Categories for Beauty

The most expensive jewelry in the world

Last week i read something about a pink diamond being auctioned for the most expensive price for a jewel ever. To be honest, i couldn’t find the piece again. I did find articles about one sold in 2013, 13 November.

I have no intimate knowledge of gems and their cuts. Or jewels rather. I never really payed any attention. But over the past few weeks i’ve been doing some searches for expensive and rare gems and jewels.

I do suspect that the most expensive jewelry is in the royal collections of the UK, the Netherlands, the old Russia Romanov family, the Iranian Royal Jewels, Asian royals, and many many more.

For now, i want to focus on jewelry actually being sold. Some jewels are focused on a single gem, others use a multitude of gems in a composition.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  A Cartier onyx and diamond panther bracelet from 1952 estimated at £1,000,000 - £1,500,00 is displayed at Sotheby's
Wallis Simpson Panther Bracelet – $12.4 Million. A Cartier created bracelet in the form of a panther. The panther's body is composed of diamonds and onyx. Two specially cut emeralds make its eyes.
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Emerald and Diamond Tiara – $12.7 Million. In weight alone, the eleven rare Columbian pear-shaped emeralds come in at 500 carats.
A Sotheby's employee poses for pictures with the Graff Vivid Yellow
Graff Vivid Yellow – $16.3 Million. A 100 carat yellow diamond mounted in gold with diamonds on the band.
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The Blue Belle of Asia – $17.3 Million. A cushion shaped sapphire weighing in a little over 392.5 carats. A diamond covered gold neckchain and tassels make the necklace.
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The Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace – $27.4 million. The necklace is composed of 27 emerald green jadeite beads. The finishing touch is provided by a ruby, diamond, platinum and gold clasp to secure the necklace around the wearer’s neck.
LIncomparable-Diamond-Necklace
L’Incomparable Diamond Necklace – $55 Million. The L’Incomparable Diamond Necklace is the most valuable necklace in the world and features the world’s largest internally flawless diamond, the 407.48-carat Incomparable diamond. Complementing the massive yellow diamond are 230 carats worth of smaller diamonds.
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The Pink Star - $72 Million. The gem is a pink diamond of 59.60 carat. It was mined in 1999 in South Africa.
Published on April 20, 2016 at 6:00 by

La Grande Parade

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Highlights in Painting after 1940
15.12.1984 – 15.4.1985

Organisation exhibition
Edy de Wilde, Karel Schampers, Alexander van Grevenstein, Hendrik Driessen

This is the first ever art exhibition i remember visiting. I was still studying in Delft. A year later i would go to art School in Rotterdam.

I remember being surrounded by red. Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue by Barnett Newman. The first time i saw Giacometti, Fautrier. The later paintings from Georges Braque were exquisite. It was all new, beautiful, breathtaking to me. I knew Mondriaan, of course. But i had never seen these paintings before.

I found a review from the New York Times: ART: ‘GRANDE PARADE,’ AT THE STEDELIJK, published December 27, 1984. It is set in its time, of course. It is a white male exhibition. I didn’t think about that at all when i visited it.

I bought the catalogue. I am including photos from the pages. Better than looking up the images online. This sets the paintings in their proper surrounding.

These are the painters i picked, who stayed with me. Some grew, others diminished. My taste changed. Of course.

Still, even though the memories are vague, this exhibition has stayed with me. I don’t even remember if i went alone or together with someone else. The only real memory i have is the one from the Barnett Newman painting. Ooh, and Philip Guston. Not that i really liked his work, i didn’t. But that changed over the years!

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Published on April 7, 2016 at 6:00 by

Paul Cézanne

It was a good idea writing a bit about some of the best painters i know. Johannes Vermeer, making perfectly balanced and composed paintings. Paul Cézanne is the next painter on my list. I won’t go into his biography. You can read about that on his wikipedia page, or do a search on duckduckgo.

I will try and limit the paintings i will show here. I did copy many from the list of his paintings. You’re welcome to go through his paintings.

I did do a year of painting at art school. At the end of that year i got a 0 for it. A refusal. All my other marks were good, but that zero, that null prevented me from going any further into painting. So i didn’t. Next year i switched to photography and monumental. I didn’t read that much about painting anymore. In the back of my mind i did have this quiet thought that i could turn back to painting in my old age. If i wanted to.

You may think i’m choosing artists which are part of the recognized canon of western art. You are right. That doesn’t mean these artists are not important, that everything has been said about them, everybody has seen their work. I do try to take my time watching these paintings when i see them. Or watch the photos i found online. Even with photos there are many things to observe. It does require time to let an image sink in. Let the image become a part of your world.

Enjoy.

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Paul_Cezanne_048

The Bathers
1894-1905
127 × 196 cm
National Gallery, London

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Paul_Cezanne_171

Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses
1890
58 × 91 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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Paul_Cezanne_193

Still Life with Open Drawer
1877-1879
33 × 41 cm
Private collection

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Paul_Cezanne_169

Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier
1893–1895
59.7 x 73 cm
Private Collection

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Madame Cézanne
1885-1887
55,6 × 45,7 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

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Paul_Cezanne_123

Portrait of Madame Cézanne
1885
46 x 38 cm
Private collection

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Paul_Cezanne_1888-90_Madame_Cezanne_(Hortense_Fiquet_1850–1922)_in_a_Red_Dress_oil_on_canvas_116.5_x_89.5_cm_The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art_New_York

Madame Cézanne (Hortense Fiquet, 1850–1922) in a Red Dress
1888-1890
116.5 x 89.5 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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Paul_Cezanne_126

Madam Cézanne in a Red Armchair
1877
72,5 × 56 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Paul_Cezanne_124

Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Armchair
1893-1895
81 × 85 cm
Private collection

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Paul_Cezanne_114

Mount Sainte-Victoire
1888-1890
65 × 81 cm
Private collection

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Paul_Cezanne_112

Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry
1897
65 × 81 cm
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore

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Mont Sainte-Victoire
1885-1887
67 × 92 cm
Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Paul_Cezanne_115

Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley
1885–1887
65,4 x 81,6 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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Paul_Cezanne_100

Maison Maria with a View of Château Noir
1895
65 × 81 cm
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

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Paul_Cezanne_090

L’Estaque with Red Roofs
1883-1885
65 × 81 cm
Private collection

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Paul_Cezanne_077

Forest Interior
1898-1899
61 x 81,3 cm
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

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Paul_Cezanne_076

High Trees In Jas de Bouffan
1885-1887
73 x 59 cm
Private collection

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Paul_Cezanne_220

The Grounds of the Château-Noir
1900-1904
90,7 × 71,4 cm
National Gallery, London

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Paul_Cezanne_046

The Great Pine
1898
85 × 92 cm
São Paulo Museum of Art, São Paulo

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Paul_Cezanne_033

The House with the Cracked Walls
1892–1894
80 x 64,1 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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Paul_Cezanne_088

Boy in a Red Waistcoat
1888-1890
92 x 73 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

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Paul_Cezanne_153

Self-Portrait
1878-1880
61 × 47 cm
Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington D.C.

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Paul_Cezanne_157

Self-Portrait with Palette
1890
92 × 73 cm
Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich

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Self-Portrait with Olive-Colored Wallpaper
1880-1881
33,6 × 26 cm
National Gallery, London

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Still Life with Carafe, Bottle, and Fruit (watercolour)
1906
Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection

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Published on April 1, 2016 at 6:00 by

Johannes Vermeer

I remember an art school trip to Germany in the late 80s. In a museum in Berlin i remember sitting on a bench in a rather dark room watching enchanted a Johannes Vermeer painting. Today i went through the complete catalogue and saw there are two Vermeer paintings in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie: The Glass of Wine and Woman with a Pearl Necklace. I especially like the latter one. The white washed wall fills the center of the painting. Curtains on the left, the table at the bottom, a chair to the right with a girl staring at herself in the mirror opposite holding a pearl necklace in front of her.

I also do remember drawing the Girl with a Pearl Earring at art school. Together with Whitney Houston and myself. This was in the second year at art school in 1987-1988.

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After the time i said goodbye to the art world, in 1994, Vermeer did stand out as a truly magical painter to me. 1-autoportrait-deux-cercles-xlI don’t like every painting. Only a few weeks ago i saw The Guitar Player in the Kenwood House in London. The Rembrandt painting Portrait of the Artist hanging in the same room is so much better. But i have to say, even though i appreciate Rembrandt and love some of his paintings, they never touched me as the paintings of Vermeer have.

Johannes Vermeer, 1632 – 1675. He died when he was 43 years old. Young by today’s standards. Born in the midst of the Dutch Golden Age. I should read more about this period. I’m pretty sure i did learn a bit about this period at school, but it has faded away.

I have only seen his paintings here in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam and The Hague. I have seen the ones in Berlin and London as well. But that is it. I do hope to see all of them: New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Edinburgh, Vienna, Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin. This gives me a good list to start traveling more.

Below i have a couple of the best paintings. I know Vermeer deserves more text than i could ever write. Other people are much better in describing his techniques, the time in which he live and his paintings. I simply love to watch the paintings themselves.

