31 Week Nail Art Challenge: Week 10 - Gradient

Today's post isn't particularly motivating. I just feel like I have to post it because I can't outright skip a week in the 31 Week Nail Art Challenge! If you've been a blog visitor for a while then you know that I am 100% awful at gradient nails. It's so disappointing because I see them all over the blog and they're gorgeous but every time I try one it's just.....bleh. So here's my try:
We can now forget about this one, mmmkay? Next up Week 11 - Polka Dots! (MY FAVORITE) Be sure to go check NailsNoob out to see what Ghila has come up with for the gradient week!

Also, some super exciting news!! Andrew comes home in 9 days!!

Nails of November: Pink Skittlette

If you've been checking out my blog for a while, you may remember when I did my Nails of November series last year. I enjoyed posting them and it did keep me updating my blog decently often, so I decided to renew the series for this year. I'm not really sure what the point behind Nails of November was...it wasn't a challenge or anything, but at least it kept me updating. So behold, my first 2014 Nails of November post. Problem is I found this manicure originally on Pinterest but I have since lost the source!! If you know the original source for this manicure please send me the link so I can update my blog and give credit where credit is due! It might be Panda Polish over at Progress Through Polish but I'm not sure.
You might remember my blue version of this design that I did for my first day back to school in August :) I loved the design so much I thought I would do it pink! While this post is uploading, I am actually taking a very important test for becoming a lawyer. Most people know that we have to get licensed to become practicing attorneys, and to do so we have to successfully pass "The Bar Exam" (which you will hear ALLLLLLL about this year since I take it in July!). However, not everyone knows that we also have to take the MPRE (which I believe stands for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam) as well. I have to get a specific score or else I can't sit for the Bar Exam in July. Yikes! You have a couple tries to pass it throughout the year. This morning is my first try. Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck that I get the required score I need!!


31 Week Nail Art Challenge - Week 9: Rainbow

For today's post I have Week Nine of the 31 Week Nail Art Challenge for all you! I am actually pulling out a photographed nail look that I uncovered while going through my phone's photos a few weeks ago. There were a few manicures that I had taken pictures of but never uploaded to use on my blog in a timely fashion. I wanted to share them anyway, and the photo fit perfectly with Week 9, so here is my rainbow manicure (from the vault) for Week 9 of the 31 Week Challenge:
I know it's very simple but I just like how colorful it is. Especially when the weather is cool and winter is coming I like the idea of having summery, colorful nails (when I'm not working) to keep me reminded that warm weather is coming back eventually!

Be sure to check what Ghila over on NailsNoob has come up with for this week of the challenge!
Up next, week 10 - Gradient nails. Oh boy...you all know how I am terrible at gradients so this coming week should be fun!

Julep Halloween Mani 2014

With Halloween being next Friday and all, I've been considering what design I should do to celebrate this year. Then I received an email from a contact at Julep who invited me to participate in their Halloween Nail Art Contest, and even sent me an exclusive tutorial for a Halloween design to share with all of you guys. I decided sooner rather than later was best to post so I got to work on a Halloween mani after class today. In previous years I tried Hocus Pocus nails, witchy nails, mummy nails, candy corn nails, ghost nails, etc., so for this year it was a no-brainer that I had to try my hand at black cat nails. Is there anything creepier than a Halloween black cat? I think not. And that's probably a large part of why my cat is all white. He's like a little cotton ball.
For this look, I used Julep Sylvia for the background, Julep Hope for the nose, whiskers, and eyes, Julep Cleopatra for the cat, and a mix of Julep Hope and Julep Catrina for the eyes (to get a very pale yellow). Do you have any Halloween plans/manicures in mind?

If anyone is interested in polishes from Julep, be sure to check out their many nail polish choices! I'm sure you'll find something you need! Also, Julep sent me a Halloween-themed tutorial that I could include with my Halloween post, so if you DO have some awesome Halloween plans, and you want to have an awesome Halloween mani to go with it....give it a try! Be sure to comment here with your link so that I can see them!

