Blood, Sweat, and Pirouettes

I’ve been incredibly busy at work this year, and have had neither time, energy, or honestly, any willpower to summon the ability to write for leisure, much less share some of the wonderful finds I’ve discovered! (Ok, some of that is also Pokemon Go’s release. I have apparently lost weight from all the hunting I’ve been doing!) That said, something changed. I got more time, sure. That was one very very important factor. (The other being that at level 28, and without all the pokemon I want appearing, I’m playing PoGo alot less! :P)

Time aside, I got inspired to put in that effort to write again.

Let me elucidate. Dressage, performed beautifully, exemplifies harmony, power, elegance, and is pure joy to watch. It is always described as ballet on horseback, because it is a dance, of trust, and a demonstration of the close partnership between a rider and her/his horse. Above all, it takes no prisoners. You have to put in that effort to cultivate a sense of humour, patience, and invest time into this. Hours upon hours of perfect practice to deliver an effortless less-than-ten-minutes performance.

So when I saw Cloud and Victory‘s shirt, I just had to have it. Had to.

White is the staple, and Navy and Plum are their seasonal specials. (Photos directly above are from their website).

It captured everything about the riding journey. The effort that went in to make one of the higher-level movements appear effortless and light. The sparkle that glimmers when ridden correctly. The gold of the medal they award you 😛

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#TheStruggleIsReal #Truth #JustSaying

Ok, but seriously. Even though it is a company dedicated to crafting fun expressions of ballet apparel, I thought it really suited the equestrian sport, and was too pretty to pass up. It has gold sparkly, and a trail of stars. How could I resist? Add to that how it is printed over a very easy-to-wear shade of plum (fuschia-friends of purple)! I was sold. I ordered as fast as I could (but not fast enough to grab the navy in my size!) I absolutely could not wait till I could get my hands on the shirt! So when I did, I’m afraid I just ripped into it…

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All wrapped up, waiting, just waiting for me!

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I felt like I was carefree; gone with the wind. Pictured on the sticker is Joy Womack, one of the young up and coming stars in ballet.

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Did I already mention that they try to preserve the only environment humans can live on, by reducing the materials and plastics normally used in productions of other clothing?

Our Pirouettes tees are crafted from a eco-friendly blend of comfy recycled organic cotton with a touch of recycled polyester, using environmentally-friendly production methods that utilise solar and wind power for a 90% carbon-reduced footprint. They’re a touch thicker than our fine cotton tees but still retain their breathability thanks to the organic cotton, making them the perfect warm-up tee.

Yup, they do.

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And it’s so soft and breatheable; fitting without being clingy. Elegant, functional, and sustainable for the environment. So much to love about this.

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I’m fah-bu-lous, dahling. Fabulous.

I’ve already worn it to ride this week, and cannot wait to ride in it again, to get better photos 🙂 Look for photos on my insta soon (like today). I would normally wait to include pictures of me wearing the gorgeous apparel I feature here, but I really could not wait this time.

If you’re wondering about sizing, I’m a size M normally, except for Kastel Denmark shirts, where I size up as advised by them, since I prefer not to have my shirts cling. Also, if you are a size S, I highly recommend the pretty navy blue one, which looks *so* pretty.  Cloud and Victory sold out of the navy in my size within the day it launched. How dare they, right? But when you have pretty clothes, they will sell fast within the season. That was my lesson. I’m stalking their website next time they even suggest they might have a release soon.

Go check out Cloud and Victory, read about the amazing company, and what they do to fulfil their duty of ethics and social responsibility. I mean it. Go.

Disclaimer: As always, this featured shirt was not sent to me for review; I paid for it with money earned from my blood, sweat, and unicorn-magic.

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Happy 50th! Purple on Purple

Hi!!

This is my 50th post, and I just had to do something special for the Jubilee post! 😀

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What better way, than to celebrate with purple and some of my favourite brands?

My sister recently came back with a huge collection of Morgan Taylors, and I had to use them with the special gift I got from B.Loves Plates. You can read about that sweet surprise here!

