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Wednesday, July 29, 2015
I just now got my fall scents!  I am so excited about these fragrances.  I always get excited during the semi annual sale and they have the new scents sitting by the register.  Even though it's hot as crap outside and the last thing I am thinking about is fall.  Two of them are online exclusives (Cranberry Twist and Brandy Pear Tart).  Let's get started shall we?

 First up is Cranberry Twist - I love cranberry!!  It reminds me of Thanksgiving and Christmas and seeing how those are my two favorite holidays it would make total sense.  The ginger and citrus really blends quite well with the cranberry.  It smells much brighter than other cranberry scents.

"About This Fragrance

A medley of sharp berries, a hint of citrus zest, and a dash of fresh ginger make a refreshing concoction."

This scent is interesting.  I guess I was expecting more mint and eucalyptus but I think the pear and sage really tone the other notes down.  I really don't get a lot of the eucalyptus and the mint, however, it is definitely a fall fresh scent. "About This Fragrance

With the crisp scents of eucalyptus and mint layered beneath soft pear and sage, it's like that first deep breath of bright, clean air on a morning far, far away."

Autumn in the Park was the one I fell in love with straight out of the box. This is fresh apples (Macintosh) with a touch of pumpkin.  Don't think just because it has pumpkin and apple that it is Apple Pumpkin because you would be miss out!  this is such a great signature fall scent. 

"About This Fragrance

The scent of fresh peeled apple and the crispness of fallen leaves--it's definitely fall. We've added in a dash of lemon zest and a hint of pumpkin to capture an afternoon on a gorgeous autumn walk."

I am super excited to try this fragrance!  This is the other one that is an online exclusive but I had to have this.  I am glad I picked up two because I love how it smells cold.  It smells like a pear tart..super yummy! SUPER sweet pear and brandy mingling in this wax melt.  You do you get some bakery notes but it is not the main thing you smell.  

"About This Fragrance

The rich scent of baked pear in a sugary confection with a hint of brandy--a delicious reminder of your favorite café pastries."

Lush Berries was another fragrance I was really wanting to try since I loved BBWs Summer Berries and I pretty much love things berry.  This smells like it has grapes, blackberries, blueberries and maybe a touch of raspberries.  Sweet and jam like.  

"About This Fragrance

A basket of just-picked berries, sweet and juicy and full with harvest sun—savor the freshness."

I was suckered in when I saw the picture on the label.  Is that a churro?  What ever it is, I am all about it.  This reminds me of Be Thankful but it has of course spice because it's in the name.  It isn't a choke you to death cinnamon so if you are willing to try out something with a little bit of spice to it, this might be an option. 

"About This Fragrance

A mouthwatering swirl of cinnamon, buttery vanilla, and sugar crystals all baking together—guaranteed to fill your home with smiles."

I will be honest, this didn't sound like something  would like.  I have tried alcohol type scents before and they are just odd, in my opinion. This one, however, has changed my mind.  I actually really like how warm and "bourbon" like this is..Now as I stated on my YouTube video...I don't sit around smelling bourbon so I might be missing some key elements here but this is a very warm and creamy vanilla.  Definitely makes fr the perfect vanilla fall scent.  "About This Fragrance

A traditional warm-me-up on a cold winter's day--a mug full of something steaming topped with a layer of thick vanilla cream and laced with a dash of strong bourbon."



I figured since I have a lot of polishes and I love to stamp I would pick a couple polishes and show which works best.  This entry has three polishes: Dark Knight by Funky Fingers, Black Creme by Wet N Wild, and Black On Black by Sinful Colors.  Now, I do own some Mundo De Unas polishes and a few actual stamping polishes. I didn't want to bring them out because I want to show you some inexpensive alternatives.  You'll need to try them out and see what works best for you.

 First up, Sinful Colors Black on Black 103.  This is your standard black by this company.  It has a pretty good formula for a regular manicure.  It's a thin polish so I would say it is the most opaque polish I have used for stamping but if you are in a pinch and need something to stamp with, it will totally work.  I'm not sure if you will be able to see anything under the black (if you have something like a gradient on your nails as a base coat).  Perhaps if you are planning on doing a reverse stamping thing it will work just fine.
To the left, you will see a sample of a stamp on white paper.  This is super thin when you scrape the plate but it's still there so don't stop...proceed because believe it or not it will pick up on your stamper. 

Next, I am sharing Funky Fingers Dark Knight.  I bought this polish from Five Below.  It's by the same company that makes Color Club and Fresh Paint which is also sold at Five Below.  This is my favorite polish to stamp with since it is super opaque. You have to work kind of fast because it will start to dry on the plate as soon as you scrape.  If you try to scrape over it more than once it won't pick up on the stamper.     This does a great job with the really intricate designs.  It helps since it is so dark everything really pops.  Go.  Go Now...seriously go now and get this polish.  Seriously I can buy 3 of these for $5.  That makes these like a $1.67 a bottle.  As you can see, it's a beautiful dark black.  OoOoO.  I will keep buying it as long as they make it.