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Vermeer-Girl_Reading_a_Letter_by_an_Open_Window

A Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window
c. 1657 – 1659
Oil on canvas
83 x 64.5 cm. (32 3/4 x 25 3/8 in.)
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery), Dresden

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The Little Street
c. 1657 – 1661
Oil on canvas
54.3 x 44 cm. (21 3/8 x 17 3/8 in.)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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View of Delft
c. 1660-1661
Oil on canvas
98.5 x 117.5 cm. (38 3/4 x 46 1/4 in.)
Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, The Hague

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Vermeer-Woman_in_Blue_Reading_a_Letter

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
c. 1662 – 1665
Oil on canvas
46.5 x 39 cm. (18 1/4 x 15 3/8 in.)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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Woman Holding a Balance
c. 1662-1665
Oil on canvas
42.5 x 38 cm. (16 3/4 x 15 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

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vermeer-paintings-81

Young Woman with a Water Pitcher
c. 1662 – 1665
Oil on canvas
45.7 x 40.6 cm. (18 x 16 in.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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vermeer-young-woman-with-a-pearl-necklace

Woman with a Pearl Necklace
c. 1662 – 1665
Oil on canvas
55 x 45 cm. (21 5/8 x 17 3/4 in.)
Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

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Vermeer_meisje

Girl with a Pearl Earring
c. 1665-1667
Oil on canvas
46.5 x 40 cm. (18 1/4 x 15 1/4 in.)
Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, The Hague

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VERMEER-El_geografo

The Geographer
c. 1668-1669
Oil on canvas
53 x 46.6 cm. (20 7/8 x 18 1/4 in.)
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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vermeer-kantwerkster

The Lacemaker
c. 1669-1671
Oil on canvas (attached to panel)
24.5 x 21 cm. (9 5/8 x 8 1/4 in.)
Musée du Louvre, Paris

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Vermeer-The_Loveletter

The Love Letter
c. 1667-1670
Oil on canvas
44 x 38.5.cm. (17 3/8 x 15 1/8 in.)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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PS. When i posted this, i set it in the World category. But this evening, while i was watching Masterchef on the BBC, i suddenly realized Beauty is so much better. It is different from the other posts in that category, but i don’t mind. The meanings of these category names are subject to change. Beauty!

Published on March 23, 2016 at 6:00 by

A new selfie

Today i colored my hair. I had decided to go a bit lighter. I used a dark blonde or light brown color over the past years. This summer i used a medium golden blonde. One of the reasons is that i am turning grey. At the roots it was a lot lighter, a mix between grey and dark blonde. The lighter shade blended quite well. So last Friday i decided to even go a shade lighter. I chose Light Natural Blonde, 9N from John Frieda.

After my hair dried mostly, i blow-dried it. I used a style rod to straighten my bangs. My bangs always curl up. I had cut them a tiny bit after i had coloured my hair.

Over the past weeks i was thinking about the portrait i use for social media. I do like the picture, but it is five years old. Time for a change.

I started to make myself up, nothing too much.

  • a tinted moisturizer Extra Light Tint from Bobbi Brown
  • my Mac eye shadows, Nylon on the inner eyelid, Wedge in the crease, Handwritten and Typographic on the outer side to lift up my eyes a bit
  • Chanel Inimitable Waterproof mascara
  • Mac eye brown pencil Lingering
  • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Berry Sheer Tint

And then, just before the sunset, the sun shone in my room.

I took several photos of myself, around twenty. I opened them all in Photoshop and closed the ones i didn’t like. I will try out four on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and whatever more sites i got an account on.

I did use a small color correction on all the pictures. The ones in the straight sunshine were a bit too yellow, i pulled the blue-yellow curve so that my face would be a bit more pink. I finally picked four photos i can choose between.

I admit, i am a bit vain. Even though i’m 51, i do like to look my best. These photos are the best i’ve taken in a few years. And i love the blond hair!

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My favourite. I like the look on my face, slightly taken from above. Yes, i can have a double chin! There is quite a lot of shadow. But it is the slight smile which works for me.
ellenpronk-2016-square
I do like this picture a lot. The shadow, the expression. But in the end, i do think it is too dark. Social media portraits are used tiny. This portrait has too many details to work good small.
ellenpronk-3square-2016
I like this one. Too bad the chin is chopped of, but it could be used.
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A good one, sure. Just imported this one on twitter. My favourite had too dark a shadow. Let's see how this one works out.
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My old social media selfportrait, made in 2010
Published on January 14, 2016 at 6:00 by

Exfoliant

Around two months ago i ordered the Uncover Exfoliant 1% Salicylacid. It is my first exfoliant ever. I chose the Uncover brand because it is setup by dr. Jetske Ultee. I do read her blog. Her tips on skincare are clearheaded. Dr. Ultee is a dermatologist, she writes about different skin issues and has a clear view on what good skincare needs. I do trust her opinions.

I started out using the Exfoliant once every three days building up in a few weeks to once every two days. It is a transparent clear gel which you use in the evenings after you have cleaned your skin, before you go to bed. Since i do not use make up usually, i only wipe my face in the evenings with a bit of water.

I do think my skin is changing a bit. It does seem to me it is more sensitive now. Last week i got a light burn from the walk i made along the beach. I had used a sunscreen before i went to the beach, but the walk lasted for around five hours. I should have brought the sunscreen with me and apply it again after a few hours. I wasn’t red from the burn, but my skin did puff up a bit and started to peel in thin layers. Right now my skin isn’t bloated anymore. It is still tight and it feels like i should add cream to it a couple of times a day. I haven’t used the exfoliant for a week and a half now. My skin is exfoliating by itself as it is, so i think i should leave it for another week.

In the two months i had used this product, i did feel that it had an effect. Over the weeks I did notice some red spots on my lower cheek slowly getting less visible. And even though my skin is quite soft as it is, and i don’t have many breakouts, it did became a bit softer and clearer. So yes, it is a good addition to my skincare routine.

I do want to use the other Exfoliant too, the one with 8% glycolacid, for a normal till dry skin. But it does depend on the condition of my skin, since the one i got now, with 1% salicylacid, is better for a sensitive skin.

I do have a good sunscreen for my face, a Clinique face cream with SPF 40. I will investigate comments about other sunscreens more. I do need to pay more attention to this. With using the exfoliator and the changes in my skin, it is getting more important to me.

Published on October 14, 2015 at 6:00 by

Écorce Sanguine

Finally i got the best nail polish of this autumn in my possession. A bit weird though. I was called last Friday that the collection was finally in the store, and when i said i was after the warm red nail polish Écorce Sanguine, i was told that it wasn’t included yet. It would arrive this monday, today, after three o’clock. When i arrived today at the store, the Bijenkorf, it became clear that the Écorce Sanguine was the one polish that had arrived last friday. Confusing. But still, it was there, i bought it, it’s absolutely wonderful!

Ècorce Sanguine means Blood Bark. I just looked it up. It is a warm deep red with a golden shimmer. The shimmer shows in the sunlight only. On the nails it’s hardly visible. The nail polish covers the nails completely with only one coat.

Too bad my nails are so short. Last week i had them a few millimeters longer, but almost every single one split on me and i had to clip them a lot shorter. But i still love the way they look!

I love this color and the finish of this nail polish. A new favourite!

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The slight yellow tinge on my nails is from the fresh root kurkuma i put in my dinner just before i made these photos. I do apologize!

Published on September 29, 2015 at 6:00 by

Dark purple glittery nails

Today i painted my nails.

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A dark purple, Vendetta, from Chanel. This a purple black polish with a slight silver sheen. This polish covers with one layer. Excellent!
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Mad as a Hatter from OPI is from the Alice in Wonderland collection. It is a limited edition. From a distance it looks grey, but up close you see silver, orange, red, purple, green and blue glitters. It is possible to coat your nails completely, but i did choose to put on the Vendetta first and then one layer of the glitter polish. Loving it!
Published on August 25, 2015 at 6:00 by

Flower nails

Yesterday i started to read a bit on Rookie. It says of itself that it is an online publication for teenage girls featuring writing, photography, illustrations, videos, and more from our lovely contributors and readers. I did add the magazine to my rss feeds, but there is a whole backlog of articles to dive into. I do like the tone of voice, the style, music and beauty things. A few years back i did read the Style Rookie by Tavi Gevinson, but i stopped when she started Rookie and stopped working on her own blog.

Anyway, i found this article about painting flowers on your nails, Painted Flower. Which i loved. I went through my collection nails polishes and first tried to find all the reds (a few) and pinks (none!). I than switched to a darker theme, with a red flower with a yellow centre and a darker background. But no! i went for a green background with the yellow / pink-red flower. So i started out.

First i had to remove the old polish. Then i remembered my remarks of a week ago about my cuticles and decided to use Lemony Flutter from Lush and my Shea Butter Ultra Rich Hand Cream from L’Occitance. Then i put on the Nail repair from Trind.

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After some time thinking and picking out colours, i decided to do each nail the same with these colours. At the utmost left the Nail repair from Trind, at the right the top coat.
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I started out with the green with a golden shine as a base.
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The Mimosa yellow made a dot in the middle.
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This was a bit trickier. I did find out i couldn't wait too long to get into the red dot with my tiny brush and draw them to the yellow middle. To give the yellow a bit more shine and hide the red stripes into them, i put a little bit more yellow over them. After all this, when it was all dry, i added the top coat.
Published on August 6, 2015 at 6:00 by