Gold and Burgundy Roses


Despite some of the warm weather that we’ve been having in New York lately, it’s still officially fall.  One look at all the leaves turning gorgeous colors outside show you what the real season is.

My inspiration for this one comes from the classic fall shades burgundy and gold.  I needed to do a simple and quick manicure that would get me out the door in time, so I turned to my collection of holo polishes first to see which shade spoke to me.


The winner was Blood Hound by Cupcake Polish! Its dark and vampy color yells October.

I picked a nice plate from Born Pretty Store for the stamping.


BP-73 is the name. Roses are its game.

The gold polish I used for the stamping was made by Ya Qin An.  I have used this in a few other recent manicures.  It has the best pigmentation!


I used the pattern from the top of the plate to stamp this manicure.

I added a nice anti-smudging top coat also made by Ya Qin An and was able to get my photo and arrive at work in time without a hitch!  Can’t complain about that.

Happy polishing!



Balloons in the Sky Nail Art


Leave it to my precocious 9-year-old student to keep me on my toes with nail art ideas.  This time she wanted me to do balloons.  I envisioned a bouquet of them floating up into a sky with puffy clouds, kind of like in the movie Up (although I’ve never seen it).  I’m pretty sure this was not what she had in mind, but my muse doesn’t always cooperate!

The first step was to choose a nice sky blue.  I loved Destiny from Formula X for its pearlescent effect.  The color has subtle lavender and pink undertones that give it nice dimension.


Destiny by Formula X.

After applying some top coat, I used Craft Smart acrylic paints to do the rest of the manicure.


The clouds were simple to do. I painted a circle and added two more smaller [uneven] circles on each side of it to form each cloud. They kind of look like Princess Leia buns!


The balloons weren’t too hard to do, either- they’re basically ovals in different colors that overlap each other. I used a thinned out striping brush to paint the strings and an ultra fine detail brush to paint in the little white highlight on the top right of each balloon. I added a little nub for a knot for the balloons at the bottom of the design.

The hardest part was really just having the patience to keep cleaning my brush in between each color balloon and making sure the paint was dry before moving on to the next color.


Macro shot. My one complaint is that the balloon strings didn’t tie together at the exact center of my nail. Then again, I think I painted this at 1 in the morning!

It’s a very cheerful design that brings a smile to people’s faces.


A friend noted that the clouds look somewhat 3D.  This is achieved in part by having the top coat applied before painting the clouds.  The clear layer in between means that they are literally floating over the base color.  Also, acrylic paint tends to have more texture due to its fast dry time, and my white is starting to get a little clumpy in the bottle if truth be told.  It worked in my favor for the clouds, but to counteract the thickness of the paint for the strings, I made sure that my brush was slightly damp with water before dipping it into the paint so that the lines would stay thin.

You better believe that my student loved the design in the end.  She thought I had either used stickers and/or stamping, so she was totally amazed to hear that everything was hand painted.  *pats own back*

In terms of freehand nail art, this is definitely on the easier side of the spectrum, but the scale of the design is what makes it hard to get right.  Don’t hesitate to try it, and let me know if you do!

Happy polishing!

Review of Born Pretty Store Iridescent Chrome Powder #585


Have you jumped on the chrome powder bandwagon yet?  It’s so easy to fall in love with these powders, and they’re so affordable, too!

Today’s review is on an iridescent chrome powder from Born Pretty Store in color 585.  In all honesty, I couldn’t remember which color I ordered, so when I saw this beauty in the packaging, I thought it was for white iridescent nails.  More on this in a bit.


Approximately one gram of Born Pretty Store chrome powder #585 is contained in a cute small plastic faceted jar with a Styrofoam seal covering the opening to prevent leakage. It also comes with a small sponge tip applicator and a holographic Ziploc bag.


Open the jar and you will find the prettiest iridescent snow powder inside.

This powder consists of super fine glitter particles that change colors in the light.  It basically looks white in color with hints of pink, purple, and green.  It is ultra sparkly and really beautiful.

If you’ve used the classic silver chrome powder before, you’ll know that this powder works best with a gel top coat, so this is what I used to try out the product.


After applying and curing a gel top coat over white polish, I applied some of the powder to my index finger. The color is iridescent and sparkly and apparently hard to photograph well.

The best part about these powders is that you don’t need to use a lot to get the effect to show.  I rubbed in a tiny bit of the powder with the sponge applicator from the kit, and the effect was instantaneous.


Pearly white nails.

There is a bit of a mirror effect with this powder, as you can see in the photo below.


Shot in natural sunlight outdoors, you can see the iridescent color shift more clearly.

My one critique is that some of the glitter particles in the powder don’t totally disappear into the gel top coat, so you do not get a totally smooth and uniform color effect.  I have heard that the best results happen when you apply the powder while your nails are still warm from the lamp light, but I do think that some of the glitter is on the chunky side.  No one will notice this though because your nails will look so chic!

It wasn’t until after I checked the link for the product on the website (listed at the end of this post) that I realized that the effect of the powder was to turn your nails into a chrome green color, which made sense because the other powders suggest that you use them over black polish.  I still maintain that the pearlescent white from my first try is a beautiful way to use the product.

Over black polish and a cured gel top coat, the powder turns a deep hunter green.


The same #585 powder applied over black nail polish and a cured gel top coat.

The mirror effect is even more pronounced over the black base, and there is more of a gold to dark green color shift.  It’s amazing how the same powder can look completely different!


I stamped on an accent nail with some gold polish to complement the pigment’s multichrome undertones.

The only other materials you need to get these nails are the powder, a curing lamp, and a gel top coat.  If you already do your own gel nails, you’re on your way to having some stunning nails with not much effort needed.  If you need a lamp, you can buy one from Born Pretty along with the powder.  Shipping from them is always free.  Try it out and see how amazing this product works first hand!  I guarantee that people will notice your nails.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this chrome pigment and top coat set (retail price is $7.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off the regular priced items your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!


Review of Harunouta Plate 10


Fall begs for plaid and argyle prints, so this plate from Harunouta is sure to please the pattern obsessed.


Harunouta plate 10 from Born Pretty Store.

You get five different patterns on this standard size circular plate, and because they take up entire quadrants, the designs are sure to cover wide and fairly long nails.


The plate comes with a cardboard sleeve for storage, and it is also covered in a blue protective film which must be removed prior to usage.

The etching on this plate is nice and deep, so you can be sure that your stamper will not have any problems picking up the images.  It’s helpful to clean the metal surface with acetone first to guarantee good stamping results.


Using the design from the middle, it is easy to create a nice accent nail.

The plaid print is a little on the large side, but it is still very cute.


I recommend using a firm stamper with these designs so that the lines don’t distort when you stamp the images onto your nails.

The argyle print is ripe for reverse stamping.


Using the brush from the bottle, I filled in some diamonds with a different color of nail polish. If you have more patience than me, you can make a patchwork design out of this with different colors for a mani that is truly unique.


The finished preppy argyle nails here remind me of something out of Mean Girls.

I had a slightly hard time getting all the small lines to transfer from the argyle pattern, but I attribute that to letting the polish dry on my stamper for too long.  If you go through the steps quickly, you are sure to get good results.

The quality of the plate is excellent, and you will be able to create many different looks with it that range from classy to cute depending on your color choices.  Let your imagination run wild!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamping plate (retail price is $2.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off the regular priced items your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!


Agatha the Shihtzu Puppy Nails


October 1, 2016 marked the day that Tracy, a good friend from work, moved to New Hampshire.  If you met her, you would know that she’s one of the nicest people ever to grace this planet, and I was so sad to see her leave New York.  Knowing how interested she was in my nail art every week, I thought it only fitting that I do a manicure in her honor to send her off with some good vibes!  I made sure to paint this during the week of her departure so that she could see the nails in person.

Tracy has a shihtzu puppy named Agatha who is as cute as can be, so it seemed an obvious choice to do a dog theme.  After all, Tracy herself doesn’t have an Instagram account- only Agatha does!  The plan was to do pink nails with paw prints covering them because Agatha once had a bed with a similar pattern and then paint Agatha herself on one nail.  I find that I’ve been getting more confident about my painting skills lately, so I was ready to take on the task of trying to do something close to photo realistic resemblance.


I started by painting my nails with Eureka by Formula X for Sephora.

I used Craft Smart Acrylic Paints from here on out.


To make the paw prints, I used a small brush to paint a heart shape and then added four oblong dots around the sides. Accuracy is not so important here.

Alternatively, you can use black polish and a dotting tool to get the job done.  I wanted to try that approach, but my dotting tools have mysteriously disappeared!


To start painting the shihtzu, I laid a foundation of light brown acrylic paint in her general shape.

For reference, I used this photo:

Mommy loves me ❤️ #shihtzusofinstagram #agathatheshihtzu #dogs

A photo posted by Agatha the Shih Tzu (@agathatheshihtzu) on

And after about 1.5 hours, this was my result:


I still have no idea how I managed this.

Basically, I blended custom shades of white, tan, brown, and black to do the shading for the fur.  Plus I used a very tiny brush.  What impressed me the most was the scale of this little portrait.  My nail photos always make my designs look large, but my nails are pretty small.


Agatha measured no more than one centimeter when all was said and done! Her personality remains larger than life.


Here’s the completed manicure with topcoat applied.


Agatha inspecting my work. I think she approves!

The best part?  I planned ahead to save the design, so I used a peel off base coat underneath it all.  Before Tracy left, I made sure to gift her my little painting.  Parting is such sweet sorrow!  But I love that I will always associate this manicure with all the good times we had together particularly in the last week before the big move.  I wish her the best of luck with everything and hope we will see each other still!

Happy fall, and happy polishing!

Party Nails with Popple by Pretty & Polished


Sorry for my absence online again!  Anyone who has been following me on Instagram knows that I’ve been doing my nails, but I haven’t put up any tutorials for the last few yet.  It has been a busy 2 weeks for me, so I figured I’d start out by posting this pretty swatch of Popple from Pretty & Polished.


Popple is a party in a bottle!

I literally spent 5 minutes on this manicure, which was done in a hurry before I left for work so that my nails wouldn’t be bare on my birthday!

I applied 3 coats to get the look here.  Because the glitters in the polish are suspended in a crelly (creme/jelly) base, the color is fairly sheer when you apply it.  It’s such a lovely color, and the brightly colored blue, pink, and yellow glitters really pop over the neutral base.  Makes me wonder how they came up with the name for this color…

For one step nail art, nothing else is better!  I really can’t get enough of this company’s polishes.  This particular one reminds me of confetti, and it’s the perfect polish for a fun celebration.

I bought a 15 mL bottle, which cost $8.50, but they also sell a mini size 6 mL bottle for $4.50 if you don’t like commitments.  The link for Popples on the Pretty & Polished website is shown below.  Happy polishing!

Blue-Green Fall Multi-Chrome Mani


After I did my iridescent nails, a few things occurred to me.

  1. I can’t commit to gel nails.  I got sick of having the same manicure for so long without having an excuse to change up my polish.  On the other hand, it was nice having a chip-free week!
  2. Gel polish removal sucks.
  3. The iridescent powder that I used was actually a chrome pigment that was meant to be used over black polish!  I still loved the pearl finish.

In any case, I had to see what the powder looked like over a black base, so that was my inspiration for this week.  I used a peel off base coat this time so I wouldn’t have to deal with that horrible gel removal process though!


I started out by painting all my nails with Dark Matter by Formula X for Sephora. I only needed one coat for full coverage.

After applying a gel top coat and curing it (I used Born Pretty Store Soak-off Gel), I rubbed in the chrome pigment with a sponge applicator.


Still looks like an iridescent powder to me, but just wait until you see it over the black polish!


A totally different look! This pigment has a mirror finish and shifts from dark green to gold to teal blue in the light.

I applied another layer of gel top coat to seal in the pigment and cured it.

Because of the gold tinge in the chrome finish, I decided to use gold polish from Ya Qin An to do some stamping with Harunouta Plate 10.


Patterns upon patterns on Harunouta Plate 10.


Originally I went with the plaid pattern, but I felt like it covered up too much of the lovely chrome finish, so I ended up taking it off right away. A huge benefit to using gel is that you don’t have to redo your base color if you didn’t like what you stamped.


I switched it to the design from the center of the plate and made it a single accent nail instead.

Notice that you can see my blond hair reflected in the finish of the polish.  It has the same mirror effect as the silver and gold chrome mirror pigments but with a teal hue instead.  It’s definitely eye catching, and several people have told me that they loved the polish, so that makes it all worthwhile, right?

Happy fall and happy polishing!