General

Polish Con NYC 2017 Recap

Our day started at 3:30am when the alarms from our phones sounded; I always hate getting up before the sun but Saturday, April 29th was different, it was Polish Con Day!  I guess I should correct that and say, the alarm went off but I didn’t roll out of bed until 4am-ish…lol, because I’m not a morning person and needed 30 extra minutes to just lay there. We loaded up the car with my bags complete with bubble wrap…just in case, chargers, money, phones, business cards, all my watermarbling necessities, and of course snacks for the trip. We headed out at 4:45-ish to gas up and get coffee only to remember the ezPass was still in our van, so back to the house we went. Oh, did I mention that it was raining and we had a 4 hour trip from Frederick, Maryland to Brooklyn, NY and I refused to be late. I guess knowing me, Jason could sense I was getting nervous and quickly tried to calm me by asking polish related questions…that always does the trick. So there we were finally on the road, headed north on I-95. At this point I decided to do a quick live check in on my Queen of Nails 83 Facebook page.

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I was a ball of excitement, I mean literally a kid on Christmas Eve. I couldn’t believe that in a few short hours I was going to meet the makers that make all my dream come true and fill my heart with joy and my fellow swatchers/bloggers/vloggers that I have become friends with via IG and FB, finally I’d be able to put a face with a name. But I’m jumping ahead of myself. As the night turned to day, the clouds went away and the sun started shining big and bright, this is when I decided to check in again.

Once we got there, around 9:30, we drove directly to the venue to scope out the place and check out the parking situation. We were lucky enough to secure a spot in the adjoining lot thanks to out new friend, Constantine, the lots’ attendant. He allowed us to come in and out all day and save our spot. Of course we had to pay the $20 fee, but it was worth it in the name of polish.

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(yep, that’s us in the pearl Traverse aka White Lightning!!)

By this time we were starving so, we drove a few blocks up to McDonalds to eat, rest and do a final pre-con live check in. About 10:30 we headed back to the venue to secure our spot in line and check out the who’s who as they started to arrive.

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(excuse the bun and the silver glitter hair 🙂 )

Oh how quickly the line grew and the check in process started. YAY…we’re getting closer!!! The event staff started checking wrist bands and ids and handing out VIP bags, I could have just died right then and there but thank goodness I didn’t because that was only the beginning. I had heard in the Polish Con fan group to check the VIP bag for deals so that’s exactly what I did. The VIP bag included polishes, cuticle oils, files, coupons and discount codes for future purchases. There was even coupons for FREE polishes while at the event.

While in line, I had the pleasure of spending time and getting to know Kristi from @BeginNails and Brianna from @NerdySuperBree. And did I mention, that Becky from @nakedwithoutpolish spotted us and stopped by to say a quick hello too. Had I known then that right behind me was Arlene aka @boatmate (in the Enchanted Polish shirt), I would’ve problably passed out. Don’t worry, I have more pictures coming. And yes, in the yellow dress is Miranda from Ever After Polish….eeek! I’m not gonna lie, the 90 minutes in line was a bit uncomfortable in the heat but I kept my eyes on the prize….the polish.

Once they opened the doors at noon for VIP, the flood gates opened and we attacked hard. First, I think most of us were grateful for a air conditioning but then the beauty of the venue and seeing all the polishes and vendors made us forget the line. I for one, didn’t know where to start. I went in with a list and budget and I was determined the stick to it.

Once my purchases were made, I decided to drop off my haul in the car, that was around 1:30. That’s right, an hour and half of polish shopping, with my hubby holding the bags and no kids yelling, “are you done yet?” I was in heaven!! On my way back in to get more pictures and meet more people, I decided to go live once more for a ‘during Con’ video.

Around 3, it was time to host the watermarble table. First, let me just say, I filled out the application to host this table never thinking that I would get picked. There are so many talented people that can watermarble much better than I so I knew for sure it wouldn’t be me. Low and behold, I was selected. Even after Mariah of Great Lakes Lacquer informed me, I thought she was joking. But there I was setting up my table for watermarble tutorials and I must say, I had the time of my life. There was five 20 min sessions and the ladies that signed up were amazing…even the boyfriends were good sports!

By 6, the table had finished and I was pooped. I concluded my fun filled day with a group picture of all the ladies that too hosted a tutorial table. These are an amazing bunch of talented ladies and I am honored to be amongst them.

