Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blue Skies Black Death - A post for my brother

Hey all,

 Today is the day six years ago that I got the worst phone call of my life. Dad called (I was on a first date..can you believe?) and told me to go where I could hear him (I was in a noisy bar/lounge) I went out into the frigid December night. He said "There's been an accident your brother is dead." I made him repeat it, somehow as if him having to say it again, would make it untrue. Time stood still.

My older brother by 3 years was not always pleasant. He had this not so endearing way of finding your soft spot and provoking. That was in his younger years. I worked so hard to feel like he loved me when we were growing up. Perhaps that's typical of older brother/younger sister relationships. But in our twenties it started to feel easier, more natural and that he actually liked me :) The next decade of our lives together was characterized by an abundance of love and appreciation. We eagerly looked to spend time together and enjoyed every moment of it. He traveled a lot and lived in faraway places...and always called, always ended the call with "I love you." I'm incredibly grateful for that.

Much to my dismay in about 2000 he fell in love with skydiving. He became an expert. I mean really. An instructor even. With over 8000 jumps and some injuries I always had a sense of dread about it and was super happy when he decided to go to law school and give up skydiving. My brother was incredibly smart with a sharp and perceptive wit. He excelled in law school and had another year to go.  The jump that proved fatal involved a popular yearly group dive event. There was a collision. My brother pulled his reserve as he spiraled down but he was already too low, his parachute had deflated too much..the jumper who collided into him had a prosthetic leg..which flung off during the hit and landed in my brother's chute..complicating an already perilous decent.

I try to make this day.."just another day" as my little brother says. But it's just not my way. We dedicate a day of celebration to commemorate our birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It seems natural (and unavoidable) to me to focus on the life and loss of someone who was everything to me. Someone who I miss to a bitter fault sometimes, but always always with longing that he was still here with me.

The skydiving community has a saying: Blue Skies Black Death. This is my interpretation of the blue skies marred by a black death. My brother. And then I added the love. Because the final look needed to include how very very loved and missed he is.

 Blue skies. The very gorgeous NOPI Stand by your Manny from the new Modern Family collection. More swatches of this coming soon.
 Zoya Raven

 Zoya Elisa

Thanks for reading everyone. Obviously a very personal post today. Going to go clean and have my family over to tell stories and hug and laugh together about my brother Cliff <3

My brother and I, the last time I saw him. <3

*Some products provided for review. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holidays Ornament Nail Art - Let it Snow Challenge

OK, remember this look I posted recently? My "ornament" nail art with Ciate Sequined Manicure. I thought it was a total bomb. So I created my second attempt at it, the way I wished it turned out the first time.

I applied each of these glitters, one at a time. No, I'm not crazy. Yes, I have a ton of patience. I also find it kind of meditative, like cross stitch, so I enjoy this kind of "work" :)

 The kit comes with an ample size pot of mixed glitters. Clear nail polish and a brush (not necessary). The plastic tray it comes with is useful, but you can use anything you already have to catch the excess glitters and then pour them back into the container.
 This kit is $19 at Sephora and now, after I've worked with it 2 times I'm so sure you should use any clear nail polish and 2.99 containers of glitter from a craft store. Or get a package of multiple colors for 9.99. Either way, this kit from Ciate is way too expensive!!
 This was a lot of work...and looked absolutely fantastic!! I wanted it to look like the mosaic mirrored ornaments, it did...and also just like a fabulous glittering disco ball. Each and every nail glittered and shone no matter which way you move it! <3
To accomplish this I simply painted each nail in clear, and then did each nail one at a time adding fresh clear (to keep nail wet so glitter would stick) using the method explained in this tutorial (scroll down to see it).

 Do you have the patience for this? Another one I was sad to take off!! And for those of you wondering..not a single glitter fell off, though I did have to use 2 coats of Seche to make the top smooth. I wore this for about 2 days! woohooo :P

Here's what you can look forward to :) Posting will be once a week- sort of! Already falling behind :/

Be well!

And here are the links to what the other girls created for this theme:

Friday, December 28, 2012

A confession...and a promise.

Hi all,

Just a quick note to share with you something that has been on my mind. I have recently been hard at work for a series of nail art tutorials. I was contacted by a company to create these and was super excited about it! In our written agreement, it was clearly stated that they would be acquiring the rights to use these tutorials as they saw fit to promote their product and that they had the right to add pictures to the tutorial of their product. All good. It did not say they would acquire the right to alter my photos ie. photoshop. I found out after I completed three looks and was about to send the final images to them. I felt sick!! I wrote them I did not agree to that and I would not agree to that. I don't know if I'm just being naive and that photoshopping is standard practice in advertising. Well, yes, I suppose it is!! BUT these were nail art tutorials done by a human hand. I wanted to show that. And I have a firm conviction that I will never photo shop my nail art, that's a promise. And here's the confession...I do re-touch the skin on my hands when necessary. I don't feel that needs to be a secret. I want eyes on the nails, not on super lighted, macro skin.

