Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Emerald green runway

A while ago I did a neutral-toned negative space mani inspired by Kristin from @kgrdnr, but lately I've found myself swooning over her original photo and wondering what else I could do with it 'cause my beige version was BORING. Well, it was okay, in a meh kind of way, but I wanted something darker that catches the eye like Kristin's original delicious burgundy number. @chorubim showed the nail art world how Kristin's look could take on other dark hues, and Margaret from @m_a_tom showed us how we could use other specialty toppers to line the centre runway down the nail (which then influenced me to use pixie dust last time around). Just as luck would have it, Amy from @mcpolish posted an emerald green negative space mani a couple days ago, after I'd already done my nails almost basically the same! Great nail artists think alike, clearly.


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Inspired by a Coach scarf

I know what you're thinking: It's basically May and I'm getting inspired by a (cashmere) scarf?! For what good reason would I have to wear such winter attire during the spring?! Well, if you haven't heard yet, I live in the North Pole (a.k.a. Canada), and I was actually wearing this scarf today. So sad.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Work appropriate mani Monday: Line it up

Full disclosure: this mani is the first step of another mani which I'll post tomorrow. But once I did this step alone I thought it could work on it's own as a work-appropriate look. As you may have noticed by now, my definition of 'work appropriate' has been getting looser and looser.... so let's just say it's appropriate after you got the job once people begin to care less what you look like and more about the quality of your work. The latter should always be the case, but hey, can't stop the world from judging.


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Pastel rainbow interlocked reciprocal gradient

This mani was created for Peace, Love & Polish and Nails Like Lace's pastel rainbow nail art collaboration. Nail art 'collabs' are when nail artists get together, decide on a common theme (sometimes pre-determine by the host), and everyone does a design to suit the theme then submits it to the collab host, who then compiles all the mani's into a master collage. This is the second collab I've participated in, and it's so fun to see what everyone comes up with. Here's the final product:


And here's my solo shot:



Friday, 25 April 2014

'Over the top' for Sephora Formula X: Triangles

Ever since I bought three particular shades of green and grey from Sephora's new line of polishes, Formula X, I've been wanting to create a very simple eye-catching geometric mani. I just love the muted neon lime green featured, it's like a lemon-lime colour, maybe more like an amaretto sour made with lime juice colour - a bit murky but so refreshing. That's why the mattifying top coat is key to this mani. It balances out the subtle shimmer that comes through in the textured polish. I loved this mani so much I wore it for 4 days! What, I actually wore the SAME NAIL POLISH for four whole days?! And I got proof (see last photo exhibit: both hands).


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Welcome back Mad Men and all that's orange and blue

Mad Men is back on the air for its seventh and final season (nooooo!) and if you're like me then sometimes you get lost in the plot when dizzying 1960's imagery and patterns fill the screen. Couches, pillows, draperies, blouses, so many funky patterns and colours.... drool.

I didn't have any one particular piece of inspiration in mind, but I was going through my stamping plates - which I have little experience with - and I saw one that was reminiscient of some of the patterns you'd see on the show (er, in the 1960's - but how would I know I wasn't even born yet). I decided to go with a white, royal blue and bright orange colour scheme as they remind me of one of Joan's sexy blue dresses, her orange, blue and white geometric dress, and the iconic orange couch seen in the ad agency.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Earth Day: Lights on, lights out

When I was doing my last Earth day mani for Nailpolis' Earth day nail art challenge what I thought was a much more creative idea popped into my head. So off came my Earth in a galaxy mani and then came a split black and white undercoat to prep for this (second) Earth day mani. Phew!

The idea behind this is the 'lights out' theme of Earth day. That is, when the world shuts off the lights for an hour. Even though Earth hour and Earth day are two seperately recognized events, the end goal of raising awareness about the sanctiny of our planet is just the same. Each nail depicts a symbol reminiscent of Earth day or energy use and is presented dichotomously where one half is 'lights out' and the other half is 'lights on'. 


Work appropriate mani Monday: Split personality

Like last week, this mani's work appropriateness is debateable. I argue that because dark coloured nails have made a comeback and are generally accepted in the workplace (see here and here), and because white nails have been universally accepted as office friendly for a while now (see here, here and here), then the combination of the two in a simple clean cut design must be okay!

