Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 30: The End!

Today is the last day of the September Is Stamping Month mani challenge! Wow, 30 days of stamping! It was fun, frustrating, interesting, and exhausting! There is absolutely a learning curve with stamping and it does help to learn as much as you can and be patient with yourself. Has my stamping improved? In some ways it has -- I'm getting better at alignment! But in some ways it hasn't -- especially since I'm struggling to find the magic secret to my new squishy stamping heads! I think I'm getting there though. I am looking forward to a month of regular manis for October (I will still do stamping for some of them!).

Also… my Nail Polish Canada Great Polish Giveaway prize is scheduled to arrive tomorrow!!! I will not be able to sleep tonight! This is like epic Santa nail mail! Stay tuned as I am doing an unboxing video and posting pics and stuff!! <3

For my last stamped mani, I chose to repeat one of my first-ever stamping manicures from a year ago! I was determined to use the squishy stamper so that's what I did for all my nails except the ring finger (used my the small end of my Konad stamper for that nail).

Monday, September 29, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 29…

So when creating the September stamping challenge I left the last two days open for whatever the participants wanted. It's good to throw in a few free days, I think. :) I did my last 2 manis last night and it felt good to complete the challenge. I'll share one with you today and the other one tomorrow. The next mani challenge ("Amazing Autumn Mani Challenge") starts Wednesday and I'm sooo excited! (scroll to the bottom for details about this!)

For today's mani, I was inspired by my friend Mary's recent trip to California where she picked up several sugar skulls. What is a sugar skull?? You can read up about them here but as a super quick run-down… they are traditionally little (or very large!) skull candies made during the Dia de los Muertos ("Day Of The Dead") celebrations in Mexico at the end of October/beginning of November. These candies are offered to both living and dead people -- if offered to the dead they are placed upon offering alters with other favourites that the deceased person had during their life. These skulls are also crafted from other materials such as clay & ceramic, and are very elaborately decorated. They are not meant to be a morbid gesture but more of a celebration of life, love, and memory (hence why the skulls are smiling!).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 28: Polka Dots

I'm always amazed at how quickly these months fly by! Mid-month it feels like it's never gonna end then BAM! suddenly it's over. Two more manis left in this challenge after today, they are wildcard picks so I think I'll have a bit more fun with them. Not that I didn't have fun with this mani challenge but sometimes I felt a bit stuck in terms of my stamping plates and inspiration. Does that make sense?

Want to know more about September's Stamping Challenge? Click here to find out more!

Next month's mani challenge is the "Amazing Autumn Mani Challenge" and starts on Wednesday -- I'm definitely in on this one (and sooo excited!). Lady Loves Lacquer is the host for this one so head on over to her site and take a quick peek at the "rules" and the suggested guide -- and don't forget to let her know if you are participating, we love promoting your manis too! I also have a quick run-down here. I will revisit and re-link all this stuff each day leading up to the 1st. Don't worry if you can't do every single day, you don't have to be a super go-getter to participate but please try to stick to it as much as you can. :)

But today! Today's theme is "polka dots". But I didn't want to do just straight-up dots so I picked this dot gradient image and once again, messed around with different stamper heads. Not perfect but not entirely bad.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

Okay, this is TOTALLY NOT BEAUTY RELATED!!! So feel free to skip it if you want!

For all kinds of crazy reasons, I will be participating in this year's NaNoWriMo event. What the heck is that?? It's stands for "National Novel Writing Month" and has been held every November since 1999. Basically, you write an entire novel in one month (50,000 words in 30 days!). Yes, crazy. I'm sure the vast majority of people write novels but others (those "rebels") write dissertations, poetry, scripts, short stories, etc. At the end of the month, you can upload your work for official word-count purposes (no one actually reads it, at least not the officials) and if you succeeded you get a nifty "I did it!" certificate and some coupon codes for fun writer-y stuffs. This is a world-wide event and yes, it is FREE to participate! There are also tons of local NaNoWriMo groups (online and on Facebook) so you can make some friends and get some support on your work. There are meet-ups and events planned locally so explore!

SO, anyone else doing it?? I have my account set up over at NaNoWriMo if anyone wants to add me as a buddy (click here!). :)

I'm SUPER excited but also totally terrified! What will come out of my head?! I have a few ideas -- one for an X-Files 3 film script and one for a novel. Not sure which one I'll focus on for November. I'm not sure I'm going to do a mani challenge for November, I might chop off all my nails down to nubbins to make the laptop writing process easier. :)

Anyway, join me!! <3

September Is Stamping Month! Day 27: Stripes

Aww… we're in the last few days! Only 3 more manis after this. But then… the super magical and exciting "Amazing Autumn Mani Challenge" begins! (details at the end of the post!!)