I used B. Loves Plates’ Lilac Sweater, Morgan Taylor’s Dress Up, and Butter London’s Bramble, and B. Loves Plates Flower Power to stamp. Three gorgeous purples on different parts of the purple scale.

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Taken with my new Samsung Galaxy 7. Amazing picture quality!

If you were ever deliberating about whether or not to get any of the abovementioned products, please just get them. They all went on perfectly smoothly (Bramble is a OCW that I used to stamp over Dress Up :D)

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I have to say I could not stop staring at my nails. The use of Bramble to stamp also made the mani super cohesive, IMHO.

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So… Yes, yes, I did combine both traditional and non-traditional stamping polishes for my Jubilee post. In a way, this it marks how I have grown with my nail art, and how my views to using dedicated stamping polishes have evolved, and my ability to adapt and create with the tools at hand.

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This is a short post. It can’t all be 1000+ reviews! Thank you for reading, and if my next package comes soon, you are going to be in for a glittery treat! 😀

The Black and White of Moyou’s Latest

Hi!

This is a picture-heavy, super long post, so grab a cup of coffee/milk/wine!

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It has been a very long time since my last post, mostly because I balance the incredible fun I have with the incredibly fun work I do. In this case, there was a massive amount of fun work that took time away from non-work fun 🙂

In any case, when I got back, there was a great amount of packages waiting for me to open! One of them had a crazy item that looked like this…

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I love packages!

Is that…?

Yes, yes it is. I present to you the focus of today’s blog post: Your Magic Workshop.

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Not mine, not hers, not even his. This is *your* magic workshop.

Own it.

It comes with both empty and coloured squares to practice nail art on 🙂

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Also coloured and non-coloured circles. Pictured here are the non-coloured ones with just the black outlines 🙂

And it has pretty patterns at the bottom of the mat.

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In short, a very stylish silicone mat. My sister, who has the UberChic mat says it feels the same, and you will see from our experiments later that it pretty much cleans up the same.

I think this one is alot more useful than alot of the other mats out there, because you can do a total of 40 decals (or 2 pairs of hands), and still have space on top to test decal designs for your decals. You can create 20 sets of bigger stamps, or 20 smaller stamps. Each rectangle will fit MYL’s XL and normal-sized designs.

 

That said, if you’re born like my sister, with an innate need for everything to be useful, you may be wanting it to be more functional at the bottom, and be able to hold some liquid in, like a small palette for mixing colours for our freehand nail art 🙂

Alongside this awesome magic was the huge-ass releases of their white and black stamping polishes, the White Knight and Black Knight in 15ml. That’s right. FIFTEEN ML. That’s like. An actual polish-size. Such a brilliant idea – especially when you are new to stamping, or a new stamping tool, and inevitably waste so much polish when you figure out the best ways to stamp!

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Moyou London White Knight and Moyou London Black Knight.

I am keeping these boxes, even though I will never put these polishes back in there! It’s all just too cute, and super adorable. The alternating black and white is very pretty, very distinctive, and very eye-catching. And just too perfect.

Soooo pretty. But they don’t give the best idea of the size.

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Moyou London 15ml and 9ml and OPI Alpine Snow 3.75ml.

Hehe so I did this! Cute, no? I thought it might also help give an idea of the size of the circles 🙂

As I alluded to earlier, the various shapes accommodating different nails (matching pretty much to the size of the two main stamping plate design sizes offered by Moyou London) is a super idea. I’ve pictured the biggest and smallest sizes here next to the Moyou London squishy stamper for an idea of how big the rectangles are.

MLS 29On the left is MYL Cookbook 04 (MYL’s “standard-size” image) and on the right, is MYL Bridal 07 (MYL’s “XL-size” image)

 

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Black Knight still leaving its pigment traces on the left, and OPI Black Onyx on the right.

Ordinarily, I would pass on stamping polishes that I can make do with regular ones, like OPI’s Black Onyx and Alpine Snow, but I have to say I would probably buy these again when I run out. They are simply so pigmented and just the one stamping polish I need.

