Tokyo Nail Expo 2013 Art Contest Awards

Finally! I’ve got the results from the 2013 Tokyo Nail Expo art contests. Click to enlarge!

The nails in the top 3 rows were all painted live at the Expo. The top row is Freestyle Fashion, 2nd row is “Men’s Nail,” and 3rd row is Flat Art.

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And my favorite part for last! The very bottom row features the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners for the Nail Art Tip Award. These nails were painted before the contest and the public voted for the nails. The theme was “Fresh Flesh.” Although these nails were lovely, I am disappointed that very few of them actually paid attention to the theme. The #2 does have a baby and a stork, so I guess there’s some Fresh Flesh, but I think the floral/butterfly nails don’t really follow the theme as far as I can tell. Lovely work, but not really unique or particularly clever. Not sure what they’ll be doing for next year, but I hope to see something really unique for 2014.  Great work and congrats to all!

Posted in Japanese Nail Art, Nail Art | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box Review

If there’s one thing (besides glitter!) that I’m passionate about, it’s cruelty-free beauty. I don’t use products that are tested on animals on this blog or in any of my nail art in my shop. There are so many great products out there that are kind to animals, so I don’t ever feel deprived or like I’m missing out. 

With that in mind, I have the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box to show you today. They have a Snack Box option and a Beauty Box option. Of course both boxes showcase vegan, cruelty-free products. 

Here’s what was in the Beauty Box:

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A little doggy pouch, 2 packages of LA Fresh Oil Free Cleanser, Everyday Minerals Finishing Powder and Blush, Soapbox Black Soap, Jersey Shore Sun Vegan Lip Conditioner, and Color Club Harlem Lights 4-polish assortment. (Guess which item was my favorite?)

Vegan Cuts Collage

Closeup of the powders and nail polish. The Everyday Minerals Finishing Powder (left) was a nice product- it kept shine away even in sticky Singapore. I do have rather dry skin, though, so I’m not super oily. It’s a nice option for a finishing powder and seems to work really well. The Everyday Minerals blush is too dark for my super pale skin and makes me look like Bozo The Clown, but is very long lasting. It’s super matte and very natural looking- this would be great on darker complexions.

The lip balm was nice and minty. It’s not sticky or gooey. I don’t think this would heal super cracked lips, but it’s a nice balm for keeping dryness and chappy lips away.

The soap and face wipes were both effective and a fine option for soap and face wipes. The Black Soap wasn’t truly black and had a medicinal smell that reminded me of elementary school bathroom soap for some reason. Not unpleasant by any means but I like my Black Soap truly black. Nature’s Shea Butter  is my go-to place for African black soaps and other shea-butter goodies.

The cost of this box per month is $20, with free shipping in the US, $8 shipping to Canada, and $15 worldwide.

Is this box a good value at $20? It really depends. If you enjoy trying new things and are looking to support cruelty-free/small independent manufacturers, absolutely. Plus it’s always fun to get a box o’stuff in the mail. I personally hate waste and like to try sample-size goodies out before committing to a full-sized item. I’d rather do that than be stuck with full-size products I bought on a whim and then didn’t like, made me itchy, etc.  

That being said, if the products are not something you’ll enjoy (ie you don’t use nail polish, powder, etc) the box for that month is kind of a waste. 

I’d say if you have a regimen of products you like and are not actively looking for replacement products, you’d be better off skipping the Beauty Box. If you’re looking to replace some conventional products with vegan/cruelty-free ones, this might be a fun option to discover new goodies, especially if you live in an area without these products available locally. It’s also a fun present to give for a few months.

What do you guys think? Anyone have any Beauty Box subscriptions? What do you like/dislike about them?

 

 

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Indie Nail Polish Review- I <3 NP Duochromes in Birefringence, Cygnus Loop, Mutagen and Nostalgia

Happy New Year, all! Today I’m reviewing some awesome indie nail polishes by I <3 NP.

I’m a huge fan of duochromes, the kind of nail polish that shifts color according to the angle of the light. They’re not color-changing due to heat or UV light, they just have different pigments that catch the light in different ways. Long long ago, Sally Hansen had a line of duochromes called Nail Prisms, which were pretty fab but flopped on the market due to their sheerness and thin yet gloopy formula. The trick was to layer them over a dark color, but that wasn’t really mentioned, so they wound up on the shelves of discounters.