So if you're late to the party and want to know what this September Is Stamping Month mani challenge was all about, click here to read up on it!

Day 27 is "stripes". I was having a hard time coming up with some interesting stripes so I decided to use a plaid stamping plate (vertical AND horizontal "stripes"). Maybe an interpretive stretch but here ya go!

Friday, September 26, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 26: Coffee + NPC prize update

Soooo… Nail Polish Canada emailed me yesterday evening to say they shipped my polish prize (all 200 polishes!). There was some delays getting things together because it's a sponsored prize and each sponsor had to send their polishes in. Anyway, it's en route and will be here on Wednesday October 1st! The package weighs 27 lbs! I will be doing a quick unboxing video when it arrives and will post it here. The list of polishes included can be found here (though there were some polishes backordered so a few were substituted with similar colours from that same brand).

The weird thing is 197 of the polishes are coming from Vancouver and will arrive Wednesday… the other 3 polishes are coming from Toronto and arrive today… so I have to resist opening the 3 polishes today, which will be hard, it's like Christmas! But I think it would be better to open it as one big package. :)

Nail Polish Canada took a photo of it all before packing it all up and they posted it on their Facebook page last night. Here it is!

Yep, kinda crazy! I'm super excited & super overwhelmed. I also have NO idea where to put these! My current storage is packed and not really practical anymore. I think I need a trip to IKEA! I'm not going with Helmers, I would need several of them and I don't have the space. I'm thinking of the tall Alex unit.
I was so excited I couldn't sleep last night & had to take extra meds (fell asleep around 2am). I'm guessing it'll be the same story on Tuesday night as well. I'm a sensitive bean!

OK, today's mani! Day 26: coffee. Once again, this totally didn't turn out the way I had it planned in my head. I want to redo it but I don't have time today. :/
If you want to know more about this stamping challenge, click here!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 25: Stars

I had a fight with this mani. Trying to use my new stamping heads that everyone raves about, what am I doing wrong?? I redid this one a few times and it still looks like crap so I give up. :/ We're almost at the end of September and I'm not sure my stamping has improved much. I think I should stick to straight swatching -- I think I'm pretty good at that!

Anyway, today is "stars". I have about 600 star images but wanted to lean towards something less "busy" & more celestial.

September Is Stamping Month! Day 24: Sports

Yes, I know today is the 25th and this post is late. Yesterday I was anxiously awaiting the mail guy because I was expecting my Messy Mansion Pro Stamper set and wanted to wait to do my mani so I could use new stampers. Of course, my mail guy shows up fairly late then I had to make dinner and such. The mani didn't really happen. :/ BUT I have photos of the Messy Mansion kit in addition to my terrible football mani for today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 23: Chevron

I'm not usually a "chevron" kinda person but I found this stamping plate that had super fine lines, which I love. It's cool but almost migraine-aura-like (that part isn't cool!).

(Wait! what's this mani challenge all about?! click here to find out more!)

Amazing Autumn Mani Challenge -- Coming up for October!

I like giving a heads-up for the next mani challenge. This next one is really great and I am SO excited! Saphron Jenene over at She Loves Lacquer is graciously hosting this next mani challenge. We collaborated, sharing ideas about colours/themes/names -- and I think the final product is something really fun for October!

Here is the breakdown of October (details to follow after the jump):

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 22: French Tip

Ok, so now I'm all caught up! Whew!
Day 22: French Tip. SO many ways this could be done. I wanted to go with something semi-traditional just because it's a look I never do.

Want to know more about this mani challenge?? Click here!

September Is Stamping Month! Day 21: Movie

There were SO many things I could do for a movie-themed mani! I ended up going with James Bond because I have a Vivid Lacquer plate I've been eager to use forever.

Want to know more about this mani challenge? Click here!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 20: Scary

Okay, so this post is for Buffy (The Vampire Slayer) fans and even more for Anya fans. If you haven't watched the show, you probably should because it's AWESOME! But to understand this post, you can read the Wiki post here or just know that Anya is a demon who is terrified of bunnies. :)

So I went with pink nails and white bunnies for my Day 20/"Scary" mani. :)
(Want to know more about this challenge? Click here)

September Is Stamping Month! Day 19: Space/aliens

Still playing catch-up for my mani posts, I will try to finish posting Days 19-21 today. The manis are done/photographed, I just need to write up the posts. I have a migraine though, we'll see what I can do!

