Saturday, September 3, 2016

Review of Kleancolor Duochrome 3D polishes

Whew! What a bumpy ride!  As many of you know about 4 weeks ago I was sick with some sort of virus.  It just about did me in.  I thought I was much better 2 weeks ago only to have new symptoms appear.  Exhaustion was the biggest issue.
However, fingers crossed I really think I am almost well.  That being said, it has been FOREVER since I blogged.  I missed it and I missed your comments. So let's get this party started!
Today I am going to do a review of some Kleancolor DuoChrome 3D polishes I picked up cheap on Amazon.
They are beautiful in the bottle.  I primarily got them to use for stamping.  I have not used them for that purpose yet and after swatching them as regular nail polish I am a little hesitant as to whether they will do the job.  I will let you know the results at a later time.
When I opened the first bottle I was met with an odor.  It was not very pleasant.  The smell was not like your typical "nail polish" smell but rather a strong chemical smell.  That occurred with each bottle.  I will say that I broke up the swatching on two different days.  The second day I didn't notice the smell as strong as the first day so maybe that first try my nose was a little sensitive.
Let's start with Diva/Tomboy.

At first glance in the bottle I could see the duochrome.  It was a purple into a greenish color.  However, when I put it on my nails it did not have that effect.  The purple color came through.  It is a jelly polish and this one required two moderate coats to get coverage. While I was taking pictures I noticed the tip of my forefinger was a little sheer so it probably could have used a third coat.
With all of these polishes I noticed they "pooled" on one side or another.  Despite several different attempts using more or less polish and different stroking techniques they all tended to pull to one side or another.
I do love this color despite it not having the 3D effect promised.
The next color I will talk about is Bold/Classic.

This color in the bottle had a brownish purple look to it.  As you can see the purple did not pick up in the swatch.  It is not quite brown.  I am not sure what color to call this.  It took 2 moderate coats to cover.  Again, I like this color despite not having the effect I expected.
The next color will be Wicked/Angelic.

This color lived up to it's promises.  As you can see in the bottle it has a rose/greenish look and that came across on my nails.  You can see the green especially on my tips.  This jelly polish would be excellent for a pond mani. The moment I put on the first coat, pond mani came to mind.  With each additional coat that thought became clearer. This is with three moderate coats.  You could probably get away with two more coats for total coverage. I loved this color. *Note to self: Find an image to try a pond mani with.
Next we will look at Bright/Moody.

This color is between an dark blue and a purple.  I couldn't decide what colors I was picking up in the bottle. However I loved this color.  Rich and dark.  This is two moderate coats.  While it did need two coats this polish definitely had more coverage than the others.  It also didn't pool to the sides as much. When I received this polish the cap was not on tight.  It may have been exposed to air and therefore is a thicker consistency.
Let's look at Flirty/Innocent.

 Can I say love at first stroke?  In the bottle it has a pink into gold look.  On the nails it is a beautiful dark pink.  You can see a shimmer of the gold if you hold your fingers just right.  This was three moderate coats.  I can see this being used as a stamping polish over a dark color, maybe over black.  Hmm...I will have to check into that.
Finally I bring you Vampy/Girly

This is a gold red in the bottle and a burnished red on my nails.  I truly love this color.  It went on well with two moderate coats.  While not a "Christmas red" I can see me using this during the holidays.
This brings to a close my review of the Kleancolor Duochrome 3D polishes.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing the swatches and reading my review.
I plan on keeping with my original plan of blogging every Tuesday and Friday. 
During my illness my nail care went awry.  Most of the time I didn't care due to being so sick.  At other times I noticed things like dry cuticles and rough hands.  It made me wonder "what do your nails say about your health?".
I have done some research and was amazed to find that your hands and nails can speak volumes about your general health.  My next post will explore some of those issues.
Until then, paint those nails!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sad Day

