Tuesday, October 9, 2012

...but nail polish will never hurt me

Damn, my blogging hiatus really did a number on my creative-title-writing abilities. Sorry bout it.

These nails may not seem that exciting, but they were a huge deal for me. Like, get-home-at-3-am-and-do-your-nails-with-your-new-polish huge deal. Indie nail polish--that is, polish made in small batches by regular old guys & gals and sold on sites like Etsy--has taken the nail world by storm over the last few months. Unfortunately, do to the limited quantity nature of indie polish, it's usually expensive and hard to get. So I mostly just admire from afar, but there was one polish I needed--Ninja Polish Sticks n Stones. Long story short, one of the first indie polish sellers, Lynnderella, made an incredible black & white glitter polish, but her poor business practices resulted in sky-high prices and scarce availability. So the lovely ladies at Ninja Polish decided to pay homage to Lynn's coveted polish, at a much more reasonable price.

However, because there are a frightening number of nail-obsessed people just like me all around the world, Sticks n Stones also proved incredibly hard to get. I kept signing up to be notified when it was back in stock, but was never near a computer when I received that magical email--until a day in July when I was on family vacation. I didn't have my computer, actually, but I needed the polish so desperately I managed to order and pay for it from my BlackBerry. Five days later, when I got home from vacation, it was in my mailbox, and I've never been happier about anything.

Except that one time I saw six pugs all running around a plaza in Madrid. That was maybe the happiest moment of my life.

ANYWAY this nail polish is great and I'm a crazy person aaand onto the photos!

This is two coats of Sticks n Stones over two coats (over white) of China Glaze Shocking Pink. Sticks n Stones is a bit of a stubborn glitter, and the large glitters definitely do need to be placed. As you can see I only managed to get one jumbo hex glitter out of the bottle, and it ended up looking real weird on my pinky.

I got tons of compliments from customers at work on these nails. Well, mostly people were just like, "Wow, those are...bright." So maybe they were just trying to nicely tell me I just gave them a migraine. Oops.

Sticks n Stones is currently out of stock, but you can request to be emailed when they restock. It's worth it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

opposites attract

Oy. Let's just pretend I haven't blogged for an eternity and a half, why don't we? I started my senior year of college and came down with mono all in the same week, so it's been a bit of a rough several weeks for me. However, now I've got schoolwork under control (okay that's a lie buuut...) and my tonsils are no longer the size of grapefruits so I hereby swear to blog like a NORMAL PERSON. A normal blogging person. Which is to say a lot. So don't leave me, please, I LOVE YOU!

All right all right onto the nails--

I love me some serious skittle action. This one was particularly obnoxious and thus beautiful. The white is Essie Marshmallow; light purple is Essie Lilacism; medium purple is OPI Do You Lilac It?; dark purple is NYC 006; gold is Wet n Wild The Gold & The Beautiful; and orange is Sally Hansen Sun Kissed. 

These photos were a huge triumph for me because they were the first successful set taken in my new apartment! Over the summer I was using the skylight in my bathroom for some lovely diffused natural light, and was panicking over how I would take photos once I moved (because my priorities are totally in order...) Thankfully, my apartment has this weird loft thing that isn't good for much (it doesn't even have electrical outlets...seriously, 1970s architects were rull weird) but it does have three lovely windows that make nail painting a breeeeeeeeze.

I'll have posts queued up every other day for the next couple weeks, and also some reader requests to fill! Just try to contain your excitement...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

anchors aweigh

I'm not even going to try to make an excuse for not updating for weeks again and instead get straight to the manicure, and hopefully you'll love me again because these nails are mad cute, if I do say so myself.

I will forever love bright-bright, Crayola-marker colors. Revlon Royal is the most gorgeous royal blue jelly that just begs to be made into something as cheesily nautical as possible.

I freehanded the tips using Sinful Colors Snow Me White and H&M Berry Love. Being able to freehand things and not use tape anymore has been one of my greatest nail art triumphs; tape can do super rad things, but the pulling and smudging that can occur makes it oftentimes not worth it for someone as impatient as I am.

In addition to primary colors, I love sparkly polishes, so I made an anchor out of GLITTER. Ed Hardy would be so proud. I used the large silver hex glitters from H&M Confetti Kisses and placed them individually using a dotting tool. Time-consuming, but worth it! (...words of a true polish addict. Sigh.)

I have about a half-dozen more manicures to be posting over the next couple weeks...and in more exciting news, MY 21ST BIRTHDAY IS TOMORROW! I'm about to begin my birthday manicure...stay tuned :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

weddin' bells

Believe it or not, I have a passion greater than nails, and that is photography. I've been dabbling in it for about four years now, and am now the editor of photography for my college's newspaper. I've also photographed four weddings, which are my favorite because FREE FOOD! Love! Flowers! (...but mostly free food.)

I did these nails for a wedding I photographed in mid-July. I thought the bride would be impressed with them, but alas, she was a rad hippie gal who didn't bother much with makeup.

These are wedding nails because the base color is Essie Something Borrowed, and it's the perfect bridal light blue creme. I love it on my toes especially cus it makes me look tan. Is it weird to have tan toes? Oh well.

The gold is Maybelline Bold Gold, from their new line of Color Show polishes. The formula was awesome--if you're into stamping, this one would work great. For some reason it's ridiculously hard to find a good, clean-toned gold foil for cheap, so if you're in need go pick this up at any drugstore for under $5!

Side note: holy bajeesus my nails are long in these photos. It's a little gross. I currently have them filed down to fingertip length and it feels 100% better. From now on imma leave the talons for the eagles.

That was a really bad joke. Sorry not sorry.

OH! I'm going to get my very first pedicure (!!!) and my first manicure in 4 years in a couple days. I don't know how I'm gonna be able to deal with someone else doing my nails...not gonna lie, I'm a little nervous. Any tips for making a salon manicure go smoothly? Like, am I supposed to remove my polish first? Can I boss them around if they use a weird top coat? Which trashy gossip mag should I pick up from the magazine stand? HALP!

Monday, August 6, 2012

skull candy

I don't know why I felt the impulse to title this "skull candy," because that is the name of a brand that makes horribly tacky headphones, but in my defense this manicure does feature skulls and it's a skittle manicure and skittles = candy so SKULL CANDY IT IS, overpriced rasta-print headphones aside.

Sometimes I start a manicure simply by being drawn to a color combination. This one, as you can see, was pink, black, white, and grey. I wanted clean patterns that played well with the sweet-yet-tough mix of colors. The pink is OPI Mod About You, which I adore and use incessantly despite its patchy formula; the white is China Glaze White on White, the grey is Essence Got A Secret?, and the black is Wet n Wild Black Creme.

I did these nails while watching the movie Party Girl. I'd like to think Parker Posey's character would approve of them. I freehanded the half-moon on my pinky, used a large dotting tool + nail art brush for the skull, a striper brush for my middle finger, a dotting tool for my index finger, and a makeup sponge for my thumb. And I lied--the black on my thumb is Orly Androgynie, which is shimmery, though it unfortunately doesn't show up in this photo.

I should probsss take the time to apologize for the fiftieth time for being the most inconsistent nail blogger ever. I've been painting and photographing my nails, I just...keep forgetting to post them. Which is silly, because I love blogging and I really want this thing to take off and catapult me into a $200k/year blogging gig (cus those totally exist), so I should probably, you know, post regularly. Feel free to yell at me if I start slacking again.

So once again, I have like five manicures queued up to post...which is good, because in eight days I'm leaving to go back to NUEVA YORK so I won't be able to post much. I am so excited, even though the summer weather will eat me alive (me + humidity = dire enemies). Any suggestions for magnificent back-in-the-New-York-groove nail art? Holla atcha girl.

Monday, July 16, 2012

hey hey ombré

I was holding off on this manicure for that 9-1-1 emergency moment when I realize I haven't posted in five days...whiiich happened way sooner than I'd have liked it to. I need to step up the regular posting game if I'm ever going to rule the nail art blog world. (Jay kay, I'm pretty sure Chalkboard Nails has that covered. You go, girl.)

Anyway, this is a simple but supa pretty gradient I did a couple weeks ago. There's not a whole bunch to say about it other than I wore it to the Gap and the checker called over two of her coworkers and her manager to look at it, so you know it's gotta be good.

The yellow is two coats of Finger Paints Lemon Sour and the teal is Zoya Wednesday. I used the same gradient technique as always: a makeup sponge and careful blending.

I also got a lot of compliments at work on this one, mostly from men. It's funny--you think men don't notice things like hair and makeup, but I get more comments on my nails from dudes than I do from women. I guess they're more visually aware than women give them credit for!

Blammo. Ombré is my go-to manicure because it's just so flippin' easy. I have another non-ombré post queued up for you, but be on the lookout for more two-tone action cus I have a super rad design I've been itching to try...

Happy two-days-after-Bastille-Day, you guys! I hope you all celebrated appropriately (by eating cheese and lighting some large buildings on fire.)

I really need to work on more cohesive blog post conclusions...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

california floral

Sometimes I can be a bit of a misanthrope, but sometimes an angel comes along and reminds me that humankind is essentially good. I was in American Apparel and was inevitably drawn to the nail polish display (surprise, surprise!) I was about to buy this shade for its full price ($6), but then the extremely kind cashier directed me to a table behind me, where the exact same shade was on sale for $3 because a bit of the label was scratched off. That cashier is now my new hero and possibly future husband, though I'm pretty sure he is also into dudes.

Even though my last manicure also used a nude base, it was quite loud, so I was in the mood for something light and soft. Hence...floral print! Normally when I do floral prints, I do roses, like this, so I decided to mix it up this time and go for more daisy-looking flowers. (Don't you love my highly accurate botanical vocabulary?)

This is one coat (!!!) of American Apparel California Trooper. I don't own enough one coat polishes. They are so lovely. The blue flower petals are American Apparel American Denim with a dark center thing (more highly accurate botanical vocabulary for y'all) in OPI Dating a Royal. The purple flower petals are OPI Do You Lilac It? with centers of NYC 006. 

It looked a bit plain with just the flowers, so I filled a bit of the empty space with dots of Zoya Wednesday to create the effect of leaves.

I really like this manicure. It's fresh and simple. Other things I like: Channing Tatum's moves in Magic Mike (yes, I saw it; yes, I loved it), eating tapioca pudding for breakfast, this stupid Lana del Rey song, and the fact that today is FREE SLURPEE DAY AT 7-11! What silly simple things have been making you smile lately?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

nude + neon + drips

So like...I don't know if you've heard, cus it's still kind of a big secret and no one's really caught onto it yet, but the super hawt trend for this summer is neons. Now shh! Let's keep it under wraps y'all, we don't want 75% of America running around in their super bright crop tops carrying eye-searing Cambridge satchels.

...wait, what's that you say? You already own eighteen neon things? ...well, okay. Never mind, then. But I'm still going to force you to look at this neon mani I just did because I LIKE IT, okay?

I started with two coats of OPI Did You 'Ear About Van Gogh?, a grey-toned nude from their spring 2012 Holland collection. Next, I painted a base for the drips using Sinful Colors Snow Me White, since neons show up much better over white. 

To do the drips, I used my largest dotting tool and made three dots on each  nail, varying in placement. Then I painted a thick french tip and connected the dots to the french tip. If anyone wants a more detailed tutorial, telepathically communicate it to me. Or let me know in the comments. Either works.

Next, I went over the white base of the drips in American Apparel Neon Yellow and China Glaze Shocking Pink. Neons are so damn hard to work with, guys. They're so sheer but dry so slowly. I actually did this mani twice, but the first time it chipped and dented so badly I couldn't even take photos of it, so I had to do it all again the next day. If you're trying drips for the first time, I'd suggest using a very opaque creme polish, because otherwise you might end up tearing all your hair out and collapsing in an exasperated heap on the floor, surrounded by acetone-soaked cotton balls. Or you might just shrug it off. You know, one or the other.

PS--I was serious about the tutorials bit earlier. If you'd like to know in detail how I did any specific manicure, please leave me a comment or send me an email! Pretty please. I want to hear from ALL OF YOU!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

blame it on the biebs

You know when you have what you think is a really good idea, and you're so excited to make it reality, and then it turns out kind of...eh? I did that this morning with my daily fried egg sandwich (note: do not mix three different kinds of salsa in one meal...) aaand also a few days ago with this manicure. It was so cute in my head and on my nails it's so boring.

I'm going to blame this lackluster result on the fact that I was watching the Justin Bieber documentary Never Say Never while doing this manicure, and it was quite distracting. Don't judge me, man. The Biebs is so cute. I want to adopt him. Or be him. Not really sure which.

I started with two coats of American Apparel Factory Grey on my index, ring, and pinky nails. It's a dusty lavender-toned grey with a slightly more runny formula than most AA polishes, but it wasn't at all streaky. The polka dots were done using my smallest dotting tool and Wet n Wild Black Creme.

I used a base of China Glaze White on White on my middle finger and thumb, and freehanded the black outline using Wet n Wild Black Creme and various nail art brushes.

I kind of wish I had used glitter or some sort of gradient on the heart fingers. Orrr made the heart out of studs, like the appliques Justin Bieber wears on all of his sweet purple hoodies...hmm, now there's an idea!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

¡viva los estados unidos!

Just a short & sweet post today, cus I have veggie burgers and mayonnaise-free potato salad to stuff my face with, y'all. It might be hard to believe, but food takes precedence over nails in my life.

I've been informed that today is a bit of a holiday in the United States. I'm from California, and everyone knows we aren't real Americans (too many electric cars and vegans out here), so once a year I like to break out the red, white, and blue and pretend I like trombone music and sweet pickle relish.

Of course, I had to break out the red, white, and blue on my nails as well. This is three coats of Essie Marshmallow for the white base with American Apparel American Denim for the blue field, H&M Berry Love for the red stripes, and Wet n Wild Stars & Stripes for the stars.

These were inspired by the fabulous Azealia Banks' nails in her music video for Liquorice (nsfw!) I realize these flags are actually backwards. I got them right on my left hand, and my left hand for once looks as good as my right, but I didn't think about that when I was taking pictures and now it's too late so OOPS HERE YOU GO, TOTALLY UNPATRIOTIC BACKWARDS FLAGS.

Don't sick HUAC Mitt Romney on me, please?


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

really really wanna ziggy-zig ahh

I just realized I haven't posted here in...far too long. I'm a terrible blogger. But I've actually been sort of busy (shocker, right?) and then from Sunday afternoon til Monday afternoon, I was without electricity after a transformer in my neighborhood blew, and I couldn't justify driving to Starbucks just for wifi.

Anyway, this is the mani I'm currently sporting and dreading having to take off to do Fourth of July nails. These are just some of the very serious problems I have to deal with on a daily basis, guys. Feel sorry for me.

These nails are inspired by a bathing suit I bought in Spain (for only 13€!) whiiich was definitely a Missoni rip off. If you're not familiar with Missoni, it's an Italian fashion house famous for its colorful zigzag print. 

Aaand here's the bathing suit as the background for a lil comparison. Now are you ready for all the colors I used? From tip to base, they are...

Finger Paints Lemon Sour
Borghese Bellissima Rose
Essie Tart Deco
American Apparel Mannequin
China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise
China Glaze For Audrey
Confetti Green with Envy


This pattern was a bit time-consuming, but actually quite easy--with the right equipment. I'd tried zig zags before with my old sad tiny paintbrushes, but they were disastrous. For a smooth line, you really need a sort of striper brush, so the paint can flow off the brush. This time around I used a medium striper brush that was a bit thick, and the zig zags were incredibly easy to make.

The only thing I regret is not doing the pattern on top of a white base, like Essie Marshmallow. That would have helped with the opacity of the zig zags, as well as filled in the tiny inevitable gaps in the pattern.

I'm a little bitter though, because I had a couple people ask me if these were nail wraps. Honey...I don't put no stickers on my nails. 100% hand-done, baby...and I'll have the nail polish fume brain damage someday to prove it!

I have four (!!!) more manis queued up, so brace yo'selves, and have a very merry fourth of July!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

choose me! ...but don't try to photograph me

I've posted a lot about my love for German cosmetics brand Essence. I bought a ton of their polish in Spain and am ecstatic Essence is now stocked at Ulta! Because now I no longer have to be that d-bag who, when asked where I got a certain polish, has to answer "Uhm, I bought it in Europe."

This is Essence Choose Me!, a gorgeous glass-fleck teal that shines green and gold, depending on the angle. It's not really a duochrome, but the glass-fleck shimmer offers a lot of depth. Here I layered two coats of Choose Me! over one coat of Borghese Mezzanotte Blue, because Choose Me! is a bit sheer on its own and I wanted to conserve polish :)

To complement the gold glow Choose Me! can take on, I added glitter rows using Milani Gems Gold. I manually placed them on my nail using a dotting tool (a toothpick or bobby pin would work great too!)

I got tons of compliments on this (I work at a hotel, so I'm constantly pointing things out on maps/handing receipts and whatnot to people, so when my nails are extra rad, guests let me know), so I'm bummed it looks so lackluster in photographs. The first photo was taken my standard way--using my DSLR with an external flash + diffuser in front of a black backdrop. The second was taken using my point-and-shoot on its macro setting in my bathroom, which has a sky light. It's a bit more color-accurate but still SO GLARY! I just want you guys to see the gold glitter stripes. They're cute, okay? I just want to share cuteness with you. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK????


Thursday, June 21, 2012

floral + pinstripes

Today I stopped at Payless on my way home from work with one simple mission: buy some of those super no-show socks to wear with flats or pumps.

I left with some of those super no-show socks to wear with flats or pumps...and a bottle of nail polish. (Be proud of me, though. They were buy one, get one 50% off and I only bought one!)

I started with three coats of Essie Marshmallow (my new fav polish, if you haven't already noticed) on my pinky, ring, and thumb, and two coats of American Apparel Mannequin on my ring and index fingers. The forumla of Mannequin, like all AA's cremes, is so, so good. Not too thick, not too thin...goes exactly where you want it and isn't remotely streaky. LOVE. Why aren't all polishes like this?

Then, using my new striping brush, I painted stripes on my pinky, ring, and thumb nails using Brash Green Machine. Here is where I will stress the importance of having a proper striper brush. Til now I was using a couple tiny paintbrushes I got at an art supply store. They worked well enough for things like flowers, but were quite hard to work with for anything else. I don't know why I put off buying legit brushes for so long, especially because this set was only $3.95 with free shipping! It comes with 15 different brushes, which is probably more than I'll ever need, but a striper brush at Sally's probably costs at least $3.95 anyway. Long story short: buy real nail art brushes. They'll make your life so much easier.

I used a dotting tool and Essie Lilacism to make the bases of my flowers, then the striper brush and NYC 006 (only found in Spain) for the dark purple shading and Brash Green Machine for the petals.

Lastly, although Green Machine is a lovely color on its own, it was too bright for the pastel vibe I was going for in this, so I added another coat of Marshmallow on my three stripey fingers to mute the green a bit. Another reason why Marshmallow is such an awesome polish: it makes any bright polish a pastel! So uh, you should buy it already. And Essie should pay me for such dedicated promotion already.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

one time, i met jenny lewis at a farmer's market and she told me my nails were cute

I have an announcement to make, guys. I am retiring from the nail art scene. I'm done. Because I won it. I can't rise any higher. I might only have four followers on this blog and zero comments on any of my posts, but yesterday Jenny Lewis said my nails were cute.

Now, if you know anything about me, you know two things dominate my life: my compulsion for painting my nails and, much longer withstanding, my all-consuming love for the musician Jenny Lewis. You might know her from her now-defunct band Rilo Kiley, or her acting prowess in movies like 1989's The Wizard, as well as several Golden Girls cameos. In any case, she is a perfect human being and her music means an incredible amount to me. I even have some of her lyrics tattooed on my body, that's how much I love her. She played in my town last night so I got to see her for the fourth time. A few hours before the show, I ran into her at a farmer's market. In a fit of adrenaline-induced bravery, I went up to say hi to her. She introduced herself to me and shook my hand and said, "Oh, cute nails!"

(I really was nearly crying. Also shaking so hard it took me a good three minutes to type that status.)

The show was absolutely amazing--her vocals were the best I've ever heard--and I met her yet again after the show and got this photo with her so uhm yeah my life is now complete:

...buuuut enough of my insaneo fangirling and onto what you came here for: the nails! Or should I say...the Jennicure? Get it? Manicure...Jennicure...okay I'll stop now.

These were actually inspired by a pair of heeled saddle shoe oxfords I've seen Jenny wear before (because I am that much of a creeper). This is two coats of OPI Mod About You layered over one coat of Essie Marshmallow to help with opacity, since Mod About You is a slightly streaky, sheer creme.

The black heart shapes are Wet n Wild Black Creme, and freehanded using the bottle brush. I then used a tiny dotting tool to add dot borders of Mod About You and Black Creme.

This is a cute and easy design that would look rad with a lot of different color combinations. The pink and black is very 1950s to me--like some souped-up Cadillac or something--but I think nude and white or two pastels could look pretty too!

...aaaand that's all I have to say about nails. My head is still spinning from the day's events. Also, please tell me you got the Mean Girls reference in the title of this post...)

Monday, June 18, 2012

the dark side of gradients

I've been seeing (and doing) so many pastel gradients lately, and they're all incredibly lovely, but I decided to turn that on its head and do an intense, dark gradient. Cus, ya know, I'm a rebel. (I also just had Cool Whip on my strawberries with breakfast. Watch out, y'all, I'm outta control!)

I started with two coats of China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise, an almost-neon polish with a slight shimmer. Like neons, it dries matte and deceptively quickly; though it might feel dry to the touch almost instantly, you do need to wait as long as you would with a non-matte polish, otherwise you risk pulling or other unfortunate impatient-nail-painters' problems.

Then I sponged on Revlon Royal, a gorgeous blue jelly, and Wet n Wild Black Creme. I used a bit of Sammy's gradient technique and a bit of my own; alternating sponging both colors to get a smooth effect (so sponging Royal over Turned Up Turquoise, then sponging more Turned Up Turquoise over Royal, etc.)

It's not my smoothest gradient, but I love the shock of the black with the neon turquoise. Also, this was a beeeeyotch to clean up--I sponged on the black, which meant it was all over my fingers. It looked kinda rad at first--like spray paint outside of a stencil--but then I was like, "Man, I have to douse my skin in acetone to clean it up now," and then I had dry, stained fingers and it was just real rough. A day in the life of a nail addict, dude. Stuff's intense.

Have you tried gradient nails? What are your fav color combos? Has this post inspired you to join...the dark side? (We have Cool Whip and strawberries. You should totes come.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

tart deco creamsicle

I'm gonna start this post by saying: Essie Marshmallow is a perfect polish. You need it. I use white in a lot of my designs but I think the flat, opaque look of a standard white creme can look cheap and plastic-y, or like White Out. Marshmallow fixes all these problems: it's a sliiiightly off-white jelly that's opaque in three coats and creates a lovely, soft, deep white that's much more sophisticated looking than your run-of-the-mill white creme. SO GO BUY IT RIGHT MEOW.

I started off with three coats of Marshmallow. There's some VNL (visible nail line) in these photos, but it wasn't as obvious in person. Then I freehanded some the colorblocks? wings? curtains? whateva you wanna call 'em in Essie Tart Deco, a fabulous orange-leaning coral creme that makes me look wicked tan. I read online that it needs a zillion coats to become opaque but over Marshmallow, it was opaque in just one. Awwwwwwwww yeah.

I wanted to outline the Tart Deco in gold, but my gold foil (Essence Shiny Godness) is quite dark and wouldn't have meshed well with these bright colors. What's your favorite gold foil?

So yep! There ya have it. This reminds me of one of those creamsicle 50/50 bars I used to get after school as a wee tot. I just did a google search for "creamsicle" to put a photo in this post and found a site that sells creamsicle-flavored condoms. Now I'm scarred for life...and you are too. Sorry not sorry.

Also, can I just say I LOVE having oval nails? No breaks or anything. Y'all should try it.