Leopard and Jungle Print Manicure

It’s a jungle out there, and here are the nails to prove it!

I started by painting my nails with Aimeili gel polish in 073 Kale. This army green provides the perfect backdrop for jungle foliage. 3 thin coats were applied and cured for a minute each in a 36W UV/LED lamp.

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Aimeili gel polish in color 073 Kale.

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Neon Metallic Floral Print Nails

Happy Mother’s Day! I’m bringing some bright neon floral nails for Mom with this manicure so let’s get started!

I’ve been using a lot of foil lately, so I wanted to try my hand at combining foils with stamping, something that I’ve only done one other time. I picked this pretty shimmery magenta one from a batch I bought from eBay a long time ago, and then I picked colors for my manicure to go along with it.

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This foil comes in a long piece that is placed in a small canister for storage. We’re definitely not using this much for the manicure!

For the stamping, I chose the rose design from the top row, 2nd from the right from the Valentine’s Day BP-L001 plate from Born Pretty Store.

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To make the decals, I applied some HK Girl Top Coat from Glisten & Glow in rectangular sections on top of the silicone Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster and allowed it to dry completely. I then used Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish in Purple to transfer the image from the plate to the patch of dried top coat and quickly rubbed the foil over the stamped area. If you are not quick enough, the foil will not stick to the image, and you will have to try it again. This is definitely not an easy process, and you can see that my bottom two tries were more successful than the top two tries. Practice makes perfect!

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When the foil transfers perfectly, the image really shines!

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Abstract Watercolor Flowers Manicure

Hello everyone! I’ve been super busy trying to gather all my paperwork together to do my taxes, so I apologize for not being that active as of late. I suspect that I’m going to have to take a break at least until after April 15!

In the meantime, I tried to slap together something that would be quick to paint and look cute for spring. I drew inspiration from a bouquet of carnations that a student gave me after a concert and a plate from Born Pretty Store. Let’s get started!

I first painted all my nails white. I looked for an unused polish in my collection and came up with this neon base coat from Formula X. Because it was meant to be used underneath other colors to make them appear brighter, it doesn’t really perform the best as a stand alone color, but it does the job.

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This neon base coat from Formula X has a slightly yellow tint to it. 3 coats of polish are pictured here.

To make the outline for the flowers, I used a plate from Born Pretty Store. The image in the top left corner is a beautiful abstract floral design that I loved for its hand painted look.

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Valentine’s Day BP-L001 plate from Born Pretty Store.

Because the pattern was so large, I was able to stamp various portions of it across all of my nails which added to the hand painted look. Continue reading

Happy New Year! 2018 Nail Art

Happy New Year, everyone!

Today called for something festive and happy. I like to keep it a little classy as well, so I instantly thought to have a dark base color with some sort of glitter on top. After digging through my polishes, I selected a few choice bottles to produce this manicure.

I started by painting two coats of black polish on all my nails.

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This mini bottle of fun is the color Slayer from KVD vs Formula X, part of Formula X’s collaboration with Kat von D.

My selection for the glitter element was this stunning topper from Pretty & Polished called I Busted My Glass. It looks like confetti but with a holographic twist. It twinkles in the light, and it’s extra beautiful on this black base. I would have been plenty satisfied to call it a day here for the easiest nail art ever!

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I Busted My Glass from Pretty & Polished.

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Fun Halloween Themed Nails

Happy November! This post is coming a little late because I’ve been swamped with trying to get a lot of pictures edited and ready for the blog (not to mention work!), but I think you guys will still enjoy seeing my journey for this manicure!

I did my nails the night before Halloween, and while I didn’t have any spectacular plans to go out, I did want to be festive. I went with a various selection of stamped images on top of a dark background.

To start, I prepared my nails with Born Pretty Liquid Peel Off Tape and then painted my nails with Legend from Formula X for Sephora.

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I kind of wish I hadn’t painted the peel off tape first because this shade is gorgeous and deserved its own swatch photo!

Next I took a small piece of a makeup sponge and applied Jetsetter from Formula X and blended it with Legend to create a vampy gradient.

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Because each shade has shimmery particles in it, the textures blend extra well together.

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Texas Strong Nail Art

Apologies for the lack of activity lately. The beginning of the new school year is always a tiring and busy time for me, and I haven’t had much time to paint my nails.

A friend from Texas had requested that I do some Texas Strong nails in light of the recent hurricane activity there. The victims of Hurricane Harvey have been pushed aside in the minds of many after Hurricane Irma hit the US not long afterward. Many prayers go out to those who are still recovering from both disasters. I’m grateful that those that I know who are in the affected areas are safe.

In any case, the first thing that came to mind with my Texas Strong design was to paint the state’s flag and a small version of the state on my nails. For those who don’t know what the Texas flag looks like, here it is:

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Public Domain, Link

I started by painting my index finger blue and the rest of my fingers white.

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The blue polish is called Oceanic and the white polish is called White Matter, both from Formula X.

I did the star by hand with a small brush and craft smart acrylic paint in White. To get a more symmetrical look, I placed dots where the 5 points of the stars would be and then connected the dots.

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To ensure that I got straight lines between the white and red sections, I applied a piece of striping tape to use as a painting guide, then I brushed on red polish (Pyrotechnic by Formula X) over the top part of my nail.

The text “Texas Strong” and the state of Texas on my pinky were hand painted with a detail brush and craft smart acrylic paint in Black. A generous amount of Seche Vite top coat finished off the look.

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It’s a simple design that gets the point across. I wish I could have done something big and grand, but I’m still struggling to find the time to do everything these days.

Hope everyone is safe and well out there! Happy polishing!

Elegant Stone Marble Nails

Looking for some subtle nail art for spring?  How about trying a marble design?  I’m not talking about water marble, I’m going for the rock!

I started by painting my nails a pale pinkish-gray color.

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The color is Thrilling from Formula X.

Next, I used the alcohol ink technique to provide a wash of gray ripples throughout my base color.  I colored a part of a plastic bag with my gray permanent ink marker (Sharpies or BiC Mark It pens are perfect for this) and then dipped a small brush into rubbing alcohol and mixed it with the marker ink applied to the plastic bag to make alcohol ink.  I dabbed the mixture over my nails to my liking, creating a smoky effect.

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Rubbing alcohol and a Stone Grey BiC Mark It pen were used to create the wash of grey color on my nails.

I could have easily freehanded the veins in the marble, but I went the stamping route for this one.

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BPX-L020 from Born Pretty Store was my plate of choice for this manicure.

Using the pattern from the bottom row, far right side, I transferred the design to my nails with b.m.c. nail lacquer in iced silver.

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The finished veined marble look.

I love how simple this design is, and it is the perfect color for spring.  I think this also works great for the working professional because the pattern is so subtle, and the neutral color is non-offensive and goes with everything.

Hope you enjoyed this one!  Happy polishing!

Thanksgiving Cornucopia Nails

It’s funny how I yearn to paint more freehand designs these days.  I used to always favor simple nail art in interest of time, but now I don’t mind spending hours paying attention to details and shading.  With such high aspirations in mind, it only made sense that I try to paint a cornucopia in time for Thanksgiving.

I often have a hard time getting started with these projects, so I started off by painting my nails a nice gold color.

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Ambitious by Formula X is a matte metallic gold shade.

I figured that the lightest shade would be the best to use as a base color because anything darker would easily show up over it.

I picked out three more autumnal shades for the background of my design which I planned to smoosh together, and I chose a few extra polish colors which I used for the fruit in the cornucopia.

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Polishes used from left to right: Dusk by Formula X for Sephora, Caliente Coral by Sephora by OPI, Espresso Your Style by OPI, Legend by Formula X for Sephora, S’more Fun by China Glaze, and NY139 by Nicka K.

For the smoosh technique, I used a large stamper and dotted on my fall colors.  I used Ambitious, Dusk, Caliente Coral, and Espresso Your Style for the mix.

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Haphazard array of fall nail polish colors on my stamper head.

To achieve the smoosh look, I stamped the blend of colors directly onto my nails.  Continue to dot polish on the stamper and apply it to each nail until you are satisfied with the result.

It is recommended that you use a liquid latex peel off barrier around your nail beds for easier clean up because things can get messy during this process.  I still had to use cotton swabs dipped in acetone to clean up any excess polish on my skin.

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After clean up, a beautiful fall background is achieved.

What I love about the smoosh effect is how it almost looks like I painted leaves, but in reality it took hardly any effort!  I’m also just a little bit proud of my results because this was my first attempt at a smooshy nail design.  After doing nail art for four years now, it’s hard to believe that there are techniques that I still haven’t tried yet.

I applied top coat at this stage because I had to go out to dinner, so I continued with the painting of the cornucopia when I returned home.  I’m grateful that nothing got smudged or chipped while I was out!

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The cornucopia was done mostly with blends of craft smart acrylic paint with a detail brush. The bodies of the apples and grapes were made with some nail polish applied with a dotting tool, and selected grapes were outlined with acrylic paint so that they didn’t look like a blob of color.

I probably should have sketched out my design prior to painting it because it would have made arranging my pumpkins and fruit easier to do, and it would have saved some paint as I opted to paint whole items in the background first so I could paint the foreground items on top of them without having to worry about placement right away.

In the end, I think I spent about 3 hours painting all the cornucopia elements.  I had wanted to make it look more bountiful, but I got lazy and figured that I got my point across at this stage so I wrapped it up.

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So thankful that I finished the design without any horrible mishaps!

This design holds the record for the most time I have spent painting my nails.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it was definitely one of my most intricate hand painted works.

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I didn’t have the energy to paint corn, so I’m holding it in my hand instead. Candy corn counts, right?

I didn’t mind putting the effort into painting this, but I’m sad that I didn’t use a peel off base coat first so I could save my work of art in the end.  I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through my photos!  The saving grace is that I don’t have to worry about random nails losing their polish during my daily activities!

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!  Happy polishing!

Spooky October Nails

It wouldn’t be October unless I had at least one Halloween themed manicure!  I’ve been dying to be able to paint, but I haven’t had the time, so I did some stamping instead.

To begin, I painted my nails with Funky by Formula X.  It’s a metallic chrome blue that has slight color shifting abilities where it turns more gold at different angles.

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Funky by Formula X.

I went old school this time and pulled out my original Bundle Monster Series 1 plate collection for the patterns.  These were some of the first plates that I purchased on Amazon years ago.

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BM 13 plate by Bundle Monster has some creepy crawly stuff on it, perfect for an October mani.

The stamping polishes used were gold and silver colors by Ya Qin An and Konad Special Nail Polish in Black.  I used a double layer technique to make sure the images could be seen over the blue base color.

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I stamped my chosen designs with silver polish first. I stamped an extra bat on my middle nail to fill in the space. To make the spiders contrast with the web, I used gold polish. Using a clear stamper and black polish, I staggered the patterns just enough to form a highlight behind each image.

The truth is that if you try to stamp black polish directly onto the blue, you can’t really see the design, which defeats the purpose.  Double stamping is a great way to make the images really pop.

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I can’t say that this was quick to do, but the results came out nicely!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your October, and if you celebrate, have a Happy Halloween!  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.

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Destiny by Formula X.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!