(l to r: Parker of @poshayy: various techniques, myself, Kaylyna of @killakays_nailadventure: advanced stamping, Mariah (1/3 of the Polish Con event team and maker of Great Lakes Lacquer), Bianca of @abstractpups: basic stamping and Kristi of @beginnails: gradient)

The rest of the night is a blur as I was literally in and out of sleep on the drive home. We stopped one time for food and bathroom break and finally got in around midnight.

Needless to say, it was a phenomenal event and one that should not be missed. That said, sadly I won’t be able to attend Polish Con Chicago 2017 on Sept. 23rd 😭😭😭 ….because buying a house kinda cuts into my polish budget and #adultingsucks, I know its going to be amazing. Maybe Miranda, Rachel and Mariah will consider bring PC to the nations capital…hey a girl a dream right?! But enough of my sob story, lets get to more pictures…

MAKERS

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1st row – l to r: Danette from Don Deeva, Miranda from Ever After, Allison from le polish
2nd row: Missi from Different Dimensions, Lou from Blue Bird Lacquer, Victoria from Blush Lacquers
3rd row: Chrissy from Turtle Tootsies, Jill from Glisten & Glow, Mariah from Great Lakes Lacquer

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1st row – l to r:  Mildred from Anonymous Lacquer, Chelsea from Pretty & Polished, Leah Ann from Cbl (Colors by Larowe),
2nd row: Lexi from Painted Polish, Dawn from HHC (Hella Holo Customs FB group), 
3rd row:  Jess from Nine Zero, Shaneka from Polish My Life and Natalie from Noodles Nail Polish

NAIL FRIENDS

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1st row – l to r: sharvoniquerenee, polishgalore, lexi310
2nd row – l to r: stunnin.nails, zoepaintsnails
3rd row – l to r: they_call_me_laur_, amazon_queen82, nailsbysammie_

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1st row – l to r: ladylovesnubs, thepolishedhippy, boatmate
2nd row – l to r: vrkttynails, melysmanis, xoxojencom
3d row – l to r: seriouslylaqueing, killakays_nailadventure, monismani
l to r: beginnails, showmeyourtips (top), nakedwithoutpolish (bottom), de.lish.ious.nails and notoriousnickysnails

**My Hauls**

(picture #1: my purchases, picture #2: donated polishes for the watermarble tutorial and picture #3: my VIP bag)

There just a few shoutouts that I’d like to give in closing,

*My amazing husband who drove to and from the event, never complained, held my bags, took pictures, handed out business cards, and continues to support me and my addiction

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*My wonderful mom who watched my kids while I was off in polish land

*Mariah from Great Lakes Lacquer and Rachel and Miranda from Ever After for hosting Polish Con, making dream come true and bridging relationships

*The supporting event staff who I’m sure worked tirelessly behind the scenes

*The vendors for creating stunning polish

*Leila from Green Goddess Creations for creating my custom shirt and having me looking fresh

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The Queens Guide to Long, Strong, Healthy, Beautiful, Natural Nails

Good Morning y’all! I wanted to take a moment to answer a question I get asked all the time.

“How do you grow your nails so long?”

Well the truth of the matter is, I don’t think they are long at all, I actually wish they would grow a little longer, but as long as they are healthy, strong and beautiful, then I’m a happy girl.

When I first started doing my own nails, they were weak and brittle after many,many years of improper acrylic application and removal. Now, I’m not saying that acrylics are bad, I’m just recommending you find a technician that knows what they are doing and not cutting any corners. Anyway, when I finally soaked off the acrylic, my natural nails were in terrible shape and I never thought they would be naturally strong. That was until I found a base coat that worked for me. I began using OPI’s Nail Envy faithfully and it was the base to every mani. Over time I saw a tremendous improvement in the overall health and appearance of my nails.

Recently, I started using Nail Tek 2 and I love what it has done for my nails. They are strong, but flexible, thick but not rittle. The free edge is clear of any translucent areas and there is no peeling or cracking. Of course, I do I get the occasional chip or break but that’s to be expected because…life. But I fret not because I know the secret to growing them long again in no time at all.

So, here are the tips and treats I live by for long, strong, healthy, beautiful, natural nails.

*Take care of your Body from the inside out:

Drink Plenty of Water. Whatever your current intake is now…double it!!

-Take a hair, skin, nail (HSN), Biotin or multivitamin as instructed on product label.

*Routine Maintenance:

-Regular manicures. See my Manicure Must Haves for more details.

-Don’t wear them naked for an extended period of time. For me, the meaning of naked is no mani/polish. Nail polish helps protect your nails from peeling, cracking, splitting, etc. Even in between your mani, always wear a base coat: ridge filler, strengthener, hardener, etc.

-Apply cuticle oil and hand crème regularly. Find products that contain jojoba oil, vitamin E, A, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil or a combination of them. Apply at least 3-5 times a day. More if you was your hands often.

-Don’t use them as tools. Need to open a can or box? Find someone or something else to help. DO NOT USE YOUR NAILS!

-Wear gloves when possible. When washing dishes, the dog, the car, etc., where gloves to protect your nails from the water.

I hopes this helps. What do you do to keep your nails healthy? Let me know in the comments below.

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Year in Review

Wow, it’s been such an amazing year!! 2016 has presented so many new opportunities and experience for me and Queen of Nails 83 and I am overwhelmed and beyond joyed.

Honestly, I started this year you’re not really knowing what direction I wanted to take my passion, but I knew I had to do something with it. I didn’t know if I wanted to a) go to school and become a nail tech, b) pursue making polish or c) swatch all my untrieds and learn new nail techniques. School and polish making are huge financial and physical commitments and as I thought about me and my family, I realized school would take me away from my family Monday-Friday from 5pm-9pm for 12 weeks, that was not convenient of our hectic schedule. Polish making is really fun and creative and I thought it would be something we could do as a family, but again, I realized I am a waaayyyy better customer…lol. So that left me with swatching. I was destined to swatch all my pretties and use IG and FB as a journal to log my experiences; the good, bad and ugly. 

Fast forward to April when I got my first swatching opportunity and from there I’ve been blessed to work with some of best indie makers in the biz. At this point, I was just using IG and Facebook until 3 different people, on 3 different occasions mentioned that I should start a blog. I guess in a way I was doing it on IG/FB but it was time I start on a larger platform. I’d be lying to say I wasn’t nervous and filled with self-doubt but as I looked into it, researched, followed all kinds of blogs and asked questions, I realized that even if no one ever read my blog, this was something I wanted to do…for me!

I’m so excited to say that today marks my 101st blog post and because of you I have over 10k views and close to 60 followers in just 6 shorts months. But outside of the stats, I have built amazing relationships and friendships that I cherish. It’s been a humbling experience to say the lest and I’m so super pumped for 2017 and what it has in store.

Speaking of 2017, here’s what you can expect!

I’m currently working on some behind the scenes updates that will hopefully make finding and enjoying my blog easier. I’ve also got some cosmetic changes in the works to spice things up a bit. Of course giveaways are on the list because they are so fun and I love them. Finally, multiple series will be getting an overhaul including adding some new and exciting ones and changing the names of others. Be sure to check out the posting schedule next year…lol. It’s gonna be fun and I hope you join me for the ride!

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and hope you all have a marvelous New Year!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T My HOLO!

One thing I won’t accept or allow is my holo to be disrespected. That being said, I have to share how pissed off I was during a recent mani. I ordered THEE perfect holo purple polish, Grape Stomp, during Vapid’s 3rd Birthday sale, waited patiently for it, receive it and used it IMMEDIATELY! No, waiting in the endless line of my untrieds, nope this one had to used as soon as it came in the mail. I was in such awe and literally stared at its amazingness for a good 10 minutes. So, as any self-respecting nail addict would do, I  topped with my all-time FAVORITE fast-drying top coat to seal the deal and preserve its holo-y goodness. But to my dismay, my holo was stolen!

Would you look at this! Here she is in all her purpley holo goodness! ‘Isn’t she lovely, isn’t she wonderful…’ (in my Stevie Wonderful voice.)

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But then as luck would have it, I applied Seche Vite and poof, the holo was gone just like a thief in the night. My worst nightmare ever! I couldn’t leave this beautiful polish was in this state of ruins, so back to the drawing board.

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And finally, here she is…again! The beautiful holo purple that I was looking for. This picture still doesn’t do this polish any justice. Its truly a must have and see in person polish.

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The moral of the story is, it pays to have a few different top coats in your collection. Luckily, I had Quick Dry High Gloss Top Coat by Pro-FX on hand. I hate to write off my Seche Vite all the way, but as expensive as it is, $8/bottle in the stores and $5ish/bottle online on eBay/Amazon, I’m not sure if it is still worth buying. Was the bottle I had just a bad batch? I had never noticed this on any other holo polishes. On the other hand, the Pro-FX is available for 1/2 the price and at Wal-Mart. Neither of these options are indie and I would prefer to #supportindiepolishmakers.

After posting, my top coat mishap in the Vapid Fan Group on FB, many members expressed similar experienced with Seche Vite stealing the holo and recommended that I try the Get Your Shine On! High Shine Quick Dry Top Coat. So needless to say, its on my wish list along with “All About That Base” Strengthening Base Coat , another Czech Glass Nail File, more Nail Sauce and my newest love from Vapid, Commitment Issues – Peel Off Base Coat. I’ll keep you posted on the Vapid top coat once I order and use it, so stay tuned for that post. In the meantime, tell me, what is your favorite QDTC?

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BLOG LAUNCH GIVEAWAY!!!

Can you believe its been 30 days since I launched my blog?!??!??!?! The response has been overwhelming (in a good way of course) and its more exciting than I thought it would be. I started my blog not only to bring you swatches, reviews and tutorials but interviews and helpful information, but also because I have so much to say and to capture my nail journey. I didn’t think I’d have anyone read, subscribe or even view/visit my blog, except my husband (because if not he might be hurt in his sleep) and to see how far its come in a short amount of time is amazing. I plan to bring much more and so I hope you tune in to join me for the best that’s yet to come! 

For making my first month soooooo successful, I wanted to show my appreciation and say ‘thank you’. I teamed up with none other than the wonderfully talented and extraordinarily generous Mildred Edwards from Anonymous Lacquer. I worked with Mildred to have 2 custom polishes created for me to giveaway and even with all her other obligations on her plate, she agreed!IMG_2389

I asked my husband to choose 2 photos as inspiration that I could give to Mildred and here is what he chose. The venomous, colorful snake because he wants a snake as a pet but a picture is as close as he’ll ever get….lol and the second is a lion. Jason, my hubby, aka Mista, is a Leo, born July 29 and he embodies the true nature of a lion. He even has one tattooed on his chest…nothing sexier than a tatted man and a beard (sorry, I got a little off topic).

When Mildred sent me pictures of what she created, I was floored. They were PERFECT!!! I knew then I would need a set not only for the giveaway but for myself as well. So now I have the pleasure to show you…….

Poisonous Venom and Golden Mane

by Anonymous Lacquer!! 

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Aren’t they just gorgeous?!?!?!??!??!

Click HERE To Enter

Once again, I can not begin to thank you all enough for a beyond words amazing first 30 days. Thank you to those that encouraged me to start and those that encourage me to continue.

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Disclosure: No purchase necessary. This giveaway is being hosted, sponsored  and run solely by Queen of Nails 83. This giveaway will run from July 1, 2016 until July 15th, 2016 11:59pm EST. The winner will be selected, announced and contacted via contact form within 48 hours of closing. Winner will then have 24 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected. Prize will be sent within 1 week of claim. Giveaway is only open to U.S. residents over 18.

Ladies Behind the Polish

As I had mentioned in my previous blog, I have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful indie makers including Vioree Brandon from Divine Nail Lacquer, Meke Titi from Domani Color Artisan Nail Glaze, Symantha Onyechi from OOO Nail Lacquer, Chelsea McDonnel from Pretty and Polished and Sacha Junique from Jior Coutour. One thing these women have in common besides beautiful polish is they are great examples that women can do anything we put our minds too. These ladies show that we are capable, creative, intelligent, powerful, and independent, I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the picture. Even through their trials and tribulations I’m sure these women endure in their business, I’m also sure it’s also very rewarding.

In this blog, I celebrate these women for reasons I stated above and because these are the women took a chance on little ole me. In this big sea of talented manicurists both professional and hobbyists alike, they allowed me the awesome opportunity to swatch their polishes. If you’re not familiar with what that is or what it means, let me break it down for you. Polish swatches are just like paint swatches you find in the store. When you’re ready to paint your living room or bathroom, you visit Home Depot, head to the paint section and find a vast array of paint swatches in a multitude of colors, shades, finishes and brands. After spending what seems like an eternity, you decide on the Log Cabin by Behr in a semi-gloss finish. Why? Because the swatch you looked at perfectly captured that color you wanted for your accent wall. The swatch is important because without it you could have gone home only to find you hated the color and it just wasn’t what you wanted. It’s the exact same concept with polish. Polish makers look for someone that can capture the polishes color/finish with clear pictures and good lighting that will be appealing to customers  and hopefully lead to a sale. Makers use these photo swatches all over social media and their company websites as a marketing tool. It’s our ‘job’ as the swatcher to provide just that and it is a big responsibility. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly and I am truly honored, humbled and grateful for the opportunity they have afforded me.