Day 19 is "space/aliens". *woo*
(want to know more about this mani challenge? click here!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 18: Bows

Day 18 is "bows", not something I usually do but hey, it's a mani challenge for a reason! Want to know more about the stamping challenge? Click here to find out more

September Is Stamping Month! Day 17: Candy

Yes, I am very delinquent in my stamping mani posts. I had some personal stuff to deal with this week and haven't been able to post. That being said, I am not only resuming my posts but will do the ones I missed as well. I will post Days 17 & 18 now, and Days 19 & 20 later on. I should be fully caught up by tomorrow. :)

Want to know more about this mani challenge? Click here to find out more!

Day 17 is "candy". I wasn't sure how to approach this so I went with Sweet Tarts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Taking a necessary, temporary internet break. I'm ok, I just won't be online for a bit. When I return, I will blog as per usual and fill in the gaps.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 16: Rainbows

Up early this morning for a dermatology appointment -- I have to go get my moles/freckles checked every year since I had a bad one removed last year (it was "dysplastic nevi"). Everything this year was good so now I go every 2 years. Yay! Recently had a physical and dental checkups, everything is good. Gotta take care of your body, you only have one!

Today's mani challenge is "rainbows". Not sure why I included this one but… well… it was a challenge. I had NO idea how to approach this, so this is what ended up happening:

Monday, September 15, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 15: Clouds

Augh, this mani was a pain in the butt and I'm still totally unhappy with it. I redid it 3 times with different base/stamping colours/combos and it still looks poopy. I only have one stamping plate with "clouds" so I was kinda limited in what I could do. :/

Want to know more about the stamping challenge? Click here for more info!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Special Post -- ILNP's Black Orchid

After being seriously burned by Julep on my August Maven box (my order was cancelled/refunded because they ran out of stock… and there was some other drama I won't get into now!), I decided to place an order with a group buy for 3 polishes by ILNP (I Love Nail Polish) -- an indie polish maker in the US. I have never previously tried any polishes by ILNP but heard super awesome things. Her fall collection was about to be released to I picked 3 (I kinda wanted them all though, truth be told!). Today after doing some stamping manis I asked dear boyfriend which I should try first and he selected "Black Orchid". After putting it on I was absolute in my declaration that this shade is indeed MY NEW FAVOURITE POLISH!!!!!! Must get backups!! My previous fav was Cirque's Coronation but we have a new winner!

September Is Stamping Month! Day 14: Leaves

Day 14! Two weeks in already! Wow! I'm always amazed mid-month. It seems like the first week goes slowly but the second week speeds up. Two more weeks of stamping manis left -- then it's the October challenge (yes, there is one!). It's not stamping-based (though stamping could be an option). Stay tuned, more info on that challenge coming soon! (is it weird to say I'm insanely excited for the October one??).

Anyway! Want to know more about the September stamping challenge? Click here!

Day 14 is all about leaves. I was gonna go with fall leaves but decided to hang onto summer a bit longer…

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 13: School

Even though I'm taking this year off grad school (medical leave), I LOVELOVELOVE school-related things! I love shopping for school supplies and books. So naturally, school-themed nails had to be part of the challenge, especially since it's September.
Want to know more about this mani challenge? Click here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 12: Bugs

This one got me excited -- who doesn't love bugs! Of course, because I'm a nurse I decided to take it a little smaller and get germy with my bugs. :)

(want to know more about this mani challenge? Click here)

September Is Stamping Month! Day 11: Books

Obviously this post wasn't done on the 11th. Yesterday was my bf's birthday and I didn't fall asleep until 4am the night before (insomnia) and woke up kinda late yesterday then had to rush out to get his gift, wrapping paper, cake & dinner ingredients then spent the day baking and cooking and hanging out with him. So yeah, post didn't get done. :/
BUT, I'm doing TWO posts today to get caught up!

Day 11 is "books" (want to know more about this mani challenge? Click here). I did one whole mani but it looked so bad I had to take it off and redo the whole thing. Grr. The second one looks much better.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 10: Trees

I saw tons of pumpkins while out shopping yesterday and it just felt like fall! I'm happy it's starting to transition out of summer -- I really do hate summer! I'm more of a fall/winter person. I like to be cozy and bundled up -- I hate the gross heat/humidity/sun/etc. It's just not for me.

Today's mani challenge is "trees" -- and I decided to do a fall theme. A dark fall polish (one from my first-ever Julep Maven box!), a golden tree and glitter "leaves". I'm really happy with how it turned out, I wish I could keep it on longer!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 9: Fish

Ok, might seem like a weird topic for a stamping mani challenge -- but I have a lot of fish images and I figured I would use them!

Want to know more about the September Stamping challenge?? Click here!

Today's mani was done with a migraine aura, so be kind!

Monday, September 08, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 8: Dragons

Okay, this mani turned out better than the "hearts" one but still not ideal. I still redid it a few times. Not entirely happy but I'm okay with what I ended up with. I thought I had more "dragon"-like stamping plates/images but I didn't. The closest I had was Vivid Lacquer's VL020 which has castles, lion emblems, knights, etc. I did my best!

Want to know more about this stamping challenge? Click here to find out more.

September Is Stamping Month! Day 7: Hearts

Ok. I didn't post this last night. I was really mad. I fought with stamping plates and polish (& cut myself on a plate) so by the end of it I was really frustrated and mad and unhappy with the results and didn't want to post. I did 3 manis last night, I'll post 2 today (Day 7: hearts & Day 8: Dragons). I'm still kinda mad but hey, this is part of the learning process, right??

Want to know more about the stamping challenge?? Click here!

So hearts. I have SO MANY heart images/plates. But I was eager to try the Messy Mansion one (MM31).

Well, here we go!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 6: Travel!

I'm currently trying to inventory all my polishes and put them into an Excel spreadsheet -- soooo tedious and boring! But I'm also finding stuff I totally forgot I had, which is awesome! I decided to do this to make it easier to track what I have, avoid buying dupes, and to organize/sort my NPC polish prize when it gets here. Making life easier in the long run!

Today's stamping challenge is "travel", which is a tricky one! I don't have that many travel-themed stamping plates/images. I started out with one idea but then it ended up changing. I ended up doing a Sex And The City/NYC mani. :)

Click here for details about this mani challenge!

Friday, September 05, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 5: Birdies!

Today is the 3-year "forever home" anniversary for my kitties Calvin & Joe! I probably should've planned a bit better and had the kitty mani fall on the 5th but whatever. Three years ago I brought home Calvin & Joe from my local vet's office. The last of my previous batch of kitties died a month prior. I wasn't even looking for new kitties at this point. I happened to be walking by my vet's office one night and saw Calvin in the window & there was just something about him. I put it off for a week but finally went in to ask. They had a different grey kitty in the office -- but this one wanted NOTHING to do with me. The one I had seen in the window before was there, but someone already wanted him. *boo* The tech said they had another one, "A crazy black cat". I was all, "Can I see him?? I love black cats!". I went up to see him and he was sitting on top of the row of cages. I guess they couldn't put him in a cage for some reason. I was immediately in love! He was feral, wouldn't let me touch him except to pet the top of his head (he would scratch and growl/hiss). They had taken out most of his teeth because they were all grossly infected/pouring pus. They clipped his left ear so I'm assuming they intended to let him back out after his antibiotics were done. While I was meeting Joe, Calvin (the grey one I first saw) was pawing and meowing at me like crazy from his cage. I petted him and told him I wish I could have him too but someone else already wants him. After deciding that I would take Joe once his antibiotics/treatment finished, I was about to leave when the tech came running upstairs and told me that the woman who was going to take Calvin called & said she wasn't taking him anymore. Yay! I asked if I could have both of them and they said yes. Wheeee! It was the Friday before Labour Day weekend in 2011. I was going away for the weekend but would check in with them over the holiday to see if they were getting along (they were going to introduce them face to face). They DID get along so that Tuesday I picked them up and brought them home and we've been happy together ever since. Joe has now turned into a super-sucky love cat who snuggles and drools and kisses me all over. Calvin ran around his new home like a maniac for 3 days straight. I loves my boys!!!

Calvin & Joe snuggling:

(I got 2 more kitties but those are for another day!)

Today's mani is actually all about birdies! It was a tricky one, I couldn't find an image that worked, fit, looked right. I ended up going with lovebirds… birdies delivering love letters!

Want to know more about the September Stamping challenge?? Click to find out!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 4: Food - Pizza!

What ended up happening with this mani is NOT what I started out thinking I would do! LOL. I had planned on doing cute little pink cupcakes and adding rhinestones for cherries… ah… so cute! But when I looked at my stamping plates, the cupcake images I had were all WAY too big for my itty bitty nail beds so I had to look at what I did have and rethink the whole plan. I ended up doing PIZZA nails! LOL.

Want to know more about the stamping mani challenge or want to join in? Click here for the details!

The stamping is kinda messy. I also pulled out some acrylic paint and added details. Haha. Looks like a little kid did this mani -- but I actually really love it and think it's hilarious! All the stuff I used and more pics are after the jump!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 3: Kitties!

I totally thought this mani would turn out better… but it just looks… weird. Maybe I should've stamped upside-down so it faces other people? Or are you supposed to stamp so the image faces you? How do you guys do it??

Want to know more about September Stamping month or want to join in? Click here for all the details!

Anyway, Day 3 was "cat/dog/pet" so I chose kitties because… well, I have kitties (4 of them!).

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 2: Lace

It totally does NOT feel like September yet! I hope you guys had a good weekend -- and I hope everyone going back to school day has a great day! :D

Want to know more about the September Stamping Challenge? It's not to late to join in! Click here to find out more!

Today's design challenge is "lace". I used Butter London's "Poole" as my base and stamped white lace over it (details in the post!).

Stamping Polishes -- Regular and Special Polishes

This is a major question a lot of you have -- WHAT polishes work for stamping?? Special stamping polish tends to be more expensive than just using regular polish -- but can you use regular polish? The short answer is yes, the long answer is "it depends".

Special stamping polishes are generally thicker and dry kinda rubbery (if that makes any sense!). They provide nice sharp images and opaque lines and dry quickly. Some people say you don't NEED stamping polishes -- and I agree, they aren't necessary for stamping -- BUT getting a good stamping black and white will serve you well and provide you with a good starting point.

A LOT of regular polish can be used for stamping also -- thicker/one coat creme polishes work well, as do metallics and some holos. The only way to know for sure is to test them out!

I asked some ladies in Facebook polish groups what their favourite polishes are to stamp with (both regular and special stamping ones) and this is what I got:

Special Stamping Polish

  • Konad
  • Rica
  • Mundo De Unas
Regular Polish
  • (most) Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
  • (most) A England
  • Formula X Chromes
  • Mentality
  • Cult Nails Nevermore, Tempest
  • Color Club Halo Hues
  • Maybelline Bold Gold
  • Essie Chromes
  • Julep (one-coaters)
  • KBShimmer Sky Jinks & Life Rose On
For a MUCH more comprehensive list, check out Sasse Stamping Stampede, she has a HUGE list of regular polishes that work well for stamping -- though it hasn't been updated since 2011. There are other lists out there. Just search around. The best thing to do though, is to try out different polishes!

My ONLY caveat is that you should NOT ever use glitter polish for stamping!!! The glitter will just stick to your plate (have fun cleaning that off!) and will not transfer to your nails.

If you have any questions or anything to add, let me know!

Monday, September 01, 2014

September Is Stamping Month! Day 1: Flowers

Yay! New challenge month! Last month was great but I'm extra excited about this month because I really want the practice of stamping -- I'm not good at it (as you will see!), but I want to get better. If you want to know more about the challenge (or a general overview of stamping -- click here for my summary post). Today I will also be creating a participants page so you can check out what other ladies are doing. I will also create a list of regular polishes that can be used for stamping and will link that also. You do NOT have to do a new mani everyday to participate nor do you need a blog or anything. If you want me to add your blog, Twitter, Instagram, etc, I can absolutely do that. You do NOT have to be "good" at stamping (hell, I'm not!) -- it's about having fun and learning!

So let me dive in and show you what I did for Day 1 -- flowers! This one is kind of a cheat since I used this particular stamping image on my toes before. :P But I love it and wanted to use red for my Day 1 (of course!). This is Essie's "Head Mistress" -- a gorgeous dark rich red creme. Details on the stamp and stuff after the jump!

September Is Stamping Month! Participants!

NB: I am working on doing a blogger linkup thingy so you can add your links to the posts. I don't have it setup yet so in the meantime, I have everyone here. Thanks!

There are a bunch of lovely ladies who are going to participate (in whole or in part) in September Stamping Month and I want to share their lovely manis with you so you can see how much fun this is! :)

In each blog post over the next month, I will reference this page so that anyone can easily click on it and visit other participants pages.

If you wish to be added to this page, please send me your info or comment below! The more the merrier! And no, you do NOT have to do a daily mani to be included. Even if you can only manage a few of them, that's awesome! <3

The hashtags I am using for Instagram (my username is miss_tina) are: #septemberisstampingmonth #septemberstamping #stampingchallenge

If I accidentally missed anyone I'm so sorry! Please let me know your info and I will absolutely add you!