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But don’t take my word for it. Have a look. Left is OPI Black Onyx and right is Black Knight.

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Can we also take a moment to adore just how beautifully engraved this plate is? ❤

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Ok, where was I? Right. So I put my handy, reliable, go-to non-traditional black stamper polish to work. And the result, as you can see above, is easily that the Black Knight wins the test for being dark as (k)night, black as sin. It creates an embossing, where Black Onyx sadly shows the underside through.

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Where Black Onyx wins though, is if you are new to stamping and prone to move too slow. Pictured is Black Onyx on the purple sample swatch, a good 30 minutes after I had initially picked up the two polishes. Clearly you would have time to dawdle and admire the image on the stamper long before it dries!

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I normally don’t post these pictures where I have not cleaned up… But this is special. Base coat is Illamasqua’s Muse.

As you can see above, the two fingers on the left is clearly darker and blackened by the Black Knight. A rich coating of Onyx however still stamps thin, on the nail, as well as over my skin. And it isn’t the poor quality of OPI’s polish; it is just the difference between a dedicated pigmented polish against one that is designed to have two, but apply more watery so it provides a smooth finish.

Heehee, the best thing about these was that it did not stain!! On the left is the mess I made stamping, and on the right is post-cleanup!

I thought the design of the bottles was easy to use, and very much like the Nails Inc polishes I own. It is very steady, and stable, so no worry of me knocking it over in my haste to get the image on my nail.  The flat brush also made it easier for application on the plate. I also liked that the cover popped off, to reveal a grippy screw-cap, which made it very easy to handle. And unlike some of the other places that end up with a top cover that then somehow slides off-centre (I’m looking at you, Illamasqua, and Butter London!) the round cap for these means none of us polish addicts with Obsessive, Compulsive tendencies will get frustrated. Always a win.

I prepared a whole bunch of tests to see how super pigmented the MYL was. Basically, I looked for my most glitterbomb-y polishes, and got busy stamping. But after a first few tests (pictured above), it really wasn’t worth finishing the experiment LOL. MYL’s Black Knight vanquished them all.

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Top: OPI Alpine Snow stamped over China Glaze XI, and on the bottom is MYL White Knight stamped over the same CG XI.

The White Knight didn’t do too poorly either!

 

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One more time, to ogle them 🙂

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So perfect for latte art!

Thank you for reading to the end! My cup’s empty; whether it’s time to get to work, or head to bed. I hope you have a great start/end to your day too!

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Xoxo,

9sn10s

PS, last I saw, all these items were still available from MYL’s online store! 😉

2016 Year of the Monkey Mani!

Happy Chinese New Year! First post of the Year of the Monkey! WOOT!

I am so excited to write this post – in fact, writing this post took longer than normal because I CANNOT STOP STARING AT MY NAILS! 😀

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You’re looking at Revlon Vixen stamped with MoYou London’s Sweet Lips, and Moyou London’s Liquid Gold. I used Moyou London’s Fashionista 07 for the background pattern, to create the feel of Chinese brocade, and then Moyou London’s Suki 02 for the dragon and flowers, so it would look like there was gold embroidery.

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I’m not removing this baby till they chip like mad!

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All that prettiness with just these three bottles of polish! Moyou London Sweet Lips & Liquid Gold, and Revlon Vixen. Yes, Revlon Vixen is likely more than 10 years old.

On this note, I really have to make mention of the awesome awesome Rachel from Moyou London. When I first made my purchase in December (they had a wonderful discount AND FREE SHIPPING off their collection sets), I was so eager to get my hands on the shipment, because I wanted to be ready for CNY with a really good gold stamping polish. I love all my gold polishes, but I can’t say I own one that would have made a good non-traditional stamping polish for the CNY patterns, which are unapologetically gold. Zoya Ziv, which stamped a lovely damask print the last time is stunning, but needs to build up to the mirror-like gold on your nail.

So we needed to go shopping.

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Shou. To mean longevity. To be so blessed with good health that you live a long life.

Just for the purpose of comparison, this is just your regular red packet, or 红包 (Hóng Bāo). It is supposed to look like it’s dripping gold, because of the symbolism of you being so prosperous, you (a) can afford to write in liquid gold, and (b) literally dripping with riches.

So anyway, I received my packages, but there was some mix-up in the shipment, and Ms Rachel from MYL very patiently and efficiently sorted it all out, so I could receive my MYL Liquid Gold in time to do this nail art. In fact, I received it in such good time I could do two.

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I also did a more pink-based CNY mani, just to challenge myself and get out of the usual red-gold CNY theme. That’s Zoya Dot, stamped with ORLY Miss Conduct and Pueen Special Encore 02B, and then Moyou London Liquid Gold with Moyou London Suki 02.

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I have to say I did not like Zoya Dot’s formulation at all. I read reviews that say they got away with 2-3 coats, but I tried two different base coats (Butter London Nail Foundation, and Nails Inc Kensington Base Coat), and it just streaked like mad. OPI Base was by far the most stable, less streaky and bald-patchy, so if you have similar issues, do consider using the OPI Base coat.

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You might have noticed that one of my fingers in the first photo is not like the others! I knew from photos online that MYL’s Liquid Gold is a lighter champagne gold. I did want more than one (besides their Jungle Gold, which is a shapeshifting colour-changing colour) in my stamping gold arsenal.

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Say hello to Hit the Bottle’s To Have and to Gold.

So we went shopping again.

DramaQueenNails had their sale on Hit the Bottle (HtB) stamping polishes, and we leapt at the chance to add more gold to our stash.

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Easily one of the best ideas ever. HtB To Have and to Gold is your more traditional yellow-gold colour (the site describes it as Mayan Gold), and a welcome different coloured addition 😀 If you don’t already have it, go get it. It is a wonderful complement to the MYL Liquid Gold stamping polish 😀

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In case you already forgot what the full mani looked like.

Both polishes dried very quickly, as is typical of stamping polishes, and did not streak despite my impatient application of the top coat after laying them on the nail for a mere 1 minute.

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Yes, I do happen to have tiger toys lying around my house…

I particularly wanted these two images on the MYL Suki 02 plate because 福 means “Fortune”, and pasting it upside down as a decoration is a thing. And 虎 (tiger) is a homonym (similar sounding word meaning something different) for 福 in Cantonese. 

A word of advice – I picked up these two images from MYL Suki 02 after many many many frustrating attempts. This success is solely due to my obsessive almost-scrubbing at the plates with with nail-polish remover-soaked cotton, and trying to clean out all the small grooves on the plate. I then proceeded to move super duper quick, and with the MYL scraper and squishy shiny rectangular stamper, picked up the image. I take it that I will have incredibly great fortune for the Lunar New Year, because I managed this. I admired the successful stamping attempt so much, it dried on the stamper! LOL! So these are actually decals. 😛

I don’t know if it’s just my plate, or the plate’s details, or my inexperience with stamping polish, but it is difficult to pick up clean images off MYL Suki 02. I inadvertantly had to create decals for all of the gold images you see here.

Another word of advice from this experience. Use Butter London’s PD Quick Top Coat, not Poshe (the 3-free equivalent to Seche Vite) to create your decals. Poshe dries the decals to harder thin plastic that makes it harder to press down on your nail. I learned this when I used Poshe to join the dragon that was designed to go over 4 fingers. With the PD Quick Top coat as decal base, I could pick up the image easily as it was a softer sillicone-like plastic, and then go over it with top coat to seal it in.

That’s all from me for now, it’s time for CNY lunch! 🙂

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Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐, 祝你猴年前程一个筋斗十万八千里,兼七十二变混世才学,具八十一种创业本领。恭禧發財! 发啊 (HUAT AH)!!!

<3, 9sn10s!

Thank you, B. Loves Plates!!

I had been waiting ever so impatiently for my B. Loves Plates shipment to arrive ever since I ordered it from Etsy. There was some hold up due to the lovely ladies ensuring the quality of their products. I was very happy to be kept updated on the reason for the delay 🙂 So, when it finally arrived earlier this month with this note, and surprise gift, I was beside myself with pure joy.

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Like, sheer and absolute, pure joy.

B. Loves Plates had included a free polish (BLP20 B. a Lilac Sweater) as a goodwill gesture! Lilac Sweater is one of their six Let’s Fall In Love stamping polishes.

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I’m new to the polish swatch and review and winning giveaway contests, so this getting polishes from your adored small business for free, is a very new and very treasured experience! Thank you for listening to me gush! 🙂

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Much love to you all.

My full order included a purple stamper and turbo stamper – I guess that gave them the good hint for my favourite colour! 😀

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B. 04 Leaves of Happiness, B. 02 Flower Power, B. 05 Let it Snow

Thank you so much B. Loves Plates. I really didn’t mind waiting at all, knowing that the snowflakes were taking a while because of quality control issues, and to have such a brilliant (to my mind, belated birthday) surprise gift 🙂

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Yes, I will!

If you have not yet ordered from them, go for it. It was a smooth and pleasant experience, with everything arriving packaged very well and with obvious care.

Till next time – I cannot wait to use this polish, and use the flower power plate, which I got because my sister kept using it and tempting me with the beautiful images produced!

<3, 9sn10s

Shrink Stamping

This post is entirely for my sister.

It began with me playing with some ideas for the upcoming Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year. (Year of the Monkey, woo woo!) I had a lovely base going with OPI Alpine Snow, and OPI Big Apple Red (which I should test as a OCW non-traditional stamping polish some day), and stamped Butter London Marbs over them, with a design from the Moyou London Suki 07 plate. While I was there, I thought I should finish off the design with a double stamped image. You know, broaden my skillset and practice something I don’t normally do.

If you own the gorgeous Suki 07 and played with it, you will know that the image for the face and the dragon, while gorgeous, does not translate well on regular nails. Unless you have HUGE nail beds. So I thought I would also practice the shrink stamping technique.

The idea is simple. You apply polish on the plate and scrape as usual, then take your stamper head and squish it when picking up the image. When you release it, the image shrinks, in conforming with the surface of the stamper head. The key point to note here is that you have to really squish and enlarge the stamper head.

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So take your stamper.(Pictured here is the Creative Stamper Head.)

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And squish it. Like so.

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View from the back

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Really get in there and squish.

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And get distracted by the play of light.

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Tis like a cave allowing the gentle rays of light in to the softly basking um – silicone? 😛

Some youtubers suggested using the stamper as per normal, and then removing the stamper head from the holder after you have the stamped image. However, I found that this didn’t change the shape much. It could work for images that are just a tad too big, but otherwise, a waste of effort.

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Normal image with stamper from the left (bigger dragon in picture), and manually squished and shrunk image on the right (smaller stamp in picture).

If you need more tips, or a visual demonstration, I would recommend going here. I found her voice and commentary just right.

 

So when I finished squishing the stamper, I just released it, and gently pressed the stamper head over my nail. Think of gently letting the image roll over your nail, without pushing too hard since this will stretch the stamper a bit. I found that this technique really let me really position the image, and had the beautiful benefit of creating a more pigmented image from non-traditional stamping polishes. If you see the image above again, you will notice that OPI Lincoln Park After Dark is dark and beautiful when the usual technique is used. But the almost-black stamp with the shrinking technique really bolds the image and highlights it.

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Butterfly image from Moyou London Suki 07 over a pattern from the same plate

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The lady’s face over the same gold pattern. It could almost pass for Disney’s Pocahontas.

You can see that unlike some of my other non-traditional stamping art, the shimmer from the first gold stamp (Butter London Marbs) doesn’t shine through. So pigmented and thick, it turns almost OCWs into OCW stamping polishes. This really sold me on the shrinking technique!

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Also, the thicker polish accumulated when you release the squished stamper head means it dries slower, so this really gives you a bit more extra time to work accurately.

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I had time to take several tens of shots of this subject from many different angles (about 2-3 minutes), and still place it nicely on the lint roller paper, with no transferrance issues at all.

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For size and colour comparison again

I really can’t say enough how happy I am to finally have the entire dragon head image on my normal-sized nails!

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I liked how the background splattering of Zoya Solange highlights the dragon scales.

Thank you for being as excited as I am to improve the use of non-traditional stamping polishes!

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Here’s a close up to show just how opaque the polishes dried, with no smearing, save for when I tried to clean up when I was too tired and ended up smudging stuff.

Thanks for reading, I hope this helped you as it should help my sister! 🙂 Leave a comment if  you liked it, or if you tried it and loved it! Next post is about something so exciting, I can’t contain myself!

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Till the next post!

Victorious, Proud, & Fulfilled #OutofCZone 30 December 2015

Happy Birthday to me!! 😀

I’m a year-end baby and for the longest time it meant being overlooked, being born in between two other big celebrations in the year. Well the worst news is, the date of my birth is really not about to change… But the good news is that I can take leave, and actually use that birthday half-day off that we are so privileged to have at my office. I’ve also come to really love the slower work days – you can think about what you’re doing! – and appreciate the quiet in the office. With all that time to reflect, I’ve thought about it and I understand that I did not achieve all the goals I set out for this year, but I know I definitely scored in the most important one.

And that is important to celebrate.

I used Pueen’s Special Encore 01A plate to stamp that pretty wine bottle, wine glass and hearts.

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OPI Lincoln Park After Dark stamped (with Pueen Special Encore 01A) over Zoya Jules. Also pictured with Zoya Neeka.

Can I just say that OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark (very graciously gifted by a fellow rider) is the perfect colour for this image? 😀 Yes, with these non-traditional stamping polishes, you will see shimmer of the base polish peek out. But you realise that it’s only visible when you take these super close up macro shots.

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Zoya Jules and Zoya Neeka

In any case, I want to introduce one of my favourite combination polishes to use in tandem.

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I love purple and gold. The combination is just perfect and beautifully conveys the prompt for “Victorious, Proud, and Fulfilled”. I already loved Jules, and was looking in my huge stash of purples for one that would match.

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Zoya’s Jules is a soft glimmery taupe-gold with micro silver and gold sparks. Imagine the softest beach sand glittering gold beneath clear waters.

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Zoya’s Neeka is a dusty purple with similar gold flecks. She’s a lush galaxy with mysterious lights that you won’t see in the darker light 🙂

Clearly best friends though they weren’t from the same collection.

LOL I definitely, definitely could not stop staring at my hands, or taking photos of them. They’re perfect sweater weather nails.

Thinking about this theme made me really sit back and think hard about riding. I’ve learned this year that I can’t rush Kooper. To be honest, it’s amazing we’re even making progress, since I get to ride him all of three times a week – and I’m no Charlotte, with a team that handwalks, or rides him the way the other Dark Bay with white markings does. For all the time I’ve managed to devote to riding, Kooper’s been amazing. He’s forgiving and patient, and really does whatever I ask of him. What he doesn’t is simply beyond him. I asked him to jump crazy (I get excited jumping) and he did, and he went clear because we got lucky. (But I know that’s not safe, and will never do a 5-stride jump in 3-strides again.) I ask him to jump 4 months after not jumping anything, and he does it, for me. What I can’t ask him to do, is really carry himself like an Elementary horse, when I haven’t put in that consistent work. I haven’t yet figured out how I am going to progress with next year’s work schedule looking even crazier than this year. So I will be grateful for my big “pony-puppy dog” who has learned what it means when I call for him, and is learning to tolerate other horses in his space because I ask him to. The problems of his past is his business. The problems of our future is my privilege. Bonus marks if you know where that was paraphrased from.

Thank you for keeping up with me on this journey of riding and nail art in 2015. Here’s to an even more amazing year in 2016, wherein I get more toned and fit, ride better, love more, laugh more, and travel ever more. Oh and winning more giveaways, and having my nail art featured more would make it so sweet.