31 Week Nail Art Challenge - Week 8: Metallic

Here we go with another week's post toward the 31 Week Nail Art Challenge! This week's challenge is Week 8, or Metallic Nail Art. I started to panic at first because I didn't think I had any metallic polishes whatsoever other than the blue magnet one (Magnetic Force by Color Club in Electro-midnight) that I had already posted on here. So I couldn't reuse that...obvi! Then it dawned on me that I have an old polish pair from a few Halloweens ago that was called Mirror Image from Maybelline. If you want more information on the polish itself, check this video out:
I've had this mirror image duo for a really long time and I know I've used it before but oddly enough none of the designs have made it onto this blog (so weird) or onto my camera (even weirder). I think this polish is really cool though and, although it doesn't look like a mirror (like the woman says in her video), it definitely qualifies as a metallic in my mind. To add some pizzazz to it, I added some stamping with BundleMonster Plate 222 in Zoya Mira. I wish I would have used black to stamp with or a thicker stamp design because the purple doesn't really show up that much and isn't really doing it for me. Eh, well maybe I like that the purple is just a hint of color that adds to but doesn't overshadow the metallic. The metallic is the focus of this week's challenge anyway! Here are my nails:
I think the Mirror Image polish is really cool. I know in the video I included in this post the lady doesn't end up being pleased with it because it's not a mirror. I never really expected it to dry and look like a mirror. I expected it to be a really shiny metallic, which is exactly what you get so I like it.
And the stamping I added to just bedazzle it a little bit:

Be sure to pop over to NailsNoob and see what Ghila has come up with for her metallic design!
Up next, Week 9 - Rainbow!

Happy 27th Birthday Steph!

Back-dating a post...shame on me! But in my defense, my sister's birthday was October 15th and these were how my nails were on that day so really I can't post it for any other day =) I didn't really have any overly awesome birthday nails in mind for Steph's birthday because she wasn't turning a milestone (like 21...or 50) and she also wasn't celebrating anywhere fantastic (like she did for her 23rd birthday in Disney). So what's a girl to do? Match her nails to the wrapping paper of course! I had wrapped her presents in a really pretty green solid and then added some sparkle with wrapping paper and it turned out to be a cute nail design too:

A very happy birthday to my older sister who is turning 27 today and maybe just maybe might be buying a house for herself (with her fiance of course) as a birthday present. That seems like a pretty stellar way to celebrate being 27 to meee!

31 Week Nail Art Challenge - Week 7: Black & White

Happy Sunday everyone! Today's post puts me back on track with where I should be in the 31 Week Nail Art Challenge and I'm so psyched to continue on with the challenge with the company of Ghila from NailsNoob. For Week 7 of the challenge the manicure is Black and White. This was an excellent week for me because black and white is one of my favorite pairs. It's so chic and timeless and I couldn't resist the added bonus of being able to shoot the photo in black and white:
For this look, I used Orly White Out, Kiss Brush-On Nail Art Paint in Black, and Bundle Monster plate 205 (butterflies). I then added a layer of Orly Shine On Crazy Diamond to make it sparkle (but you can't see it in my black and white picture). This is a colored (well, less black and white) photo:

Don't forget to check out what Ghila came up with over on Nails Noob!

Also, really exciting news! If you've noticed that my photos have gotten better, sharper, clearer, more accurately colored, whatever, it's because I invested in a really cool new camera! My phones and my Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS Digital Elph have served me well and I will still use them because it's MUCH more easily transported than my new camera but...my new camera is amazing and I love using it. Say hello to my new Nikon! It even has a lens cap, sooo fancyyy, no?!
Up next . . . Metallic Nail Art!

31 Week Nail Art Challenge: Week Six - Purple

My post today is finally going up since my internet has come back! I had to switch back to my old phone because my new phone won't let me connect to the internet :( I've owed you all two weeks from the 31 Week Nail Art Challenge since I missed last Sunday, and I posted the first of those two weeks toward the beginning of this week. Today I have the second owed post, the manicure for Week Six: Purple Nails. Purple isn't particularly my favorite color for manicures but I have noticed that I've been wearing it pretty often recently so maybe I'm starting to like it more!
For this look, I used Zoya Mira and China Glaze Tart-y for the Party. Also, see what my buddy Ghila over on NailsNoob created! She is joining me on this 31 Week Nail Art Challenge ride and has amazing manicures on her blog so go check her blog out!
Up next....Black and White! I'm really excited for this and I already have an idea of what I want to do. Hopefully I'll have them done for Sunday! :) Also, be sure to check out Nails Noob for what she's doing with this challenge!