Since working with these companies and the ladies behind the polish, I have built relationships and they have given me all the more push and drive to pursue my own dreams.

In future blogs, I will have my interview with these women about their brands, so stay tuned…

Well that’s all for now!

Stay Polished,
Queen of Nails 83

***Press Sample Photos***

2015 Winter Collection – Divine Nail Lacquer

 Let’s Get Acquainted – Domani Color

Donne Fiorite – Domani Color

Icon Collection Pt 1 – Pretty & Polished

  Jior Couture

…Here I Am World…

Here I am, sitting at game 1 of my son’s basketball tournament in King of Prussia, PA when I received a call from my aunt who said “you need to look into starting a blog.” Immediately I thought, ‘A blog?? Me? No way!’ She was now the 3rd person that said this…why are they all ganging up on me…lol. Don’t get me wrong, I had thought about it, but me being me, I pushed the thought to the side and came up with excuse after excuse as to why I couldn’t.

“No one who would read my blog or care what I have to say.”

“The nail community doesn’t needs another nail blogger.”

Plus, right now I had to focus on my husband, my kids and my career. Right?

As we continued the conversation through buzzers sounding and whistles blowing, the more and more I became interested, intrigued and excited. I thought maybe, I’ll add it to my list of things of long term goals I wanted to accomplish, right along with making my own nail polish, joining the 10k IG followers club and going to school to become a licensed nail tech. Once we got off the phone, while I wasn’t 100% onboard with starting a blog, I thought, I’d do some research talk, to a few bloggers I knew and go from there to be fair.

Fast forward a few weeks later and here I am. An official nail blogger!!! So here I am world, you can’t stop me now!

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My nails are and have been my passion for years and I didn’t even know it. Let me give you a little back story to my nails so you get the full picture and have a clear understanding of where passion came from. Let’s rewind 17 years ago, when I was a 16 year girl ‘dying’ to get her nails done, all I could think about was my first full set. $60 later, I was addicted!! Addicted to the sound of the drill, smell of the acrylic, technique and beauty of application, artistry of each hand painted design…EVERYTHING and had to have more of it. I made friends with my techs over the years and they all knew exactly what I liked. At the time, I didn’t know anything about shapes or technical terms but know I know, I’m a die-hard squoval gal through and through and medium-long length because we all know there is nothing worse than breaking a nail. Anyway, I worked at a movie theater then to support my habit…lol, I made my car payment (a 2000 Chevy Cavalier) and to got my nails done. Nails are my drug of choice and I do anything to make sure they looked nothing short of amazing.

That was until November 2014 when I decided that I was going natural and soaked off my acrylics. Don’t get me wrong, I had taken my nails off many, many, many times over the years to ‘let them breathe’ but no more than a week would pass and I’d be right back to square one, getting a full set. I’m not sure why I made the decision to go natural, maybe it was because I thought I would save money doing them myself, maybe it was because it became inconvenient to go to the salon with or without an appointment as I got older, regardless, I did and it was the best decision I made.

I remember one Saturday in November I took a trip to Five Below to purchase the essentials, because for a girl who had been going to the salon to get full sets and fill-ins, I didn’t own any nail polish, a file, acetone or cotton balls, nothing. I went home that night joined several nail groups on FB, subscribed to tons of nail channels on YouTube and without realizing my profile on IG changed to 99% nails.

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I am more in love with nails, polish and nail art/designs than ever before. I must say I’ve accomplished a lot and had many successes in a short amount of time. I’ve been able to amass a polish collection of well over 300 bottles including indies and mainstream, swatched collections for some amazing indie brands, hit 3k IG followers, started a FB page and help admin some nail based groups. I’ve even had offers to work in local salons (but not being licensed I respectfully declined but was told to contact them when I’m ready).

So what can you expect to see and how often? Well, let’s see, nail swatches as I’m challenging myself to full mani swatch each polish I own (of course this is in addition to PR swatches for indie brands), I’ll also be doing some nail art/designs and maybe even some tutorials here and there. My plan is to post at least twice a week, maybe more, I just haven’t decided, all depends on how time consuming this new process is for me.

Last thing, I’ll also be hosting a GIVEAWAY soon! I’m thinking maybe a launch giveaway so stay tuned for more details.

This blog is interactive so please leave me your questions and comments and I’ll be sure to address them.

Well that’s all for now!

Stay Polished,
Queen of Nails 83

 

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