This is a sad day.  Sad because once again mental illness has raised it's ugly head and taken another senseless life.
This is my friend Ric. Today people will gather to talk about how wonderful he was.  What a great father, grandfather, friend, companion and co-worker he was.  Too bad it is because he is gone.
I want to share a bit about my friend.  And what I am about to say may surprise some people.
Ric and I worked together at Carter BloodCare.  He called me his "go to girl".  He was the manager over facilities and when we built our new location we spent a great deal of time together.  In fact I think my office was his first stopping place after arriving in our offices.
We used to talk about so many different subjects.  And laugh?  Boy did we laugh!
Ric loved my nails.  He loved my nail art.  When he came into my office one of the first things he would check and see was what was on my nails and toes.  The time I had a nail artist paint images of the Broadway play "Wicked" on my toes he even got on his knees to check them out closer.
We shared a love of '70s rock music.  Ric loved going to concerts and seeing all the old bands play.  Santana, Aerosmith, Doobie Brothers...he saw just about all of them.  I loved Heart and had told him it was on my "bucket list" to see them.
One day I get an email from him showing Heart playing in Dallas. I told him I was interested but would have to see about purchasing tickets later due to budgeting.  He insisted on getting them for us and said "we could work out the details after payday".  Well payday came and went.  And Ric refused to let me pay for those tickets.  Each ticket was about $110 each so we are looking at over $200.  Nothing I could do would change his mind.  He was paying for the tickets.

This is a picture of my husband and I at the concert.  It was the best concert I have ever seen.  I think I surprised Ric with how much fun I had.  I was out of my wheelchair dancing more than I was in it.
This is the best pic I have of Ric, his girl friend Karen and myself at the concert.  I honestly think Ric enjoyed the concert more because of how much I enjoyed it.  The twinkle in his eye was so fun!  It was a night I will never forget.  And it came at a time in my life where I was experiencing some life changing medical issues.  He did more for me with those tickets than I think he ever knew.
I did these nails in memory of that concert and of Ric.  I used the same colors I used the night of the concert, OPI Teal the Chics Come Home and OPI Unfrost My Heart.  They matched my blouse perfectly.  I thought the heart stenciling was appropriate in honor of the band Heart.
I think Ric would have been pleased.
Be kind to each other.  Never forget to tell those you love that you do indeed love them.  You never know when the last moment with them will be your last moment. 
I miss my friend.
Now wipe those tears and go paint your nails.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I'm late! I'm late!

Well so much for my Tuesday/Friday posting schedule.  This wickedly bad virus attacked me.  It pretended to be strep throat so I gulped down these horse pills for 5 days only to find it was a virus and not strep.  Doctor says it could last another 3-5 days.  I am definitely not up to the energy of doing my nails (or even caring for them much. If you could see them you would shake your head).  But hopefully I am up to writing this post.  I haven't had my head out of bed much here lately so let's see!
Ok on with the nail show!  I will continue reviewing the Bow polishes.  Let's start with Divide and Conquer.

Pinky and index finger are done over black.  As previously done I painted the base color on and while still wet I did a light coat of the Divide and Conquer.  I followed this while everything was still wet with a side to side (horizontally) heavier coat. I applied the magnet horizontally and then vertically for about 3-5 seconds.  After that dried I applied a layer of the top coat and the magnet the same.
The ring finger is done over white.  This picture is about my 3rd try on it.  While painting over the black while wet gives a nice effect, the white color "takes over" while wet and isn't as pretty.  I found giving it about a minute or two to dry helps.  The middle finger is with a clear base and I really like the marbling effect I got.
Here is the thumb over white done in the same manner. 
Now let's talk about my favorite color, Motivation!
Here I applied Motivation over black on all four nails.  On the pinky and index finger I applied in a diagonal method (all other steps the same).  On the ring and middle finger I did a horizontal method.  I don't know which I like better.  The are all so beautiful.

Here on the thumb I did a white base and a horizontal method.  Beautiful but not quite as dramatic as with the black.
As much as I don't want to, let's talk about Reboot.
Beautiful, huh?  A pain in the rear to work with.  Formula is thick. Gloppy.  Bubbles abound (as does vodka when you are through).
I contacted Color4Nails to see if this is a formula issue or if I just got a bad batch.  They sent an email to Dance Legend.  It has been a week and I haven't heard anything.  I will follow up with you.
To end on a good note, I wanted to share with you some dry marbling I did with these polishes.  I was inspired again by @de_briz (when does inspired become stalking...?)

The first is done over Motivation over black.  The second is done over Sirens over a clear base.  The jury is still out on which one I like better.
Ok I have now used all my energy.  But it felt good to do something productive.  Hopefully I will have another post for you on Friday.
Until then, have fun and go do your nails!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Second Chance

Relationships with nail polish are much like relationships with people.  You admire one from afar and decide you want to get to know them better.  You go on first date and it is awkward.  Neither of you are at your best.  You decide to keep trying.  Then MAGIC!  It is like you were always meant for each other.  Sparks fly, your heart beats. You want to be at your best and you want to bring out the best in the other.
So that being said, my first date with Bow polish did not go as well as I would have liked. There were not the wonderful color changes I expected. There were coverage issues. And then there were bubbles.  Lots of bubbles.  From first application to top coat.  Bubbles.
Luckily on Instagram there are very helpful, experienced nail artists who for the most part want to see others succeed.  I met three such individuals.  Janne from Denmark has beautiful magnetic nails.  Her nails are pretty much straight forward.  She specializes in bringing out the best using magnets and some basic nail art.  Zlata does wonderful things with magnetic polishes (and others) and is fabulous in bringing out the best that magnetized polish can do and is an absolute color specialist.  Then there is Kombucha Witch.  She is a design artist.  Please take a moment to visit these ladies and see their fabulous work.
So after messaging back and forth and seeing a video from Zlata I was ready to take on Bow polishes again.  Let's start with Revel.
From the beginning I loved the color but really did not expect much change with the magnet.  And I was right.  The first time.  Then I tried again.  There are two styles of application of these polishes that seem to bring out the best.  This is an example of the first style. Each nail is worked start to finish individually before moving on to the next nail.  Each nail had a medium base coat (with the exception of the index finger which has no base).  The base should not be too thick and complete coverage is not necessary. Do not allow the base to dry.  Paint a fairly thin coat of Bow polish like normal.  You may notice some blending or swirling of the base with the Bow.  That is fine.  Then working left to right (or right to left, your preference) make diagonal strokes.  This should be medium thickness.  Again do not worry if your base comes through some.  Immediately place the magnet (on it's side) diagonally across the nail and then across the nail in the other direction.  Do this for no more than 3-5 seconds each time.  You will notice a color change.  The Bow will be brighter and the individual flecks of color will come out.
The index finger has no color base.  It has a wonderfully rust, coppery, pinkish color.  The ring finger is a white base.  Amazingly this really brings out the pink in this polish.  The basic color is a light reddish/pinkish red color and the flecks of pink are prominent.  It is my favorite.  The middle finger and pinky has vivid, fiery copper streaks made more beautiful with the contrast of the black that peaks through.
I topped this with INM Out the Door topcoat and loved the results. I passed the magnet again like I had the first time and it brought out more vivid colors. My prior attempt had used Sally Hansen Big Shiny Top Coat and these polishes do not respond well to it.  Major problems with bubbles.  My Seche Vite was thick (yuck) so I didn't really try that.
While we are talking about bubbles, on the first try I had small bubbles from the start.  I believe this is due to the fact I was not just making one diagonal pass with the color but rather a double cross hatch.  It was simply too much polish.
Now let's talk Sirens.

I had some success the first time with Sirens.  I was able to bring out a nice cat eye effect with the polish. But there were issues with bubbles.  As I addressed before, I think this was due to the cross hatching and wrong top coat.
The thumb uses a a white base.  It had a lovely pearl like effect.  I loved it.  The bottom picture shows it over black.  The contrast here is fabulous.  The blue is so vibrant and has so many individual shades over the black.
While I didn't do nail art on this round of Revel, I did use some nail decals on Sirens.

I really like the look of the silver over the blue/black nails.  I will be honest.  I kind of swooned over these nails.
Now let's talk Paranoia.

While the results of the second try on the first two polishes was pretty dramatic, the second try of Paranoia wasn't so much.  On my first picture I did the index finger and ring finger with white base and the middle finger and pinky with a black base.  There was a slightly more bluish green look and a lighter overall appearance to the ones with the white base than with the black base but that is all.  The blue, pink and copper flecks all show about equally. 
Remember when I told you there were two basic thoughts on how to apply the polish?  I did the diagonal strokes on the first two colors.  On these nails I did the same procedure until the last coat.  I went horizontally left to right with the polish and used the magnet vertically and horizontally (like a plus sign) for about 3-5 seconds each.
The thumb is done with no base and I used a diagonal brush/magnet stroke.  Again not much difference than in the first tries.  I did use my new INM Out the Door topcoat with great success.
Since I received my gift of charms from NailArt Elegance, I have enjoyed using them on several manis.  Here is another "under the sea" mani.

I promise my posts will not always be this long.  I strive to keep you interested while providing information I feel is important.  My next post will review Motivation, Divide & Conquer and Reboot.  You will want to see this post. It is my plan to post on Tuesday and Friday of each week.
I encourage you to try something new.  Find what you really like to do. While I will always enjoy using my normal polishes and trying new nail art, I can tell my true love will be magnetic polishes.  I hope to try a couple of others including Masura.  I want to try all the techniques I use with my normal polishes with these magnetic beauties.  I want to push my boundaries of nail design and see what I am capable of.  Please join me in this journey.
Now grab your polish and paint those nails!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Bow Polish Review Part 1

I have always had a love affair with nail polish.  Even when I was having someone else do my nails I had a larger collection of OPI than my nail tech.
Recently I have been having a scandalous affair with Sally Hansen magnetic polishes. I was amazed at what those colors looked like on my nails and that magnet, oh that magnet did a magical dance with the metal particles in the polish.
Still, I wondered.  Is there more?  Am I missing out on another magnetic polish that can make my heart beat stronger?
Then I saw some Russian nail art witches.  I use the word "witch" in the most highest esteem.  Because clearly they can cast spells on those polishes that make them do fabulous things.  Bow polish by Dance Legend and (oh I may faint) Masura polish are the ones most commonly used.
Since Masura takes so long to get here from Russia & since I was blessed with a polish gift, I ordered Bow from Color4Nails here in the US.
I ordered six colors.  I am going to review 3 of them in this post.  Let me start by saying it has been a difficult start to our relationship.  My regular polishes have been in a rebellion with me over my lack of use of them and I suspect my Sally Hansen polishes heard I might replace them and threatened the Bow polishes.
Let's start with Revel.  It is a coppery shimmery color with flecks of pink and swirls of light golden olive green and rust red.  A glorious polish.  I fell in love with this one at first sight.  However the picture on the online store catalog gave me my first indication that this would not work magic with the magnet.  That indication was right.
Let me just say I am still happy, even thrilled with this polish but clearly it isn't much of a magnetic polish.  This is over a black base.  I pulled all the stops out on this one trying to get it to work.
I painted a thin coat of polish followed by diagonal hatch painting in both directions from top of nail to bottom.  I did a 5 second horizontal and a 5 second vertical magnet application.  Not much difference.  I let dry five minutes then applied a top coat of Sally Hansen Big Shiny Top coat.
While still wet I did a 7 second diagonal and a 5 second side of the nail magnet.  Again not much difference.
Here is a picture with a nail charm I was gifted by IG@nailart_elegance
I then moved to Paranoia.  I thought this was a shimmery olive green.  It looks that way in the bottle. But the base of the polish is a deep blue green.  Not teal, blue green. It has flecks of light blue and pink along with a shimmer of copper and olive green.  My first application did not go well.  I used it over a black base and did the same techniques I had used with Revel.  I got a little response but not the "amazing" look I was going for.
Here is the first try with and without a nail charm:

Not willing to give up trying I then applied Paranoia over a clear base coat.  I was a little more aggressive with the magnet.  I moved it around in different positions, even going in a circle both after the initial application and after the SH Big Shiny Top Coat.  Fantabulous! All of the different colors came out.  On the ring finger a deep beautiful blue and on the pinky a citriney (is that a word?) green. Here is a single shot and then a side by side comparison with the first try on the left.
The third polish is Sirens.  It is described as a deep blue with turquoise shimmers.  It should really be described as a deep turquoise with lighter turquoise shimmers.  It is glorious. Be warned though.  As with all of the turquoisey, tealy colors it stains.  Even through a base coat.  I applied the color over a clear base coat.  I then applied the polish as I had the other two.  Oh and then the magnetic wonders started to occur.  I could see the change even before the top coat, but after the top coat it was more amazeballs! Light blue, dark blue, mottled blue we have it all.  So pretty!

Then I applied some sea themed charms:
And since I had two challenges that involve under the sea themes, I removed those charms and applied a nail decal with some starfish and seashell charms:
A few final notes:  Why do I do the cross hatching diagonal painting on the second coat?  Because I saw this done on a Masura tips video.  I have found it works nicely with the SH polishes too.
Also this polish needs more drying time than others before the top coat is applied and possibly between coats of polish.  I did not notice any small bubbles on the polish until I put the top coat on.  They seemed to look ok with the way the shimmers were but definitely not something I am thrilled about.
Cost comparison: Amazon had eight Sally Hanson polishes for a flat $15 including S&H and tax.  They are now $24.99.  The Bow sold on Color4Nails were $10 a piece and if you buy 4 or more polishes shipping is free and there is no tax.  I found a discount code on a blog (holly10) which took off 10%.  So the total for six polishes was $54.00.
The jury is still out on which ones I am going to continue my mad affair with.  I have two red, fucshia and a purple Bows that I will be trying out in the next few days and I will do a review on them in the blog post.  I will follow that up with a side by side (as much as possible) comparison between the two brands.

Now go paint your nails.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Art is art

Once upon a time I was a cross stitcher.  An avid cross stitcher.  I even hosted a blog that brought people from all over the world together to stitch projects to raise money for Relay For Life with ACS.
But I digress...
When I used to cross stitch I had three favorite times in the life of a project.  The first was when I pulled together all the threads and fabric for a new project.  I would lay the threads across the fabric and imagine what it would look like in the design.  The second was the first time I actually put a stitch in the fabric. It was almost orgasmic. I loved that first stitch.  I would admire it for a few minutes before going on.  The third was when the project was complete in all it's glory.  All the rest in between was just, well, stitching.  Which is good but not like the first three.
Nail art is like cross stitching, just more temporary.  When I first plan a project, I lay out all my polishes for it.  Sometimes I will lay out several shades of each one, imagining how they will all work together.  Then comes the first stroke of polish.  Whether it is a base of white or black or if it is actual color it is joyful.  I can see how the polish flows on my nail, whether it is opaque or doesn't quite cover.  And finally, the finished project.  When I take 128 shots trying to get the perfect picture, the one that shows the colors and the design in all it's glory.  I have been known to stand outside, waving my hand in the air in the cold or grabbing a piece of my basil plant in the hot as hell Texas heat.  I have held bottles, flowers, my husband's hand trying to get the right pose.  I have purchased cheap and not so cheap rings to highlight my art. I have developed a love/hate relationship with my phone camera.
My point is that whether it's cross stitch, painting on canvas, sculpting or nail art, art is art.  We pour our creative souls into our projects. We crave admiration for our project. We even want creative criticism. We strive to develop our talents and learn more techniques.  We admire those artists that sometimes have skills we only hope to achieve at some time in our life.
Art is art.  Don't worry about those who don't understand.  Instead go to those who share our love.
Now go paint those nails.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Well hello there!

If you are reading this blog, chances are you know me.  But do you really know me?  Hmm...
Well just in case you don't let me tell you a bit about me.  I am married to James, the love of my life (please don't tell my magnetic polishes that they are really second in line.  They may rebel and since my regular polishes seem to be upset with me over them I would be up a creek without a paddle).  I am the mother of Jennifer and Chris (technically my son-in-law but who cares) and I am grandmother to Trenton and Craig.
Up until 18 months ago I had a 25 year career in blood banking, working with patients and donors and saving lives every day.  I was the "go to girl" for just about everything.  But life (and God) had different plans for me.
January 27, 2015 I was laid off.  For most people that would be devastating.  However for me it was a God send.  My health had been declining and I knew I was going to have to apply for disability soon.  I was holding out until March that year when my boss was due to retire. It was getting harder and harder to come to work each day.  With the layoff came some benefits that would take me until my disability was approved. 
So now I am retired.  Now what?  My mom was living with me and I was taking care of her.  Or was she taking care of me?  My daughter said it was the blind leading the blind.  Then about August last year Mom took a turn for the worse.  In October she went into hospice and left us as an angel on November 1.
Again, now what?  My friends and family said "get a hobby".  My health wouldn't allow me to do anything requiring a lot of standing or walking.  My breathing was not good and at times I require oxygen.  So I was limited.  I was always a "princess".  I liked having my hair, nails and feet done.  I had dabbled in some simple nail art.
So in January I started watching some YouTube videos and purchased a few nail art supplies.  I learned a lot of new terms: gradients, fan brush technique, nail stamping, water marbling (grr!) and pond mani.  My daughter (eyes rolling and lots of sighing) helped me get on Instagram.  I joined in on some nail challenges.  If I didn't know how to do it I Google'd it.  Google and YouTube became my closest "friends".
Soon I was driving everyone around me crazy.  I talked nails.  Did I say I talked nails?  I meant I obsessed about nails.  I had been posting my pictures of my nails on Facebook but soon it became too much for some.  Questions like "why do you paint your nails so much" and "why do you just do one hand" were common.
But on Instagram I found people just like me. People who loved nails.  People who supported my love and my art.  People I could learn from.  Some people, I found out, were just like me.  Retired or disabled, just trying to find their way in the world again.
I can truly say my nail art skills have grown.  I still have much to learn.  My newest love is magnetic polishes.  They are amazing.  I am having a great time pushing the limits with them and seeing what they can really do.
So there it is.  The end of my explanation of who I am.  Uh, well, there is one more thing.  One more itty bitty nail witch thing...
You may be wondering why my blog is named "Itty Bitty Nail Witch".  You see I am a large woman, but a very short woman.  I had the joy of visiting my local ER a week ago (all is good).  I was sitting in a chair and when the evening nurse came to help me transfer to a wheelchair so I could leave, she had no idea how short I was.  When I stood up she said "I wasn't expecting that. You are itty bitty!".  I have been called many things but Itty Bitty wasn't one of them.  So I decided that is my new nickname.  And since I have always dreamed of being a nail witch, well...Itty Bitty Nail Witch was born.
If you have gotten this far, I encourage you to follow me.  My Instagram info is on the right side of this blog.  I plan on sharing lots of nail info and pictures.  Nail fails and nail successes.  New (to me) techniques and new polishes and tools.
Now, let's go do our nails!