Friday, March 29, 2013

52-Week Challenge: 3/25 - Stripes

I'm still plugging along on my appropriation of the 52-week challenge on reddit.lacqueristas. I don't read or post on reddit, because the format confuses the heck out of me, but I do browse it on occasion. And since they were the only place I could find a current weekly nail art challenge going, I grabbed their themes for the rest of the year.

This week's theme, as is obvious from the subject line, is stripes! I considered a variety of interpretations to use, but while browsing the pictures I have saved on my Nail Art board on Pinterest, I chose a manicure that I cannot for the life of me FIND now in order to give credit where it's due! If you recognize this design (the original had a much smoother curve where the colors began, and it was in blue) please let me know where I got it, so I can credit their design.

I originally wanted to do this in purple, but turns out my purple spectrum is a little lacking - trying to get a light to dark range of five colors was impossible because some of them were too red and some too blue to look right. So I decided to go with green, instead, since green and brown are the LARGEST color selections in my stash! ^_^

I started with a base color of China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, and after taping off the correct sections, I added Sinful Colors Mint Apple, NYC Big Money Frost, Nubar Reclaim, and finally Sinful Colors San Francisco. I haven't been able to get pictures outside in the sunshine lately, but the real color on this is somewhere in between these two pictures:

I'm pretty happy with the way they came out, even if they aren't your stereotypical stripes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Green Flakes and Black Swirls

This is quite an old manicure, but I couldn't find the pictures for it for the longest time, and then once I got them edited and uploaded, I still had this draft post with only pictures and polish listing needing words for longer still. But at last, you get to see the pretty that was this manicure!

It was inspired by a manicure by The Nailasaurus, which was in turn inspired by a dress design that "didn't quite make it" to their Spring Season collection. I am still in awe of nail artists who manage to get tiny fine lines, crisp even, out of nail polish. It's something I aspire to, and I get hints that I might someday master the technique by the occasional sharp line I produce...but mostly I still have fat blobby things compared to the nail artists I admire the most. :)

On to what you came here for - the nail art pictures!

Underwear was Sinful Colors Mint Apple, topped with first a coat of Girly Bits Street Magic and then Sinful Colors Green Ocean. It made a beautiful sparkle-filled sight all on its own, but then I topped it with Sinful Colors Black Diamond. I don't consider it one of my best, ooh-inspiring manis, but it was a pretty darned nice one, in my opinion! There's not much to say about the technique or anything, so pic spam follows the cut.

Monday, March 25, 2013

52-Week Challenge 3/18: Inspired by a Tutorial

Here's my last belated 52-week challenge post, for the week of 3/18. (Or at least the last one sitting in my box as of March 20th! I doubt I'll manage to consistently post promptly from this point on. Anyway, the week of March 18 has a challenge theme of "Inspired by a Tutorial", so after browsing through my Pinterest Nail Art board, I picked Wacky Laki's tutorial on freehand flowers:

Aren't they just gorgeous? I must say, I think a far better recreation job with this manicure than I have when imitating other people's nail art in the past!

Two of the polishes used had literally just come in the post the day I did this manicure. March is my month to receive polishes from my exchange group, so posts for the next month or so are likely to showcase new polishes each time. For this one, I started with a base of two coats Above the Curve - Caty Perriwinkle. It's a beautiful dusty lavender, or perriwinkle to be specific, with a holographic shimmer that doesn't show well in this manicure and in fact isn't obvious in the bottle, but it was a lovely surprise when I swatched it! It's a lighter color than these pictures show, with more gray and a lot less blue in the color than comes across. When I used flash, it came out pale lavender, and when I didn't use flash, it shows darker and more blue. This is the best I could do with my camera and lighting set up (I tried both indoor and out shots.)

I used my standard Milani Whitest White for the stripes (two coats for smooth opacity without brushstrokes) and after that was dry, dotting tools and a detail brush produced the flowers with the base outline color being my new bottle of Above the Curve Wisteria, topped with Whitest White on the small flowers and China Glaze Agent Lavender for the slightly larger ones, with center dots of first Sally Girl Banana and then Sinful Colors All About You.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

52-week challenge 3/11: violet

The next belatedly-posted weely challenge theme was the week of 3/11, with the theme of violet. I considered picking a purple nail polish, but I decided instead I'd rather do actual violet-type-flowers on my nails. Before I could tell them the theme, several co-workers who saw this manicure identified them as "either violets or pansies...but I think violets," so I must have gotten them close enough!!

The underwear is three coats of Sinful Colors Innocent, topped with one coat of Girly Bits Street Magic. I do love that polish, though it's extremely understated when worn on green. It really excels on black or dark brown, I have to say. I then dotted the violets with a base of Sally Hansen Blue Me Away topped with NYC Purple Pizzaz, to give them that nice indigo shade. Milani Whitest White for the center dot and lines, topped with just a dot of my brand-new Sinful Colors Unicorn for the center yellow of the flowers.

Aren't they pretty? What's your favorite spring flower?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spotted on YouTube

Everyone in the nail art blog world seems to have already tried the technique of water spotting, and so did I a few weeks back. If you haven't tried it yet, go check out Cute Polish's amazing video tutorial on YouTube. The next time I try this technique I'm going to see if I can't go for Nail Pop's rendition of turquoise!

My underwear is Sinful Colors Purple Diamond, topped with random blotches of Pure Ice - Strapless, Splash, and some unlabeled purple glitter that looks like swatches I've found of Busted.

I didn't record which black I used, so it's either China Glaze Liquid Leather or NYC Black Lace Creme. I used straight rubbing alcohol in a travel-size mist bottle to add the holes in my black polish.

There's not a whole lot else to say about this manicure other than that it was fun to do! Pic spam below the cut...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Belated St. Patrick's Day Post

As in keeping with my habits of late, I've been doing my nails, taking pictures, but not writing the blog posts to go with them. I'm only a day late on this one, at least! I've also got a bonus mani for you done by my 9-year-old daughter on her own nails, and a picture of our homemade "Shamrock Shakes" that we had in celebration of the day (as well as a link to where we got the recipe, of course!)

First, my nails:

Let's see if I remember everything I used to make these pretties... I started off with a base of China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint. I then used Sinful Colors San Franciso for the next layer, and then used the saran wrap method to make it marbled. The next addition was one coat of Girly Bits Magically Delicious on the entire thumb and swooshed in a curve across one half of the rest of the nails. Sinful Colors All About You  and a nail art brush produced a few accent curls, a shamrock on the ring finger and a four-leaf clover on my thumb. The clovers are a little subtle in the gold (and upside-down on my ring finger in this picture!) but they're very pretty in real life without just jumping out at you.

My 9-year-old B did these nails all by herself, from base coat to nail art. I did a bit of clean-up for her afterward, and did the topcoat for her as she was worried about smearing her beautiful shamrocks. The green splotches you can see here on various places of her fingers are actually green food coloring, not nail polish! She used a base of Sinful Colors Mint Apple and Nubar Greener for her shamrocks. I offered to show her an easy way to make shamrocks with a dotting tool, but she said that she could do them with just the nail polish brush...and proceeded to prove it!

 I think she did a great job, honestly. These are adorable! And here is the source of her green-splotched fingers:

We made shamrock shakes - I measured out the ice cream and milk, and she measured out and added the peppermint and green food coloring to the mixer! Our inspiration and the source of the recipe was:

Enjoy! Hope you had as good of a St. Patrick's Day as we did!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

52-Week Challenge 3/4: Spring!

I'm running so behind on blogging about my manicures. I'm still doing my nails about twice a week, and taking pictures of them, but I've been so crazy busy at work that when I get home I just want to zone out and play Sims3 or read fanfic. I've been doing my nails for the challenge themes, really I have! (Even though I actually either forgot to take pictures of the 2/25 week theme - jelly sandwich - or I have lost them, because I did actually do the challenge theme that week, but I can't find any pictures of it. Bad Ro, no biscuit.)

I originally did this manicure just to highlight the gorgeous Dandy Nails - Piece of Youth, but when my co-workers looked at this manicure, the first word out of their mouth was "Spring!" (at least three of them, separately, squeed about the springy-ness of it, in fact) so I decided it qualified for this week's challenge theme.

This gorgeous glitter is the newest polish in my stash that I received from one of my fabulous exchange group, The Dirty Dozen (March is my month to receive, but she sent me this one early!) I am a US-shipping point for my group members out of the country who'd like to buy things from companies who only ship within the US, so I get to ogle their pretty polishes before I send them on. For the first time, though, this one tempted me soooo badly that I actually opened it and swatched it to see if it looked just as good on a nail (swatch stick) as it did in the bottle.

Turns out Dandy Nails - Piece of Youth? Actually looks BETTER on the nail than it does in the bottle! The bottle looks like the glitters are all clumping, and makes you think they didn't use a very good suspension base. I shook and shook and shook and it still looked like most of the glitter was stuck on one side of the bottle. But when I pulled out the brush and swiped it across the swatch stick? Plenty of glitter there! Pretty smooth placement, too. The microglitter brushed out pretty evenly and I only had to do minor positioning of the larger hexes. Of course, I'm a little OCD about symmetry, so others might not even need to do *any* positioning.

I mentioned to my DD-mate when I let her know her polishes had been shipped on that I had swatched one of them, and let her know how gorgeous I thought it she asked if I'd mind if she bought me one as part of my package, early, and direct-shipped it to me? Did I MIND? Pretties! Pretty pretty pretties! YAY!

Ahem. No, I didn't mind at all. Thanks! :)

I started this manicure off with two coats of China Glaze For Audrey, a color that I don't typically like on its own, because I'm not a fan of greenish-blues, outside of actual, real turquoise stone. Dunno why, really. I don't even remember if I bought For Audrey for myself because this shade was missing from my paint palette, or if someone bought it for me. :P But it matched nearly perfectly with Piece of Youth, so there you go. I put two coats of Piece of Youth on my accent nails and on a taped off triangle on the rest of them. I outlined the taped areas with L.A. Colors BCC 570, and topped the points with a yellow rhinestones, and voila! Pretty springtime sprinkled on my nails! :)

Piece of Youth makes me think of robin eggs, actually, which is probably what contributes to the whole spring-feel of the manicure. I think that's more of a cultural identification, though, since robin eggs in crafts, candy, and pictures, seem to be often pictured as having yellow speckles, but as far as I can determine through a brief internet search, real robin eggs are uniformly blue. When the question is asked in places like and wiki.answers, blue speckled eggs are consistently identified as robin, whereas websites devoted to bird identification or bird watching refer to robin eggs as simply blue. No speckles mentioned on any of them I looked at. Some pictures seem to show some black speckling, but I suspect that's...ahem...other matter deposited on the eggs as they're laid. Weird the things you find out when you weren't thinking about it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March Polish Days - Vintage


As you can see, this month's Polish Days theme is Vintage! The last time I had this theme, I ended up with what is usually referred to as "vintage roses", even though I took the pattern off of a rug in a very old advertisement. This time I wanted to go with something different...even though I still ended up with some floral elements.

I started by googling "vintage patterns" and after adding six new pictures to my "Inspirations for Nail Art" folder on my pinterest board, I decided on this:

 This picture is from a listing on Etsy (which was sold last summer) for a Super Mod dress from the 70's. I used Milani Whitest White, NYC Black Lace Creme, China Glaze Kalahari Kiss, and Primark Beauty orange neon in my recreation.

It was late at night on a Sunday, I hadn't intended to do my nails until Monday night, but I'd apparently worn my manicure one day too long as first one nail broke and the nail polish didn't just chip, the polish popped off the entire nail. I intended to just repair that one nail but five minutes later when I sat down to fix it, I discovered another (unbroken) nail on the other hand was missing its polish. So here I am, tired and ready to hit the sack, but I have a meeting at work the next day and I want a full manicure. So I went ahead with this one...but I didn't have the time or patience to use striping tape, so those stripes are free-handed.

And then, of course, I had NO desire to attempt free-hand stripes on my dominant hand!! Out come the handy-dandy dotting tools instead! Using the same colors, I made what I think is a very period-accurate floral print to go with the stripes on the other hand.

So that's my interpretation of this month's theme. Now go check out everybody else's gorgeous nails!