Classy Sparkly Lace Manicure

I just received a bunch of new stamping products that I wanted to try, so I created this Black Friday sparkly lace manicure with them.

Here are the polish colors that I used:

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From left to right: Sally Hansen Diamond Strength No Chip Nail Color in Black Diamond, Sephora by OPI top coat in Indi-go With the Flow, and Ya Qin An stamping polish in Color 19.

I started by painting my nails Black Friday black with Black Diamond.  The color has silver microglitter in it, so it already looks shimmery.

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Black Diamond nail polish by Sally Hansen.

For extra sparkle, I added Indi-go With the Flow over the black base.  The look reminds me of what snowfall looks like at night.

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Indi-go With the Flow adds a little extra sparkle.  Unfortunately it didn’t photograph as well as it looks in person.

For the lace pattern, I used plate BPL-028 from Born Pretty Store.  I used the edge of the pattern on the bottom row of the plate, 2nd from the left.

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BPL-028 from Born Pretty Store has all the lace doily patterns that you could ever want.

Stamping was a little challenging to get the heart portion centered just right.  I used  a marshmallow stamper to help simplify the alignment process, but the lines of the pattern never transfer as crisply as they do with my Konad stamper.  I used Color 19, a pale light blue color, from Ya Qin An to do the stamping.  Honestly, I don’t know if that’s the name of the color because the label is all in Chinese, but 19 was the name for the shade on the website where I got it.

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I love the lace cuticle detail, although I wish the polish transferred more consistently across the pattern.

The hole in the heart was begging to be filled with a rhinestone so I added one on each nail.

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Glitzy lace.

And that’s all she wrote!  It’s a great sophisticated and elegant look for any occasion.

Hope you got all the deals you wanted over the past few days.  I’m looking forward to receiving even more nail products in the mail from my shopping sprees online!  😉  Happy polishing!

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Thanksgiving Day Turkey Nail Art

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I’ve been seeing my friends post pictures of their kids’ (!!!) handprint turkey art online and thought the feathers would make for some nice nail art.  Problem is that I felt too lazy to paint, so guess what shortcut I took?

Stamping to the rescue!

All I needed to do was find a plate that had some kind of long petal design.  After scanning through my inventory, I came up with this:

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Plate BPL-002 from Born Pretty Store.

Looks like there is a whole mish mash of things going on, but what I think was some kind of flower/mushroom design turned into turkey feathers for this manicure!  I used the part of the design at the top of the plate just left of center.

But first, the color palette.

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From left to right: Masked Beauty by Finger Paints, NY139 by Nicka K, Mai Tai by Nailtini, Olivia by Julep, and noir black by b.m.c. nail lacquer.

I started by painting all my nails with Masked Beauty.

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Goldfingers!  A swatch of Masked Beauty by Finger Paints.

I used a marshmallow stamper and noir black to transfer the design from BPL-002 to each of my nails.  The squishiness of the stamper allows you to line up the design on your nail and push down directly onto the nail instead of having to roll the stamper from one side of your nail to the other.

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Gobble gobble!  Time to trim this turkey.

So a few things that maybe I should have done differently about this manicure.  One- I didn’t want the circles in between the feathers, so I should have erased these from the stamper before applying it to my nail.  I ended up removing them by lightly applying a cotton swab dipped in acetone to the parts of the design I wanted to erase.

Two- Coloring in a design always looks better with the reverse stamping method because you get more of a solid black outline around the design.  This particular image wasn’t too hard to color in, so I decided to wing it and see if I could do it directly on the nail after stamping.  It looked a little sloppy for my taste, but I think it saved me time from having to make 10 separate decals for my nails.

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Shake your tailfeather!  Turkey nails served up in time for Thanksgiving.

Just wanted to also note that the coloring in was done with a dotting tool because the sections were large enough to do so.  This made cleaning up between colors a breeze- all I had to do was wipe the metal end on a napkin, and I was ready for the next color.

Hope you all get your fill of turkey today and score some excellent deals for Black Friday!  Happy Thanksgiving, and happy polishing!

About Born Pretty Store Coupon Codes

10% off Born Pretty coupon code: RSSPX31

Just wanted to make a quick post regarding the Born Pretty Store coupon codes that have been floating around out there.  Even though they claim that you will get 10% off your entire purchase, some exclusions do apply, as I have found out the hard way.

The most obvious one is that the 10% off codes don’t work when an item is already listed at a discounted price.  Lately, it seems like almost everything on their website is on sale, so whenever I try to check out with a coupon code, it says that I can’t use the code.  I’ve always tried to use RSSPX31 for the 10% off, but this also happens with other codes that are posted on RetailMeNot and even the ones from Born Pretty Store’s Instagram account and their promotional emails.  They always claim that you will get 10% off your order, but you really only get 10% off for the regular priced items in your cart.  The prices are still really low, but it feels like they’re not being entirely honest by letting you think that the code will work with every order.

