Sunday, December 28, 2014

I Love Nail Polish Ultra Chrome Flakies - Complete Collection Swatch & Review

I Love Nail Polish Ultra Chrome Flakies Collection via @chalkboardnails
If you're a part of the nail polish community, no doubt you've heard and seen all of the hype around the I Love Nail Polish Ultra Chrome Flakies collection! Not only are these polishes stunning, but they come in a wide range of colors to satisfy all of your flakie needs.

All swatches show one coat of the flakie over a black base. Be sure to look towards the edges of my nails to check out some of the more dramatic color shifts, as I've shot my nails at an angle to show as much of the multichromatic effect in one photo as possible. I've also tried to arrange my pictures in color order, so you can easily compare some of the more similar shades. Happy viewing!

I Love Nail Polish - Atlantis
I Love Nail Polish - Atlantis via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Luna
I Love Nail Polish - Luna via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Metropolis
I Love Nail Polish - Metropolis via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Phoenix
I Love Nail Polish - Phoenix via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Supernova
I Love Nail Polish - Supernova via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Cold Fusion
I Love Nail Polish - Cold Fusion via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Gaia
I Love Nail Polish - Gaia via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Success
I Love Nail Polish - Success via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Open Fields
I Love Nail Polish - Open Fields via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Brilliance
I Love Nail Polish - Brilliance via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Rapture
I Love Nail Polish - Rapture via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Electric Carnival
I Love Nail Polish - Electric Carnival via @chalkboardnails

I Love Nail Polish - Neon Rosebud
I Love Nail Polish - Neon Rosebud via @chalkboardnails

The flakies are metallic instead of translucent, which means that they don't require a black/dark base to show off their colors, unlike other flakies you may be used to. Another effect of the metallic flakies is that on the nail, the flakies can look dark until they catch the light.

They apply smoothly and evenly, and sit flat on the nail. They are not hungry for multiple coats of topcoat like a glitter would be. They remove easily with regular nail polish remover (no foil method necessary).

My favorites are Neon Rosebud, Brilliance, and Metropolis.

Here are some additional swatch resources:
More Nail Polish shows Neon Rosebud sponged on for full coverage.
Coewless Polish shows Luna over a white base to demonstrate the opacity of the flakies.

I Love Nail Polish lacquers are available at You can also keep up with the brand on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Serum No. 5 Fall 2014 Swatches and Review

Serum No. 5, a brand known for their glow in the dark shades, released a large lineup of polishes this fall. I've got swatches to share with you today, including glitters, holographics, shimmers, and of course, their signature glows.

I've also got a quick personal update at the end of this post, for any of you that are curious about what I've been up to lately.

A Class Act is a pinky holo. Unfortunately, my camera struggles with pinks, so it looks a bit redder here rather than pink. I really liked wearing this shade. It's flattering on the hands and work appropriate without being boring. Two coats with a nice formula.

Serum No. 5 A Class Act via @chalkboardnails

Beam Me Up is a golden/tan glow in the dark shade with microshimmer. I needed three coats for the opacity shown here, plus two coats of topcoat to try to smooth out the roughness of the glow pigments. I don't think this shade is super flattering on me either, unfortunately.

Serum No. 5 Beam Me Up via @chalkboardnails
Serum No. 5 Beam Me Up via @chalkboardnails

Dark Matter has a olive-brown base with heavy orange/pink shimmer and it glows green in the dark. Like Beam Me Up, I needed three coats and two coats of topcoat to achieve the look below.

Serum No. 5 Dark Matter via @chalkboardnails
Serum No. 5 Dark Matter via @chalkboardnails

First Colors is a white semi-opaque base with blue, red, and yellow glitters. I used three coats of First Colors in my swatch, though next time I would probably layer one coat over white instead. I love that all of the glitters in this polish are on the smaller side, as I don't really find myself drawn to large glitters these days.

Serum No. 5 First Colors via @chalkboardnails

Fractured Rainbows is a glow in the dark opalescent flakie topper. I layered one coat over CND Vinylux Indigo Frock for the swatch below.

I had trouble deciding how to layer this one: do I go with a dark color to help the flakies show up better, or do I go with a light color to boost the glow in the dark effect? As you can see, I went with the dark base, which makes the flakies pop but does affect the glowiness.

Serum No. 5 Fractured Rainbows over navy via @chalkboardnails
Serum No. 5 Fractured Rainbows via @chalkboardnails

Galactic Rainbow is a glow in the dark shade with a reddish brown base and blue/teal shimmer. I used three coats for the swatch below, and you may need two coats of topcoat as well. It flattered my skin tone nicely, I think.

Serum No. 5 Galactic Rainbow via @chalkboardnails
Serum No. 5 Galactic Rainbow via @chalkboardnails

Leaves You Breathless is a clear-base glitter topper in shades of autumn leaves. I layered one coat over CND Vinylux Rose Brocade. The glitter was plentiful and went on easily.

Light Speed is a glow in the dark shade with a grey jelly base and teal blue shimmer. I absolutely love the way this one looks and it seemed to be a bit less gritty than some of the other glows. Three coats shown.

Serum No. 5 Light Speed via @chalkboardnails
Serum No. 5 Light Speed via @chalkboardnails

Sleepy Holo is a charcoal grey shade with a scattered holographic finish. I like coarse holographics like this one, and it covered well in two coats.

Serum No. 5 Sleepy Holo via @chalkboardnails

Tassel's Worth the Hassle is a glow in the dark shade with a dark grey-brown jelly base and gold & silver glitter. I think this would be a lovely New Year's polish! Three coats shown.

Serum No. 5 Tassel's Worth the Hassle via @chalkboardnails
Serum No. 5 Tassel's Worth the Hassle via @chalkboardnails

Work Hard Play Hard is a brown semi-opaque polish with blue, fuchsia, and gold glitters. The final effect is pretty busy, though the color palette is nice and the glitters complement the base well. I used three coats for the coverage below.

Serum No. 5 Work Hard Play Hard via @chalkboardnails

My top picks from this lineup would be Light Speed, Galactic Rainbow, and A Class Act.

New buyers should keep in mind that one of the prices you pay for a glow in the dark polish is a bumpier, sometimes grittier finish. Though not all Serum glows are like this, you may need to add an extra coat of topcoat to smooth some of them out.

Serum No. 5 shades are available via You can also catch the brand on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

I also want to take a quick moment to address the lack of posts from me lately. A lot of big things are happening in my life right now, not the least of which is a change in career! In January, I am going to begin nail school (more on this later). Right now, I'm busy at work with the regular Christmas season as well as trying to help the company transition, too.

In addition, I decided to MAKE all of my Christmas presents this year, which is no easy feat. Add that to all of the usual holiday festivities and get-togethers, and you end up with one busy gal. I hope to be able to pick up the post frequency at the end of the year, but for now, you can follow me on Instagram for some short tutorials and non-blog content.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lacquer Links: The Nail'd It Finale, Meeting Marsala, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Nail Art

I'm obsessed with this "women in politics" nail art by Nails By Mei.

During our last #NailGlossip Twitter chat, someone linked to this Audi brand nail polish! Who knew such a thing existed?

Pantone announced their Color of the Year for 2015! Meet Marsala. Truthfully, I wasn't thrilled with the selection at first, but it's really grown on me. I think it's a really luxe-yet-approachable shade. I wore it recently in Bio Seaweed Gel's Sienna.

This week, I wrapped up the Neiru fine lines workshop! I had a blast learning more about gel nail art. Check out my first, second, and third sets from the lessons.

I was browsing Sephora recently and noticed that a good selection of their awesome matte glitter toppers are on sale! Happy shopping!

Jacki's gingerbread house nail art is just... I can't even. It's so cute.

