Monday, February 25, 2013

Tortoiseshell with Brown Jellies

I haven't been the only blogger out there who was utterly awed and inspired by Chalkboard Nails' tortoiseshell manicure. I also know I wasn't the only one disappointed to learn that it had been done completely with exclusive polishes and Elevation Polish did not intend to produce them for sale. Apparently I also wasn't the only one to email EP and promise that if they made them, I would buy them, because they did! Just to be safe, I stalked their website the evening they were supposed to go live, and the moment the 'add to cart' button came up, they jumped into my greedy little hands!

I am, of course, talking about Elevation Polish's trio of gorgeous jellies in brown shades: Cascade, Temperance, and Tettegouche! I ordered mine the minute they went in stock, on January 22, but they're a limited edition and the website says they will only be available for three restocks in the first week of the month. I don't know if they included the first week of February, since their sale was delayed from first week to the third week restock in January, but just in case, if you want these, you should snap them up the first week in March when they go online!

My tortoiseshell rendition isn't nearly as awesome as CBN's, of course, but I think I did a tolerable job. I thought it was gorgeous on my nails, even if I was a bit disappointed in my execution.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

52-Week Challenge: French Manicure

It's been less than two months without one and I've already come to the conclusion that I much prefer having a weekly challenge to prod my manicure designing. However, searching on the internet produces only the 52-week challenge on reddit.lacqueristas. Not that there's anything wrong with their challenge, mind you, except that it starts the first week of October, which means they're over a third finished with theirs. So I decided to just take their weekly themes, start the calendar over this week, and tack the ones I've missed onto the end. So my own personal 52-week challenge starts this week, at week one, but my week one matches R.L's week twenty-one. :)

So this week's theme (1 or 21) is French Manicure. Generally I don't like French's, so this definitely was a challenge for me to come up with something I'd enjoy looking at. Also, I actually don't have any polishes that qualify as 'nude' on my skin. I have a few that are close, but if I get them opaque, they're clearly not. I chose to use a single coat of China Glaze Innocence which comes out sheer enough, but if I had any staining going on right now, it wouldn't have worked. I guess I need to find a good nude, don't I?

The tips are China Glaze Midtown Magic, though the difference between it and black is hard to see in some of these photographs, because the sun was playing peek-a-boo when I took the pictures. This is the best I came up with, I think, in showing the rich gold microglitter in this baby. It looked sooo much better to the naked eye, especially in the sunshine! It's a good thing I'm not trying to do a swatching blog. ;)

There's not much more to say about this manicure. The longest part, of course, was laying down those rows of silver microbeads! I wish I'd done a better job of it, but I'm impatient. :P More pictures below...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Red Flakie

I am soooo far behind in posting manicures on here! I have no idea how long ago this one actually graced my fingers. Some time in January? Anyway. I started with a base of Zoya Karina and topped it with Chloe. On the accent fingers, I only put Chloe on half of my nail, on the diagonal, and then I used Milani Whitest White to draw the dividing line between the two and add some swirls and dots for design.

I was actually really happy about how this manicure came out. If you see the nail art I pin on my pinterest board you might notice how often I put notes like "simple", "elegant", and "trying to remind myself that less can be more". I really admire the simple elegant art that I see on a lot of blogs, but when I go to paint my own nails, I have a tendency to go for busy rather than elegant. I think I hit the bullseye for what I was trying for on this one, though.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reciprocal Gradient

This manicure was inspired by the gorgeousness of this manicure by Sweet Sugar. I failed in not using colors with enough contrast, though. It came out as a pretty manicure, but very, very subtle. I used Sinful Colors Neptune and OPI Live and Let Die, sponged a gradient one way, added striping tape, and then sponged the same gradient the opposite way. Definitely not enough contrast, though. I tried to pick pictures that showed the color variation the best...

I really liked the sparkle and I actually enjoyed the subtleness of the color gradient, but I'll admit it got a bit annoying to have to actually point out the "nail art" part of the manicure to my co-workers. :P Everybody thought it was pretty even before they asked what I "did to it", though. :)

Picture spam if you want to see more...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Your Stereotypical Valentine Manicure

I was laughing when I started this manicure. There I was with a bottle of Sinful Colors Black Diamond in hand, starting off a Valentine's Day manicure with black nail polish on my fingers. :) And the end result?

This manicure was made with only two nail polishes, pearlized rhinestones, and a small addition of flat heart-shaped glitter. A base of Black Diamond topped with two coats of a Pure Ice nail polish that lost its name label many, many years ago. I think it might be "Busted", but I only have online swatches to compare to what I have, so no promises on that. :) It looks very, VERY purple in these pictures, and only a few of them give the hint of pink that it actually shines in the light. It's really really pink in real life. Purple with pink shimmer, I guess? I don't know, but over black, it makes what I thought was the best color for a pretty, girly Valentine's Day manicure.

One of my co-workers has been mentioning...nudging...okay, badgering for a Valentine's manicure for nearly two weeks now. Any time I've had anything pink, red, girly-swirly on my nails for nearly a month, she's said something like, "That would make such a good Valentine's manicure!" So even though it's not a holiday I celebrate, I put the pretty hearts on my nails, just for her. :)

And no, I'm not bitter about love or anything silly like that. I'm very VERY happily married and I'm polyamorous on top of that, so I'm perfectly open to the idea of falling in love again if the right person comes along. To be honest, I still whole-heartedly love every person I ever *have* loved in my life. I don't stop loving people, even if we couldn't manage a relationship for one reason or another. Probably why I'm still friends with most of them. :) I just don't celebrate Valentine's Day any more than most Christians celebrate Beltane. It's a tribute to an old dead guy who was sainted by the Catholic Church. It started being associated with romantic love when Chaucer wrote it into something. People only started giving gifts rather than just love notes for the day (and more and more elaborate ones are becoming "required") in the past 50 years. If I were going to celebrate this day, I would do so by writing a letter to my loved one describing all the reasons I love him and how thankful I am to have him in my life. Other than that? I'd rather have a bouquet of chrysanthemums on a random day of the year than roses, chocolates, or jewelry today. It means more to me to be thought of as special on regular days rather than this day where every other commercial is reminding you that you're obligated to buy something to prove that you care.

So enjoy the hearts and flowers and pretty girly manicures that are all over the interwebs today. But if you want to tell me I'm special? Do it on a random Tuesday. Because it's Friday. The first week of every month. It actually means less today rather than more.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February Polish Days - Back to Nature

This month's theme for Polish Days is obviously Back to Nature. Given that here in Arkansas, we seem to be stuck on a seesaw between winter and spring (one day the high is 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and the next it's 35...and a few days later we're back again!) I decided to split my nails between the two as well.

I started with a base color of Sinful Colors Cinderella, as it's a gorgeous pale blue as the winter and early spring sky often is when the sun is high and bright. It has that hint of sparkle in it, though, that makes it completely appropriate for winter, when crystals of frozen water are often glinting in the sky, and in the spring, the bright sun (especially when it comes after numerous thunderstorms!) often seems to make everything glow.

I used a handful of different colors for trees and flowers, but the primary colors are Snow Me White (appropriately named, as I used it for the snow, though also for the spring clouds) and Exotic Green for the grass, both also Sinful Colors. I think I used SC Call You Later for the sun, but I won't swear to it.

And there's my back to nature manicure. Please check out all these other gorgeous interpretations of the theme!