The only coupon codes that appear to work with sale prices are the ones that take a dollar amount off a certain priced order (such as $5 off a $50 order), and those are released by the company and have expiration dates.

Also, you can’t apply a coupon code if you’re only buying a gift card for Born Pretty Store because you’re already getting a deal on the price versus the value of the card.  So much for stacking discounts.

But the codes do work for any other regular priced merchandise on their website, regardless of whether it is jewelry, make up, or stationery.  Shipping is always free, and the prices are so low already that the 10% off really shouldn’t seem like a big deal…  but we all love when a coupon code can take a little bit more off the total price.  😉  So use RSSPX31 for 10% off your order, but keep in mind that it may or may not work depending on what you have in your cart.  If everything was already on sale, count yourself lucky that you’re getting a bargain already, and if the code takes off less than 10%, it’s because you had a mix of sale and regular priced items in your cart.

Hope you find good deals this Black Friday, and happy polishing!

Squirrel Themed Nail Art

Anyone who knows me also knows that I love squirrels!  I might even be considered something of a squirrel whisperer.  Here’s a video of me interacting with a very tame squirrel at the park a few years ago.

And here’s another one of me getting the opportunity to pet this wild squirrel!

But whether or not you have a fondness for squirrels, these cute little furry rodents also happen to be quintessentially associated with fall, the time when you can see them gathering and burying nuts all over the place.  Squirrel themed nail art has been a long time coming for me, but I’m glad that I waited until my skills improved some more so that I could do the animal some justice.

Let’s start with the nail polish palette:

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Left to right: I’ll Take the Cake! by OPI, I Think I Cayenne by Sephora by OPI, Espresso Your Style! by OPI, and Rich Gold by Sephora + Pantone Universe Jewel Dust Nail Lacquer.

For the acorns and the squirrel, I used acrylic paint by craft smart.

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Acrylic paint by craft smart in Black, Dark Grey, White, Golden Brown, and Brown.

I almost never use sheer polishes, but I wanted a neutral looking background for everything.  I’ll Take the Cake! has a nice shimmer to it while providing a hint of color to smooth things out.

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You can get a gorgeous nude shimmery mani from I’ll Take the Cake! by OPI.

I planned to paint a squirrel head on my ring finger, but I wanted a fall colored gradient on the tips of my other nails.  Using a sponge, I applied one color at a time.

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In order for the acorns to show up clearly, I had to start with my darkest color first. This rich brown is Espresso Your Style! from OPI.

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I continued to sponge on I Think I Cayenne from Sephora by OPI, a beautiful russet color, over the dark brown.

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The last layer of the gradient was Rich Gold from Sephora + Pantone Universe. The glitter is holographic when it catches the light, so the picture really doesn’t do it justice.

The gradient on its own makes for a lovely fall manicure, as it looks like piles of autumn leaves swirling in the wind.  I was tempted to leave it alone, but I wanted my squirrel to have some nuts!

The rest of this manicure was done with acrylic paint so I could clean my brushes easily.

The acorns were pretty simple to do.  I used Brown to create the bottom half of the acorn, swiped Golden Brown across the top and added a stem to the hat of the nut, lightly applied a cross hatch pattern across the top with Brown, and finished by outlining the major sections of the image with Black.

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How to paint an acorn.

I couldn’t afford to take so many pictures while painting the squirrel because I was blending colors together to get different shades and had limited time to use the paint before it dried.  To get the general shape, I painted an outline of the head with Dark Grey and tweaked the shading from there.

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Looks like an locked item from a video game! The squirrel is but a shade of itself.

Blend different amounts of brown and grey, brown and black, and white and grey to get the shading right on the face and ears.  I outlined the head with a combination of grey and black to give my guy a softer look.

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I get super happy whenever I see that cute face on my nail!

Operation Squirrel Manicure accomplished!  Hope you have all your nuts gathered and accounted for over the upcoming holidays!  Happy polishing!

Stained Glass Suncatcher Manicure

I recently played for a small production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, a lovely yet heartbreaking one act opera whose cast consists mostly of nuns.  Appropriate to the libretto, the performance took place inside a church, so my inspiration for the week were the stained glass windows there.

If I had more time, I would have hand painted the framework for the glass panels, but I was already going to be sleep deprived doing the stamping for this design.  The two plates I used for this manicure were BM-402 from Bundle Monster and BPL-005 from Born Pretty Store.

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BM-402 from Bundle Monster assisted me for one of the stained glass patterns. I used the design at the topmost position for two of my nails.

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BPL-005 from Born Pretty Store has an assortment of patterns, but I chose the one on the bottom row, 2nd from the left to put on my thumbnail.

The Infinite Ombré set from Formula X was perfect to color in the patterns because the gel tints have the ability to be layered over each other to create other colors.  Because I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, I chose to put stained glass patterns on 3 out of 5 nails on each hand and paint the other two nails black.

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Colors for this manicure include the following: Konad Special Nail Polish in Black, Platinum Prime by Formula X, Black lace by Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine, Kiss Nail Art Paint in Black, and Formula X gel tint colors in Boundless Berry, Limitless Lemon, and Timeless Teal.

I planned to turn the design from plate BM-402 into a mirror image so that it would fill two nails, so I allotted space for this on my middle and ring fingers.

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Prepping the canvas with Black lace and Platinum Prime.

The idea was to make the circular part of the pattern from BM-402 look as if it were the sun casting out rays of light, so I stamped one nail with the circular part facing the nail that will picture the inversion of the same design.

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One part stamped, one more to go.

To make the mirror image, I couldn’t just turn the design upside down because there is a slight variance between the top and bottom halves of the pattern.  Instead, I chose to make a nail decal with a form of reverse stamping.  After stamping the image, I brushed clear coat over the design, waited for it to dry, and then I removed the dry polish from the stamper with tweezers and cut the piece down to the approximate size of my nail.

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Do it yourself nail decals are easy to make once you brush top coat over a stamped image. I used Seche Vite top coat for this and then cut the decal down to size.

The mirror image is the side of the decal that the topcoat was placed on, just in case this isn’t apparent.  I slightly confused myself when I was doing this as well.  Note that if you turn the decal over so that the side that was on the stamper is now facing up, you will end up with the same image as if you directly stamped onto your nail, so that would defeat the purpose of making a decal.

To apply the decal, simply apply clear topcoat over the desired nail and smooth the decal over the nail while it is still wet.

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The mirror image is complete.

All that remained was to color in the empty spaces with the Formula X gel tints.  I made things a little easier for myself by applying a little color theory so that I could layer colors with other colors to get different shades.  Yellow and red make orange and yellow and blue make green, so I was able to paint Limitless Lemon over quite a few areas before overlapping the yellow tint with Boundless Berry and Timeless Teal.  I used the brush from the bottle because I wanted to get things done faster, but you can opt to use a detail brush or dotting tool if you want more precision.

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A delightful suncatcher look made with gel tint colors from Formula X.

I still had a thumb to stamp and color.  Unfortunately, the images on BPL-005 are a bit on the small side compared to Born Pretty Store’s other plates, so it was tricky to get the placement right on the first try.  I used a marshmallow stamper so I could push it down completely over my nail, and I put a dot of black polish on the center of my thumb first so I could line up the dot from the center of the pattern with the dot on my thumb.

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A successfully centered stamped thumbnail which was not very easy to accomplish when the design on the plate was almost the same size as my nail. You can see the raised dot of polish I applied to the middle of the nail so I could position the stamper correctly over it.

I’ve griped about how my squishy head stamper doesn’t transfer images as nicely as my Konad stamper, so you can see that the entire design didn’t make it onto my thumbnail near my cuticle.  I fixed this with Kiss Nail Art Paint in Black.

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With a little help from a striping brush and black polish, you can’t tell that the image didn’t fully transfer the first time around.

After coloring in the sections with the same technique as before, the manicure is done!

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A stained glass inspired suncatcher manicure.

I guess this wasn’t the best choice for a quick manicure, but it looked pretty!  Now to finally get some rest…  I’ve still got rehearsals to attend, but I won’t have a performance until the beginning of next month.  In the meantime, happy polishing!

Musical “Cornucopia” Nail Art

It’s been a busy week, but I still managed to force myself to stay up to paint my nails last Thursday night!

For this week, I was thinking that it would be nice to have the themes of fall and music combined.  I’ve been playing for a lot of orchestra services lately leading up to having concerts last Friday and Saturday, so I figured it would be fitting to have musical nails for the performances.  Add to this that my French horn playing friend was sitting right behind me, and voilà, I decided to go with a musical cornucopia theme with endless notes coming out of a horn.

The colors for this mani are few, but they do the job.

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Left to right: craft smart Acrylic Paint in Black, Born Pretty Holo Polish in Color 5, and Finger Paints Nail Color in Wrapped in Ribbon.

After applying a base coat, I applied the holographic polish from Born Pretty Store to all my nails.  It doesn’t look overly holographic, but I liked that it had a nice pumpkin spice color to it.

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Born Pretty Holo Polish in Color 5.

For the next part, I painted music notes and rests all over my nails and painted the French horn on my thumb with black acrylic paint and a detail brush.

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The black horn will be filled in with gold glitter polish, so this was just to get the basic shape.

Using a dotting tool, I dabbed Wrapped in Ribbon within the black outline of the horn.  I approached it this way because it’s a lot easier to fill gold in between black lines rather than paint the black outline around the inner and outer section of a gold base.  Plus, if I was sloppy with dotting on the gold glitter polish, I could simply go back and paint the black outline to touch it up.

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The horn that keeps on giving! A true musical cornucopia.

It’s not exactly one of my hardest designs so it was pretty easy to put together, even though I was half asleep when I painted this.  I’m still busy with rehearsals and things this week, so forgive me if I don’t get the chance to post anything for awhile.  I will have to switch up my polish soon enough, though!  😉

Happy polishing!