Big Bang Chit Chat

I wrote before that my stamping plates collection is not extensive, but I still own a few.
A decent (and growing) amount of them come from Beauty BigBang.

BeautyBigBang.com is – in their own words – “a global online retailer for all things beauty, including cosmetics, nails, hair, health care and so on“. Their stamping plates are cute, affordable, user-friendly and therefore very convenient for a beginner (like I consider myself to be).
They offer free worldwide shipping, but the fact that they ship from overseas must be taken into account: your package will definitely need a bit longer than usual to get to you.

Please note: some of my BBB plates were purchased with my own money, but the ones that are featured in this post were sent to me for review by the company. It wasn’t planned – it just happened!
Anyway, here’s a bunch of manicures I created using BBB plates.

Muffa (kind of) approves

Muffa is my cat. He is dignified and judgy and I suspect he doesn’t have a great opinion of me. When I showed him the mani below he didn’t say anything, but the way he was staring at me was clear enough: “Although the juxtaposition of cats and fishbones isn’t but a mere stereotype – which was to be expected, coming from YOU – the outcome of your effort is not to be completely despised. But I’m much prettier and nobler than those guys. Now feed me. No, I’ve changed my mind: I want out. No, feed me. No, out. No, feed me. No, wait. Out. NOW!”.

By the way, my other cat Pelliccia firmly believes that if the sun rises, it’s because of me. As a consequence, he also thinks that when it rains or snows I am the one to blame. He voices out his disapproval with whining meows. Then he wants out. And in. And out. And in. And out.

I used Masura Breathe as my base, Moyra black stamping polish and Beauty BigBang plate BBBXL-008.

Stay pawsitive, my_apawcalypse?

I love this mani! For once, I’m happy with what I did. There’s still hope for me, then?
I used Essie Cocktail Bling as my base, Moyra black stamping polish and Beauty BigBang plate BBBXL-008.

Les petits chiens

I don’t have a dog of my own, but, if I could, I’d adopt a French bulldog.
Or a corgi, maybe. Or a jack russell. Or a really hairy, huge one, like a Newfoundland dog or a Bernese Mountain dog. But I am digressing – more than usual, I mean.
Given my love for frenchies, it’s no surprise that I eventually came up with a Frenchie-themed manicure. I even got a polish specifically for this purpose (like I needed an excuse for buying polish… ). Here’s the result.

I used Opi Frenchie likes to kiss? as my base, Moyra black stamping polish and Beauty BigBang plate BBBXL-008.

Flower power

Despite me being a tomboy, I enjoy flowery patterns on my nails. Mostly because they are very forgiving and nobody (especially me) notices if they are a bit crooked. But they are also pretty!

Photo 1: BBB-10 over a mystery shade by Pahlish; photo 2: BBBXL-038 over Rainbow Honey Ultimate Weapon; photo 3: BBBXL-022 over Maybelline Forever Strong 825; photo 4: BBB-10 over Kiko Denim Nail Lacquer 466.

Of pandas and other creatures

I stamped pandas too! Can you believe it? The plate I used, BBBXL-014, was sent to me by mistake, but I’m not complaining! Even if it’s not exactly my style, I think it’s lovely! If anything, the designs are slightly too big for my short, tiny nails, but that’s nobody’s fault.
Below you will find a unicorn mani as well. I’ve never been a unicorn lover, but they’ve grown on me, those rainbow-farting, multichrome-peeing blokes!

Photo 1: BBBXL-014 over Kiko 321.
Photo 2: BBBXL-007 over Sayuri Mei Long.

The grand finale. Too much? Let’s say the average finale?

Just a couple (ok, three) more photos and I’m done, promise!
I saved the most unusual patterns for last: the first two come from plate BBBXL-039, which is hands down one of my favourites; the third is on BBBXL-038.

Photo 1: BBBXL-039 over Foxy Paws It’s a bit nipply out; the stamping polish is a metallic rose gold from NYC.
Photo 2: BBBXL-039 over Femme Fatale Hook; the stamping polish is Instant Match by Essence.
Photo 3: BBBXL-038 over Masura Sputnik; the stamping polish is a metallic silver by Essence.

Overall…

… I really enjoy my Beauty BigBang stamping plates: they’re good quality for the price and easy to use; the patterns are varied and pretty. I will definitely buy more of them in the (close) future!

Ilaria

Useful links:    
Beauty BigBang site: https://www.beautybigbang.com/
If you want, you can use my discount code LLAE10 for 10% off your purchase!
Plate BBB-10: https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/sun-floral-nail-stamping-plate-rose-flower-pattern-nail-accessory
Plate BBBXL-007: https://www.beautybigbang.com/collections/new-arrival/products/unicorn-rainbow-magic-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-for-manicure-xl-007
Plate BBBXL-008: https://www.beautybigbang.com/collections/new-arrival/products/dog-paws-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-cute-cat-theme-for-manicure-xl-008
Plate BBBXL-014: https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/panda-pattern-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-animal-series-for-manicure-bbbxl-014
Plate BBBXL-022: https://www.beautybigbang.com/collections/new-arrival/products/butterfly-theme-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-sunflower-design-nail-art-tool-bbbxl-022
Plate BBBXL-38: https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/leaves-flower-theme-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-peacock-tail-design-nail-art-tool-bbbxl-038
Plate BBBXL-039: https://www.beautybigbang.com/products/whirlpool-flower-theme-rectangle-nail-stamping-plate-rind-design-nail-art-tool-bbbxl-039
My Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/my_apawcalypse/

Disclaimer: all photos are my own. As stated, the products featured in this post were sent to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
English is my second language, so please excuse my mistakes and bear with me if I sound weird!

