nail polish

Manicure Monday: April Medley

I keep meaning to make a new post here, and failing on finding either the time or the energy. In honor of Manicure Monday, though, I figured I’d post a few of my recent ones.

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Butter London Two-Fingered Salute. I love this pale jade with a strong copper fleck.

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This week’s manicure, a greige ombre. I love all the putty nail polishes, and sometimes the only answer is to wear them all at once!

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Bondi Teal Magnolia tips over Butter London Fishwife. I loved this so much I didn’t want to take it off, but alas, it chipped.

Writing updates soon to come, when I can muster the time! In the meantime, I had an eleventh-hour inspiration for a submission call, so I’ll be working on that until I get the first draft wrapped.

Have a great week, all! What’s on your nails? Or if you’re a guy, same goes for you! What would you wear on your nails – or what looks good on your partner?

The Way to Your Heart: Nail Polish!

First things first: today is the last day to sign up for T.T. Kove’s giveaway for her lovely seasonal romance, Sakura Kiss! She’ll be choosing a winner using the random number selector tomorrow.

Next up for my third post for the Way to Your Heart blog hop:

bloghop banner

Another quick and easy way to my heart is to cater to one of my current serious obsessions: nail polish.

I used to be not much of a fan, actually, because of the smell – and the way it felt on my nails, like a coat of something that smothered them. Then companies started going 3, 4, and 5-free – harmful ingredients toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (dibutyl phthalate), formaldehyde resin, and camphor. And, I saw a fantastic shade of gray nail polish on Bill Kaulitz.

Office neutrals had never really interested me, but that edgy gray was like a whole world opening up to me. I found myself at the cosmetics counter getting Chanel Black Pearl and Dior Gris Montaigne. A couple of months later, I made it a workout reward, and wow, it was a full-on slide into its own obsession from there. Nail polish became its own reward! I started maintaining a nail polish tumbler:

There was so much to do with polish and simple nail art that there hadn’t been when I’d done my nails when I was younger. It was like a fascinating new universe opening up to me, and the brands that didn’t have any harmful chemicals didn’t feel like they smothered my nails at all.

So, a bottle of nail polish in just the right color is a fast path to my heart. From those edgy grays I went to finding just the right hue in every shade across the spectrum, but far and away my favorites tend to be blues, teals, and greens though I have a serious weakness for a good nude, and holographic micro-glitter is one of my favorite things ever.

To show you some of what I love, here are six of my favorite manicures from the past year. It was hard to narrow them down to six, of course.

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Illamasqua Fragile, the color I wore over Easter weekend.

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A-England St. George with a scalloped ribbon of A-England Holy Grail – one of my fun “save a chipped tip” manicures, I featured this not too long ago for Manicure Monday.

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Essie Butler Please – my perfect Tardis blue!

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Chanel Quartz and Pixel Till I’m Blue Over You/China Glaze Snowglobe checkers. My first time doing a checker manicure, and I still need to do this again! So much fun, and so pretty.

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Sephora by OPI Traffic Stopper Copper over sponged half-gradient of Brisbane Bronze over Essie Sand Tropez. This one was inspired by something I reblogged on Tumblr, though I used different colors and a bronze under the glitter. I loved the way it turned out.

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Chanel Delight, the most gorgeous finely-milled bronzy coppery gold with a micro-glitter almost holographic spark to it.

And to sign off, don’t forget to check my giveaway post, where I offer a free copy of A Cut Above the Rest (or anything from my back catalogue, if you already have that).

Have a great week, and may your polish dry quickly and smudge-free!

Giveaway winners, a new review, and Manicure Monday

Good evening on this marvelous Monday!

The winners of the giveaway are Hexen, Arella, and Valarie P. Expect an email from me soon, and thanks everyone for participating. If you didn’t win a copy, I hope you’re still intrigued enough to check out A Cut Above the Rest.

BIG NEWS! It’s Review Monday over at Alessandra Ebulu’s blog, so hop over and see what she says about From the Inside Out. (Hint: great things.)

I’ll lead out with a picture of yesterday’s manicure, which was for St. Patrick’s Day.


Wishing everyone a great week! I’m going to take a wee break from posting for the next day or two. I’ve got another deadline this month and writing up all those entries for the blog hop on top of finishing another story wiped me out. 🙂

A day in pictures

Today was fun-filled and tasty! Probably a little too tasty; I’ve only been working out four days this week, and I’m down to half an hour from that hour-long Insanity workout.

This morning, I woke up to this cute little face.


We’d planned an outing to Bridgeport today, which meant late lunch, because first up was a showing of Jack the Giant Slayer.

Delightful movie, it hit all the right high points and had enough conflict and high stakes to keep things interesting. Nicholas Hoult was adorable if not quite strong enough to carry the hero role, but I really like his geeky, lanky, somewhat awkward looks. We enjoyed him so much in the movie, we want to go see Warm Bodies next weekend.

It was a nice day at Bridgeport Village!


Bit chilly, but the sun warmed things up later on. After the movie we went to Sinju Sushi for a tasty lunch.


I had to get a shot of the bamboo outside our window. We declined patio seats but the hostess wanted to give us a seat near the sunlight.


One of my favorite parts, the miso soup. The sunomono has a bit too much sesame and I didn’t want to fill up on it because we had this coming…


Tasty, tasty sushi. This is a tuna avocado roll with tobiko on the outside, and I had to get some salmon which was so very delicious, it practically melted in my mouth.


For my lunch, I opted for the combo lunch with Sinju steak and mixed tempura. It was all really good, and didn’t give me as much trouble as fried food usually does.

After lunch we walked around a bit, picked up food for dinner at Whole Foods and some olive oil at a discount because we tend to go through a ton, and stopped by Starbucks before we hit the highway.


I had to give the hazelnut macchiato another try! It’s nothing that really hooks me, I think, but it’s a tasty change of pace.


To finish off the day we picked up a few cupcakes for later. The “Wedding” cake, almond cake with almond buttercream, was absolutely divine. The one problem I have with their cupcakes is that the frosting ratio is too generous.


That was my foodie adventure for the day! Now I’m going to settle in with some television and catch up on my nail polish tumblr, before surfing for recipes to adapt for next week’s nourishing but yummy lunches.

Drop by tomorrow to catch the first day of the giveaway for A Cut Above the Rest, and gear up for the Tour de Foodie!

Manicure Monday: A-England Holy Grail

Today’s manicure post is short, I’m still fighting the tail end of sickness and struggling my way to recovery, but here’s a pic of A-England Holy Grail, a burnished old-gold lacquer with a greenish sheen to it in certain lights.


And I’ll point you to A.F. Henley’s author spotlight, where you can drop a comment and be entered for a free copy of Honour, the author’s brand-new release.

Thanks, and hoping everyone has a great week.

Manicure Monday

Today’s Manicure Monday is a look I’m trying out to disguise chipped tips. There’s a couple of different things you can do with a slightly chipped manicure to “refresh” it and keep it going when you’re not ready to do a full repaint.

I’m pretty hard on my nails, so even though A-England has a brilliant formula, I found myself with some nicks yesterday – even before I’d started cooking for the week.


This is A-England Holy Grail, a burnished olive gold, and A-England St. George, which I put on Thursday night during my girls’ night in.

You can also use an accent and a third color, but I chose to use St. George again because I loved it so much.


I wasn’t able to get a lot of process photos due to an unfortunate lack of a third hand. But, technique is pretty simple – dip the brush to collect polish, let a drop or two run off, and sweep the brush against the side of the bottle to clear excess polish from one side. Moving carefully but quickly, pull the brush down the nail in three passes, going from a long brush-stroke on the first pass, to medium, to a short brush-stroke on the final pass.


Here’s the mid-way process photo. Here’s where you decide if you want a third contrasting color, or the same that you started with.


This is finished up with St. George, making the scallop of Holy Grail look like a ribbon of gold running through the manicure. And, my tips are re-touched like new.

For an idea of how this beauty looks in full sunlight, and why I wanted as much time with it before I stripped it, I leave you with a photo of St. George by itself in all its glory:


I’ve spent this weekend watching Gordon Ramsay’s “The F Word” and editing book three of Appetite to send off to the editor, so it’s been pleasantly busy. Loads of fantastic things to come!

Later this afternoon, I’ll be creating a link in the chain for “The Next Big Thing” blog hop. Please look forward to it!

Manicure Monday

I’m starting a new feature: Manicure Monday!

Disclaimer, I’m not a proper nail polish blogger, I’m simply an enthusiastic hobbyist. Let me know if you like Manicure Mondays … if I don’t hear any “nays” I’ll probably keep doing them.

Nail polish took off for me as a hobby about two years ago when I started using it as a reward for completing workout challenges. It seems to have taken off as its own full-blown obsession, and now I do my nails twice a week, more if they chip and I have a lot of shinies to try.

For Valentine’s Day this year, I wanted to try a pretty half-moon manicure look that I’ve seen on Tumblr.


I started with a base of China Glaze Camisole.


To do this simple manicure, you use reinforcement labels (I’ve tried french manicure strips and they’re just not curved enough).


Stick one on half of the nail base, another on the other half of the nail base. Make sure to place them evenly.


Paint your nails with a contrasting color – or even the same color family if you like, so long as there’s a difference in texture, finish, or hue.


Peel off the stickers, carefully, and brush a top coat over the whole nail. Voila, half-moon hearts!

Tomorrow I’m going to repeat this again with another layer of Camisole closer to the tips.

And there you have my Manicure Monday!

Some past favorites:



My plan for Manicure Monday is to post that day’s manicure, or process photos if I did something special; as well as anything lovely and remarkable that I may have done recently.

The slippery slope into nail polish madness and the nail polish and makeup blogs that I’ve haunted since then became the inspiration, in part, for the story that I’m working on right now. The Fall Guide is beauty blogger meets smooth-talking producer, and sparks ignite. The catch: they’re both in Vegas for the weekend, and our lovely blogger has a boyfriend.

I’m enjoying writing the Fall Guide more than should be allowed, and hope to wrap it up this month, polish it, and send it for submission.

Hope everyone has a great week! My lady and I will be out on Wednesday the 13th instead of Valentine’s Day, so I’ll probably post something on the 14th if I have time.

Post script: the randomizer chose #27, the winner has been contacted, and has happily accepted her brand-new copy of Bestiary Volume One. Thanks for entering, everyone, and stay tuned for future giveaways to come.

Of reviews, giveaways, and writing

In a pleasant surprise today, Joyfully Jay reviewed Signal to Noise and gave it 4.5 stars!

Signal to Noise is one of my most tightly-plotted stories and it’s such a pleasure to see it getting this kind of reception, from a nomination for Best Debut to all the great things people are saying. Don’t forget, there’s still a week left to sign up for the giveaway of a free signed copy with a personalized greeting. Full disclosure: it’s classified as science fiction, but it is definitely sci-fi horror, and it also contains incest. (Which is relevant to the plot.)

All this makes me want to haul out the bare-bones outline I penned for a potential sequel. There’s a lot left to cover in that world.

Being a nail polish fiend, I thought I’d make mention of the Zoya 2013 “Color Your World” giveaway, which goes through Sunday, January 13th. Click here for details but, in brief, you can get three free nail polishes from a selection of most of their inventory, excluding the 24K gold top coat or the Spring 2013 or Pixie Dust collections, check out with promo code ZOYA2013, and pay a $10 shipping/processing fee. That’s $3.33 per nail polish including shipping … I considered it an irresistible deal.

Speaking of nails, here’s what’s on mine:

China Glaze in China Rouge, with matte squares.

Interestingly enough, my obsession in all things nail polish led me to plot the story I’m working on right now, The Fall Guide, in which a young male beauty blogger experiences failure to launch, and relies on the help of a smooth producer who happens to treat him better than his boyfriend does. It’s been fun to write so far, and I’m hoping to wrap it up around 50-60K and clean it up for submission.

I got back to that this afternoon after reaching a stopping point in edits for someone. The More Plausible Evil has been sent off to a couple of people for a deep cleanse, and I’m striking a balance between edits and writing.

With so many things going well for me, I’m considering being daring enough to establish a New Year’s resolution of flossing my teeth more consistently.

Parting note: I received a $5 credit on Amazon. Does anyone have any ebook recommendations for me?