Funky Pineapple Nails

As a flute teacher, I have to be inventive while teaching my students. One of the rhythms that has been somewhat problematic for them is the one with an 8th note followed by two 16th notes, so to try to help them out, I tell them to think of saying the word “pineapple,” emphasizing the “pine” part so that they hold that syllable a little longer. It was only a matter of time for me to do nails based on the fruit, seeing as I end up saying “pineapple” during the day quite a bit!

I decided to swatch this bright shimmery yellow polish from Sally Hansen’s HD collection called Lite. You’ll see that I ended up changing the colors on two of my nails after taking this photo, but I have a goal of trying to get swatch photos of all of my polishes. I think it’s going to take awhile, though!

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2 coats of Sally Hansen HD Hi-Definition Nail Color in 05 Lite were applied for the perfect shimmery canary yellow shade here.

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Sandy Beach Nails

It’s hard to believe that we’re halfway through August already! I have no idea how time has been flying by. To be honest, I did these nails 2 weeks ago but am only just now starting to catch up with my blog.

In any case, I still haven’t been to the beach this summer because I’ve been so busy. The closest I can get to one is through some nail art.

I started by painting my nails with Born Pretty Thermal Gel in color BP-5730. I love thermal polishes for their natural gradient effect and also for their ability to entertain me in different temperature settings! This one looks like a pale periwinkle blue in warm temperatures and a deep royal blue in cold temperatures. It also has the perfect sprinkling of two different sized glitters in the formula which truly makes it look more special.

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I applied and cured this polish for about 1 minute and repeated the process for a second coat.

My next step was to create a sandy beach line along the half moon area of my nails.  Continue reading

Jellyfish Ocean Manicure

Happy summer, everyone! Who is looking forward to going to the beach? I have to live vicariously through my memories of previous summers for now because I’ve been ridiculously busy this month with gigs, so I brought the beach to my nails with this jellyfish design.

I started by painting my nails with Recall from Born Pretty’s Flower in Sunshine Series. It’s a beautiful mermaid turquoise green color with a pearl pink sheen and holographic sparkles.

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To create an ocean effect with some depth, I sponged on dabs of Diva into the Pool from Nicole by OPI.

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For more contrast, I added a few dabs of Queen for a Night from Finger Paints. This was also a good choice for me because it alludes to the Queen of the Night character from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, which I am currently playing!

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Victorian Love Letter Manicure

February 15 was a vintage love letter theme for the @glamnailschallenge prompt.  I have to say, using peel off base coat is making it a lot easier to get myself to paint more because I keep losing nail polish off my fingers by accident, making it necessary to change my manicure!  Good thing that these prompts are so fun to fulfill.

The first step was to choose a nice base color.  I toyed with the idea of staining some tan polish with alcohol ink to create that old paper look, but I didn’t have that much time to paint my nails.  I found this beautiful crelly from Pretty & Polished in my collection that reminded me of pretty speckled stationery, so I went with it.

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This color from Pretty & Polished is appropriately named Antique.

I envisioned script overlaid with roses, but after digging through my extensive stamping plate collection, I couldn’t find anything that looked like what I wanted.  I made the gut wrenching decision to attempt painting the words myself.  Mind you, I have never felt comfortable with writing words on my nails because painting with a brush really doesn’t work the same way that a pen does.  I probably could have used a fine tipped Sharpie to do this, but I opted for the harder route and used acrylic paint with a fine brush and winged it.  A challenge for the challenge!

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In retrospect, a little planning would have gone a long way.  My first mistake was that I didn’t give myself enough time to do this manicure before having to leave for an appointment.  I actually had to apply topcoat after I took the upper right hand corner picture so that I could leave and come back to the details of the flowers later!  I took the most time with my index finger, which is why the text looks so much better and clearer than it does on the other fingers.  But unfortunately, acrylic paint dries quickly, and my mix of black and brown paint got thicker and thicker as I moved from nail to nail.  I guess I might need to get one of those fancy palettes that keep the paint moist.

I also felt like my text was too unevenly spaced, although perhaps that adds a more realistic charm to the look.  Ever try writing on an unlined piece of paper before?  I guess that makes my handwriting look more authentic.

