patters, hearts, starts, animal prints, single flowers and even fruits!  The small designs are very cute and nicely compliment the big ones.

- The full nail designs are big enough to cover the width of my hole thumb.  With the Bundle Monster & Salon Express I have to do the trick of squeezing the stamper from the sides to make the design wider; which almost never comes out right.

I have a lot more designs to try, but so far I am loving this collection.  I'm really happy that I got them!
Thanks to Cazzy & Pueen Cosmetics for making me a Happy Stamp-a-holic!


Sinful Colors Nirvana & Nailtini Millionaire

Hi there!
Besides looking for a steady job, I've been trying to stop procrastinating when it comes to crop & watermark pictures.  I love to blog but the picture part gets a bit annoying when you take 10,000 pics but you barely like one or two :(

In Puerto Rico, Spring & Summer is basically the same thing.  The seasons call for bright colors, but I can't help reach for something darker and rich like Nirvana!  I love how with colors like Nirvana you can go from elegant to sexy in a minute.
While looking for ideas on how to pair Millionaire with another polish, I came across this Chalkboard Nails look and decided to replicate it.

In real life Nirvana is darker than how it looks on this pictures

I'm thinking next time I'll pair Millionaire with China Glaze Trendsetter...What do you think?


Subtle animal print manicure

Animal print is fun, kicky, sexy and it can be delicate too!

What I used:
Bettina French3 (base)
Bettina Marshmallow (stamping)
Sinful Colors Starfish (accent nail)
Bundle Monster bm-223


Couple ol' manis

More from the random hidden files on my computer  ;)

This mani was inspired in a campaign to raise awareness about animal abuse
What I used:
Bettina Purple
China Glaze Tinsel Town
Color Club Snow flakes
KleanColor Metallic Purple
no name lavender polish
white acrylic paint
dotting tool

 Birthday Mani
I wasn't feeling great, so I went very simple on my nails
What I used:
China Glaze Fast Track, Running in Circles, Atlantis
Sally Hansen ColorQuick pen in Green Chrome
Bundle Monster bm-209


AIS Challenge: Easter

Last night while deleting old files, found a couple pictures misplaced on a random folder (so me!)
I'm not proud of how this mani came out, but thought of sharing it anyway; cause fail manicures suck but hey, they happen!  This was my submition to the AIS Easter challenge.  I don't own any Easter themed plates, so this design on bm-211 that looked like lil' eggs was my immediate choice.

What I Used
Sinful Colors Snow Me White (base)
pink, blue, green, yellow & white acrylic paints
Kleancolor Metallic Fushcia, Aqua & Green (middle finger)
No name silver glitter (middle finger)
Bundle Monster BM-211 & 219
Dotting tool


Betsey Jhonson Inspired Manicure

I'm so happy to have joined AIS! The members are super sweet and incredibly talented.
I was inspired to try this look after Beth M posted her on the group.  It was the perfect time to pair my nails with my new Betsey Jhonson flats :)

my favorite nail!

What I used:
Orly Flare (base)
Kleancolor Metallic Black & Red (for stamping)
pink, red, white & green acrylic paints
Bundle Monster bm-221
nail art brushes
dotting tool 


At Home Nail Care 101: Everyone is doing it

Economy is tough for pretty much everyone.  As someone who used to get her nails done at a salon for about 10+ years; nowadays that seems more like a think-twice splurge than a bi-weekly "I deserve it" luxury.  Gladly, with the vast array of brands with products catered to at-home nail care and at very affordable prices, you can have pretty nails all year long; not only on special occasions.

I'm not a trained manicurist, but while blogging I discovered a whole world of articles, videos and photo tutorials that have helped me take care of my nails and hopefully after reading this, you will be inspired too. :)

Prep & Prime
Before painting your nails, you want them (and your hands) in the best shape possible.

Hand cream:
Keeping them moisturized and soft will make your manicure stand out even more.  There is no need to spend a fortune.  There are a lot of good and inexpensive hand creams in the market, there are even some specialized in helping moisture and nourish your nails and cuticles.  Choose a cream depending on your necessities   If you are outdoors a lot, consider a hand cream with SPF.  If you are going through menopause or suffering from hypothyroidism  you might be having issues with itchy / dry skin; in this case a cream with coconut oil, cucumber extract, Shea Butter, lavender or oatmeal will be great.  This step is easy because for most of us is part of our daily routine.
If on daily basis you use harsh chemicals or have to get your hands constantly in water; using gloves will reduce the damage to your nails and hands.

Clipping, filing and cutting

Cuticles: Unless you are a trained tech, don't cut your cuticles.  You could end up with a deep cut and an infection could occur; this is specially dangerous for diabetics.  Instead, use a cuticle remover cream (Sally Hansen has really good ones) or just submerge your hands in warm water for a couple minutes and then push them back with a soft cuticle pusher - mine are from Walgreens and cost less than a dollar! Other products used to maintain cuticles: cuticle oil or balms.

For your feet: You can do pretty much the same to remove cuticles and calluses.  If you don't own a foot spa, just fill a plastic tub with warm water, add your favorite liquid soap, add 1 or 2 cups of vinegar or lemon juice and soak your feet for a while.  Its acidity will soften dead skin and will be easier to remove.  Use a pumice stone to remove dead skin.  After that you could use a foot scrub to make skin feel even smoother.

