Holy Lisa Frank, Tiger Claw is on the prowl

Tiger Claw's debut

Tiger Claw's debut

Beauty subscription services are most certainly still a thing. More often than not, they bomb in my eyes -- same, same, not different and "hey, didn't I already get that in my box last month?"

Tiger Claw has taken a detour with its bimonthly subscription service - the contents give nail art newbies and aficionados a sense of direction, inspiration and kick @$$ nails for a night out on the town (a clear topcoat will lock down gems and glitter for a bit longer). I say that because even Kesha can only keep her glitter, unicorns and James Van Der Beek in tow for so long, amiright?

How does it work?

After signing up here, expect to receive a Tiger Claw box every two months.

What do I get?

Tools of the trade (this particular box contained an orange stick and a nail file), a feature coat, a base coat, nail accents and nail art tips and tricks. There's even a video demonstrating how to execute each of the suggested looks.

Here's a closer look at some of my favourite items..

Feature coat (left) in Indigo Purple and base coat (right) in My Darlin' Clementine

Feature coat (left) in Indigo Purple and base coat (right) in My Darlin' Clementine

A glittering pot o' gold

A glittering pot o' gold

How much does it cost?

$19.95 AUS, call it $10/month. Erin and I both know full well that we get ripped off in Australia when it comes to purchasing anything really. Case in point: a bottle of nail polish from the likes of Essie, Butter London and OPI costs $20.00 on average. 

The fact that you get so much for so little is nuts and Erin's removed a lot of the guesswork, too.

My thoughts.

Well, patience is not one of my greatest attributes, but Tiger Claw kept me entertained in between calling my Dad and dinner last Sunday. Looking back I probably should've watched Tiger Claw's video prior to attempting anything, because I sprinkled way too much glitter on the tips of my nails -- the fade looked more like a depressed disco ball. The glitter accoutrements are intended to last you a few manicure sessions, but I managed to waste a lot, oops.

Pretty Serious' My Darlin' Clementine was a boon, opaque after one coat and dried fast -- juicy, sweet! Kleancolor's Indigo Purple while playful was a slight miss for me. The brush was packed unevenly which caused a few strands to stick out from the rest, manicure scissors FTW!

Back to that whole patience is a virtue thing, let's just say my nails looked like a hot mess from rushing, so much that I can't bare to show what I did out of shame.

Oh, be sure to stay on the lookout for nail art competitions Tiger Claw will be hosting every now and then via Instagram and Twitter (I think).

The Bagful breakdown:

Total amount for Tiger Claw:

  • $19.95 AUS every two months, including shipping. Sorry, Tiger Claw is currently available in Australia.

Value for money spent (performance and quality):

  • 8 out of 10 bags — Erin has made nail art accessible, attainable and fun. It really took me back to how I passed the time one summer.

Would another purchase be on the horizon?:

  • Being the control freak that I am, I would rather leave it up to the pros. Hello, OCD!

*PR sample provided  –  Thoughts and ramblings written here are completely my own.

Back to school with Erin of Blonde Tiger

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I'm not particularly skilled with painting my nails; I'm actually immensely out of practice. However, 12-year-old Nicole reemerged after Erin extended an offer to re-learn the basics and the fine art of bedazzling one's nails.

Erin kicked off our session by having us scan magazines and we, in turn, posed the ultimate question, "how'd they do that?" A lot of the popular nail art featured in magazines, Instagram, Twitter and the Interwebs isn't as difficult as it seems -- Erin believes you need the right tools, a bit of practice, time and a kitchen table to work your magic.

A word of advice: refrain from painting your nails while sitting in front of the TV and balancing atop a glossy magazine (my personal favourite spot). If you want a top-notch base, then gain stability by sitting at a proper table.

Erin demonstrates the proper stance and placement of her hand when applying polish

Erin demonstrates the proper stance and placement of her hand when applying polish

Before moving onto all that glittered, Erin then asked us what we hoped to walk away with (aside from our very generous goodie bags -- more on that later). We all agreed we wanted to learn fun and simple ways of decorating our nails.

Easy enough.

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

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Then came the necessary step of having to set-up our tools, cotton pads, orange sticks and nail polish -- having everything at the ready helps to reduce your chances of bumping a nail or two.

So what did I learn in class? Here are a few highlights...

  • An all-in-one base/top coat isn't as good as their counterparts. While you might be saving money by buying a double-acting performer, you'll also be effecting the longevity of your manicure. Chips abound.
  • Paint brushes purchased from the craft store also make for the best and most cost-effective nail art tools. The same goes for glitter and rhinestones.
  • A toothpick can be used as a dotting tool. Want fatter dots? Dull the point by firmly tapping it on a hard surface.
  • Love blue nail polish, but hate that it stains your nails? Apply a base coat.
  • Want perfect lines, shapes and patterns? Just add tape. The trick is to wait at least 24-hours before even thinking about adhering tape to your nails or you'll run the risk of pulling the polish off of your nails.
  • Reinforcements work as guides and help with achieving an awesome moon manicure.
  • Over your sparkly mani? Wrap your tips with acetone soaked cotton pads and tinfoil in order to expedite the glitter removal process.
  • Tunnel vision -- take this into consideration and move your hand away from your face every now and then in order to gain some perspective while decorating your nails.
  • Still file your nails in one direction? Feel free to file whichever way you please, because the modern-day emery board won't tear up your nails like its predecessor once did.

Need a boost? You can also look forward to a glass of bubbles (or two) and nibbles -- it was a perfect way to get to know each other a little better as well.

Keep in mind, the things I listed above is only a fraction of what you'll take away from attending Erin's three hour nail art workshop.

It's all in the hands

It's all in the hands

All that glitters

All that glitters

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Aside from leaving with polished nails, you can also look forward to taking home a goodie bag. Whee!

The goods

The goods

The setting was very much an open forum -- no question or idea was judged or thought to be stupid and not once did I feel intimated to test my newfound skills.

Put that in your pipe, Klutz Nail Art book!

Want a night out with your Mom and your sister? Have a hen's night on the horizon? Or, you're looking to hone your skills? Visit Blonde Tiger for more information.

If you do go, don't forget to ask Erin about one of the many ways to use Elmer's glue :)

And the woman behind Blonde Tiger, here's a glimpse inside Erin's makeup bag.

*This class was complimentary (thanks for a fun night in, Erin). Thoughts and ramblings written here are completely my own.

Deborah Lippmann's Hollaback Girl with glitter fade - weekly nail review

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Recently Deborah Lippmann put together a nail collection called Run the World (Girls) and wouldn't you know, each polish is named after a hit single containing the word "girl".  Run the World (Girls) does neon, but all grown up; thanks for this late 80's time capsule. For my first manicure experience with Blonde Tiger, Erin (formerly of French Pink) chose to do a glitter fade atop Lippmann's Hollaback Girl -- a matte neon orange.

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Before painting my nails, Erin filed my nails and trimmed my cuticles and then she treated me to her homemade scrub. Erin's witches brew smelled so fantastic I could've lapped it out of the bowl; from what I can recall, her scrub combined lemon, gritty sugar and vanilla scented oil. After rinsing my hands, the aroma and feel left behind was decadent and soft.

The conversation and environment was solid -- we discussed her recent trip to the States, the upcoming election (g(O)bama!) and the salon space she shares with an eyebrow waxer and eyelash extension-air.

If you're looking for a day to treat yo' self, then please leave your worries at the doorstep of the beauty compilation, if you will, over on Level 1, 270 Russell Street, Melbourne.