My saving grace was being able to place the roses over the bits where I thought the penmanship looked too sloppy.  This was easily done with a few kinds of nail polish and some dotting tools.  The leaves are Monet Money from Finger Paints, and the different shades of pink are all colors from Nicole by OPI: (from darkest to lightest color) Berry the Hatchet, City-Pretty Rose, and Carnival Cotton Candy.

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The letter that I’m holding is a facsimile of one written by Eugene O’Neill to Beatrice Ashe on November 1, 1914.

The result turned out very pretty, and I’m sure that people will assume that I stamped the script when really I cursed a lot over the cursive writing!  While it’s not my best freehand work, I’m still satisfied with it.  I’ll just keep practicing my brushwork and see if I can do better the next time.

Happy polishing!

 

Holographic Bubble Nail Art

I’ve still been feeling rather lazy and uninspired, so I again turned to the @clairestelle8challenge to help me through the week.  The prompt for January 21 was Circles, and I could have easily turned to my stamping plate collection, but I decided to challenge myself a little bit and try my hand at painting bubbles.

I started by applying a pearly white base color to all my nails.

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Of Quartz You Can by Finger Paints.

I came up with a rather clever trick to make bubble decals on a silicone mat.  The mat is from Bundle Monster, and I used Glisten & Glow’s HK Girl top coat to form the base of the nail decal.  I brushed an unused pencil eraser lightly with holographic polish and stamped it onto the dried top coat on the mat.  I repeated this technique many times and also with 2-3 different polishes applied to the same circular stamped area in order to get the mix of colors that you would typically see in a soap bubble.

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Rainbow colored holographic bubbles on my silicone mat. The polishes used include Pink Holo, Green Holo, and Purple Holo from UO Nail Lacquer and Tali from Julep.

To use the decals, I carefully peeled the layer of polish from my mat and cut around the bubble(s) that I wished to use.  After painting my nail with a layer of Seche Vite top coat, I immediately placed the decal where I wanted it and allowed it to set.

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Nebulous orb shapes. They already looked like bubbles, but they needed a little more help.

Using a detail brush, I outlined each bubble with craft smart acrylic paint in dark grey.  I also added a little bit of dimension to the bubble by adding a white highlight to the top right and bottom left side of each circle.  The dark grey paint contrasted too much with the design, so I ended up tracing the outlines again with Silver Holo from UO Nail Lacquer to make them blend more with the colors in the bubbles.

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Finishing touches.

After another layer of top coat over everything, my design was done.

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Soap bubble nail art. Just wish I had a thinner detail brush for the outlines.

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To be honest, they didn’t come out exactly as planned.  Holographic polish tends to be pretty opaque with even just a thin layer applied so my bubbles didn’t look as ethereal and transparent as I wanted them to be.  Also, the pencil eraser technique worked great, but it didn’t allow for any variation in size unless I purposefully wanted to carve down an eraser.  It still came out kind of cool, at least in concept.

Hopefully I get my inspiration back soon!  Happy polishing!

 

Snowflake Glitter Placement Manicure

Happy New Year, everyone!

With so many things going on at the end of 2016, I hardly had any time to do my nails.  I opted to do a fairly quick and easy glitter placement accent nail with French tips so that I could look somewhat festive for New Year’s Eve.

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I started by painting my nails a shimmery midnight blue. This color is called Lolo from Julep.

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I used Born Pretty holographic diamond shaped glitter for the snowflakes.

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The French tips were done with Metal Medium from Finger Paints.

To apply the glitter, I tried to use a top coat that did not dry too quickly and applied each piece with a damp orange stick.  Another layer of top coat over the glitter helped to seal the deal, although you will find that two layers of top coat work best.

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The look is reminiscent of snowflakes, the ball at Times Square, and Hannukah all rolled into one, so it’s very appropriate for the season.

Have a great 2017!  Happy polishing!

 

Green and Gold Oriental Dressing Screen Manicure

With all the holiday activities going on lately, I have hardly had any time to do my nails.  In the interest of getting things done quickly, I resorted to stamping to get me through this busy period.

People most commonly think of doing red manicures around this time, so I decided to buck the trend and do green and gold for something different.  There are some gorgeous emerald green shades out there that don’t get enough of a shout out, and Emer from Julep is a fine example of one.

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I began by painting Emer from Julep on all my nails except for my ring finger, on which I used Masked Beauty from Finger Paints.

For the stamping, I used plated BP-L046 from Born Pretty Store.  It’s more of a springtime plate, but I wanted to do a dressing screen type of theme, so this suited my purpose perfectly.

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BP-L046 from Born Pretty Store.

The stamping was done with Konad Special Nail Polishes in Black and Gold.  The patterns that I used are from the bottom left hand corner of the plate.

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It’s easy to see the Oriental influence with the pattern and color scheme here.

While understated, it still feels festive for the season but classy.

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Hope you enjoyed this simple look.  Happy polishing!

 

Burgundy and Gold French Manicure

I had to go tame with the nail art for a concert over the weekend, so I stayed classy, San Diego with this simple French manicure in classic fall colors.

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I started by painting my nails with Define Good… by China Glaze.

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After allowing my base color to dry, I painted the tips of my nails with Wrapped in Ribbon from Finger Paints.

I did not paint the tip of my ring finger so that I could turn it into an accent nail with some stamping.

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I used the pattern from the bottom row, 4th image from the left on plate BPL-024 from Born Pretty Store to create a fall looking accent nail.

Initially I stamped the full image from the plate but then removed extraneous parts around a single vine from the stamper with some tape.  The idea was to let the vine curve along the tip of the nail in place of the classic French tip.

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I used Ya Qin An polish in Gold to do the stamping.

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As an afterthought, I applied Rich Gold from Sephora + Pantone Universe over the entire ring finger for some additional bling.

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Macro shot from the other side so you can see the detail of the vine creeping up the side of my nail.

The look is elegant with just enough sparkle for the holidays.

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More than anything, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that my nails have been growing out longer and healthier since my departure from a job that required some very hand abusive activities!  It was nice to be able to paint some French tips, which is something that I haven’t done in a long time.  Now let’s hope all this cold and dry weather doesn’t ruin my hands instead!

Happy polishing!

 

Star Wars Nail Art

I’ve never considered myself to be a good painter, so I knew that I was going to be suffering to complete a Star Wars collaboration with my sweet and talented Instagram friend Bev @thehumblebear.  She was inspired by some R2D2 nails that I reposted from Star Wars Day 2015 and suggested that we paint a different character from Star Wars on each nail.  Lucky for me, I insisted that we only paint our left hand nails for this, and she agreed.

My goal was to try to make the characters look as simple as possible yet have them still be recognizable.  The Lego collection was great inspiration as well as the Funko Pop series.

As for which characters I wanted to do, it was a hard choice.  We were thinking of doing the same ones for a twin mani, but the more I searched for inspiration, the more I kept wanting to change it up.  I considered doing the Cantina band (too alien), Boba Fett (crowd favorite), a storm trooper (too cloned), Chewbacca (too furry!) and even joked with Bev about wanting to put Jar Jar in there, just because he was so hated.  What I settled on were the human characters Darth Vader, Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker… and Yoda.  He was modeled on Albert Einstein, so close enough!

I had to use a ton of different polishes and acrylic paint for this one, most of which are listed in my galaxy nails post.  I did have to use a few other colors as shown below.

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From left to right: What’s A Tire Jack?, Pale is the New Tan, and Read My Palm all by Sephora by OPI.

I did a modified galaxy nail art base on all my nails to provide an interesting backdrop for my characters.

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Step 1: 2 coats of Estelle from Julep.

Because the galaxy is just a backdrop for heads of characters, I modified the layout of the colors.  For a full galaxy nails tutorial, you can reference the post I did for my right hand nails.  I have all the polishes that I used listed there.

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The making of the most involved nail art that I have done to date!

First, I sponged on a blue color, focusing on the middle top half of each nail.  I also sponged on some purple to add more of a gradient effect.  I then applied a little bit of a white highlight with a sponge to where I thought the tops of the heads would be.  This was done to make it easier to see the hairlines of the characters with dark colored hair and to give them a halo effect.  It’s Star Wars according to the gospel of finepolish!