Nail Files:  When purchasing nail files, ask or choose the ones with a fine-grit (240/180 grit); designed for natural nails.  Coarse grit files are for artificial nails because their material is really tough.  Since natural nails are softer and delicate, using a file with a coarse-grit grade or a metallic one with damage them.

Filing: Many techs recommend to file your nails from the edges to the center and in one direction, not in a saw motion that could make them prone to peeling.

Buffing:  Buffing is good, but in moderation. Buffing will help getting rid of ridges, imperfections and if you don't want to wear nail polish at all, using a 4-way buffer you will have natural shiny nails.

Base Coat
Base Coats protect you nails against daily wear and if you decide to paint them, helps like a bonding agent between your nail and the polish, also helps with a smooth application.
There are tons of base coats in the market and I'm sure you could find something that might look like it was designed specially for you!  Whether your concern is making them stronger, getting rid of yellow stains, ridges, make them grow faster or stop peeling or biting  there is a base coat for that.  Again, Sally Hansen has a wide array of product for this matter.

Top Coat
Top Coat ads extra shine to your manicure and helps it last longer.  Again, as base coats; there are many types and brands of top coats.  You can choose the one you like based on their efficiency, price or if the product offers any other extra benefits, like strengthening.

NOTE: sometimes, nail peeling isn't just due to improper care.  It could be attributed to factors like: changes in weather or climate, nail infections,  medications, dietary problems or a disease.  I have peeling issues due to dietary & thyroid issues.  If you try an over the counter product for peeling nails and you don't see improvement, I recommend to consult your physician.


Sinful Colors: Super Star

I promised to reduce the amount of glitter polishes in my collection, but this Sinful Colors got me; is kind of a perfect combo! :)
Superstar is a super pretty blue jelly with purple and aqua glitter.  In my experience, jelly glitters become somewhat difficult to manege when applying the second coat but this one was the exception.  

3 coats of Super Star over China Glaze Blue Years Eve
no topcoat


Sinful Colors: Ice Dream

Ice Dream can be easily described as a glitter explosion!
Its fully loaded with silver and blue glitters.  I recently dropped my camera two times and since then it have been acting up, specially when I try to photograph glitters, so this one gave me a hard time. 

indoors without flash
ring finger: 2 coats of Ice Dream over China Glaze Blue Years Eve

indoors with flash


China Glaze Blue Years Eve

Blue Years Eve (2011 Holiday Collection) has a sheer blue base filled with blue glass fleck with aqua shimmer.
Just Gorgeous!
3 coats, no top coat
outdoors without flash


AIS Challenge: Stamp Over Orange

The theme for April 7th challenge on AIS was to stamp over orange.
When it comes to stamping I rarely end totally satisfied with the final results but this time, I couldn't love this manicure more!  It looks like a sari :)

What I used:
China Glaze Roguish Red (base)
Sally Hansen ColorQuick Fast-Dry pen in gold (stamp)
Sinful Colors Endless Blue
Bundle Monster plate BM-203
blue rhinestones
gold sequins
striping tape
 and a shot of  Roguish Red - cause I loooove it! :)


What I love right now: Hair Products

I always forget to take pictures for a monthly favorites post, maybe cause there is not much change in what I like using from month to month; it only depends on my routine.
Hare are the very few products part of my hair care routine:

Pantene Restore Beautiful Lengths shampoo
Now that I'm really into growing my hair longer, this shampoo have come in handy.  Mom got it for me at Kmart, at the awesome price of $1.50!  My hair doesn't tangle anymore while I'm washing it.  There is significant improvement, my hair is more shinny and soft.  At the moment this is the only Pantene shampoo that doesn't leave my hair feeling dry and stiff.

Got2b Smooth Operator leave-in conditioner 
I like to apply this leave-in before mousse when I'm not going to blow dry of flat iron my hair.  It keeps hair shinny without being greasy, smells great and helps me getting some curl action.

Mystic Divine Argan & Monoi Oils Nourushing Oil Treatment
This product and the Pantene shampoo are a winner combo for my hair.  I a little bit to the ends before blow drying of flat ironing my hair, then a bit more after I'm done. I love that leaves my hair looking super shinny, but in a natural way.

Exhibit A: untangled, wavy hair during a windy Valentine's Day ;)


AIS Challenge: Spring Flowers

There was so many stuff I didn't post during the Holidays that now I'm way behind posting my recent ones, ugh! but I'm almost catching up.

This AIS challenge was for the week before Easter, the theme was spring flowers.  To kill two birds with the same shot, I decided to stamp over a previous manicure.  In my mind, stamping with black was a good idea, and in person it look ok; but it didn't translate that way in pictures; should have stamp all nails with white.

Still, was a good experience because I got to experiment stamping with white and use different plates.
On my thumb I used a stamp image intended for french manicures, then I mirrored it to cover the entire nail.  That was kind of neat! :D

What I used:
- to see the polishes used to create the gradient click here
Sinful Colors Snow me White & Kleancolor Metallic Black [stamping]
Bundle Monster plates 205 & 218


Rainbow Gradient with Kleancolor Metallics

I think gradients have become my favorite kind of manicure!

outdoor, no flash
the sun was insanely bright and hot!

indoors with flash

What I used:
Kleancolor Pink Lady (base)
Kleancolor Metallic Pink, Purple, Aqua & Green (gradient colors)

Makeup sponge wedge
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