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Glitter Me This

This mani was inspired by a post Arkwife found on the Gems in a Bottle blog. You can view the post by clicking here. It was the glitter accent nail that caught Arkwife’s attention and inspired me to try something similar. The rest of the mani is completely unrelated, but I’m really excited about how it turned out.

I started off with a base coat of OPI Nail Envy to protect my natural nails. I painted two coats of a blue polish that was gifted to me by @tatibble. She received it in a Rubybox, but doesn’t really use polish, so she passed it on. Yay! It is a beautiful blue with a nice shimmer in it. The polish doesn’t have a name or number. Once that was dry I stamped on all of my nails except the ring nails with essence wonderlicious green colour changing polish using the right hand image on my PUEEN 37 plate. On my ring nails I painted a generous amount of a regular (not fast drying) top coat and scattered loose glitter over my nail. I gently pressed it down onto my nail and used a fan brush to gently sweep away loose glitter. I then used an orange stick to push stray glitter out of my cuticles, sometimes onto the nail, otherwise away from the nail. I sealed everything in with a coat of Seche Vite. The glitter accent required two coats to smooth it out. The result:

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Close up of the glitter accent:

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Look how sparkly!

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Although somehow the essence colour changing polish didn’t react properly to the top coat, I really like the way this mani turned out. Somehow only certain parts of the polish reacted to the top coat and the colour became patchy. It turned out okay regardless. I’m not usually a fan of blue polish, but my tastes are expanding and I really love this! The glitter accent was easier than I anticipated. I was going to manually place the glitter, thinking they were as big as glequins, but when I pulled them out I realized they were smaller than I had remembered and scattering them over wet top coat seemed a much more viable option and it worked really well! This was easier to use for me than the flocking powder I tried out during Easter. I am also quite chuffed at how the stamping turned out. Back in the stamping game with full force!

What do you think?

 

Edit: I did this mani on a Sunday and on Tuesday morning my entire glitter nail popped off in a sheet. Luckily someone had a polish close to it at work and I could save the situation. I’m not sure if I did something wrong or if it was bound to happen. Anyone else experienced something like this?

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Green Ocean

I have had Sinful Colors Green Ocean for the longest time. It was a gift from Ordinary Misfit for my last birthday. It is almost my birthday again, so I have had it for at least a year. I first fell in love with this sparkly topper when I saw it on Voni’s blog. It has been staring at me from my untried shelf for a long while and I have swatched it over a few colours on my nail wheel trying to find a nice combination that isn’t predictable. I tried it over lilac, nude and some other colours and I just didn’t like it over anything I tried. I knew it would look nice over black and green, so eventually I relented and predictably painted it over green. I don’t have very many greens, I have two minty shades which I am fond of and I reached for the one I haven’t used for a while.

I started off with my usual base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results to protect my natural nails. I then painted two coats of Sinful Colors Mint Apple on all of my nails. I used Sinful Colors Green Ocean over the Mint Apple. I had to blob and spread the glitter for even distribution. Make sure all the flakes and shards of glitter are laying flat on your nail before you paint a top coat, otherwise they can be quite annoying. I placed an emerald green rhinestone on my ring and middle nails at the cuticle and sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

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These iridescent flakies and glitters flash from blue to green. It is truly gorgeous! I will definitely wear this over black or navy sometime in the future. In certain lights the rhinestones sort of blended into the nails and weren’t very obvious and I thought I might have chosen the wrong colour rhinestone to wear, but when the light hit them just right it looked stunning! This is a very quick and easy mani that I managed to do while my children were both home with me. Yes, okay, the baby was sleeping…but it didn’t take very long.

 

What do you think? Do you like this combination?

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Madame Zingara Minis

I am constantly working through my ever expanding pile of untried polishes and nothing gives me more pleasure than swatting a few off my untried shelf in just one mani. Ordinary Misfit noted that I should make a point of using my Madame Zingara polishes when I asked her if she had any suggestions. I was still stumped for what to do. The Madame Zingara polishes are jellies, which means there is sandwich potential, but that would be rather predictable, wouldn’t it? Then while I was in the shower one night I had an idea that didn’t use just one, or even two, but THREE of my Madame Zingara polishes in one mani! I bought these polishes in a box set on sale at Clicks, so I don’t know if you can still get your hands on them. It also came with loose glitter which I haven’t quite figured out how to use yet.

 

I started off with my usual base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results (pictured below) to protect my natural nails. The polishes have no names, so I’ll need to refer to them by colour. I painted 3 coats of the white on my thumb, middle and ring nails. I am not fond of this white. It is only the second on that I have used, but I found it very difficult to get even, despite 3 coats. That issue sorted itself out with top coat, but I still prefer Sinful Colors Snow Me White to this one. I also painted 3 coats of the pink on my index and 3 coats of the purple on my pinky. On my thumb I used the pink and purple to make leopard print and alternated the colours on the rest of my nails. I used Sinful Colors Black on Black to complete the leopard print and sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. I placed a tear drop shaped rhinestone on my index and pinky nails at the cuticle which I bought in a wheel of clear rhinestones in various shapes from Planet Nails. The results:

 

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The pink and purple Madame Zingara polishes have the most gorgeous shimmer in them. You can see it in the purple in the photo, but not very clearly in the pink. The shimmer is much more apparent in real life. I learnt with this mani that using a colour that is too dark to do leopard print isn’t such a great idea. I ends up looking more like cow patches.

 

These nails were pretty eye catching, I think the stark contrast between the white and the leopard print make them very easy to spot (see what I did there? ;) ) A lot of people commented on them. I really enjoyed wearing this mani. I am a sucker for a funky and eye catching design and this definitely fit the bill. What do you think? Do you wear white nail polish? Do you like animal print nails?

 

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Neon & On & On

This mani started out as one thing and ended up completely differently. I planned to paint all my nails a neutral colour and then use a glitter to make a gradient on my accent nails. It was, however, not meant to be. Let me tell you about it as I explain what I did.

 

I started off with my usual base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results to protect my natural nails. I then painted 3 coats of Revlon Cabana Queen which is a light grey with a lovely shimmer. You can’t really see the shimmer in the bottle, so I was surprised when I saw it when I painted. I needed 3 coats for opacity. I then took China Glaze Be Merry, Be Bright and tried to do a glitter gradient on my ring and middle nail. So very little glitter came out I started to realize it was going to get thick if I did too many coats, so I switched to sponging it on instead of using the brush to do the gradient. This was also a fail because I got too much glitter off and it cake up in one place and looked too opaque. Even though I tried this out on my nail wheel first, I couldn’t gradient my way out of a paper bag when I tried it this time. Then I decided to just paint the whole nail full of the glitter…it became a gloopy, thick mess on my nails. I got frustrated and took it all off. I grabbed my new bottle of China Glaze Neon & On & On and painted my accent nails with 3 coats (after redoing my base coat, of course). I used Neon & On & On and Maskscara Sugar Plum to make random, overlapping dots on the grey nails and sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The results:

 

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Of course my camera and this picture do absolutely no justice to this GORGEOUS neon pink. It is officially my favourite neon EVER, with Flip Flop Fantasy coming a close second. It is vibrant and bright. Every single time I spotted it on my nails it brought a smile to my face! I actually can’t wait to wear it again! Polish Insomniac has a nice swatch of it and her photo is more colour accurate, if you would like to see her swatch, click here.

 

So despite being an incredibly frustrating mani, it didn’t turn out too badly and my new favourite polish of all time cheered me up to no end! What do you do when you get frustrated during a mani?

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Dotty Sandals

I was standing in Dischem one day and literally squealed when I saw that L.A. Girl had released new colours in their Sand Blast textured polish range. I picked up the red (Sand Dune) and orange (Glissand) immediately as I didn’t have red or orange textures. I had the pink one in my hand, but put it back because I already have a pink China Glaze texture. I later regretted the decision. Last time I hesitated picking up L.A. Girl textures from my Dischem they sold out and never got new stock. I was simply delighted when they still had of the pink left over when I went to Dischem again. I immediately grabbed a bottle and hugged it tightly to my chest whispering “My preciousssss”.  Ok, I’m exaggerating, but I was so glad they still had some left and that I managed to get my hands on one. After using it, I can say with certainty that it is a completely different pink to my other texture and they both have a place in my collection :)

 

I started off with my usual base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results to protect my natural nails. I painted two coats of L.A. Girl Sandals on my thumb, index and pinky nails. I would like to note that this particular texture had a great drying time. I had issues with another L.A. Girl texture which took AGES to dry, but this one was perfect as texture drying times go. When you can’t sneak in a fast drying top coat, drying time can be critical! On my middle and ring nails I painted two coat of a dark purple M.O.D. matte polish. I also bought this polish from Dischem for R19.95 almost a year ago. There is no name or number on the bottle from what I saw. It was one of the first polishes I ever bought and it has been sitting on my untried shelf for AGES. Since all my nails would be matte and this is a matte polish anyway, I decided to add a matte top coat to extend wear. I used my GOSH matte top coat here. To be honest, adding a matte top coat took away from this polish. I’m going to wear it again with a shiny top coat to show you how beautiful it really is. It has a subtle shimmer in it which completely disappeared after the matte top coat, but I’m sure it would be enhanced with a glossy one. I digress. I used Sandals and my largest dotting tool to add polka dots to the purple nails. I needed to do two coats of dots to make them stand out nicely. The result:

 

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I really enjoyed wearing this simple mani. I got loads of positive feedback from people that spotted me wearing it (heh. See what I did there?). Even from men! Most men don’t really take note of nails or when they do they don’t necessarily say something about it, so when a man takes the time to comment on my mani, I know I’ve done something right ;)

 

Would you try this? It is so easy and eye catching! I think using two contrasting colours makes it pop and the texture just adds something special. If you do try it, please show me!

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Nitpicking

A little while ago the day mother advised us that there were sisters staying there who had lice. She advised the parents of this, which led to an altercation between the mother and herself and ended in the two children being removed from the day mother. The youngest sister, however, continued to attend school with Elijah. Their teacher was also notified. The children were checked at the day mother, but nobody seemed to be infected. Nicole is one of the day mother’s granddaughters (she is in high school already) and often plays with the children’s hair. She was the first to spot the lice infestation and she does spot checks while she is playing with their hair every now and then.

 

Nicole noticed Elijah was scratching his hair and checked but didn’t find anything. We started to notice at home too and asked that she check again. When we checked we only saw what looked like dandruff. Sure enough, when she checked again, both Elijah and Gabby had an infestation! She couldn’t find any live bugs in Elijah’s hair, but found a couple in Gabby’s hair. The horror! I arranged to leave work early as I wanted her to check me as well. I share a bed with Gabby and on the nights where Rudi plays darts Elijah sleeps with me too. I stopped off at Dischem and purchased Controlice products and quite an awesome comb for combing out lice/nits. I already had all the Tea Tree stuff and have been using it as a preventative measure, but one of the other mothers contacted me and advised me to get something else as she found the Tea Tree products ineffective. R300.00 later I collected the kids and Nicole went home with us. The kids were put in the bath and we started putting them through the treatments. The products have a strong liquorice smell, which isn’t too bad and it seemed gentle enough as the kids didn’t complain of any burning or anything other discomfort. While Nicole was combing and applying treatments I was stripping the bedding that had been changed two days prior, as well as scarves and caps that they have recently worn and filling the washing machine with buckets of hot water. After the wash everything went into the tumble dryer on a hot cycle. Rinse and repeat in 7 days. What a mission!

 

I had 3 people check my own hair, including the nurse at work and Nicole. Everybody said it was clear, but when I took Gabby to the doctor today I had him check me too…at least I got the green light! It would also seem that my children are the only children at the day mother that were infected. That is so strange to me, but it sort of confirms the suspicion that Elijah picked it up at school and likely passed it on to Gabby. It is a good thing though, since this will minimize the chances of the lice coming back. I don’t know how thorough other parents would be about getting rid of the infestation (the mother of the girls where it started was in complete denial about them having lice), so I would be worried about the kids picking it up again if there were other children infected. I think perhaps some people are ashamed of it as there seems to be a stigma attached to it. It seems that people are completely unaware that lice actually like clean hair and find it easier to cling to. A lot of people seem to think it is due to poor hygiene that lice infestations occur, which simply isn’t true.

 

I have also sealed all our hair accessories in an airtight container for a few days, washed my brushes with hot water and disinfectant and thrown my own scarves in the wash. Can you say “Paranoid”? Hopefully we’ve wiped them all out…I really don’t feel like going through this again!

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Twin Nails with Ordinary Misfit!

For the longest time Misfit and I have been talking about doing “twin nails” which seems to be the latest craze in the nail art community. I have always shied away from it. Nobody wants to be directly compared to a pro when they feel like a novice themselves, you know? I finally decided to ditch my hangups about not feeling good enough and do something I love with someone who taught me to love this! Enough about my self esteem issues, onto the nails!

We took turns picking the polishes and tools that we would both use for our manis. We only discussed this and no specifics about what we would be doing. This post is a big reveal for both of us. I have no idea what Misfit has done and visa versa. This is what we chose:

  • Sinful Colors I Love You
  • Tip Top Armour Plate
  • Right hand image on PUEEN 44
  • Clear or purple rhinestones of any shape

I started off with my usual base of Tip Top Miraculous Results. I painted 2 coats of Tip Top Armour Plate on my thumb and pinky nails. I painted 2 coats of Sinful Colors I Love You on my index, middle and ring nails. Once that was dry I stamped with Tip Top Armour Plate and the right hand image on my PUEEN 44 plate onto my middle and ring nails. On my index nail I used a clear heart rhinestone that I found in a nail wheel I bought from Planet Nails. I thought a heart rhinestone would fit nicely with a polish named ‘I Love You’ :) I sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

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I didn’t know how to feel about this mani. I think I love it. Somehow the stamping looks blurry in all the pics I took, but I think it has to do with the glitter underneath and the way the light is reflecting off the silver stamping rather than a problem with the camera focusing, everything else is clear. Or the camera was really confused by all the sparkly ;) I Love You is simply gorgeous! I used a beautiful little compact mirror I got in a China Glaze gift set as my prop for this image. I was really in need of a nice mirror and now I have one! You might see it again in future ;)

You can view Ordinary Misfit’s post by clicking here. What do you think of this mani?

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Volcanic Eruption, Liquid Envy

I managed to get my grubby paws on two of the new shades from the Tip Top Oxidized collection. The whole collection is filled with polishes that have a metallic finish. Ordinary Misfit posted swatches of all the polishes here. I decided I wanted to use them together and since I’m back in the stamping game, I wanted to do that too! Metallic polishes usually stamp well, so I was sure I could use these to stamp.  Let me show you what I did :)

 

I started off with my usual base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results. I painted 2 coat of Tip Top Liquid Envy (green) on all my nails except on my middle and ring nails.  I painted two coats of Tip Top Volcanic Eruption on my middle and ring nails. I’d like to mention that this red was one of the nicest ones I own when it comes to clean up. I had no issues with staining and it cleaned up really easily. I waited for my nails to dry so that I could tape and stamp over them. I used Volcanic Eruption and the top image on my PUEEN 40 stamping plate to stamp over my green nails.  These polishes stamp really nicely. I played around with them by stamping on paper while my nails were drying. Ordinary Misfit also did stamping swatches for both these polishes at my request. If you would like to see those, click here. I used some tape to diagonally tape off the tips of my middle and ring nails and used Liquid Envy to fill in the tips, immediately removing the tape. I quickly placed a row of 1 mm round gold studs purchased from Born Pretty Store along the line dividing the two colours and sealed everything in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

 

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From the minute I finished it I loved this mani! I think I am partial to splitting colours with studs as I also really loved this mani where I did the same thing. Even though the stamping isn’t super obvious, I think it came out pretty decently and shows up well enough to be considered successful. I really enjoyed wearing his mani and people that spotted it really liked it too. Both these colours are gorgeous and it is a huge bonus that they stamp well! What do you think of this mani and these polishes?

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Indecisive Care Bear Stare

Today I have the last of my Dollish Polish “haul” to show you. I’m not sure if you can consider 4 mini polishes a haul, but I’ll make it one! Care Bear Stare is a glitter topper filled with loads of pastel glitter in all different shapes and colours! On the Dollish Polish site it is described as follows:

 

This darling glitterbomb was inspired by the Care Bears, and is exploding with pastel glitters in pink, blue, aqua, and purple, in all shapes from hex’s to square, butterflies and stars, all in a clear base with varying iridescent glitters.

I started off with my usual base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results. I had NO idea what colour to wear Care Bear Stare over. I knew a pastel would be best, but which one? So I decided to use them all! On my thumb I painted 2 coats of essence that’s what I mint. On my index 3 coats of China Glaze Lemon Fizz, on my middle nail 2 coats of essence hello marshmallow (the original), on my ring 2 coats of Tip Top Melting Marshmallows and finally on my pinky 2 coats of Color Club Take Me To Your Chateau. I painted 1 coat of Dollish Polish Care Bear Stare over all the colours and sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

 

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I really love the variety of colours and glitters in this top coat! The stars, hexes and butterflies are all different colours. You can see on my pinky I have a lilac star, on my middle nail a baby pink one and a light green on my index.  You can also see all the different shapes and colours of the glitters on my nails. What a lovely mix! After this experiment I know that my first choice of undies for this topper would be the pink and the lilac would be my second choice. While wearing this mani I got a lot of comments that my nails looked “like Easter eggs” or “speckled eggs”. I suppose the pastel colours make people associate this mani with Easter. I’ll definitely redo this come Easter time since this has been one of my most challenging nail art themes.

 

Image courtesy of parade.condenast.com

Image courtesy of parade.condenast.com

 

What do you think? Which colour do you prefer it over?

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Breastfeeding – 18 months

Well, here we are. 18 months into our breastfeeding relationship. How on earth did that happen?! When Gabby was still a tiny baby my La Leche League Leader would say in meetings ‘You don’t plan to breastfeed a toddler. It just kind of happens’. That right there is the truth. Think about how quickly your children grow up. You blink and they’re crawling/walking/talking/in school. So while you’re making plans for the first birthday party, it doesn’t occur to you that, quite suddenly, you are breastfeeding a toddler.

 

I know this is weird for some of you. I know I seem strange. I once thought the same thing. I could in no way understand why some of the women who work with me breastfed their children beyond “6 months”. They breastfed children with teeth. They breastfed children that could speak. I could not wrap my head around it. I thought they were weird. Now I am weird and luckily I am at an age and stage in my life where peer pressure and what other people think of me do not matter that much. Thanks to the wonderful support I’ve received during my breastfeeding journey I am confident in my decision not only to breastfeed, but to breastfeed for an extended period of time.

 

Are there still things that frustrate me about breastfeeding? Sure. Specifically breastfeeding and sleeping. From a very tender age I tried to master the side lying breastfeeding position. I knew this would stand us in good stead for night feeds, but as my baby grows it has become increasingly difficult to stay comfortable while feeding her in our bed. Or falling asleep in a comfortable position while she is still latched on. Sometimes this means I wake up with a stiff neck or a sore back, however, it means that I haven’t been awake half the night getting up for feeds and putting her back to sleep. To me, the pay off is worth it. Of course, there are times when she wakes up at 2 in the morning and wants to play silly buggers for an hour or two. That is draining, but is no different from what Elijah used to do.

 

Gabby is suffering from separation anxiety at the moment, specifically from me. I don’t think this is breastfeeding related. I think it has more to do with a child’s personality than whether or not they are breastfed. Elijah never had it quite as bad and has always favoured his father. While it is nice to be the favoured parent, it is sometimes difficult when I need to do something or be somewhere. As an example, if Gabby is awake when I get up in the morning she cries for me to come back to bed (oh and how I wish I could comply) and unless I pick her up and carry her around while I am trying to get ready for work she will continue to cry until she upsets herself to the point of throwing up. Even if Rudi gets up and holds her at that point it is not enough. It is not all about the boobs though. She doesn’t ask to feed (usually by groping my shirt) , she is perfectly happy to sit in my arms while I try to go about whatever I need to do. Eventually she will find something else to do, or be okay with being put down and she’ll toddle off to do something more interesting than sitting in my lap.

 

The other day we were all laying in bed, settling down for the night and Gabby insisted on having a sippy cup with her with milk in it. Cow’s milk, mind you.  I had given her the sippy cup in an attempt to keep her busy till bedtime and to use the tiny bit of milk we had left. When the little bit of milk was finished, she gestured that she wanted more. In the sippy cup. Even after we climbed into bed, she kept the sippy cup and wouldn’t let me take it away. I lay down next to her, she continued to drink from the cup. I offered her the breast, she kept drinking from the cup. I felt rejected. It was the first time that she had chosen a plastic teat over my warm, comforting breast. Then, she bit that teat and pulled at the sippy cup with the teat firmly between her teeth and I was really grateful that she had just rejected me not long before. Sheesh! When she does bite, it hurts!

 

She is too young to wean and I am dreading the when she does. I am saddened by the thought. I can’t imagine myself breastfeeding a child of Elijah’s age and maybe she will wean before then. Maybe she won’t. Will I want to wean her before then? It is hard for me to say. Right now I am enjoying our special time together, the way she looks up into my face with those big blue eyes when we reunite with a feed at the end of a long day apart. It is also amazing to me how quickly she is comforted after getting hurt/upset by just latching on. I never had such a convenient and effective tool with Elijah. It really has been so much easier.

 

I am eternally grateful for this journey and the close bond it has created between me and my daughter. I will forever be a breastfeeding advocate and encourage my friends and eventually my daughter to breastfeed their babies for as long as they can. Having been on both sides of the feeding fence, I know that there are challenges and that it is hard, but I am living proof that there is hope. My La Leche League Leader wrote an article about helping us in the early days for Breastfeeding Today, an online magazine. If you would like to read it, click here. The article is on page 14.

 

Here’s to many more special moments!
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