The Queens Critique

Non polish/non-PR purchased by me for use and review

The Queens Critique: It Girl Nail Art – Plate IG118


Good Morning Sunshine! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. As for me, weeeeeeelllll….my plans at the last minute changed on Friday which effected my entire weekend. I did however get a lot accomplished! Saturday, my girls and I ran some errands including returning my daughters violin as she decided that she didn’t want to play anymore but instead focus only on chorus which warmed my heart as I too sung all throughout 4-12 grade. We also did a weeks worth of grocery shopping and didn’t end up with a cart full of snacks. YAY for me!! And I was finally able to RELAX and binge watch Grey’s Anatomy as if I had never seen it before….lol, it’s only like one of my favorite shows. It was an amazing weekend of nothing. My son’s basketball team went 1-2 in their tournament but I hear they played their hearts out and had fun which is all I ask for.

So here we are back for another amazing week of reviews and today I have a doozy. Today, I have the newest plate from It Girl Nail Art, IG118. This plate highlights multiple images and symbols representing LGBTQ, political activism and marginalized groups.

I do want to point out that I’m still learning reverse stamping, so while the Autism Awareness mani didn’t turn out as perfectly as I wanted it to, that was not fault of the plate, it was complete user error. I was able to get the 4 full nail images done but wanted to do my research regarding the flags to ensure that color placement is done correctly. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

**All swatches are done using Commitment Issue Peel-off Base Coat by Vapid and Tonic Topper by Tonic (shiny) and Matte Me topcoat by Jior Couture (matte). Swatch photos are taken using artificial lights.**

It Girl Nail Art Plate IG118

Overall Thoughts

Application: plate it etched very well. No issues with pick up using soft, squishy stamper

Size: plate – 12cm x 6cm

Price: $13.50

Availability: current

Overall: I love this plate. I love the images and how easy is it to work with. I love how there are single images to use with full nail images and that you reverse stamp or leadlight with them. I can definitely see myself using this plate a lot more as I have a ton of manis planned in my head once I do my research so be on the look on my IG in the upcoming weeks.

Don’t forget to click the YouTube link below to check out these swatches on my new YouTube channel. Thanks for tuning in!

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The Queens Critique: It Girl Nail Art Stamping Plates & Cuticle Oil


Good Morning and happy Thursday! If you love, love and themed nail art, then by now, I’m sure you’ve contemplated a Valentine’s Day mani….or 2, I know I have. I searched for the perfect roses and hearts and came up short until I was sent 2 of the newest plates from Nicole at It Girl Nail Art. These plates have so many possibilities and I couldn’t wait to use them and show them off.

**Denotes the items I received to review

Stamping Plates

**IG115 is a Valentine’s plate with 8 full-nail images and 9 smaller images (similar layout to IG113 and IG114, the Christmas and Hanukkah plates).

**IG306 is a mini plate with two full-nail lace images, and one little lace trim border image.


-IG202 is a gallery plate with a mix of sacred geometry images–a few of which can be used as full-nail images or as a partial.

-IG305 is a mini plate with an infinity-style floral image with some hearts mixed in.

Cuticle Oil

If you haven’t found a cuticle oil that you love both the formula and fragrance, I beg you to try It Girl. In a previous post, I raved about the Lemon Sweet Tea scent and now Nicole has released some new fragrances.

**Hot Chocolate: Creamy and sweet with rich cocoa, topped with lightly toasted marshmallow.

**Caramel Macchiato: Rich espresso and creamy steamed milk with buttery caramel.

-London Fog Tea: The barista’s secret weapon for the tea-lover, a London Fog is earl gray, vanilla syrup, and steamed milk.

-Mulled Wine: Velvety red wine meets orange peel and traditional mulling spices.

-Chamomile Honey: Prized for its relaxing properties, chamomile has been used for centuries to ease stress and insomnia.

-Bourbon Hot Toddy: Before cold medicine, there was a good old hot toddy for the sniffles. With bourbon, bright citrus, and spices.

Overall Thoughts

Measurements: Full Size Plate – 12cm x 6cm and image area of 2.25cm. Mini Plates – 6cm lx 4cm and 3.2 x 3.2 cm / 2.5 x 2.5 (respectively). The narrow lace trim image measuring 4mm x 2.5cm.

Availability: Current

Price: Plates – $14.50 full size & $4.50 mini. Cuticle oil – $3 for 2ml brush pen and $6 for 10ml roller bottle.

Please note, some plates may be better or worse choices for beginners. For instance, some of the very fine lines like the roses on IG115 can be tricky to pick up especially if someone does not have a variety of stampers and polish to try. I used a sticky, marshmallow stamper with Mundo de Unas (MdU) black and the image picked up without issue. As you can see the image was very light but….I liked that it gave a delicate feel to the mani. Be sure to look for the details in the listing in the shop. 

Overall: No issues to report. I used MdU stamping polishes and various stampers for all the manis shown. I love all of the different hearts, love lettering and roses, they are just gorgeous. I also love the single images in the middle that compliment the larger images. The lace is amazing and the etching on both plates is perfect. The image size is perfect for those with longer nails like me.

Now, I know that not everyone is super into Valentine’s Day, and that’s totally fine. But since I’m celebrating my 3 year wedding anniversary, the day holds an extra special meaning to me. Are you a Valentine’s Day kinda person? What do you think of these plates? Let me know in the comments.

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The Queens Critique: Twinkle T – Glamour Mat

***Nothing to Disclose***

Good Morning, I hope all is well. It’s FriYAY, so there’s the silver lining. Today I have a review of a product that I am absolutely in love with. I’m talking about my Glamour Mat from Twinkle T. Previously, I was using a mat from another company and…well… let’s just say it didn’t stand a chance against Dallas, our beagle-hound mix fur baby. He decided to used my mat as a chew toy (insert sad face here), guess he wasn’t happy with it either…lol. But that was all the excuse I needed to shop and shopping is what I do best. This time, I decided to ask around for recommendations and finally decided to invest in the Glamour Mat.

I ordered my mat on Dec. 21st and between then and now, I’ve really put my mat to the test, here are the pros and cons I discovered.

*Pro: The mat is thick and extremely durable.
*Pro: Doesn’t slip and slide.
*Pro: Easy to clean up. Polish and paint remove with acetone.
*Pro: Large work area
*Pro: Made of silicone making for easy storage

  • Indented Holes: 13 ‘holes’ to hold polish or acrylic paint.
  • Acetone/Water Cup: a collapsible cup to fill with acetone for easy mani cleanup or water for watermarble.
  • Nails & Boxes: to use for creating decals

*Con: Staining is possible. You’ll see in the photo below a small pink stain of polish on the right-hand side 

Overall Thoughts

*Mat Measurements: Approx. 12 in x 16 in
*Price: $21.99
*Availability: Current
*Savings/Discount Code: USE CODE SAVE10 FOR 10% OFF! (this is a store discount!!)
*Overall: worth every penny!! This mat is the perfect nail art station. Where else can you can create, practice, design, watermarble, swatch and more all in the same place? 

That will do it for me today. Do you use a nail mat to create your masterpieces? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Queens Critique: It Girl Nail Art

***PRESS (PR) SAMPLE NOTICE: This post contains polishes that were sent to me for free from the company/brand in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own and based on my experiences. For additional info regarding PR samples, click here ***

Did I not promise you that this year was full of new surprises? I’m back today with a new series that I am sure you will all love…The Queen Critique. This series will focus on reviews of non-polish nail products. I currently have this series scheduled for once a month, but we’ll see how things go because I have products lined up through July…lol.

First up, starting us off are products from a brand that I’ve eyeballed since their initial release, I’m talking about It Girl Nail Art. This brand was created by Nicole Bivins who will be stopping by later this month for an Up Close and Personal Interview.

Anywho, Nicole was very kind to send me a few products to try out and they are amazing. But don’t take my word for it, let me show you….

***IG 301 and Spearmint Stamping Polish***

Let’s talk stamping for a minute. I was sent IG 301 from the mini series and the saying is so true, “small things, come in big packages.”

This mini plate measures 2.6 x 1.9 inches (6 x 9 cm) and packs a gorgeous punch with well etched images as shown below.

The stamping polish, Spearmint, is a amaze-balls!!! The color is rich, vibrant and perfectly opaque over white and black. 

 ***Lemon Sweet Tea Cuticle Oil***

Holy sweetness!!! I think I have found the holy grail of cuticle oil. Let me try to explain the amazingness that is Lemon Sweet Tea. Literally the day I received my package, I messaged Nicole to tell her how much I love the cuticle oil.

Scent: Thee best!! Lemon Sweet Tea is long-lasting and you can smell the sweet tea with subtle accents of lemon!

Absorption: Quick. This cuticle oil leaves a non-greasy, well hydrated feeling

Applicator: glass tube w/ metal roller baller. Perfect for on-the-go application

Overall Thoughts

Price: varies

Overall: I will definitely be adding more of everything to my collection. More plates, stamping polish and Lemon Sweet Tea. I love the full plate image and how well etched it is, making for easy pick up and transfer. As for the cuticle oil, I’ve used this oil since receiving it and I have noticed that the small cut on my right index finger cuticle has completely healed and the overall health and appearance of my cuticles and nails is much better. I’m not sure if I’ll ever try another scent honestly, because I’m currently obsessed with Lemon Sweet Tea.

Who’s tried It Girl Nail Art before, what do you recommend I try next? If you haven’t tried this brand but want to, what’s on your wishlist? 

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Review: Nailed It – Nail Care

PRESS SAMPLE NOTICE***Press (PR) Samples. This post contains products that were sent to be from the company/brand in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own. For additional info regarding PR samples, click here ***

I’m not just polish reviews all the time, I like to mix things up every once and awhile…to keep you on your toes. I’ve been wanting to expand my blogging repertoire to include all nail based products, including stamping plates, vinyls, etc. So it was only befitting when I saw Nailed It! Nail Polish looking for product testers for her upcoming nail care products, to jump at the chance.

Every now and again, I like to play, dare I say, NAKED! It allows me time to pamper my nails and gives me a break from the stress of picking a color(s) and/or art/design….lol! So the #nakednailchallenge is on! 5 days of nakedness! No base, no strengtheners, just me, my nails and my Nailed It! Nail Care.

This post will chronicle my 5 day experience using Nailed It! Nail Care products.

Products Used:

  • Full Size (10ml) Berri Vanilla Cuticle Oil – $6
  • Full Size Pink Sugar Cuticle Cream – $5
  • 2 Mani bombs (1 regular size (Sweet Hearts) and 1 mini(Love Spell)) – $2
  • 2 Mini Lotion Bars – $?

My Routine

  Monday 7/25 – removed cuticles, LIGHTLY buffed nail bed and re-shaped free edge. (I knew my package was OFD (out for delivery) and I wanted to be ready when it got here). Throughout the day I just applied cuticle oil.

Tuesday 7/26 – soaked hands in warm water with mini mani bomb (catch my video on IG). Applied 1 of the lotion bar and topped with cuticle cream.

Day 2

Wednesday 7/27 – continued more with applying the cuticle oil throughout the day

Thursday 7/28 – continued more with applying the cuticle oil throughout the day

Day 4

Friday 7/29 – soaked hands in warm water with 1/2 of the regular size mani bomb, applied 1/2 of the lotion bar and topped with cuticle cream (catch my video on IG).


**Please note, beginning Tuesday, I made sure to apply the cuticle cream in the morning and at night and especially after long, extended periods of time in water, ie washing dishes, showering.**

Overall, I didn’t see much difference as far as nail growth, but that’s probably because I only used it for 5 days but strong, healthy nails is the name of the game. Let’s get down to the Good, Bad and the Ugly (so to speak).


***BAD (if you can really call it that)***
The only thing I didn’t like was the lavender flowers in the lotion bars because I felt weird when I was rubbing it in. I am weird about texture though and my husband can vouch for that :).
I prefer mani powder because I can “measure” the amount of product being used. I feel wasteful using the larger bomb.
I prefer squeeze tip cuticle oil applicators because roller balls get “stuck” and don’t allow me to apply the oil to my cleavage.

*They feel stronger, yet still flexible enough that they wouldn’t break on impact.
*The free edge is more white/opaque and not as transparent.
*Cuticles remain moisturized between applications
*Absorbs quickly into the cuticle and nail bed.
*Doesn’t leave you feeling greasy and oily.
*Smells amazing; noticeable, yet not overpowering.
*Fast shipping from HI
*Budget Friendly
*Great customer service

In this case the ‘GOOD’ does outweigh the ‘BAD’ and I will continue to purchase the oil (rollerball and all) and the cream. I will continue to use the remaining product even though my 5 day challenge is over, I will just be using them with polish. You can monitor my progress on my IG page. Nailed It! Nail Care products will be launching August 5th so, make sure you check them out. The scents I had were ah-mazing, but I know other scents will be offered.

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Review: Digit Dust and Nail Sauce

***Press (PR) Samples. This post contains
products that were sent to be f
rom the
company/brand in exchange for a honest review,
All opinions stated are my own. For additional
info regarding PR samples, click here ***

Hey y’all, before any good party, I have to pamper myself; go shopping for a new outfit and shoes, get my hair did and do my nails. That is exactly what I did today! After all the swatching to get ready for Vapid’s #vapibirthday, my nails are in need of some R&R. By now I’m sure you have heard, seen and used mani bombs and have fallen in love with the way your hands feel after. Today I’m treating myself to a full mani with a twist! After optional step #5 of Manicure Must Haves, I soaked my nubs (yes…I had to cut my nails down even more after suffering an nailjury during the 4th of July holiday weekend) in Vapid’s Digit Dust!! I was sent two 2oz packages of Digit Dust to review and what better time to use them than now as they are being released during the #vapibirthday on 7/16/16 at 1pm CST. The surprises never stop!

I’m a sucker for anything sweet smelling i.e. food, candles, etc. and these 2 scents hit the mark. As soon as you open the pouch the sweet fragrance hits you and I imagine this is was unicorn farts smell like…lol. To 1 cup of hot/warm tap water, I added a tsp of Unicorn Milk (right) and Cotton Candy (left) and watched as magic happened right before my eyes. Depending on the body part you are using Digit Dust for, you will need to adjust the amount used.


Once the dust settled (hahahaha…a little digit dust humor there), I immediately soaked my hands for a good 3 minutes and didn’t want to take my hands out. I caught myself think how amazing this is going to be during a pedi or in the bathtub. A glass of wine, warm water, vanilla scented candles and Digit Dust (sorry for my little tangent there, I tend to get a little side tracked).

However, I succumbed to cooling water and removed my hands. I gently toweled off, applied my base coat and finished off with some cuticle lovin using Vapid’s Nail Sauce in Cotton Candy scent. The smell in the air is warm, sweet and relaxing. Even my kids asked for some candy and I had to explain that it was Digit Dust, NOT FOOD!!!

So as I sit here with naked nails, pondering my next mani, I just can’t help but wonder what my nails would say if they could talk (that would be kinda weird and scary). But if they could, I imagine they would say “Thank you, Krys and Vapid team, for this amazing new product that has us feeling soft, smooth and smelling so yummy!” This is a definite must have for any good mani and has officially made its way to my Manicure Must Have list. I’m so excited to see what other scents are released and what other products they come up with next.


So don’t forget, #vapibirthday is Saturday, July 16th at 1pm CST and a host of old friends returning along with the 2016 Summer Shimmers, Digit Dust and Cat Suit with a doe foot applicator which I used for my 4th of July mani.

Digit Dust will be available as shown, in 2oz packages for $3.00. Scents are Limited Edition for July and the summer but Digit Dust is sticking around. What’s on your wish list for this release?

(Side note, you may be wondering why these packages have different names. Well, here’s the inside scope. I was originally sent Dragon Dust when I was sent Ride or Die to swatch and review but hadn’t gotten around to using it. When I was sent the release polishes for #vapibirthday, it included Digit Dust. I inquired about the difference and was advised they are one in the same but there was a name change from Dragon to Digit Dust.)