Last up is Wet N Wild's Black Creme from the Wild Shine line.  The price tag is right around what I would want to spend...$0.99 and you can find it at drug stores which is very convenient.  If I didn't have a Five Below in my area (which mine JUST opened about two weeks ago) I am sure this would be the polish I would use for stamping.  This is the old bottle (just in case you were heading out to find this).  It works just fine and the formula is thin and smooth.  When you scrape the plate, it almost looks like it disappears but no worries it's still there however, you will need to be careful...this polish seems to be squishy and it will come out of the design (as you can see on the example).  It isn't as opaque as the Funky Fingers but it is dark enough.  I think with some practice this would be a suitable stamping polish.

Here are the three polishes together so you can actually see the differences between them.  Funky Fingers is obviously my favorite and then Wet N Wild would be my second.  For 2 bucks I think I rather buy two bottles of the other polishes instead of the Sinful Colors.  If you have a favorite polish that you like to stamp with please leave a comment down below.  I am always looking for new polishes to try.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Let me preface this by saying I am by no means a professional nail artist or anything.  I am just your average person who has become interested in stamping and instead of having people go through the same process that I did, I rather share my experience to help people figure it out what choices are out there.  This is my opinion and what works best for me.  All of these products were purchased by me, of course.  Stamping can be a lot of fun!  It can also be the worst thing in the entire world know to man (along with watermarbling).  There are different things that you have to keep in mind while stamping: The stamper, the polish, scraper, speed and the plate. I am going to break this down and talk stampers today.
 Yes, I have a box of stampers. Before I start spouting off about which I prefer, I want to tell you about I'm not going to go off about silicone marshmallow fluff puff because I don't even have time for all that riff raff.  As far as that stuff goes, I like the ones that are squishy and a little tacky.  Does it really help pick up the image off the plate...don't know the science behind that but I have never had a problem with those types of stampers. 
 Coverage is really the issue I had with stampers. Let the story begin...So a while back I bought the Salon Express stamping kit.  The stamper is extremely hard and I could barely pick up the image off the plate.  Eventually I was able to work it a little but didn't really feel like messing with it.  That's was a hassle.  I hated it and actually threw it out.  About a year later, one of my co workers gave the exact thing to me for Christmas.  I was like really!?  She was so excited and proud that she had the knowledge of what things I liked to do during my free time (as free as you can get working full time and being a mom to a very busy 2 year old).  
Back to the stamper.  This thing was so hard (that's what she said) no seriously it was so hard it hurt my nail bed when I would push down to transfer the image.  I know what you're thinking... well genius aren't you supposed to roll the image on not push down.  Yes, Yes you are but this made it really hard and annoying.  If you were just slightly off when you started rolling it at the side of your nail, it wouldn't cover the whole nail because a part of the design got on the skin.  GRRRR!!!  This is why I gave up on it!  I needed something bigger, softer.  
This led me to this stamper.  It is some cheapy stamper I bought on Amazon.  It is super small however, the stamping head is a little softer so I found that I could easily pick up images.  It was at least 10 times better than the other stamper.  It doesn't have a great circumference by any means but it was easier on my nail beds. Still had problems lining up the image and I'm sure if I really practiced it I couldn't figure out exactly where to put it but who has time for that....I don't my manicure to take 9 hours.  
After a while I couldn't stand how little this was...made it hard to handle..I'm on 37 and I don't need to speed up on the arthritis front.  

 Enter YouTube.  I starting watching people on YT make amazing manicures with these really large, squishy stampers....I NEED one of those! 
 So I went online in search of the extra large stamper.  Now some will claim to be extra large but this one takes the cake!!  It comes in two pieces - a base and the silicone squishy pad.  I like to refer to the bottom part of this stamp as a shot glass.  I seriously thought perhaps the person that came up with this was drunk and looked down and said "hey this would make an excellent nail stamper...think of how large it would be!"  This is one of the stampers I love.  It's the Creative Shop stamper.  I have seen several places caring it such as: Llarowe, Uber Chic Beauty, What's Up Nails, Color4Nails...I'm sure there are more than that.  I love this stamper because I can stamp a large design and smush my finger into the stamper head instead of trying to roll the image onto my nail.  It's super easy to use I love it so much!  Anything that is going to make my life a little easier, I am all for it!  Now some people will stay they have a harder time lining up this stamp.  I could see that if you are trying to do something in a small area and you want it in an exact place but for that I would just\put some top coat on it, let it dry and then peel it off and place it on my nail like a decal.  I am not interested in making things hard for me.  I don't want to have to re paint nails because something didn't get placed in the right spot.  

I just wanted to share what this looks like up close.  LOOK at the surface area...*drools*.  I absolutely love this thing.  I love it so much that you will see I have two of them!  I of course didn't stop there.  I wanted to explore all of the stamping options.

I noticed all of these Instagram people using a stamper that looks similar to this one.  It's squishy enough but my main problem with it is skinny.  You really have to be lined up to use it, which may be helpful but I haven't had enough practice with this one.  

The next two are the same size in diameter, however, the handles are different and it's the reason why I like one over the other.  The one on the left I purchased from Fancy Gloss for $6.00.  It is a double headed stamper.  The one on the right I bought from Winstonia and I'm not sure how much it was off the top of my head.  It is also a double headed stamper but the smaller end is super small.  It would work great for small individual stamps like characters.    Now...why do I have two?  I bought the one of the right first....I have problems with the stampers that have the wide/fat handles.  That's why I went with the one on the left.  The slim handle is much easier for me to maneuver.  I did have to prime these stampers (I just used a fine grit nail file and just ran it across the top until it wasn't shiny anymore).  These work perfectly and even though it's not as large at the creative stamper it has enough space with some leeway.  Perfect! 

I wish you good luck on your stamping adventure!

Monday, July 27, 2015
I recently bought some plates from Bundle Monster which included this plate, the BM-XL02.  This was the first purchase I made from BM and I have to say I am really impressed!  I placed my order and about two hours later realized I ordered two of the same plate.  I frantically sent an email to their customer support regarding the issue and asked if I could switch a plate for a different plate.  I didn't hear back from them however when the package arrived I was truly happy that the switch had been made.  Super excited!
Now the polish I used for this was Funky Fingers Dark Knight, which is now my favorite black polish to use for stamping.  It's super cheap (3 for $5 at Five Below) and it is nice and opaque.  The white polish (Gesso) is a really great one coat white to use as a base coat. If it would behave it would be an amazing white stamping polish but it is super think will work if I thin it out.

Now, on to the stamping!  Here's the plate: 

I like to buy the plates that are meant for long nails (hence it being called an XL plate) because I feel I get better coverage with the stamp,   Smaller plates I feel I have to line the image up and nine times out of ten I miss it by just a bit and have to redo the design.  Pain in my rear.  So we are looking at 12 different designs and have stamped them on a double sided stamper which I bought from Fancy Gloss but you can find them anywhere.  There is just something about the white squishy stamping pad that makes the stamp jump out at you.  I don't get the same feeling with the Creative Shop stamper which actually is best for me because it's HUGE!  I feel that since the CS isn't opaque white like the stamper you will see I used for the samples, it just doesn't really stand out. You can find those here: Color4Nails or LLarowe (I'm sure there are other places out there).

I really love the way this shape came out.  The polish really helped pick up on the small details in this pattern.  Of course I have some mess from another design but that's not a big deal.  Use some tape or even your finger to get rid of any unwanted stuff.  I should be more careful with the amount of polish I am using while doing this next time.

This design is one of my favorites!  It really is mesmerizing.  It picked up easily and it's nice and big (that's what she said) so I can use any of the stamped area for my nail.  I like having choices especially if I am not able to get the full image.  If I missed the corner on the pick up there is plenty of extra wiggle room.

Definitely a good pattern for reverse stamping.

This snowflake/flowery pattern is a nice solid stamp,  I would totally like to use this over a gradient.  It was easy to pick up and I can see a few spots where it didn't quite get it but as I mentioned before this is a large stamp so I think it will be safe to use anyway.

Always nice to have a standard lattice-ish type pattern.  This was also an easy pattern to pick up on the stamper.  I love how this looks and I think I might try it with some reverse stamping in a alternating color pattern.

I was really excited to try this design out!  It came out GREAT!  Nice opaque black and no empty spots to be seen.  Amazing!  It was also an easy design to pick up.

This is the opposite to the lattice-ish design I talked about before.  This was AWESOME! I love this ...I don't know I would like to use this one yet but the coverage is amazing!

Crazy circle chains....not my favorite but it would be pretty cool I guess for a reverse stamp.  Anyway it did come out pretty clean and clear.

This intricate design was a little bit tricky to pick up.  I had to re-stamp it several times.  It didn't want to behave but I eventually got it.  I would love to use this for reverse stamping or whatever else my imagination comes up with!

 I can't tell if this actually picked up correctly just because this is some tiny crap to pick up.  It plays tricks on my eyes so it's hard to see if it's right or not.  However, the way it shows on my nail when I tried it out ...amazing.  Funny how something so simple could be so awesome!

This is one of the designs I don't know if I like.  I will have to try it out to see.  I picked up okay problems.  I see a few areas that are missing some of the circle but I am sure it would have turned out better a second time.

Love love love this design.I can't wait to use this one.  Picked up easily.  Nice and smooth and the whole design was up without any issues.

This design, as you can tell, was a pain in the buttocks!!  It did not want to behave what so ever.  I had to re stamp it like 5 times and it still didn't pick every bit of it up.

I overall love this plate and am super happy now that it is in my collection!