I lost the job. And all future jobs with that company. In fact, they were pretty horrified with me that I didn't understand that photoshopping was a given, and that I was an inexperienced fool for not complying. Well, ok. I'm a fool for nail art. Real nail art, not something computer generated.

So there you have it.

Hugs to you all and I'll be back in a bit with some real nail art :D
XO, Victoria

**EDIT** For those wondering and asking who the company is, I will not share their name. But rest assured, If I'm blogging about a's NOT them :D

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Smitten Polish Holiday 2012 Swatch and Review

Hope you are recovering from a wonderful holiday, and looking forward to New Years. I have some gorgeous Smitten Polish from the Holiday Collection up today and one from Halloween. See her beautiful blog or facebook for info and swatches. Shop her Etsy store for these and other lovelies :)

 From the Etsy description: "Frost Fairies - My favorite, and probably the most difficult to photograph. This is a semi-sheer white jelly base with blue and aqua shimmer."
I used 3 easy coats here. A beautiful clean but not boring polish!

 From the Etsy description: "Merry and Bright - Inspired by Victorian Christmas cards, this is a muted berry jelly base packed with various sizes and shapes of copper and gold glitters."

 Beautiful. Application was ok, a little thick, but not troublesome. I've got 2 coats on here. All swatches have one coat of HK Girl top coat.

 From the Etsy description: "Spice Cake is several size of orange, gold and brown glitters suspended in an orangey base" This is actually from the Halloween Collection not the Holiday Collection.
 This one, as pretty as it is, and unique in it's color and glitter combo, was difficult to apply. I have found this happening before with Indie made highly pigmented jellies. I needed 3 coats to achieve a uniform coverage and it got a bit gloopy. Still worth it in my opinion, but not my favorite as far as application goes.

 From the Etsy description: "Adeste Fidelis - White jelly base with rose, pale green and coppery glitters. I was 12 years old the first time I saw Pavarotti on PBS singing Adeste Fidelis at Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal. That image has stuck with me my entire life, and the opulent interior of Notre Dame served as the inspiration for this combination of colors."
 So, this is not only my clear favorite of this post, it's one of my fave faves! It's just a perfect delicate mix of colors with a great ratio of medium glitters with smaller copper glitters. I used 3 coats (2 looked great too, but I know the macro and my lighting tend to need 3 coats with sheerer polish)

I couldn't resist showing you...that this polish matched my tree ornaments to perfection!! I bought the ornaments a few weeks ago and had no idea these would be so matchy-matchy until I got out the bag with the ornaments to put on the tree, and I was coincidentally wearing this polish! I loved this polish so much, I stopped swatching once this went on so I could have the pleasure of wearing it for a full 24hrs!! A rarity indeed :)

Have a great night everyone!!

*Products provided for review*

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ugly Christmas Sweater Nail Art - Let it Snow Challenge

Hope you are enjoying your Christmas day if you are celebrating! My little guy got sick for Christmas :( 103 fever and climbing! Gonna be a long night! I'm just popping in here to show you my Ugly Sweater nails. I didn't even want to show you these, because I really do think they turned out ugly :/ Fitting. Hope you don't hate em as much as I did. lol Also, full nail stamping is hard! :(

 I had on a base of  3 coats Smitten Polish Frost Fairies which I'll show you in a separate post, and I used Rescue Beauty Lounge Recycle for the green trees and Zoya Carmen for the red. I started with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White on for the snowflakes but found it not showing up and switched to Milani Fast Dry White on the Spot and found it worked much better.  BM plates (from the 2012 Collection set)

OK, gotta run and take care of my baby! Hope you all are having a wonderful day!

XO, Victoria

Check out the others ugly sweaters!

Here's what you can look forward to :) Posting will be once a week- sort of! Already falling behind :/

Saturday, December 22, 2012

GlitterDaze Sunset in the City Collection Swatch and Review

Are you sitting down? Go sit down!! So you can take your time staring at these :P  I have some super amazing pretties from Glitterdaze to show you today!! Her newest collection, Sunset in the City are gorgeous multichromes! I am in love with these! They are available at and retail for $11.50 Follow GlitterDaze on FB for all the latest info and swatches!
 Each of the swatches area shown with 1 coat over 1 coat of Milani One Coat Black, and HK Girl top coat. All had the same great formula and applied like a dream.'s all about the pictures! Enjoy!! I know I did :D
 Nightfall in New York City: Blue/purple/red/orange

 Sundown in Seattle: Orange/copper/yellow/red

 Afterglow in Aspen: Turquoise/blue/purple/red


Twilight in Tucson: Pink/red/orange/yellow

 The above polish is Twilight in Tuscon. The polish below is Dusky in Dallas. They are similar but if you look closely you will see the difference.

 Dusky in Dallas: Lavender/purple/red/orange

 So, yeah..I honesty can't pick a favorite from these. I love them all. Do you agree that they are stunning?? Also...removal is easy peasy. :) 
Have a great weekend guys! 
xo, Victoria 
*Disclosure - Products provided for my honest opinion and review.