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Christ-must

I tried to resist. I really did. But eventually the Christmas spirit or, rather, atmosphere sneaked in and I found myself craving for snowflakes and ugly sweaters on my nails. So here’s a couple of wintery/Christmas-y/festive manicures I was able to make in the small amount of spare time I’ve had lately.

Scintillating Scintillant Scintilla

Cadillacquer Scintilla stamped with Yves Rocher Or Scintillant; design from Born Pretty plate BP-L029.

For this mani I used a GORGEOUS polish as a base: Cadillacquer Scintilla, an exclusive shade for Hypnotic Polish (my favourite online store for indies), is described as a “dark purple-leaning burgundy crelly with copper shimmer”. It’s dainty and rich at the same time: I’m so in love with it! 
Let me include a pic with the polish on its own:

Cadillacquer Scintilla

The starry pattern comes from one of my few Christmas-themed plates, Born Pretty’s BP-L029. As a stamping polish I used a metallic gold by Yves Rocher, appropriately named Or Scintillant (see what I did there? XD ). My stamper of choice was, as usual, Essence’s Stamp it! clear stamper.

Fake snowflake

OPI Holidazed Over You stamped with Essence City Girls Rule! and Hit The Bottle Snowed In; pattern from Clear Jelly Stamper CJS-03.

Another mani I did was a classic snowflake design. This time I picked a very dark, pratically black, blue nail polish by OPI: it’s called Holidazed Over You and it’s one of my favourites from last year’s Holiday collection.
For the snowflakes I used my nemesis: a layering stamping plate! Argh! 
The plate itself (Clear Jelly Stamper CJS-03, purchased from Guerrilla Nails) is good and not hard to use, but the hand maneuvering the stamper is a hopeless one, so it was only after several attempts (and quite a bit of nasty talking and swearing) that I managed to put together something acceptable.
Stamping polishes were my go-to silver metallic, Essence’s City Girls Rule!, and Snowed In by Hit The Bottle.

WARNING! 

The following sections include disturbing content: proceed with caution! 
I’m kidding…!!! But if you decide to scroll down, be prepared to see some epic nail fails! XD

The ugliest ugly sweater

The image below shows why I should always steer clear from designs that require to be centered and aligned. I can’t do that. I just can’t, even with a clear stamper. Oh, well. It is supposed to look like an ugly sweater, isn’t it? Nailed it! You can’t go any uglier than this! XD
Anyway, I used a metallic cherry tomato red from the Miracle Gel line by Sally Hansen (the miracle being that it eventually becomes opaque, after three generous coats, and dry, after a few hours). Again the pattern comes from Born Pretty BP-L029 and the white stamping polish is Snowed In by Hit The Bottle.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Jingle Red Rock stamped with Hit The Bottle Snowed In; pattern from Born Pretty BP-L029.
Born Pretty BP-L029

IN CAUDA VENENUM: I’ve saved the scariest – and most ridiculous – for last.
Enter…

Truth be told: it is a dogsled.

A few years ago, I was browsing on YouTube, when I came across a tutorial for a reindeer mani. I can’t remember who the nail artist was, but she made it look so easy and effortless that I decided to give it a try. How naive of me! 
The reind… creature was so unspeakably ugly that I didn’t even bother giving it its antlers. Not that there was any room left anyway…  -_-

The red-nosed creature

I was going to euthanize it with acetone, but its alarmed, incredulous look stopped me. It stayed. 
That’s how Rocky The Red-nosed Doberman was born.

Further research on my side showed that now and then Santa does in fact use a dogsled instead of his traditional reindeer sleigh, and Rocky is the leading pup.
Photographic evidence is provided below.

Ok, guys, I hope you had a good laugh. 
See you soon! Ho Ho Woof!

Ilaria

Useful links
https://www.hypnoticpolish.com/
https://cadillacquer.wordpress.com/
https://www.guerrillanails.com/

Disclaimer
All photos are my own, except for the banners (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/49/AT_YOUR_OWN_RISK.svg/2000px-AT_YOUR_OWN_RISK.svg.png and https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/160000/nahled/skull-hazard-sign.jpg), the dogsled (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/Dog_Sled_Rides_%286982734689%29.jpg), Santa Claus (https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ0TlBcUEWHXdRuJBrEjK2bxKtKM9gCe5cfPu-LpcKHNpselBSa).

Nail art for a start

Let’s put it straight: I’m not good at nail art. I’m clumsy, impatient, unorganized. I don’t have the ability to envision a design, I totally lack visual fantasy. But above all, I’m not talented.

I’ve always been passionate about arts: music, painting, architecture, sculpture, photography… But I’m a beholder, not a maker.  When I try and draw something, the result usually ends up looking like this:

“Thin Man”, soon at MOMA.

So when it comes to nail art, hand painting is out of question, decals and vynils are also a daunting challenge (you know, clumsiness, impatience, fine motor skills deficiency…), striping tape can’t even be mentioned. We are left with dotters, sponges and stamping tools, the latter being my favourite, hands down.

I enjoy stamping! Like, a lot! Simple patterns, of course, nothing layered (I don’t seem to be able to align the images properly) or reverse-stamped (my “decals” are always either too dry or too tacky). Sometimes I make an attempt, but the process is often frustrating and the final products underwhelming.

But other than that, stamping is good, stamping is fun! Over the years, my stamping plates have multiplied (not spontaneously! you can’t just place a male plate together with a female plate in a cozy corner with soothing music on and hope for a litter of puppy plates!).
By now, even if my collection is not large by any means, I have a nice variety of plates to choose from. Here are a few of my favourites (the majority of them I purchased with my own money, a couple of them were sent to me for review by Beauty Bigbang and Guerrilla Nails).

Top row, from the left: Beauty Bigbang BBB-10; a plate I got from Ebay, simply named P; Emily de Molly EDM 19.
Bottom row, from the left: Pueen 61, HeHe 057 and another plate from Ebay, named 08; MoYou London Sailor 03, Scandi 08, Trend Hunter 01 and Tropical 03;
Überchic collections 1 and 4.
Click on a photo to open the gallery!

As far as stampers go, my preference goes to the clear jelly one by Essence: it’s affordable, it’s readily available and it works just fine!

After the longest of preambles, shall we get to the point? 
A few days ago, I stamped. Oh yes, I did!
First of all, I made a gradient with two A England polishes: Katherine of Aragon and Peaseblossom A Fairy. 

A England Katherine of Aragon (gold/neutral) and Peaseblossom A Fairy (magenta)

After that, I stamped a design taken from Überchic plate 4-02. I used a black stamping polish by Moyra, like I always do. 


A England Katherine of Aragon and Peaseblossom A Fairy, Überchic plate 4-02, 
Moyra’s black stamping polish.

May I say that I’m pretty happy with this mani (for once)?

I hope you had fun reading my struggle with nail art! By the way, I’m not a native speaker, so please bear with me if I make mistakes or sound weird!!! Feel free to correct me – I’d appreciate your help!
It’s time to go, now. See you soon!

Ilaria

Indie, indeed

Back in 2013, when I was taking my first steps into the polish word, I came across something unseen (by me) and unheard (also by me) of: glitter mixes. 
Suddenly a choir of angels started singing, accompanied by the sound of heavenly lyres, while unicorns would gallop gracefully around them, shaking their rainbow manes and leaving pink footprints in the clouds.

I became frantic: I had to have one (or two, three, four… #hoarderinthemaking) of them! Specifically, I wanted what now I would call a crelly: a glitter in a coloured, semi-opaque base.
That’s how the whole chase-the-rabbit-down-the-rabbit-hole situation began: from crellies to indies the leap is bound to happen. 

The universe of indipendent nail polish brands (or indies for short) was, for me, fascinating and unattainable: here in Narnia (the little corner of the planet where I live), cosmetics coming from outside the EU are not easy to import, as I had to realize when I tried to get my hands on them. I could only think of one solution to my problem: I needed to find a European indie maker! Easier said than done, but eventually I succeded: first of all I found Crazy Polish Lady from Portugal (whose polish I still own and treasure – but that’s another story) and then Foxy Paws stepped (see what I did there? XD ) into my life. It was love at first sight!

Foxy Paws Dancing in the moonlight

What would you have done in front of this beauty? Yep, me too: I got hooked. Little by little, a growing number of cute Foxes found their new home in my drawers. Five years later, they’re still there.

Foxy  Paws polishs galore

Foxy Paws is the creature of the lovely and talented Charlotte from Denmark: a beautiful woman inside and out! She’s been on maternity leave for the last couple of years, but she’s coming back, and I couldn’t be happier!
While we wait for her new shades, why don’t we take a look at a few of my (many) favourite Foxies?

Top row, from the left: You Saucy Minx and Cake By The Ocean. Middle, from the left: Get Psyched Mix and One More Night. Bottom row, from the left: Time To Be A Unicorn and I’m Blue.

Finally, a proper (well, proper… sort of) swatch: on my nails I have two coats of the gorgeous Accidental Boob Graze (shall we talk about the name? XD ).

Foxy Paws Accidental Boob Graze
Foxy Paws Accidental Boob Graze: my photos don’t do it justice: it’s stunning in real life!

Once again I talked a lot! Time to go… See you soon!

Ilaria