Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Layering: Emerald Siren or Agro Champagne

This is another Hunger Games manicure, and I have to admit, it looked better in my mind than it does in person. I blame it all on the sheerness of Scalding Emerald. Kind of. Okay, and maybe a little bit of bad color choicitis. Have you heard of it? It's going around...

Polishes Used:

1 Coat Beauty Secrets Ridge Filler
2 Coats China Glaze Agro
2 Coats CoverGirl Scalding Emerald
1 Coat Spoiled Champagne Siren
1 Coat CoverGirl Scalding Emerald
1 Coat Borghese Clear Coat
1 Coat Essie Good to Go

After my Catching Fire manicure, I wanted to try a layering using polishes from both of the Hunger Games collections. I knew I wanted to use 1 of the 3 Glosstinis that didn't make it into the Catching Fire Gradient, so that left me with Pyro Pink, Scalding Emerald, and Violet Flicker. I only own 3 of the 12 China Glaze Hunger Games polishes... Agro, Fast Track, and Riveting. Out of those choices, it seemed natural to pair Agro from China Glaze with Scalding Emerald from CoverGirl.

China Glaze Agro is a really pretty metallic olive green polish. If you look closely enough at it, you'll see very fine shimmery particles, not all that different from those found in Scalding Emerald. I used Scalding Emerald and Champagne Siren to create a gradient effect at my cuticles. But it didn't really show up. You can kind of see it, but for the most part, it just looks like I painted Scalding Emerald on right over top.

I haven't ever worn Agro before, and if I had, I probably would've timed my layers a little better. I'm guessing it's because of the metallic semi-foil finish, but it dried really fast. When I painted on the second coat, it was a little gloppy. After a decent night of thrashing in my sleep, I managed to completely wreck my thumbnails.

Do I like this layering? Meh. It's not that I don't, but it's not that I do, either. I think it could use something else to liven it up, but I'm not really sure what. I thought Champagne Siren would do that, and it just did nawt. Oh well!

What do you think? Would you wear it?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Layering: Catching Fire Gradient

"Tick, Tock." About time for a Capitol Collection nail look, huh? This tumblr post has been sending pings to my phone constantly over the past week. So, naturally the Capitol Collection has been on the forefront of my mind. I've also been wanting to try a vertical gradient mani for a while. Sooooo... instead of keeping it simple or anything, (because really, what's the fun in that?) I did a whole-hand gradient, then proceeded to take a zillion pics of it. :)

CoverGirl Black Heat, Seared Bronze, Inferno, Rogue Red, Flamed Out, Sulfur Blaze

CoverGirl Capitol Collection Catching Fire Gradient

CoverGirl Black Heat, Seared Bronze, Inferno, Rogue Red, Flamed Out, Sulfur Blaze

CoverGirl Black Heat, Seared Bronze, Inferno, Rogue Red, Flamed Out, Sulfur Blaze

CoverGirl Black Heat, Seared Bronze, Inferno, Rogue Red, Flamed Out, Sulfur Blaze

CoverGirl Black Heat, Seared Bronze, Inferno, Rogue Red, Flamed Out, Sulfur Blaze

CoverGirl Capitol Collection Catching Fire Gradient Manicure

CoverGirl Catching Fire Gradient Layering Manicure

CoverGirl Catching Fire Gradient Manicure

CoverGirl Catching Fire Manicure

Materials Used:

Face Secrets Cosmetic Wedges
1 Coat Beauty Secrets Ridge Filler
1 Coat Revlon Barely Peach (undies)
2 or 3 Coats CoverGirl Black Heat (base)
CoverGirl Seared Bronze (gradient)
CoverGirl Inferno (gradient)
CoverGirl Rogue Red (gradient)
CoverGirl Flamed Out (gradient)
CoverGirl Sulfur Blaze (gradient)
2 Coats Borghese Clear Coat
1 Coat Essie Good To Go

Okay, so my inspiration for this manicure was simple. I wanted a gradient that would express what coal looks like as it catches fire. It took a little bit of time, but I'm really happy with the way this turned out.

First things first, I picked out the colors from the collection that I thought would blend across the flame spectrum nicely. This turned out to include Black Heat, Seared Bronze, Inferno, Rogue Red, Flamed Out, and Sulfur Blaze. Six colors meant 2 colors on 1 nail, 3 colors on the other 4. My gradients were as follows:

Pinky: Black Heat, Seared Bronze
Ring: Black Heat, Seared Bronze, Inferno
Middle: Seared Bronze, Inferno, Rogue Red
Pointer: Inferno, Rogue Red, Flamed Out
Thumb: Rogue Red, Flamed Out, Sulfur Blaze

I thought doing a gradient like this would consist of simply painting the outside shades and using the middle polish to combine the outer colors, but that didn't work. If you do that, you'll get really obvious stripes. I also thought I could use Revlon Barely Peach as a base coat, and only use Black Heat in the gradient. That didn't work out so well either. Seared Bronze is much too sheer for that. I went back and used Black Heat as my base, but in hindsight, I would recommend just a plain black creme polish. Much easier, and you can save the prettiness that is Black Heat!

Before I started on the gradients, I let Black Heat dry for a good 5 minutes. I worked from left pinky to right pinky, left ring to right ring, and so forth down the line. When I got to my thumb, I realized that Sulfur Blaze was insanely vibrant over black. So, I had to go back over some of the previous nails to match the intensity of the color. Using the edges of the cosmetic wedge, I softly dabbed to blend the colors together. Dabbing does change the texture and finish of the polish, so my nails really needed the 2 coats of clear AND Good to Go.

Do I consider myself a nail "artist?" Umm, no. (mainly 'cause I can't draw. period.) BUT... I'm really proud of how this turned out. If you're going to give it a try, I'd recommend having a plan before you start and making sure you have plenty of time. Getting the gradient right took me about an hour, and it really did turn out pretty similarly to what I had pictured. That doesn't always happen... so, Yay!

CoverGirl Capitol Collection Limited Edition Nail Glosstinis
CoverGirl Sulfur Blaze, Flamed Out, Rogue Red, Inferno, Seared Bronze, and Black Heat

CoverGirl Catching Fire Gradient Layering Manicure
Blurry, yes. But it captures the gradient nicely. :)

CoverGirl Black Heat, Seared Bronze, Inferno, Rogue Red, Flamed Out, Sulfur Blaze
l to r: MACRO Pinky, Ring, Middle, Pointer, Thumb

One more thing... has anyone spotted the Capitol Collection Nail Art Stickers? I've seen a couple different displays from the collection, but none of them have had the stickers. Boo. :(

What do you think of my Catching Fire mani?

State of the Sparkle *002*

November has turned into quite the crazy month. Between Peanut, NaNoWriMo, work, and life in general... I've been one busy, busy, chica.

1. So, CoverGirl reblogged this collage from my tumblr, resulting in beaucoup traffic here at the Sparkle. Just wanted to say thanks, and how insanely cool is social media? Blows my mind sometimes, really. (I'm a nerd like that.) It's driven a lot of traffic towards el bloggo AND my tumblr, and inspired the nail look I'm currently rocking. And... in case you missed it the first time around... The Capitol Collection Nails Looks and my swatches of the Cover Girl Capitol Collection Nail Glosstinis.

2. I have 463 unread posts on bloglovin' at the moment. I'm curious how many I'll have by the time November's over. Also excited. A good backlog of post reading usually leads to random bursts of creativity. :)

3. My novel. It's been taking up a lot of time, and while FAR from perfect, (we're only first drafting here) I really like where it's headed. And I'm still in it to win it and all that. I reeeeally want to make it to 50,000 words. You can learn more about NaNoWriMo here.

4. Peanut... Can I just say she's walking around here, there, and everywhere?!? She's getting pretty good at it too. In shoes and out of shoes. Socks can be tricky on slippery floors, but she's getting it, folks. Here's to hoping she does NAWT have my balance OR coordination. ('Cause I've got none. Zero. Zilch.)

4b. She's saying sooooo many words! Apple, Elmo, Dada, Mama, Hi, Down, Yes, Meh, (Milk) Bye... I can't even tell you how much I love hearing that little voice.

4c. Elmo makes her really, REALLY happy. We lost misplaced him, (she hid him) and I had to get her another one, because her minus that little red monster is just nawt good. ANYWAY. We got her a Murray (whom she calls Elmo) in the meantime, then found the original Elmo. Now, when the 3 of them get together... look out because Peanut's mind just can't process all that fuzzy red cuteness. She freaks the freak out, and it is tres adorable!

4d. I know I'm really behind when it comes to posting about Peanut... That whole turning 1 thing? I swear, I'll get there!

Mo-om... What are you waiting for?!?

5. I've missed blogging. I didn't really realize how much until I started this post. (and now I can't stop typing.) But... the novel... it needs me. Keagan and Trey do too. :)

6. Thanksgiving is next Thursday... did that just appear on the calendar? Where'd the year go? Sheesh. But I'm so ready for turkey and stuffing, followed by turkey and filling, and allllll the wonderful stuffs that go with it. We get to have 2 Thanksgiving meals, and I rather enjoy the turkey coma. I can't wait to see how Peanut reacts to all of it!

7. Black Friday... not planning any shopping that I know of. Seriously. I'm on a HohohoNoBuy here!

8. And speaking of the No Buy... it's still going really well. Keeping busy is key, I think. If I have downtime and find myself perusing the sale fliers... Then I'm done for. But yeah, I still haven't used up the 12 Treats of Christmas... Can you believe it? (I know, I'm kinda in shock myself.)

I think that's all for now. Seriously. 9344 and counting... Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

State of the Sparkle *001*

Yep... I know it's been a while. But there was Peanut's 1st Birthday, Halloween, and a whole whirlwind of stuff going on. In other words... I've been busy, and not always in the ways that I want to be!

But that's quite enough whining, right? Right.

I'm back to being an Apple Fangirl and I couldn't be happier to be home. I gave Android the good old college try and everything... really, I did. I'm back from the darkside and loving my iPhone. It doesn't have a name yet, but wow is it good to be home. And the camera? LOVING the way it captures some of my more tricky shades of polish. My camera camera doesn't like purples and teals, so it's nice to have something that photographs those hues accurately. (Happy Dance!)

On a side note, it's the first time in over a year that I haven't had a pink case on my phone. No real reason, other than I haven't found that purrrfect non-season specific hot pink. See here, here, or here for reference... :)

Of course, in the search for that particular color, I also found a bunch of other cases for my wishlist. And when I say a bunch, it's way more than a few... and oddly, none of them are pink. Huh.

Last Friday marked the start of NaNoWriMo, and I'm officially participating. Yep, that's another thing that's been taking up my time! Fair warning that for the rest of the month, my existence might be a little sparse over here. I'm really trying to finish this year! In case you haven't heard of it... NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month... 30 Days of Writing to end up with 50,000 words. It's basically a kick in the butt to get you writing with all kinds of support from other kindred souls.

And remember that No Buy I started?

I'm actually doing REALLY well. No seriously... I haven't violated my rules, or used up any of the Treats of Christmas so far! It's been tough... there are SO many holiday polishes coming out, it's not even funny!!! That's not to say that I haven't gotten a few polishes within the rules. Mr. Sparkle was nice enough to buy me some from Gap. I definitely dug them out of a bin, because, well, have you seen Bright Pool? Plus, they were 50% off!

Other than that, I had a giftcard for CVS, so when they stocked the Revlon Parfumerie display, I was finally able to get my greedy little hands on Ginger Melon, Chocolate Truffle, and Lime Basil.

I'm wearing Lime Basil right now, and I'm REALLY loving this shade. It's Day 2, and the scent has completely faded, but the color is definitely still going strong. It would actually be a nice color for an iphone case, now that I think about it...

So, that's pretty much what's being going on around Chez Sparkle lately. What's been going on in your neck of the woods?