Maybe dark nails are not ideal for an interview, and so that would eliminate using any dark polish even if only half a nail, but if you already got the job, then why the heck not!

I saw this split look recently done by Aliciatnails on Instagram and so I had to re-create it. Doing so gave me a better idea of what to do for Earth Day nails, so this design actually serves as the base for my next post, hee hee.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Earth spotted in a galaxy

Yesterday's post was my first attempt at galaxy nails, but I originally went into this mani thinking that I would paint an Earth somewhere for Nailpolis' Earth Day nail art challenge. It didn't turn out as I'd envisioned, which is the case for more mani's that I can count :|

But good news is that while I was painting this mani a better idea for Earth Day popped into my head... you'll see that one up in a few!

The Earth was painted with acrylic paints (white, green, blue) and then the continents on the Earth were topped with some green pixie dust for added texture and some Ozotic blue sugar on the water. Can you guess which continent/countries are featured?


Friday, 18 April 2014

Galaxy nails

This mani marks my first ever galaxy nail art. I have no idea why I didn't attempt this earlier, as it's basically a cluster f**k of sexy colour-shifting and glittery polishes that I generally drool over. More than one crazy sparkly polish in ONE mani? Oh, there is a heaven.

Many before me have done galaxy nail art. Some of my favourites include the Nailasaurus, Chalkboard Nails, and the Nail Polish Challenge, but my all time favourite is hands down Wondrously Polished's galaxy mani representing five different nebulas. Crazy amazing.

Okay I'm not going to lie - these don't really look like galaxies. Next time I attempt this I think I'll actually follow a tutorial... there's not supposed to be a calculated method to galaxy nails but there actually should be. I used a sponge that was too large, I didn't allow for enough clustering and saturation of colour, and my stars look like seagull shit. Woops.... there's always a next time.


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter nails

Here's my best attempt at Easter nails for Nailpolis' easter nail art challenge which also happens to be my first poor attempt at realism using acrylic paints. Clearly, I'm more of an art-deco/mod/abstract design kind of girl. Realism.... NOT MY THING.

Back in the day I used to paint, but the canvas were larger than 1cm in diameter. I'm so sorry for what I did to your face, Mr. Bunny:


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Still on a magnetic kick

You may recall that last month I did a post on some long lost Essie 'Repstyle' magnetic polishes I had in a dusty shelf on my polish rack (see this post for pics and a short history of magnetic polishes more generally).

I found myself still mesmerized with the three-dimensional effect that magnetic polish gives off (especially Essie polishes) and so this time I went for a skittle colour-block look.

The red polish went on first as the base (2 coats then magnetized as per Essie's instructions - see Sugar and Chiffon's blog for a great step-by-step), let fully dry, tape off sections, blue polish 2 coats, magnetized, top coat.

I still only own the red and blue Essie magnetic polishes but.... if there's ever a new magnetic line launched by Essie I would probably have to buy the whole collection because... I don't need a reason.

Most of these photos were taken under natural day lighting (no direct sun) and under camera flash as I find using flash brings out the depth effect of the polish.




Monday, 14 April 2014

Work appropriate mani Monday: Rose gold glitter gradient

This "work appropriate" mani is debatable. It started off perfectly appropriate with a nude pink base and a sheer slightly-detectable delicate stamping layer... but then my addiction to sparkly got the best of me and along came a glitter gradient. BUT in rose gold, so I'll meet the work appropriate world half way.

In other words, this mani is work appropriate if one or more of the following apply:
   a) you like being the obnoxious one at work;
   b) you work in a glitter factory;
   c) you're the boss lady;
   d) you're so confident in your awesome nails that nothin' else matters, girl!

To execute the glitter gradient I only applied the glitter with a make-up sponge, in a couple of steps starting with the least amount of pressure to transfer just a bit of glitter over towards the middle of the nail. I find using a make-up sponge to do the whole gradient - as opposed to some ladies who use the actual polish brush to apply the glitter - actually gives you more control and lets you amp up the glitter saturation level really easily when and where you want to. Tip: Use the end of a triangular make-up sponge for more localized control.



Saturday, 12 April 2014

Mondrian inspired nail art

Yesterday's nails were at glimpse at my first actual art-inspired nail design! Most of you will have seen this general pattern before, but there are many ways of applying it just as there are many original pieces (and interpretations) of Piet Mondrian's work. When you Google 'Piet Mondrian original' this is what you get:

Credit: Google "Piet Mondrian original"
A few talented ladies have previously adopted this style to do Mondrian-inspired nails. They include: Polish you pretty, Demelza's world, Work play polish, Nuthin' but a nail thing, ChrissyAi, the Nailasaurus, and so many others to name! I've seem some nail stickers/decals out there too (see Elle Oh Die's application of some), but that would only take 5 minutes and that's no fun. Obviously it's way more fun when you spend approximately 5 hours between painting, drying, taping, painting, drying.... and the crazy goes on.



Friday, 11 April 2014

Can you guess what these will become? Abstract shapes

Unless you live in a cave, you will likely be able to guess what this nail art eventually became - but I won't spoil it just in case some of you actually do live in a cave.

Once I did this step I thought they looked pretty cool on their own and so I'm featuring them as is! I used striping tape and a lot of patience (and drying time) to create this mani. Stay tuned 'till tomorrow for what this actually ended up transforming into.



Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Parkinson's day themed nail art

Nailpolis is hosting a World Parkinson's Day nail art challenge and obviously I had to participate because I love challenges, and any excuse for nail art is a good one. No, seriously though, the idea is also to raise awareness for parkinsons. For more info on Parkinson's Day and the disease more generally see here. World Parkinson's Day is April 11, that's in two days!

This will be the last you see of free-hand nail art because my current brushes suck ass. I literally used a paintbrush that has to be 13 years old from an ancient arts and crafts kit which I then proceeded to trim down in attempt to tailor it to being nail art friendly. Not so much, my friends. I will have to go real brush shopping soon time, at an actual art store to see if they sell the world's smallest brushes. I also struggled with using nail polish to paint the tulip mostly, and the ribbon a little less so. This is because polish drags when you're painting it on with a tiny brush. As you know (presuming you paint your nails at least one colour and aren't some creep reading this for an unknown reason), once you paint one coat most formulas give you a hard time if you try to layer another coat over a still very much wet first coat. The same is true for painting tiny designs. This is why most nail artists have resorted to using acrylic paint, which is much more forgiving in this respect. I might just have to expand my repertoire of nail painting materials. Who knows what else I could use... food colouring? Eyeshadow pigment? Car paint? The possibilities are endless!

I complemented my medicore nail art (a tulip and a blue ribbon which are symbols for Parkinson's awareness) with two reciprocal gradient nails and one solid striped thumb nail. My bf tells me the latter looked like a circus tent... after he said that I couldn't stop seeing clowns laughing at this mani.


Monday, 7 April 2014

Work (in)appropriate mani Monday: Let's get lacy

Oh hey there office slew nails... I mean boss lady nails. I decided to turn the weekly work appropriate mani tradition into something a litle more risque this week because I'm feeling spicy, obviously.

Transparent/translucent/sheer polish has recently become somewhat of a thing. OPI launched their Sheer Tints line in early 2014 that consists of four transluscent polishes you can use to layer as jellies or use alone for a see-through look - All Lacquered Up has some good swatches and reviews.

Now OPI did not introduce a black, grey, or otherwise neutral-hued sheer polish. Nail bloggers have been using indie polishes like Loaded Lacquer's 'Toasted marshmallow' or mixing their own polish by adding 10-20 drops of black polish into a bottle of clear polish or topcoat (see Nailstorming's tutorial for example). I reckon OPI or another major nail polish brand will catch on soon and put out their own once they realize how big this is going to get.

The first time I saw the sheer black polish look was when Badgirl Nails on IG paired it with nude accents and some black dots. Then Just1nail on IG stripped off the nude and kept things black and glossy. Jamylyn Nails on IG used sheer black as a cityscape backdrop and it was very a-la-nighttime-in-NYC. Nailstorming on IG also revealed a simple matte black dotticure with a sheer black background. All these racy ladies, I just had to join in!

Now, to the good stuff (pic heavy, but hey, I just can't get enough of that lacy business):




Saturday, 5 April 2014

Naked nails and a new treatment regime

About a month ago I succumbed to nail blogger peer pressure and purchased the nail care products that are currently all the rage: OPI's Nail Envy nail strengthener and Bliss Kiss cuticle oil.

I was skeptical because my nails have always been really horrible, weak, peely, bendy, and usually in pain when I would accidentally stub them against furniture, the kitchen cabinet, the car door, you name it. I have never in my life had "long nails" or even nails that could open a pop can. I'd always use a spoon or tip of a fork to push back the pop can tab because if I'd used my nails they would have bent inwards and I would have yelled #@*!

Let's go on a little history lesson. These are my poor nubbins just over four years ago:


Unfortunately I don't have a naked nail pic from ancient history because I was never caught dead without nail polish. But in this pic the polish was chipping a bit so you can get an idea of just how thin my nails were.

Until about a couple months I didn't take my nail care seriously, only my polish addiction. I finally started applying a "real" base coat (Witchcraft nail hardener) as opposed to one of those generic Sally Hansen base coats that holds the polish on longer, and began filing my nails more regularly to prevent future breaks. I also started using some generic cuticle oil I found at walmart for a few dollars. This combination of nail care definitely helped a bit with length and durability, but I was still not happy with the overall health and quality of my nails, especially after seeing all the amazing naked nails of today's nail bloggers (check out Work Play Polish and Tartofraises' natural nails... this is where I begin to die of jealousy). Instagram has many hash tagging #nakednails these days too.

So in the spirit of getting naked, here's my pre- and post-new nail care regimen photos which consisted of:
- Applying Bliss Kiss cuticle oil to my cuticles 4 - 10x daily for three weeks (I bought one of the nail oil pens for use at work - they're basically perfect and I'm so addicted I look like a crazy person in a cubicle dabbing my cuticles with oil... freak)
- Applying Bliss Kiss cuticle oil to my natural nails in between every polish change
- Applying OPI's nail envy before every mani
- Leaving only OPI's nail envy and Bliss Kiss oil on my nails sans polish overnight, twice, at some point during the three week period

And here are the results:


Friday, 4 April 2014

Old school Donkey Kong

Last week it was my awesome boyfriend's birthday and since he was once 8th in the world for his score in Donkey Kong on those old school 80's arcade machines (yes, we are both super geeks), I made this awesome mani in honour of him. *Awwww so sweet*. 

This isn't exactly my best work because I did it pretty fast and freehanded it (sorry boyfriend) and I took it off rather quickly because the black was staining my nails and cuticles (sorry again boyfriend). Hopefully there are some arcade geeks out there who are also nail freaks. Together we will rule the world.

Inspiration for the mani for those of you who aren't familiar with ghetto arcade games (omg, it's not Candy Crush?!):

Credit: supersmashbros.wikia.com


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Throwback thursday re-create

In 2010 I slapped some purple and white on my nails with a sponge and added some random lines and it turned out like this:


Not too shabby (obviously I had to smooth out some things with magic editing software), but it was really just a lucky mani that happened to look pretty cool relative to some other questionable manis I had been experimenting with in my studying/nail polish lair. I originally posted this mani in January.

So in honour of throwback Thursday I decided to re-create this mani because I really do love the colour scheme and general design (if you hadn't noticed yet I'm obsessed with the looping effect), and because my fugly nails from 2010 don't do it justice. 

Using the exact same polish (I think) as I did four years ago, here's my updated mani:



Wednesday, 2 April 2014

I lost my stamping cherry in a bed of black lace

That's right, I stamped for the first time last night. I had actually bought the Pueen Love Elements stamping plates set over a month ago, but I quickly gave up out of frustration when I first got them because for whatever reason the stupid images wouldn't even transfer onto the stamper. I was (and still am) convinced that the particular plate I had tried was too shallowlly etched and so no polish was being picked up. I found myself with more patience to try it again last night and pulled out a different plate from the set and BAM it actually transferred! Amazed.

Originally I just wanted to see what OPI's new silver chrome polish from the Gwen Stefani collection looked like and I was so impressed! Here's a couple shots of that alone first: