Monday 31 March 2014

Work appropriate mani Monday: Rose gold with a touch of glitter

I honestly think that the main featured polish used in this mani - Essie's 'tea & crumpet's - was one of the first few nail polishes I've ever owned. The polish is SO old that I had to add some nail polish thinner (i.e. nail polish remover - I know they say not to do that, but I like to live dangerously) to reduce clumpiness. Once I did that it went on like silk! More proof that it's old: The embossed rectangles that surround the 'essie' logo on the sides of the bottle are rounded out at the corners unlike the current bottles which are more rectangular, and there is an embossed 'e' on the top of the lid while the polish name is on the bottom label under the bottle itself! Crazy, I know!

I just had to accent it with one of my new Cirque glitter polishes. The rose-gold reminiscent result was just perfection. I wouldn't just wear this to work, I'd wear this any day!

Jewelery featured: Rose gold Katie link bracelet by Marc Jacobs and ring by Coach

Sunday 30 March 2014

Oh hey there, magnetic polish, where you been hiding?

Magnetic polish was a hot new thing for nails along with other sorts of textures (concrete, leather, etc.) that started trending a couple years ago. I'm pretty sure the first time I ever heard of it was in 2011, with hard-to-find-companies (at least in Canada) like Layla Cosmetics and Nails Inc. releasing a line of magnetic polishes. Soon enough wallet-friendly brands like Sally Hansen and Revlon among others caught on and the next thing you know almost ever brand of polish had at least one magnetic polish and you could find them at your local drug store. That shit spread like wildfire.

What is magnetic polish? Essentially it's polish that has magnetic particles in it so that when you hold a magnet directly over your nail immediately after applying the polish it replicates the design of whatever the magnet's shape is. No, not just any magnet will work. Specialty magnets usually came with the polish (embedded in the cap) in various designs like stars, lines, waves, and so on. Essie jumped on the magnetic polish party train in late 2012, releasing a line of 6 magnetic polishes under the 'repstyle' collection, all with the same snakeskin-ish pattern that would be revealed by the magnet.  Some reviews of the collection weren't so great, and some talked about using ad hoc tricks to get the magnetic pattern to better show itself.

I've had these two Essie repstyle magnetic polishes for probably two years now and had only ever used them once. I hated how they turned out cause whenever I placed the magnet over the wet polish I ended up smushing it cause I'm a tard, and then well, it was just ugly. So when I was re-organizing my polish rack I thought I should give these little bastards a try again. This is the result:

Friday 28 March 2014

Enter-a-nail-art-contest nails

Hi ladies (and gentlemen, perhaps?)! Today I've got some nail art that is an almost exact replica of one of Amber from Armstrong Nails' works as a part of her 3k followers on Instagram contest. The idea was to replicate one of her manis using the same technique, but from what I understand there was a bit of freedom in terms of switching up the colours.

So, obviously I tried to overcomplicate the mani and went for a black sheer look that I first saw used by @badgirlnails (IG) as my base coat instead of a regular nude like Amber went for. Because I don't own such a magical sheer black jelly polish, I made my own by adding about 8 drops of black polish to a mini bottle of clear topcoat (you'll get the jist of it below in the polishes used section).

I'm probably more likely to win the lottery than this contest, but a girl can dream.

Here's Amber's original design:

Credit: Armstrong Nails
 And here is mine!

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Turquoise stripes inspired by a sweater

I waited a while to do this mani because I knew I would yield the best output if I held off and waited for my new nail vinyls created by @teismom (IG)!

This mani involved two firsts for me: 1) Using nail vinyls (but obviously I'd used striping tape, but they ARE different guys, seriously), and 2) using the saran wrap technique to make the basecoat look a bit heathered like my grey-base sweater.

The nail vinyls I used were the perfect size. Sometimes striping tape can be too skinny for thick-striped designs and you end up using 2 or more or overlapping layers of striping tape to create the desired thickness, but all that goes to shit when the polish bleeds through the tape and you instantly regret even considering layering striping tape. PROBLEM SOLVED ladies: nail vinyls come in assorted thicknesses.

This is the result.

Monday 24 March 2014

Work appropriate mani Monday: Negative space lined with pixie dust

Negative space nails are a relatively new concept in the last couple of years - check out this pintrest feed for a better idea of how widespread they have become! Generally speaking negative space nails just means that some sections of your nail are left unpolished. I was never really excited about this because the idea of my nails being partially naked - nevermind fully naked - scares the shit out of me. As always I am inclined to polish ALL the nails, so negative space has always been an OH GOD NO.

Except for today, and I owe this one to three talented ladies who inspired me to just do it because negative space nails only need to be a little naked, after all. Clearly I'm a naked nail prude.

First up there's Kristin who is the woman behind @kgdnr on Instagram - this is the first time I saw this particular mani and I just about died it was so gorgeous. The contrast between the matte burgundy and Essie's 'Shine of the times' (SOTT) is just perfect. Next up @chorubim replicated Kristin's idea but in a rich royal indigo. When Margaret from @m_a_tom revealed this mani with OPI's gold flecks down the center line, I couldn't stop imagining all the possibilities!

It's highly likely that I'll replicate Kristin's original idea with SOTT, but for now here's a toned down version that's workplace appropriate for those of us who don't want everyone at the office to see the crazy in us that easily.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Abstract contrast tri-colour

This abstract contrast mani was created using tape and three different colours that have some serious contrast. I was loosely inspired by Nails by Josse for the colour scheme, but other ladies such as Reinovate Nails have executed some beautiful edgy abstract designs as well.

I really wanted to do this look with more of a rich dark brown and a really saturated orange (but not pale, peachy or neon like all the variations of orange polish that I currently have in my stash), but I didn't have the exact colours I wanted so I ended up with this.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Springtime in the rainforest - Vote for me!

So it's March 22nd, and this is what it looks like outside my window:

Gross. And seriously, it's not like I live in the north pole. Most of Canada is NOT in the north pole, dear weather gods.

On that note, here's some nail art that reminiscent of somewhere I'd much rather be - a hot, fresh, rich green rainforest! This mani is actually a re-create of one I did back in 2010. Here's then and now:

THEN (ew toes, I know, sorry):


Thursday 20 March 2014

Spring fever nail art collab

Woohoo I'm actually now part of the mani community! Well, this one anyway. I participated in in a spring-themed nail art collaboration on Instagram hosted by the lovely Amber from Nails Like Lace and Heather from Peace, Love, and Polish. The theme was spring fever because, well, elsewhere in the world outside of Canada it's spring (i.e., there's birds chirping, the grass is green, and sun exists).

Here's the final product with 47 manis total!

Where's mine, you ask?! Time to play eye-spy... now here's my close up :)

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Hudson's Bay nail stripes

Unless you're Canadian you probably have no idea how much of a staple the design that inspired this mani is in fashion (or rather, in marketing) today. The Hudson's Bay Co. is a huge department store brand, kind of like Macy's, but they actually have their own brand with a highly recognizable "logo" to boot, which comes in the form of four simple stripes! Obviously I had to steal this design and turn into into a manipiece.

Main source of inspiration (what happens when you google Hudson Bay stripes):

What happens when you're a crazy cat lady and there's a Hudson's Bay near your home:

And finally, the result of the nailspiration (what happens when you're obsessed with nail polish and just generally crazy):

Monday 17 March 2014

Work appropriate mani Monday: Stark white

Sometimes just one colour - and I mean only ONE polish - can be beautiful. White nails were a hot style thing a few years back, but I've seen a few mani ladies sporting off-white/ivory nails lately and it's just so damn beautiful. This includes Tips and Topcoat's review of Jacava London's 'Vanilla slice', Polish is my kryptonite's swatch of Wet n' Wild's 'A blank canvas', and Ane Li's numerous instagram works where she paints a simple object using black ink on all-white nails, like these dandelions, this stretched feather, or this feather and bird silhouette. I do not possess crazy talents like hers, so I'll stick with the plain white for now....

This mani is actually a backdrop to one I will reveal later... stay tuned cause obviously I can't leave a plain mani alone.

I decided against the harsh bright white and opted for a subtle ivory white by layering one sheer coat of a transluscent nude jelly over an opaque white polish (though the pics don't translate this as the backdrop is grey and the scarf has grey fabric in it. You'll just have to trust me).

Sunday 16 March 2014

Neutral triangle over soft neon gradient

So last week's post was a simple soft neon gradient. I say simple because gradient is such an old trick in the nail blogger's book these days, and I say soft neon because I mean neon in the bright saturated sense, but soft because the colours are almost like muted pastels, but still very much neons because they're like BAM IN YOUR FACE. 

I saw this design done by McKenna's nails on instagram (I don't believe she has a blog, but please let me know if I'm mistaken) and I just about died of nail polish design happiness. It was an absolute must-re-create because of its simplicity yet stunning BAM IN YOUR FACE effect, like I already explained in the paragraph above. Oh and it's reminiscent of a spring that's just not happening yet.

First off here's my version with the nailspiration:

Saturday 15 March 2014

Soft neon gradient and a long lost mystery polish

It's gradient time with one of three new polishes that somehow ended up coming home with me last weekend... oops. But it was one of Sephora X's new line of polishes... and it was the most perfect lime green it's like how could you expect me to NOT bring this polish home to play with my other polish babies in my collection??? Also featured is this really rare Charlotte Russe polish that I must have acquired over 10 years ago but despite my extensive searching I have been unable to find it online! It's possible that it was a thing for a brief time only and came before the internet as we know it today become so prolific and before "swatching" was a thing . Yes, I'm that old. I blabber on more about this mystery polish below!

This simple gradient (using a makeup sponge technique) is actually step one of two... you'll have to stay tuned to see what I ended up doing to it. Can't. leave. simple. mani. alone.....

Thursday 13 March 2014

Looping effect springtime gradient floral

Hi ladies! It's mid-March and by now you'd think you'd be all like bring out the colourful trench coats... but no. There was a mini snow storm last night. What else is new, Oh Canada.

On that note here's a springtime-themed mani! These were actually painted last spring... May of 2013, which explains the wee nubbins. But the style is all the same as many of my other designs... the looping effect. I know it's so old by now you're all like WHO CARES they're not even actually loops, right?

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Pink-toned colour block mani inspired by an Instagrammer

An actually recently painted colour blocking pattern! Done just two weeks ago. This one was 99% inspired by Kafig's work (see inspiration photo below) but a slightly different colour palette. Petite peinture has also done the same 5-block patten in a great christmas-coloured spread, and Nailuminium, as always, has done some really intricate colour blocking (beyond my competency level).

I wanted to try this colour block with striping tape as most of my past colour blocks were freehanded, that or my striping tape abilities were still in training. This colour scheme came out of a new order of polish from (go there if you live in the great north and want some of the best and unique brands the world has to offer!). I got some more neutral/pink polishes to incorporate into my work appropriate mani monday nail art ideas! Now I would argue that this mani is work appropriate.... but then again I would hold that a neon gradient mani with holo stripes, micro glitter tips and big hex glitters is work appropriate because.... well it's just awesome.

Monday 10 March 2014

Work appropriate mani Monday: Neutral looping effect

This is a version of what I call the looping effect mani (see original post here), but made for the office! I have not made a tutorial for it since I have basically no one except my cats checking out this blog on a daily basis, but if there were ever some interest I'm sure I'd do it for the millions of fans I might have one day. This is about as probable as my cats replicating my manis.

The looping effect mani is a very simple concept on its own but in this one I've embossed the loops by adding both light and dark accents. And some random dots cause even though my mind was telling me to quit.... my paintbrush just kept going. Story of our lives.

I actually did this mani in February of 2014 so you can breathe a sigh of relief since you don't have to look through some crappy older manis/photography that I clearly just post to make it look like I do my nails every day (I don't.... yet).

Sunday 9 March 2014

Full-nail striping tape mani with A England polishes

Every nail artist out there knows that A England polishes are to die for. I already own 7 of them and I'm so excited to show you two of my favs from the Burne Jones Dream collection!

This mani was done just over a month ago so my photography was on the way up but my nails were still a little nubby. Inspired by the amazing the Nail Polish Challenge, I just had to re-create her design but using black and A England's on every nail! I must confess this design wasn't a walk in the park. It took a lot of patience placing all that striping tape, and yes, I did both hands!

Thursday 6 March 2014

Blue holo with tropical flowers

Here's some bright and sunny holo spirit for the CANADIAN WINTER THAT WILL NEVER END. Seriously, it's March. Isn't that supposed to be spring? 

These were done in September of 2013 just before the sun left us for the next 6 months. Not the best pics ever and crappy nail care too. I was standing on a sidewalk with my camera on a main street after parking my car on the side of the road when I was like OMG sun! must stop and take holo pics! You know what I mean. Those moments don't come often.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

A plaid mani from the archives inspired by a Coach keychain

We are going to a take a trip back to ancient history.... to November of 2010 when I was just about as immature as my wimpy nub nails. Although dated (obviously), the plaid design is now nothing new and its novelty has worn off, however.... I swear to you that I had NOT ONCE seen a plaid mani before I painted my fingernails some four years ago. So, at the time I was original. How many times have you heard this before in the mani community?

Inspired by a Coach Poppy keychain that is sooooo 2010, clearly. It holds two photos. Guess what I put in them... my cat (I had just the orange one at the time)! Do I still have this appendage hanging on my car keychain today? You bet I do. Are my cats still inside? Duh.

Obviously no striping tape was used back in the olden days of retro nail art, only my semi-steady hands. And no explanation is required for the poor photography (let's just say my camera was immature, too).

Monday 3 March 2014

Work appropriate mani Monday: Neutral gradient with french X tips

Here's a very simple work appropriate mani I did in October of 2013. I had an interview and I must say it made me super sad to take off my likely neon or sparkly polish and to replace it with THIS. But, at least I gave off a profesh appearance, right? After all, we all know that once we start a new job we tend to do our nail art on the mild side and then... give it a few weeks or a couple of months and then BAM no one can judge you for your neon holo-flakie-glitter laden nails because they already know you're crazy.

A basic ombre using three neutral hues and a makeup sponge, topped with hand painted X's on the tips. At the time I had not yet experienced the magic of striping tape, so the X's are messy for the new standard striping tape has set!

Sunday 2 March 2014

An attempt at tribal nail art

Here's a popular design in the nail art community - tribal nails! There's many different takes on tribal nail art and it gives nailartaholics a lot of room to be creative and make it their own. There's so many talented ladies out there who have taken one (or way more) stabs at tribal nail art. Some that stick out to me include Polished NZ, Andreitus Nails, Nailaholic, Wondrously Polished and Knailart!

This was my first attempt at tribal nail art, done in August of 2013. Definitely not the best photography (natural light would have been ideal to capture the glitters and the polish colour contrast), but that just means I'll have to do them again soontime :)