But…I’m here to tell you there’s an awesome modern polish that’s cruelty-free and equally fantastic! It’s made by I (Heart) NP, and the customer service is great and the shipping is fast. I ordered four of the most colorful duochrome polishes in Birefringence, Cygnus Loop, Mutagen and Nostalgia.

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Really nice packaging!

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Ooohhh…aaaahhh- shiny joy!

Nostalgia

Nostalgia.

Cygnus Loop

Cygnus Loop.

Birefringence

Birefringence.
Mutagen

Mutagen.

I’m really short on time at the moment, but I was dying to show these off, so I just swatched them on a little nail swatchy chart. I’ve had Cygnus Loop on my toes for 2 days and it appears to be wearing pretty well with no chips or dulling of the polish. The polish looks great, but my toes do not, so I shall spare you having to view my feet.

Scary toes aside, the swatches are as follows: #1 is Nostalgia, #2 is Cygnus Loop, #3 is Birefringence and #4 is Mutagen. This is two solid coats of the polish without topcoat. I took these photos in natural light, no flash.

I Love NP

The formula is great- very smooth and no brushstrokes or baldy spots, which can sometimes be a problem for duochromes.

Cygnus Loop and Birefringence look similar in the photos, but Cygnus Loop is a stronger fuschia/warm purple whereas B is a purple with an icy blue flash. Both are lovely, but folks who prefer warm tones should go with Cygnus Loop. You can’t go wrong either way.

Mutagen is a teeny bit more sheer than the others, but still pretty solid in two coats.  You could layer these over a darker shade and I think you could get away with one coat on top with a good duochrome effect if you wanted to conserve polish. The cost is $12.50 per 12ML bottle. The polishes are 3-free, cruelty-free and do not contain animal ingredients, making them a great choice all around.

These polishes are available at the ILNP shop here or on Etsy. There’s also tons of other polishes available, including holos and glitter bombs, but being I’m a duochrome maniac, these are the ones I chose. Barbra, the owner, was great in answering my questions and dealing with shipping to Singapore. I’m very happy with these and will definitely be using them in my nail art creations!

Posted in Nail polish, Store-bought Colors | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Goodbye 2013! Some New Year Nail Art and Best Wishes for 2014

2013 is winding down fast….just a few hours left in the year for me. I’m spending the night in with the Mr. doing the Twilight Zone marathon and eating pizza. Not exactly a bad way to end the year!

Here are some recent New Year’s nails- the red, black and gold ones are inspired by the kimono that Japanese folks traditionally wear on their first visit to the shrine on January 1. The rest are just blingy for a Western-style New Year!

New Year 2014 collage

I wish all of you a very healthy and appy 2014! I hope the year will bring lots of love, light and glitter to all. :)

Posted in Holiday Nails, Nail Art, NTMG Original Nail Art | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Travels in Burma + Burmese Inspired Nail Art

A very belated Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating-I’ve come back from a trip to Burma, and it was really wonderful. I left my phone, computer, etc. at home and just unplugged and enjoyed the moment. I find that travelling gives me fresh inspiration and a new perspective that’s really good for the soul!

Of course, I did do some nails, but first, some travel pictures. (Scroll to the bottom if you want to see some Burma-inspired nail art and skip the travelogue!)

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Bookstore, Yangon (Rangoon).

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Selling eggs and dried fish in the market. Most Burmese shop in these kind of markets-supermarkets and refrigerators are out of the reach of all but the wealthiest urban residents.

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Spice vendor. Despite having a lot of chili peppers, the food here is not spicy. Surprising, considering their neighbors Thailand and India have some of the hottest food around.

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And a cosmetics/nail polish vendor! The light colored powder on her face is thanaka, a natural sunblock that comes from a tree bark which is ground on a stone to a paste and applied to the skin. I did see quite a few ladies with painted nails, even in the countryside. Dark teal seemed to be the color of choice- either that, or everyone was sharing the same bottle! ;)

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Monkey on Mt. Popa. Monkeys hang out at temples since there is always food around, and while cute, can get aggressive. This one was drinking Red Bull-yikes!

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Unique “leg paddler” fishermen of Inle Lake. Paddling with their feet allows them to keep both hands free for catching fish.

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The jungle is reclaiming these 11th century stupas and pagodas.

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Temple detail, Bagan Town.

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Temple ruins, Bagan. There are over 5000 monuments there. It reminds me a lot of Cambodia, with but with less jungles and no landmines. Very mysterious.

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Monks taking pictures with a tablet computer. Perhaps it was given to the monastery by a wealthy donor? The monks here can take donations of food, soap, household goods, etc. but never money as that would reduce them to being beggars. Any monk in Burma asking for money is not a genuine monk.

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A spot of British afternoon tea at the colonial-era Strand Hotel on our last day after a dusty week on the road.

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One of the bluest skies I have ever seen at the Shwedagon Pagoda- this photo has not been touched up. This is exactly what it looked like. Burma is very colorful- saffron monk’s robes, lots of fruits, rich red brick…but blue and gold was the most outstanding color combination for me.

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So, with that in mind, some simple blue and gold nails I did, using some motifs I saw on the buildings, walls and local artwork.

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Thanks for looking! If you’d like to go to Burma, I highly recommend it- but tread carefully. The political situation is better there than it has been in years, which I why I decided to go now. However, things can change very rapidly and without warning. I found the guides were not entirely honest about the dangers, saying that the country was safe, you could walk around at night,  etc. However, the high gates and barbed wire on many of the houses said differently. It is essential before you go to do a LOT of research. It’s always a good idea whenever you travel to do so, but for Burma it’s absolutely necessary. You will not get proper information inside the country as the guides are heavily restricted in what they can say. Though the situation is much improved, be extremely careful when interacting with local people- they are still under surveillance and are obligated to report contact with foreigners to the authorities. Our guides were constantly snapping pictures of us with their cell phones to prove that we were only going to tourist spots, etc.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I’d like to go back again- next time to see Mandalay and do some trekking in the more remote areas if they open up while I’m still based in Singapore.

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Holiday 2013 Nail Art

I’m off into the wild blue yonder for Christmas holiday as of tomorrow- as always, it sneaks up on me really fast. I hope everyone is having a wonderful time, but not a ♫ Simpllllyyy Wonderful Christmas Time.♪ I’ve had that stinking song stuck in my head for days. Shame on you, Paul McCartney!

All that aside, here’s some holiday nail art fun:

Holiday Collage Nail Art by NeverTooMuchGlitter

And a few easy DIY ideas here,  here and here, plus this:

Christmas tree shapes can be surprisingly tricky to paint, since the sides have to be balanced. One side looks off, then the other side looks scrawny, so it’s easy to wind up with a very bloated Christmas tree. The inverted v shape is the answer! :)  I totally confess- I dropped these nails mid-paint and that’s why my shapes are really off. I just didn’t have time to redo it- sorry!

holiday tree

I’m off to the hinterlands of Burma/Myanmar soon, so I won’t have any Internet (or electricity!) for a while, but that doesn’t mean I’m going with naked nails! I may not have a stick of makeup in my bag and my hair always magically frizzes when I’m on holiday, but dang if my nails won’t look festive. ;)

Have a fab holiday all!

Posted in Holiday Nails, Nail Art, NTMG Original Nail Art | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Easy Christmas DIY Nail Art

I’ve cooked up some simple DIY nail art that will be great for the holiday season! All of these designs are pretty do-able even for those who are not yet nail art experts.

If a full set of 10 nails is a bit too much, try a holiday design on one accent nail- it’s a fun way to be festive without going too over the top (though I’m not known for being shy with my nail art!)

Easy DIY Christmas Nail Art by NeverTooMuchGlitter

Try a Santa, a snowman, or even a glitter gradation for a celebratory look. Most of these nails should be 10-15 minutes or less per nail to make, not including drying time.

What looks are you guys currently wearing? Anything crazy, or is everyone feeling a bit more understated this season? I’ll be on the road for Christmas this year, so I’ll have to keep the crazy art confined to my toes. The airport spells certain doom for any fancy manis I do. Grabbing suitcases and scrabbling through bags frantically looking for documents will do that! When a nail breaks, polish chips or art gets messed up, I have to take it all off. I feel oddly bad having one naked/chipped/broken nail. Then again, I was also a child who couldn’t eat chocolate Easter bunnies because I felt like a murderer, and instead saved them all year in their boxes in my clothing bureau. Perhaps I need to talk with a professional? ;)

 

Posted in Holiday Nails, Nail Art | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments