Friday, July 19, 2013

Neon Polka Dots

The neon nail polish trend reminds me of when I was a child and neon Crayons were all the rage.  I remember hoarding the coveted neon Crayons and spending time looking at my collection with great pride.  Now that I have matured beyond a Crayon collection and moved onto a massive nail polish collection I am still reminded of those wonderfully waxy colors, although Essie surely has managed to achieve much more saturated colors.

I started out with three coats of Essie DJ Play That Song from the Neons 2013 collection.  This luscious magenta goes on a bit streaky, but offers full coverage with three coats.  Interestingly it dries to a satin finish - I'm curious to see if the rest of the collection is the same.  I did, however, top it with a generous coat of Essie Good To Go top coat.  

On my ring finger I used two coats of Essie The More the Merrier from the Naughty Nautical collection.  Two coats shown.  I then used a tooth pick to add polka dots to my ring finger and thumb.

What do you think of the neon polishes?

Thanks for reading.  Toodles!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DIY Aztec Nail Wraps Tutorial!

I can't count the number of times I have seen a new nail technique online and thought, "Why didn't I come up with that?"  Moments of brilliance are rare, but I am proud to announce that I had such a moment a few days ago!

Here's the result of my light bulb moment:

***Disclaimer: this manicure is not up to my standards, however I am one of those people that lacks patience.  I was so excited to post this tutorial that I decided to put my perfectionism aside this time.***
Before I get into the tutorial let's first back track a bit...  The Aztec nail trend has been a frustrating one for me.  I have tried numerous times to free hand the intricate designs.  I've tried using striping tape, scotch tape, striping brushes, and toothpicks, only to create an embarrassingly messy manicure that I wouldn't even show to my best friend. 

Since I've been in New Mexico without all of my fancy nail art supplies I've had to be creative with what I do have AND I've had the opportunity to try out some techniques using household items that I was always too busy to try.  One such technique is do-it-yourself nail decals, created using a Ziploc bag and nail polish.  This tutorial on Gnarly Gnails is a great step-by-step post on creating your own nails decals, the only difference is that she uses wax paper instead of plastic.

My next thought on how to create an Aztec manicure was to paint my nails with a base coat and create a collage using small pieces of dried polish which I would adhere to my nails using a touch of polish.  This technique was a step in the right direction, but I was still dissatisfied with the results.

And then it hit me!  Why not create my own nail wraps?  I would have the ability to use both of my hands to create them, I wouldn't have to worry about messing up wet polish, and my lack of ambidextrousness wouldn't be an issue!  Light bulb moment!

- nail polish (duh!)
- Ziploc or comparable bag.
- fine tip Sharpie
- Scotch tape
- X-acto knife
- tweezers

1) Wrap the Ziplock bag around each finger and trace the cuticle of each nail.  This will give you guide lines for creating the correct shape, width, and length wrap for each nail.  Cut out the set of guides and tape down to a flat surface with the side you drew on down,
being careful to pull out any large wrinkles in the plastic.

2) Paint 2-3 coats of your base coat onto the plastic.  Stay within the lines on the top and sides but paint a bit extra at the end to allow for extra length.

3) Paint squares of polish onto a different piece of Ziploc bag.  Allow ample drying time.  Peel from plastic.  (In order to save time this can be done up to 36 hours beforehand.)

4) Cut shapes out of the squares of polish and place them onto each nail wrap in the desired location.  (When I did this the base coat was still a bit tacky, therefore I was able to place each piece without the need for wet polish to act as a bonder.)  Once all of your shapes have been placed paint each wrap with a thin layer of quick drying top coat.

5) Once the top coat has dried use a fine point Sharpie to draw your black lines and dots.

6) Now comes the fun part!  Peel up your nails wraps and think, "Holy sh**!  It worked!"

7) To apply paint a thin layer of base coat onto a nail and press the corresponding wrap onto your nail.  Use a file to remove excess length and top with a coat of quick dry top coat.

I still think my Aztec nails need a bit of work, but they are certainly better than any other attempt I've made, and considering this is my first attempt at creating my own nail wraps I am super pleased with the way they turned out.  What do you think?

Thanks for reading.  Toodles!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cascade of Colors

I have been super anxious to post this mani, but I made myself wait until my camera arrived - and it finally did!  

Several days ago I saw a mani on the subreddit, RedditLaqueristas, and decided to give it a try using one of my favorite color palettes, purple and green.

I started out by painting each nail with two coats of Illumasqua Poke, which is a bright purple shimmer.  Poke is a beautiful color and goes on easily, giving full coverage in two thin coats.  I then laid down overlapping single strokes of the following Essie colors: First Timer, In The Cab-Ana, No More Film, and DJ Play That Song. 

This mani is going on day three so you can see a bit of wear at the tips of my nails, but I am SO happy with the way it turned out.  I don't want to take it off yet I am very excited to try this technique using a different color combination.

What do you think of this technique?  What colors would you like to see it done in?

Thanks for reading.  Toodles!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Racing Stripes with the late Nails Inc. Beaded Polish

When I saw that Nails Inc. had come out with a Beaded Polish line I had to try it for myself.  What is beaded polish?  I had to know.  I quickly found out that it is another textured matte polish, but this one sure isn't shy with the texture!  When I first tried it it went on a bit clumpy-McClumperson, but my second attempt was much more successful.

(My camera is on its way to me.  Hooray for this being the last cell pic I have to subject you to!  That is, unless I get too anxious about posting a manicure I have brewing in my head using two Illamasque polishes.)

I started this look with two coats of Essie Madison Ave-Hue.  This Barbie pink has a very subtle shimmer to it, just like The Girls Are Out, which I showed in my last post.  I then painted my ring finger with two coats of Nails Inc. Covent Garden.  I sealed all of the pink with my favorite top coat Essie Good To Go.  Once those had dried... (OH NO!!! I just dropped the Nails Inc. polish on my parent's floor and it broke all over their beautiful brick floor and woven rug.  I think the rug is going to survive better than the floor, which now has blue glitter in all of the nooks and crannys.  :-(  Not to mention I no longer have this awesome polish in my arsenal...oh well.  Thankfully, my mom is still doped up enough from her accident that she doesn't seem too concerned.)

Now, where were we?  Oh yes, I painted two coats of Nails Inc. Covent Garden on my ring finger and used Scotch tape to tape off stripes and slanted tips on the remainder of my fingers. 

Well now I'm just bummed out.  I must go paint my nails to get over the angst of losing one of my beloved polishes.  

R.I.P Nails Inc. Covent Garden.  You will be missed.

Thanks for reading.  Toodles!

Friday, July 5, 2013

They're Gray...!

Before I get into the polishes I used what do you think of my new nail shape?  I've seen that almond shaped nails are the new trend, one that had me a bit horrified.  I've seen some that are very long and to me look scary.  I had my hair cut the other day and sneaked a few peeks at my stylist's nails.  Her's were definitely almond shaped but not too long and I was surprised by how much I liked them.  In a moment of boredom I grabbed a file and got to work on mine.  Before I painted them I was a bit freaked out and thought, "Oh no, what have I done?"  But once painted it was love at first sight!

On my thumb and pinky finger I used two coats of Essie The Girls Are Out, which is a deep saturated magenta-pink with a very fine and subtle silver glitter.  The color of The Girls Are Out is not showing accurately in this cell phone photo, just envision it a deeper more purpley-pink.  Side bar:  hopefully I'll have my camera next week.  It's in a pile of things my fiance is going to bring to me in New Mexico when he comes out next week.  Yay!

My ring finger is painted with three coats of Revlon Scandalous, a black jelly with lots of magenta glitter.  Divine!  My index and middle fingers are painted with three thin coats of China Glaze Pelican Gray.  Finally, I used a striping brush to paint three stripes on each nail with The Girls Are Out.

Hopefully, I'll be able to post a bit more as my mom continues to recover and needs less assistance from me.  I didn't bring a huge selection of polishes with me, but I'll try to keep my ideas fresh anyhow.

Thanks for reading.  Toodles!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Mexico Rain Clouds

I am still in New Mexico helping my mother while she recovers from her accident.  She continues to make extraordinary progress and her bruises and lacerations look better every day. 

New Mexico is in the middle of a dreadful drought - we need rain so badly.  I can see in my parents' backyard how parched the soil is and the danger of wild fires is extremely high.  The last few afternoons we have been blessed with sprinkles of rain - just enough to spot the flagstone.  It's not much, but it is a promising sign that the heavens are trying to open up on us, it's just too dry to squeeze the clouds of more than a few drops.  Every time it sprinkles I go outside and dance in the blessed drops and thank the clouds for giving what they can and hope they can give more the next day.

While in the shower yesterday I had an idea for a new technique that involved my mother's set of twenty (yes, 20) squiggly scissors. I tested several of the shapes and decided upon the one called very appropriate (I sit in a home constructed of adobes my parents made with their own hands).

I started out by painting each nail with two coats of OPI Lucky Lucky Lavender (light purple).  While that was drying I placed a piece of painter's tape onto wax paper.  I then cut the tape and wax paper into strips with the squiggly scissors.  Next, I cut each strip into nails sized pieces - you can see one in the photo below.

I removed the cut painter's tape from the wax paper backing and carefully adhered it to the tip of my nail and painted the remainder of my nail with OPI Gargantuan Green Grape (baby blue).  I repeated this process but moved the painter's tape a bit further up my nail bed and painted the remainder of my nail with the final color, Essie No Moro Film (navy blue).  

Please excuse my infrequent posts and cell phone pictures while I remain in New Mexico.  My camera and lightbox were not on the priority list as I rushed out the door ten days ago.

Thanks for reading.  Toodles!