My Latest Obsession: Nail Art

“I want ALL the nail stuffs!”

At least that has been my train-of-thought lately.

Back in December, I ordered a bunch of nail supplies from Amazon, and they’ve been trickling in all month long, some arriving all the way from Hong Kong! They are all still similarly priced if you see anything that you would also like to buy. For about $30–including shipping which was mostly free–I got ALL of the following (click on the picture for the link to Amazon):

brushes15 piece nail paint drawing brush and 5 two-way dotting tools: $3.87

rhinestonewheels10 pack manicure wheels (rhinestones, studs, etc.): $9.56

tipguidesPack of 10 tip guides (chevron, teardrop, french): $1.50

studwheelSingle pack (600 pieces) of gold and silver studs: $2.00

nailtapes30 rolls of metallic striping tape: $2.19

nailtoolsSHANY Cosmetics 6 piece manicure tool set (heavy duty!): $9.95

paintpaletteDish paint palette and 3 nail brushes: $2.41 (I could have gone without this item and used any other kind of dish to mix polishes, but I wanted something I could reuse).

I just ordered (despite my shopping ban…more on that later) a 13″ caboodle organizer from Amazon as well, and I can’t wait to organize all my new supplies (not to mention, get that drawer space back from my dresser where I currently house my nail polishes and supplies). The size is 13x8x9 and runs about $34.99, but is the #1 seller in cosmetic train cases on Amazon.com:

51QAd310WQLDespite train cases being around for, well, a long time, my 8-year old self is squealing at the idea of a grown-up Caboodle-brand box, haha. I had a plastic purple and pink one where I stored crayons, yarn, and other art supplies when I was a kid. I thought I was queen of the town lugging that thing around. You know what I’m talking about…

I want to start doing my nails on a regular basis. I have to now that I have all these supplies, right? πŸ˜‰ It’s going to require improving a lot on my technique, but I’m confident that if I put my mind to do, I can learn a lot and hopefully have some fun designs to show you all!

If you know anything about my blog, know I’m also a self-proclaimed dork. It keeps me young at heart πŸ™‚ These themed nails are all designs I would totally do (though mine would not come out as nicely, haha):

sailormoonnailsSailor Moon nails: because Sailor Moon, DUH. My favorite anime of all time!

pikachunailsPokemon nails: especially Pikachu. Give me all the Pikachu things.

sleepingbeautynailsSleeping Beauty: my fave Disney movie.

mlpnailsMy Little Pony nails (the new version): because they’re bright, cheery, full of color, and epitomize anime-eyes.

I’ve also always been really into Japanese nail art. I kind of love how gaudy some of the designs are–it’s like a whole new part of your body to accessorize! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out some of these superbly-amazeballs designs:

Would I do my nails these ways? Not necessarily all of them, but some of them, heck yes! You can probably tell which ones pretty easily. A. My nails aren’t long enough to do half of these designs (though I’m pretty sure many of these are on acrylics!). B. I would rip my hair out trying to wash it, style it, think about it. C. I would accidentally knock the charms off in just a few hours. D. I’m not that talented, haha.

Which brings me to another topic: have you ever heard of fimo canes? I hadn’t!

fimocanesThey are these longish tubes in one particular design that are made for you to cut teeny-tiny slivers off to adorn your nails, phone cases, etc. Typically, a boxcuter or razor is used on these….

fimocanes2…to make nail designs like this:

fimocanesnailsI’m sure it would take a lot of practice and precision to get them thin enough to stay on your nails with a glue or top coat.

What do you think of these nail trends? I can’t wait to try some out! Do you have any tips on how best to adhere charms to your nails? I’ve heard of using nail glue, but I wonder if a dot of acryllic over your polish would work best?

XO Ali

Favorite 2014 K-pop Songs: #8-1

8. 4MINUTE – Whatcha Doin’ Today

whatchadointodayThis upbeat jam always puts me in the mood to dance, which can be a problem depending on where I am at at the moment (the car is usually a frequent location…). I love 4MINUTE! They always have great singles that are fun to dance to, and this is no exception πŸ™‚

7. Hyuna – Red

hyunaredHyuna is also a member of 4minute, the group who’s “Whatcha Doin’ Today” came in 8th place. Hyuna is probably one of the more globally-recognizable faces of k-pop after she guest starred in Psy’s Gangnam Style back in 2012 (2:11 on) and eventually in her own version, “Oppa is Just My Style.” However, these are not the songs she is known for in Korea. She’s arguably one of the best female solo artists in the market, being able to rap, dance, and sing very well. Her singles always do very well, and Red is no exception. This is by far my favorite single of hers to date, because she’s got to that point in her career where she is allowed to express more freedom in her songs.