I painted a rough outline of each character with white acrylic paint from craft smart.  This made it easier for colors to show up over the dark galaxy base.

I used the brushes straight from the bottles of Pale is the New Tan and Read My Palm to color in the skin tones of each character accordingly.  After the polish dried, I went back with white acrylic paint and fixed the necklines for each character’s clothes.

The hair was added in next along with Yoda’s robe.  I used brown acrylic paint for Han and Leia’s hair and light brown for Luke’s hair.  Conveniently, Yoda’s robe was also done with brown and light brown acrylic paint.

The last part consisted of painting in the facial and clothing details.  You can see subtle wrinkles in the white areas of the shirts of the guys and the cowl of Leia’s gown, achieved by mixing white and gray paints to get a lighter shade.  Yoda of course has a lot of wrinkles and has huge eyes, so that’s why he looks a bit bewildered.  Han came out looking fatter than I intended, too.  Oops.

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I love how top coat makes everything look so smooth in the end!

Where’s Darth Vader, you might ask?  He was outcast to my thumb.

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Darth Vader is too O.G. to be with the other characters.

Darth Vader is so dark that I used gray acrylic paint for his outline rather than white.  It was easier to see than painting with black, and it allowed me to leave a slight outline of him to help him stand out from the background when I painted over it with What’s A Tire, Jack?

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Darth Vader is many shades of gray… and white and black.

Before you start criticizing how crooked my lines are, let me say that the canvas is way smaller than you think, and the macro shot blows it out of proportion.  My detail brush probably needs to be thinned out some more, too.  I also saved Darth Vader for the end because the color palette was so different from those of the other characters, so I was also tired at this point.  That’s the power of the dark side.

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The final look!

While I complain a lot about not having any painting skills, I guess I might have some.  This could have been a total train wreck!  I really pushed myself beyond what I thought my limits were thanks to Bev, but I guess that’s what good friends do!  She believed in me the same way I knew she would rock this collaboration as well.  Speaking of…

Bev’s attention to detail is just insane.  She can legitimately paint, and it shows!

I got pretty burned out on nail art after all the time I put into painting this, so that’s why I had to take a break from the blog.  I’m hoping to get caught up by the end of the week now that my schedule is a bit more calm.  In the meantime, happy polishing!

Galaxy Nail Art

I’ve been slacking terribly on updating the blog!  My apologies for being a month late with this post.  Something about doing a lot of hand painted nail art makes me very burned out.

I did a Star Wars collaboration with @thehumblebear on Instagram, and we both agreed to only paint our left hand nails because of the amount of work that would be required.  That’s all fine and good for a picture, but in real life, I can’t just have one hand done!  My solution was to do galaxy nail art on my right hand and also use the galaxy nails as the background for my Star Wars characters on my left hand.

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For this look, I used a black/blue/purple color scheme. From left to right: Estelle by Julep, Sailor’s Lure by Finger Paints, White Hot by Sephora by OPI, Make A Change by Nicole by OPI, and Indi-go With the Flow by Sephora by OPI.

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I started out by painting all my nails with Estelle by Julep. It has holographic glitter piece embedded into the polish, so it really sparkles.

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Step by step: how to make a galaxy.

The first few steps consist of using a gradient technique.  I used a small make up sponge to apply Sailor’s Lure at a diagonal in the middle of each nail.  I dipped the sponge into White Hot and highlighted various areas.  Then I sponged on Make a Change to add more dimension to my galaxy.

To make stars, I dipped a dotting tool into White Hot and varied the sizes of my dots.  On a few of the points, I used a detail brush to draw in a plus sign.  I finished up by adding Indi-go With the Flow, a chunky multi-glitter top coat, to make it shine some more.

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After some top coat, these nails really look out of this world.

I also tried to take a video to show how the holographic glitter shifted in the light, but Instagram compressed it and ruined the quality.  Trust me, it was full of rainbow sparkles!

Hope you all have a great week!  Happy polishing!