It's Here! My Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Ok guys so this isn't really a nail design post...BUT my nails are in the photo so that makes it count! Anyway, as you may remember, I was really excited to buy a planner. Yep, you didn't misread that -- I said a planner. But seriously, when you're as Type A as I am and you love planners as much as I do, my obsession and excitement is completely understandable. I bought the Erin Condren "Life Planner" in the Viva Espana watercolor cover and so far I am completely pleased and I don't regret the $50 price tag at all. First of all, how gorgeous is this cover?? I love the shapes and the tessellation and all the stunning colors of it.  
One thing that is great about the Erin Condren planners is that you have the freedom to completely customize the planner's cover to however you want it. There are tons of different options to choose from and you don't have to customize it, but if you think you want to you can always change the covers, add text for free, add a photo for free, or just completely come up with your own. When I was researching the planners, I saw examples of engagement photos used as covers, collages of friend photos as covers, etc. I decided to just get my name "Nicole Marie" in the same colors as the image. I didn't customize the coloring at all because I thought the yellows, greens, and blues were perfect. I may have taken a photo and made it my phone's background too...

The packaging of the planner shipment was also super cute. You might not be able to see it in the photo that well but it's pink and teal and is adorable. The planner was covered in pink tissue paper and had a cute enjoy! sticker securing the top.

Anyway, so let's get into the planner.
 The first pages of the planner are this: You can add your personal details on the left (like your phone number, address, etc in case you lost it). For mine I just added my email address on some washi tape.
Erin Condren planners are chock full of inspiring quotes. In fact, the next two pages have the well-known quote "Work Hard Play Hard" and a chevron design. This planner just makes you smile.
And for the planning part: You have the full year at a glance, monthly views, and weekly views. If you can't figure out how to organize your life with all of those then you have one crazy life!
 See, more inspiring quotes.
 I started to scribble my planning in it so I have to show you a month that I didn't write anything in. You have your month at a glance view...
 ...and then you always have your week at a glance view. I'm not sure how much I like that the month view is separated into unlined "morning", "day", and "night" sections, but I'm adjusting to it. I really do enjoy writing my events, homework, to-do lists, shopping lists, and meetings in a planner so that I can always have everything at my finger tips and ensure that I don't forget anything important.
The planner also included a bunch of lined and unlined note pages for you to use however you want. Right now I just have a list of blog post ideas, some addresses, and wishlists in mine, but people have used them for grocery lists, random scribbles, inspiration boards, etc. There's really no limit.

There are also beaucoup sticker sheets that come attached in the planner. There are two sheets of stickers that you can use both in the monthly views and the weekly views. Some of the words include "Birthday", "Concert", "Doctor's Appointment", "Concert", etc. You also get two additional sticker sheets that are blank so you can write whatever you want. As an added cost (about $3) you can customize your own additional sticker sheets to further fit whatever you've got going on in your life. For example, I customized a sheet of stickers to say "Flight" (because I'll be visiting Andrew in Colorado), "No Classes" (because I'm a student), "Steph's Wedding" (for my sister's wedding events), "Finals" (because I'm a student), and a few others. You can customize the background color of your customized stickers but I didn't realize that so my stickers are the same red, pink, orange, blue, and green in the photo above. I wish I would have known that I could customize the sticker color because I would have definitely chosen more unique colors. :( I know for next time! I also wish I would have customized a bunch of stickers to say Clinic (for the law clinic I work in), the name of my firm for work stuff, etc.
 More and more blank stickers.
And if you youtube Erin Condren planners you will see that people love to use washi tape and sticky notes throughout their planners to bedazzle them and make the planner even more unique. Erin Condren has included an attached envelope to contain the sticky notes.
Erin Condren planners also have a Keep It Together folder to keep stickers and and the custom made sticker sheets with your planner.
A new thing for this new Erin Condren planner is this Forget Me Not Perpetual Calendar and Contacts pamphlet. The idea behind it is that you don't have to rewrite all your birthdays, anniversaries, etc in the monthly views. I still put all the birthdays in the month but I also added all the birthdays to the perpetual calendar.I hole-punched an index card and attached it to the back of the calendar so I could attach it to the coil. Erin Condren makes coil clips for this purpose but they were a bit too expensive and I didn't think I'd use that many.
 So there you have it :) My brand new Erin Condren planner for 2014-2015. I love it so far and can't wait to really get it all set up and start using it!

31 Week Nail Art Challenge: Week 5 - Blue

Sheesh there's a lot going on right now. Here's the deal everyone, I think it slipped my mind last week to post and apparently even to photograph my Week 5 nails for the 30 Week Nail Art Challenge! So this week at some point I will be posting both Week 5 AND Week 6 manicures. Unfortunately, I did not photograph my blue nails that were most recently done but fear not! I am in the process of switching over cell phones from my old HTC DNA to a newer Samsung Galaxy S3 and in the process I found a blue nail design that has (I think) slipped through the cracks! Have you ever painted your nails and photographed it thinking you were going to post it and then you just forget about it?? Anyway, it's a really pretty nail design and I don't think I ever posted it here on the files. If I have, please let me know! These were done many months ago but I would like to share them as my Week 5 blue manicure.
Simple but pretty, no? I think I may have photographed these but then never posted them because I wasn't pleased with how the flower turned out...or maybe I needed to copy a tutorial and couldn't find the link? I have no clue, but they are posted now and I think they are very very pretty and simple.

Upcoming in the challenge: Week 6 - Purple
I also have SO MANY posts that I have to do it's almost mindboggling! Be sure to check back, you have purple nails, a planner post, and probably a few others that I have up my sleeve!

Who loves to PLAN? This girl does!

Ladies and gents, I may have momentarily lost my mind....but hear me out okay? After seeing a friend of mine post on facebook that she was looking at "Erin Condren Life Planners" I sort of laughed and thought to myself Life planner? What is this nonsense? Wow, I was so wrong! There is an entire following out there of ladies (and gents probably) who absolutely swear by the Erin Condren Life Planner. You all know I'm a law student and I'm a HUGE fan of everything organizationally focused. Yes, that includes agendas/planners. Color coordination? YES. Sticky notes? Heck yes! So I started looking at all the options for the Erin Condren life planner (I still chuckled that it was called a "life planner") and there were soooo many different types. The covers were all colorful and different. You could personalize it with your name (or whatever other words you want). And the space? Oh my gosh, the amount of space included in these things looked to be prime for 100% organizational bliss. The price of the Life Planner doesn't come cheap though, and I was really hesitant to believe that a planner, something to scribble down assignments, appointments, notes, etc, could cost such a price. At $50 it took a lot of convincing and I researched and researched the product. I watched youtube videos where people reviewed their Erin Condren Life Planners, checked blog posts reviewing the product, and even googled images for how you could use the showed you how you could use it. Eventually I broke down...and I bought one. More information on when it comes in! I might just review it? Or use it for a nail design? Who knows. If you want to see some of what the fuss is all about you can always watch this video:
And just a little hint: the cover of my Erin Condren Life Planner that I bought just might look like one these!

My BLOWN MIND by OPI Blue My Mind

It's very rare that I do something like this guys, but this is going to get serious right now. The last time I did this was when I was accused by an anonymous comment-er that I stole their nail design (seriously?!). Hard to figure it out when the person was anonymous and wouldn't give me a link to their design. Over-dramatic much? Anyway, my witty, joking demeanor has taken a step aside and I think my inner b**** might be on her way out. I know we're talking about nail polish here, but here's what happened:

I sat down at my computer today to paint my nails. Because it was going to be a swatch post, I googled the name of the color to try and get the original collection name and year to include in the post. Which polish did I choose? OPI Blue My Mind, a polish that I bought originally a LONG time ago (I couldn't remember the exact purchase date). I looked at the google image results and what did I find? A much lighter and more powdery blue than what my purpley blue OPI Blue My Mind polish looked like both in the bottle and on my nails. I tried to figure out if maybe my lighting was just off. Nope, the lighting was what the lighting was. It wasn't affecting my polish at all.

The swatch post I looked at was from Paint Those Piggies (an absolutely awesome blog that I didn't even know about until now -- you should check it). You can clearly see the light blue of the polish and the tag on the bottom of the bottle.
Looks good right? And there were so many others that looked exactly the same. So I checked my bottle. Could I possibly have a FAKE polish in my collection? No way. But here's what my photo looked like:
Does it look the same to you?? You can see the barcodes are identical. By the way, props to Paint Those Piggies for being able to balance the polish like that....I had to use my thumb for balance. Anyway, I panic, thinking DID I BUY A FAKE OPI? Seriously? and I google "fake OPI." Turns out fake or counterfeit OPIs are an issue in the nail community. For example, TransDesign (a website that sells polishes for cheap) was sued by OPI for selling allegedly fake OPIs (there is one lawsuit I enjoyed reading -- because I'm a law nerd you know). I have such a hard time thinking there are fake nail polishes out there. I mean, they are nail polishes. OPI retails for anywhere from $7 to $12 and people are counterfeiting them?? They are nail polishes, not the crown jewels here. Anyway, I found this post, this post, and this post saying that fake OPIs EXIST, and I found this post showing How to Spot a Fake OPI Their blog posts also included some tips and ways to tell if your bottle is a fraud so I grabbed my bottle and started looking for clues.
Apparently, it's really hard to tell if a bottle is fake and, although you used to be able to look at things like the bottle shape and smoothness, the barcode at the bottom, whether there are two labels on the bottle or one, the stamp of a black or white number sequence on the bottle, the spelling and warning labels, and a little dot on the P in "OPI" written on the top of the cap, now the fakes are getting so good as to include all these things. As you can see, my bottle had everything a real bottle should: there's the little dot on the P in the cap, the ridges on the inside of the cap, the stamped "OPI" on the brush (although it might be hard to see on camera, in real life it's clear as day), the stamped number sequence on the bottle, proper warnings and labels, and an appropriate two label bottom tag.

Now I throw this out to you guys. Thoughts about this? Am I seeing things and my polish DOES look like the correct color? Are my nails faking it today? Or do I have the real deal on my digits? Suffice it to say that if I bought a fake OPI I'm going to be really really angry. It's just nail polish at the end of the day but nobody likes feeling ripped off or betrayed. Needless to say, OPI Blue My Mind did in fact end up BLOWING MY MIND today.

Don't worry OPI Blue My Mind, I'll love you either way. Jk. Seriously though, is that not absolutely gorgeous?

And the crown goes to...

Hello lovelies, today's post relates to a certain very exciting TV program that was on last night. Do you know what I'm talking about? If you guessed Miss America 2015 then yes! You're right! The Miss America pageant was on last night and, despite it derailing me from doing schoolwork like I had anticipated on doing, I enjoyed every second of watching the girls strut their stuff, show off their talents, and dazzle the audience in their evening gowns. I recently went to TJ Maxx with one of my best college friends who was in from Maine and while we were there I picked up a polish that NEEDED to be swatched during Miss America: OPI Miss You-niverse.

OPI Miss You-niverse is from the Miss Universe collection that came out in...2013 I think? It's this absolutely gorgeous deep plum purple color that was pretty much the easiest nail polish to apply ever. I'm pretty sure you could get away with only doing one coat if you were in a rush but I always do at least two coats to make sure I didn't miss anywhere. The color is true-to-bottle which is always good. It was so hard to capture the actual purple of this color on camera because as you can see it kept coming up really dark but I did my best! OPI Miss You-niverse is a perfect winter polish and I'll probably wear it quite a few times this season.
I love how you can barely read the label on the bottle. Black lettering on this dark of a polish....nope, I can't see that.
 In case you didn't watch Miss America....*spoiler alert* New York won (for the third time in a row) and no one fell!
Thanks for looking!

Am I the only one that thought where did I put my ice cream? while watching the bikini competition?

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