Did you catch the final episode of Nail'd It? Well, we have a winner! Congratulations to all of the finalists and competitors in the show!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TUTORIAL: Easy Splattered Floral Nail Art, Inspired by Nail'd It!

Easy floral nail art tutorial by @chalkboardnails
Tonight is the season finale of Oxygen's Nail'd It!, and I, for one, couldn't be more excited to see who takes home the $100,000 prize. THE SUSPENSE!

As a part of their final challenge, the competitors are asked to create nail art inspired by their signature look and artistic point of view. Today, I've got a tutorial for you that includes a taste of my artistic point of view! It includes lots of my favorite design elements, so let's take a look and go on a learning journey together.

P.S. In case you missed my television debut on the show three weeks ago, I'm making my triumphant return on tonight's episode to share a quick, 30 second glitter gradient tutorial!

Easy floral nail art tutorial by @chalkboardnails

For this tutorial, I incorporated a long list of my favorite things. First of all, I knew I wanted it to be matte. I am obsessed with matte nail art so it was a must for my design. Second, I wanted it to include bright colors and negative space. Third, I wanted it to be easy.

Wait, what? "Easy" is part of my artistic point of view? Well, kind of! While I love tackling intricate nail art and difficult patterns, I also love showing people that nail art isn't as scary as it can seem sometimes. It doesn't take mountains of time or an arsenal of expensive tools to pull off a really interesting, chic effect.

Supplies used:
Small nail art brush
Washi tape
LVX Cashmere
Julie G Old San Juan
Julie G Rio de Janeiro
Julie G Tahiti
Julie G Black Sheep
Glisten and Glow HK Girl
Essie Matte About You

Though I've used a nail art brush in my demo, this look could definitely be accomplished with a toothpick instead. Hop to it!

Easy floral nail art tutorial by @chalkboardnails

Tune in to the Nail'd It finale TONIGHT at 9/8c, only on Oxygen. Follow the show on their Facebook page, and join the conversation by following Oxygen on Instagram and using the hashtags #NailedIt and #ShowMetheMani. Don't forget, I'm briefly on tonight's episode!

Disclosure: This post has is sponsored by reps from Oxygen and Nail'd It!. Press samples provided by their respective representatives. All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Deck Your Nails Out With Girly Bits This Winter

Girly Bits Indie Nail Polish via @chalkboardnails
Let's face it... We don't need an excuse to deck out our nails with gorgeous shimmers, glitters, holographics, and textures. However, why not celebrate the season with luxurious lacquers and fantastic formulas from Girly Bits? Let's take a look at a few of the shades I've tried recently!

Arctic Sunrise is a beautiful bright blue with a heavy pink shimmer. I think it's appropriate for both winter and for upcoming spring and summer months. Gotta love a polish with good seasonal mileage! Three coats.

Girly Bits Arctic Sunrise via @chalkboardnails

Bette Davis Eyes is a pale silver with a light textured finish. Cool! This was one of the newer Girly Bits shades that I was most curious about. I wasn't disappointed, it's really neat. If you prefer low-intensity textured finishes, this one has a really subtle grit to it. Two coats.

Girly Bits Bette Davis Eyes via @chalkboardnails

Ho Ho Hope is a red-toned-violet holographic shade with a subtle holo rainbow. The formula was lovely, needing just two coats for the coverage shown, and the color is enchanting.

Girly Bits Ho Ho Hope via @chalkboardnails

Lover's Coral is a soft peachy-coral shade. I've worn this one twice recently, it's a great clean pink for when you are looking for something sweet and simple. Three coats.

Girly Bits Lover's Coral via @chalkboardnails

Too Hot For Pants is a red-fuchsia jelly with heavy shimmer and holo microglitter. It's a very rich shade, which makes it a perfect choice for the holidays. Two coats shown.

Girly Bits Too Hot For Pants via @chalkboardnails

Walk Like an Egyptian is one of my most favorite Girly Bits shades to date. This champagne gold is so luxurious. It's holographic in the sun, but looks just as lovely indoors! If you are a gold nail polish fan, this is totally a winner. This is three coats but many could get away with only two.

Girly Bits Walk Like an Egyptian via @chalkboardnails

So, which one is your favorite? I love the variety of colors, textures, and finishes in the Girly Bits lineup, and am always impressed by the formulas. My top picks would be Walk Like an Egyptian and Bette Davis Eyes. Siiiillllver and gooooold, siiiiilllver and gooooolllddd....

Girly Bits polishes are sold on and via distributors. Keep up with the brand on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more info.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wasabi and Caviar - An Exercise In Linework and Patience

Wasabi and Caviar by @chalkboardnails

Today is my birthday, and if you can believe it, my nails are actually naked right now! THE HORROR! I'm hoping to put something fun on them after I get home from work, but for now, I wanted to share a manicure I spent a lot of time on recently.

I am calling it wasabi and caviar for reasons that I hope are obvious! This entire design is handpainted with regular nail polish. It's some of my best linework to date, I think. Hooray for improvement there!

Wasabi and Caviar by @chalkboardnails

Nail polishes and products used:
LVX Midori
Formula X Dark Matter
Sally Hansen Stud Kit

If you want to attempt a design like this, I've got some tips!
  1. Get a small brush. I can't tell you how long I used a thicker nail art brush, cursing my lack of talent rather than the tool I was using. Once I got a thinner brush, it helped me immensely. I still had to keep practicing, but my old brush was definitely part of the problem. Trim down an old brush with cuticle nippers if you don't have a super thin one.
  2. Keep it clean. If you're using polish (instead of acrylic paint or gel), clean your brush frequently with 100% acetone and regularly put down more polish onto your palette. Polish dries quickly and can wreck your fine lines if it isn't the right consistency.
  3. Small mistakes aren't the end of the world. You can use a clean nail art brush dipped in acetone to gently "erase" small mistakes from your work; just be careful not to go too crazy or it will eat through your base color. In this case, I put a layer of topcoat between the wasabi shade and my black linework for extra protection.
  4. Be patient. This shit isn't fast. When you factor in my previous tips and the detail of the work, you just gotta know it's not going to be easy to bust it out in 45 minutes. I like to put on Netflix and take breaks every so often to stretch out.

Wasabi and Caviar by @chalkboardnails

I just love this kind of strange green color, and the thick blingy stud nail is just the right amount of "odd" to go with it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Deborah Lippmann Celebration Nail Lacquer Trio Swatches and Review

Deborah Lippmann Celebration Trio via @chalkboardnails

Deborah Lippmann has been a busy gal this holiday season! There are lots of great mini lacquer sets available from the brand right now, and one of them is the Celebration Nail Lacquer Trio, made for Deb's 15th anniversary. The three polishes come in a nice gift box with an artistic marbled background featuring the shades in the set.

Big Spender is a yellow gold metallic foil. I used three coats for the coverage you see here. Unfortunately, I don't think this shade is very flattering, but others may enjoy this kind of vibrant gold.

Deborah Lippmann Big Spender via @chalkboardnails

It's My Party is a blue, peach, gold, and red glitter topper in a clear base. The mix of colors is so cute! I chose to layer one coat over Deborah Lippmann Don't Stop Believin' (not included in the set) to show the glitter more clearly. I want to try this one layered over black.

Deborah Lippmann It's My Party via @chalkboardnails

New York State of Mind is a glowy cherry red shimmer. People that aren't normally into reds may be swayed by this beauty. It covered perfectly at two coats. Totally gorgeous.

Deborah Lippmann New York State of Mind via @chalkboardnails

This set retails for $29 and includes three mini lacquers (.27 oz). Lippmann mini bottles are my favorite -- they are just like her full size square, heavy bottom bottles, except cuter! It's not an inexpensive brand, but the mini sets are a great way to dip your toes in if you've been curious about Deb's polishes.

The Celebration trio is available now from retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales and is also available from