6. KARA – Mamma Mia

mammamiaI’m a little surprised about how much I fell in love with this song, seeing as how KARA was a group that I only recently started to gauge interest in. It might be do in part to them losing two of their five original members in early 2014 due to career changes, and how they held a reality competition to find a new member to fill in their group. This is practically unheard of in South Korea. If new members are picked, it is a very private process, and once the decision is final, not much information is given until the new member’s debut. There were seven girls vying for public sway to get into the already internationally-successful group, but ultimately, Young Ji stole most everyone’s hearts:

youngjiThe six-part series culminated in Young Ji “winning” a spot on KARA. I watched about four of the episodes, which is why I felt so invested in her debut for this song. In a short amount of time, she had to learn all of KARA’s previous dances, redistribute previous members lines, and was literally thrown into the spotlight. The song itself is very good, reminding me a little of an 80’s/90’s workout song, and I really enjoy the accompanying dance. Party, party, party, mamma mia!

5. 2NE1 – Come Back Home

comebackhomeOne of the most popular girl groups in the world, 2NE1 (pronounced “twenty-one” or “to anyone”) killed it this year with their album, Crush. You may have unintentionally heard a clip of their song I am the Best in a recent Microsoft television ad. Long before the ad, IATB has been one of the 10 most watched K-pop videos in history. In addition, CL is working with producers in the U.S. to launch her U.S. debut. CL has already released a song with G Dragon, Diplo, and Skrillex, but no matter how much I like her, the song is really awful. Wait till her debut comes out. She’s got an incredible voice and is one of the best Asian rappers out there. Between all of the members, they speak a variety of languages, which has really helped to fuel their growth and to make tour stops more personal.

Anyways. Come Back Home is probably my favorite music video of the year, with a futuristic dystopia-type setting. If you don’t watch any other videos, watch this one. It’s really good and the lines are all pretty spread out so you can hear each member’s voice.

4. T-ara – Sugar Free

sugarfreeT-ara does it again with their club-pumping hit, Sugar Free. Despite sounding like a song about diet soda, it’s actually about a relationship that has turned sour, with the guy lacking sweetness. I know I’ve said this about a lot of groups already, but every. single. single. they put out is so good. They’ve got that EDM vibe that is very popular in the U.S. and Europe…the kind of music that it doesn’t matter if you understand what they’re saying or not, but you have to get up and dance when you hear it. The music video is really hard on the eyes, however, with its incessant strobe lights. It’s a shame, because they really should have highlighted the dancing more. This is one where I’ll say you can skip the video, or watch a live performance, because you may just get a headache from watching the flashing lights.

3. AOA – Like a Cat

likeacatIt really pains me to number these top 4 in any specific order, because they are so, so close in my book. I really should just give them a four-way tie for first place, but I gave the final rankings based on listen counts, how many dance moves I can mimic without really intentionally learning (haha), and how powerful the feels are. AOA is probably the group that grew on me the most this year, as I never really cared for their songs until I heard their first single of 2014 called “Miniskirt.” I realized how talented these girls all are! When “Like a Cat” came out, I was blown away with how catchy it was! The dance moves aren’t overly provocative either, which is a nice change from some of their company’s usual choreography. I can’t stop listening to it and you shouldn’t either!

2. f(x) – Red Light

redlightNever has one eye of makeup looked so good. You all probably already know my affinity for this group from my post back in October, but here they are again, for good measure πŸ™‚ I almost forgot about this song since it came out over the summer. I listened to it for so long, I took a break from it to hear all the other singles that have been out. After another listen though, it’s definitely at the top. The second girl from the left, Sulli, ended up taking a hiatus from the public within a month of their “Red Light” promotions, which caused the company to end the entire group’s promotions, despite successfully performing as a quartet multiple times. This made me so angry, because they are my second-favorite group in all of k-pop and were finally getting the recognition they deserve. I hope their next comeback is just as successful, if not more. F(x) fighting!

Side note: Krystal of F(x) (right) is the younger sister of [former] Girl’s Generation member Jessica (left)

1whisper1. TaeTiSeo (TTS) – Whisper

TTS made their first comeback in 2014 after a 2.5 year hiatus. They are a sub-unit of Girls’ Generation, and comprise 3 of the best singers of the group. Whisper is a pretty song where the focus is not on the dance, nor is there an accompanying music video. It plays on the strengths of each of the member’s voices and is not even their single they released (which is Holler, in case you are interested. It’s really good too!). Instead, it’s a soulful song that even Billboard Music describes as a “sensual, synthy R&B jam.” They even had their own 7 episode series called “The TaeTiSeo” that aired with OnStyle Korea! Both Girls’ Generation and their sub-unit are my favorite group in all of k-pop. Win!

Others worth mentioning:

SISTAR – Touch My Body – The perfect summer-ending song.

Bestie – Thank U Very Much – A fun song to dance with your “besties” to.

Dalshabet – BBB (Big Baby Baby) – An 80’s electro-pop sound with understated tones and a strong choral beat.

AOA – Miniskirt – While I don’t care for the music video, the song is great!

CL – MTBD – The K-pop female rap song I have been waiting for…

EXID – Up and Down – Finally, some recognition for the amazing group! The only song to ever go through promotions twice in the k-pop industry.

Rainbow Blaxx – Cha Cha – The first song of Rainbow’s sub-unit, Rainbow Blaxx.

Girl’s Day – Darling – Another fun summer song.

Ladies Code – Kiss Kiss – the last song that Ladies Code put out, less than a month before a horribly tragic car accident took the lives of best friends and members, Eun B and RiSe (2nd and 3rd from the left below), in September. May they rest in peace. They were taken too soon 😦

ladiescodeWhat were your favorite songs of 2014 (k-pop or not)?!

XO Ali

Michelle Phan Book Review

Are you a beauty blogger? A fashion blogger? A vlogger? Then KEEP reading! πŸ™‚

Right before my vacation to Cancun, I was shopping at Target when I noticed the beautiful face of Michelle Phan staring back amid the vast book section. Curious, I picked it up and read a bit, (it’s not your average chapter book), put it back, and went home. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I decided it would make a fun read on vacation, not to mention providing some new inspiration and perspective on my blog! I ordered it from Amazon, and with my Prime membership, it arrived in 2 days!

I have to be honest, I knew next to nothing about Michelle when I first got the book, let alone that she is the FOUNDER of Ipsy! (Something almost all of you are familiar with/subscribe to). As a 27 year old, she boasts an incredible resume:

  • 7 million subscribers on YouTube
  • Her videos have been viewed over 1 billion times
  • Founder of Ipsy
  • Started her own cosmetics company “em”

The first 2 “chapters” (I use the word chapters loosely, as it’s such a guide/advice/tutorial-type book) cover her background. You wouldn’t know by looking at her that she grew up with almost nothing. It was really inspiring to hear her journey, and to read about her dedication and perseverance landing her where she is today. I’ll save the rest of her back story for you to discover πŸ™‚

If you get a chance, go check out her YouTube channel. She’s just so darn sweet and likeable!

The videos that really brought her to initial fame were her transformation videos. Some of her looks include Angelina Jolie, Sailor Moon, Lady Gaga, Daenerys (Game of Thrones), and (zombie) Barbie!

Even thought she’s amazing at transforming into different characters, some of my favorite videos are her anybody-can-do makeovers. Her instructions are simple and practical, and she doesn’t go out of her way to suggest you buy or use a particular product, which I found very refreshing. Instead, she encourages you to work with what you have.

This is still one of my FAVORITE looks:

The other sections cover a wide variety of topics including makeup tutorials, resume building, career advice, etiquette, and creativity. There’s even a section dedicated to fashion/style! If you go to Amazon’s page, you can peak “Inside the Book.”

This is a great read. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times: she is SO inspiring! It makes me want to channel all my creativity and efforts into something beautiful I can share with others. If you are interested in getting a copy of her book, please enter my giveaway to win! It’s open until Saturday evening at 11:59 P.M.

Michelle-Phan-Book-CoverDomestic (U.S.) entries only–I will be sending the book straight to your home via Amazon.com

Once the winner is announced, you have 2Β days to respond to my email (you must leave a valid email address for me to contact you), otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

And in the words of Mish: Good luck!

XOXO Ali

Fall 30×30: Outfit #2

I have to admit, it’s nice being up early this week without studying my brains out for a midterm like I spent all of last week for my Early Rising challenge.

Without further ado, here is outfit #2 (rhyme not intended) of my Fall 30×30 challenge. Anyone else want to jump on board and do the challenge with me?! πŸ˜€ It’s not too late!

IMG_2163dYellow boyfriend cardigan: Target | Chambray button-down: Forever 21 | Navy skirt: Target | Brown lace-up boots: Target

IMG_2168c IMG_2177c IMG_2185cHave a wonderful day my lovelies πŸ™‚

XO Ali

Fall 30×30 Challenge

Happy Monday morning, everyone πŸ™‚

This weekend we were blessed with some amazing weather considering its November. This has allowed me to get out and shoot some outfits to kick off my first ever Fall 30×30 challenge! I have to admin, I’m not a huge fan of capsule wardrobes where all your pieces can be mixed and matched with everything else in your closet, as I just like to have variation and a few interesting pieces on hand to spruce things up! However, I’ve seen these seasonal challenges floating around the blogger community for some time, and thought it was time to see what I’m capable of producing.

The challenge: 30 pieces for 30 looks. The goal is to pick out exactly 30 pieces from your wardrobe (I am defining wardrobe as: tops, bottoms, shoes, and dresses; excluding accessories like purses and jewelry, as that is what I will be using to differentiate my looks) to wear for 30 looks. I decided not to do 30 days, because my work wear has to be more modest than short skirts and more formal than chambray.

I am hoping to get some more good weather on the weekends because that is my only opportunity to shoot in the daylight. With Daylight Savings Time over, it is now dark by the time I get home from work.

First look:

IMG_2098cSouthwestern-print sweater: Forever 21 | Burgundy matelot shorts: Forever 21 | Black fringe booties: Target | Hat: gojane.com

IMG_2148cIMG_2115cIMG_2130cIMG_2154cWhat do you guys think? Do you like capsule wardrobes? Let me know in the comments below and hit the “Follow Me” button if you want to see more looks πŸ™‚

XO Ali

October Clothing Purchases

Happy Monday! I’ve narrowed down a starting clothing budget, and that is to spend no more than $750 quarterly. I like the idea of doing a quarterly budget to give me a little flex room for months where I find … Continue reading