Musical Nails

As you probably know, I’m a flutist who just happens to paint her nails a lot these days. It’s only natural for me to try to hunt out nail products that feature music notes, and I decided to feature one of my finds in this manicure, for better or worse, as you will soon learn!

I picked Aimeili’s 016 Tinsel Toast Gold Diamond gel polish as a base because of its dusky rose gold color. It surprised me that it painted on as a jelly with silver glitter because I was expecting it to be more gold because of its name, but it happens to match my gold and silver flute, so I was ok with this.


2 coats of 016 Tinsel Toast Gold Diamond from Aimeili were applied with each layer cured for 60 seconds in a 36W UV/LED lamp.

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Musical Ballerina Nails

My nails have been growing out decently, and with the length comes French manicures! This design joins some of my favorite art forms: ballet, music, and nails!

I started by painting my nails with a pretty pink gel polish from Aimeili in color 019 Cake Pop. It really does remind you of candy when you see it!


3 thin coats of Cake Pop were applied for this swatch with each coat cured for 1 minute.

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Glam Punk Sheep Nails

I had the wonderful opportunity to play with New Camerata Opera last week for their double bill of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Savitri by Gustav Holst. Everyone sounded amazing, but I was especially inspired by the costuming for the production of Venus and Adonis. They went for an MTV 80’s glam rock/punk interpretation of this 17th century opera with vibrant neon pinks and black mesh, leather, and lace.

After our first dress rehearsal, I promptly went home and created these nails.

I started by painting my nails white with Laguna Moon Classic Soak-Off UV-LED Gel Polish in color CL361.


2 coats of gel polish were applied with each coat cured at 30 seconds with a UV/LED lamp.

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Review of Born Pretty Nail Foils, Item 41600

Interested in using nail foils? Today’s review covers a set of 12 designs offered from Born Pretty Store. Let’s take a look at the product!


Set of Born Pretty foils, item 41600.

At first glance, these foils don’t look like anything special. The designs are folded lengthwise in half and placed inside a resealable cellophane bag so you don’t really know what you’re looking at. However, once you display each sheet of foil separately, their beauty becomes apparent.


12 designs, ranging from lace and flowers to animal prints and some Christmas themed patterns, are included in this package.

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Holographic Foil Spring Concert Nail Art

I have finally returned after a hectic month of taxes and concerts! I’m still quite busy, but I managed to put together some quick nail art in the meantime using nail foils.

I wanted to try out some gel polish from Born Pretty with the expectation that I was going to keep this manicure on for awhile. I used Born Pretty gel base coat, 2 coats of their black Color Coat polish, and a layer of their gel top coat, curing each layer for 1-2 minutes.


Born Pretty Color Coat gel polish in Black is deliciously shiny and inky.

I can’t get away with wearing solid colors anymore because people expect me to have some sort of nail art on my fingertips. Nail foils are a great way to have a dazzling effect without having to try too hard.


These foils are just a few of the 12 different designs included in Born Pretty’s item 41600. They are awesomely holographic when they catch the light the right way!

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Review of Born Pretty BP-L059 Stamping Plate

Being a full time musician, I’m always on the lookout for stamping plates with music notes on them. Don’t get me wrong- my music penmanship is pretty decent, but being able to stamp some staves without having to sweat about making lots of straight lines is a relief! So lo and behold, Born Pretty Store just came out with the perfect plate for me: BP-L059.


Plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty Store has images that cater to music lovers everywhere.

Let me start off by saying that this company got all the musical details correct on this plate. It’s very common for designers to get certain aspects wrong, like having the wrong number of lines on the staves, drawing alternating black and white piano keys instead of using a real keyboard layout, and making music notes with the stems and flags going the wrong way. I can say with certainty that no one will be able to criticize any of these things being wrong on the plate. I do find it ironic that the one thing that the designers messed up is that the word “music” is spelled wrong in the 2nd image from the left on the bottom row. There are plenty of other great image choices on this plate that more than make up for this error.

As usual, when you get this plate, there is a layer of blue film on top that must be removed before you can use it. You can easily peel this away by picking at it from one of the plate’s metal edges and lifting it off, so be sure to remove it before you start painting your nails. The film is there to protect the surface from scratches when it gets shipped from the factory.


The plate is layered in protective plastic on top.

Born Pretty also has their own cardboard slipcover for each plate so you can protect the metal surface while it is in storage. The back is labeled with instructions and social media sharing information.


Other features of the plate include a white plastic backing to prevent the user from cutting herself on the metal edges. It also has rounded corners to keep things gentle on your hands when you are sorting through your collection. The designs on the plate are etched deeply into the metal and allow you to get perfect transfers every time.

It is also noteworthy (ha, see what I did there?) to mention that the rectangular images measure 1.6 x 2.0 cm and will suit most average sized fingernails. The single images can be used on any kind of nail length, obviously, so you can get really creative with this plate.

I made a pretty antique looking music and bird manicure using the fourth image in the top row of the plate.


Birds and music manicure with one of my flutes used as a prop.

I used nail foil in conjunction with the image in the lower right corner to create these cool equalizer nails fit for a DJ.


You can find out how to mix nail foils and stamping in my tutorial for these equalizer nails.

My verdict is that if you are a musician or just love music, you should definitely own this plate. I plan to create many more manicures from this in the future and look forward to using it a lot so I can combine my two passions together!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamping plate (retail price is $5.99 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!


80s Equalizer Nail Art

Today I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a different technique with something I’ve never been great at using: nail foil. Anyone who has experience with it knows that it can be temperamental to use, and even when you get the application right, the wrong top coat can ruin the whole thing and make it look as if it was never there. Yet here I am testing my patience with this material. Off we go!

To start, I painted all my nails black.


This is stamping polish from b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black. Not sure why it looks textured though- it might be the pigments.

To make the decals, you will need a plastic bag or a silicone mat. I used the Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster for mine. Start by applying swatches of top coat onto your chosen surface. The top coat will serve as the base of your decal. Wait for your top coat to fully dry before you proceed to the next step.

Next, choose a pattern that you want to stamp and transfer it to a swatch of top coat. You must act very quickly to apply a piece of nail foil over the stamped area so that the foil can adhere to the wet polish. Rub over the piece of foil with your finger, then lift the foil quickly, and you should be left with a cool foil embossed pattern.


For this manicure, I used the pattern in the lower right hand corner of plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty.


The stamping polish used was the same b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black from my base color. I did this so that it would not look obvious if the foil did not transfer fully.

The foil was purchased in a large lot from an eBay seller, and there is no brand associated with it. You can see that the foil that I chose to use has a natural rainbow gradient effect, so it happens to match the levels that you would see on an equalizer. In case you don’t know what an equalizer looks like, here’s an example:

Very 80s techno chic.

At this point you can gently peel the decals off the mat and cut them to fit your nails. In order to hide some of the transfer imperfections, I also re-cut the levels of the bars. You can apply a cut decal by painting another layer of black polish or some top coat onto your nail and then gently press the decal onto the wet surface.


You can see where I cut the levels of the bars for the decals, but they more or less stick to the base color. This look reminds me of Tetris.

Disclaimer: Because I didn’t like the finish of the b.m.c. nail lacquer as a base color, I applied the decals using What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI.

It’s easy to say just apply top coat to seal in everything, but here’s where things can get tricky. I’ve heard that a water based top coat works best with foil, but I don’t have any. I also know that pretty much anything that is branded as “fast drying” will cause the foil to shrink and/or break up. If you don’t use a top coat at all, the foil will quickly rub off on its own. I took a chance by using my Ya Qin An top coat, seeing as it never smears nail art, and it worked pretty well. Thumbs up for Ya Qin An!


Nail foil success! Too bad this took forever to do.

Fun fact: I’m holding a record that I actually played on! It was for a private project, but it’s still cool as a collector’s item.

In any case, I love how I conquered my fear of nail foil. That’s not to say that I don’t curse a lot when things don’t work out the right way, but at least I know that I have another technique that I can use. Maybe practice does make perfect!

Happy polishing!

Birds and Music Manicure

As some of you know, I am a professional flutist and do this nail art thing as my hobby. It’s only fitting that today’s manicure pays homage to the job that pays my bills!

I wanted to create an antique parchment look for the background. It was hard to find exactly the right color, but I opted for this neutral tan called Samoan Sand from OPI to do the job.


Samoan Sand by OPI. It takes a few coats to get it opaque, but it’s a perfect nude shade for your nails.

To stain the “parchment,” I used some alcohol ink made from a BiC Mark It Permanent Marker in Woodsy Brown. To do this technique, color part of a plastic bag with the permanent maker, then take a small brush, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and pick up the marker pigment with the brush. You can then paint with this alcohol ink on your nails.


My attempt at creating a stained look with alcohol ink.

One thing I didn’t like about the color of the marker that I chose was that the brown had more of a red tint to it than I thought. It definitely changed the color of my base shade more than I would have liked, and I probably would have used a different base color had I known that that would happen. This was only one of many mishaps that occurred while I was painting this manicure.

Because of the 3-4 layers of nail polish that were needed to make Samoan Sand opaque, I had to wait quite awhile to let my nails dry enough before I could proceed to stamping my chosen pattern, shown on the plate below.


Perfect for musicians: plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty Store.

Being a flutist, I’m always learning music that sounds bird-like so the image from the top row, 4th from the left appealed to me the most. Using black stamping polish from Ya Qin An, I transferred the image to my nails. I used a clear stamper to make sure the lines of the staves were fairly straight and perpendicular to my nails. I also took care to try to stagger the image to make the design look more unique.


Stamping from a single image from plate BP-L059.

You’ll notice that there’s a suspicious looking burn mark in the middle of one nail. That was not supposed to be there originally. I made a mistake while double stamping the lower part of that nail- the first transfer had thin stave lines, so when I went over the bottom part a second time, I failed to line up part of the image correctly in one place. I tried to lightly rub the area with a cotton swab and acetone, but the black polish started smearing over the nearby areas. I ended up removing a larger section of polish than I had intended to, refilled it with Samoan Sand, and reapplied the alcohol ink, but the remnants of the smudged black polish still formed a ring around the area. I decided that this added to the antique flair and went with it. This just goes to show that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but you can still roll with the punches.

Speaking of, I had also horribly smudged my pinky nail right before I was going to take the photos for this manicure, so I had to completely redo that nail for these shots as well. Sigh.

In any case, I applied a layer of Ya Qin An top coat to prevent the stamping from getting smudged, then applied a layer of Matte Top Coat from Sephora by OPI to finish up this manicure.


This one’s for the birds!

Here’s to hoping that the next manicure won’t have so many nail fails involved! Happy polishing!


Review of Born Pretty Store BP-X07 Plate

Being a musician, I was attracted to this new square plate from Born Pretty Store.  After all, music and dance go together hand in hand!


BP-X07 plate from Born Pretty Store is part of the new 6 cm square series plates from the company.

Sadly, the musician in me balked against the improperly drawn stems and flags on the note heads which should have been flipped to be on the opposite sides of the notes.  Technically this could be fixed by reverse stamping this part onto clear nail polish to invert the image, but ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!  I was super bummed that I would not be able to use that part of the plate without getting flamed by my colleagues.

Also, anyone with musical training knows that the treble clef always goes on the left side of the stave.  You can get around this technical error by only using the swirly musical banner without stamping the treble clef sign, but it’s still slightly annoying.

The dancer silhouettes on the other hand look awesome and include a variety of different styles such as ballet, flamenco, and ballroom styles.  I decided to use some in my sparkly pole dancer manicure.  More on that in a bit.

Going over the basics of the plate, it gets shipped with blue film protecting the surface, so be sure to remove this prior to use.


Fresh out of the package. Please remove the blue film before using the product.

A word of caution: Although the metal of the plate is not overly sharp, it can still do some damage, especially because the edges are straight.  I managed to cut my fingers while gripping the sides of the plate while removing the protective layer, so don’t hold it too tightly!  The corners are at least rounded to try to minimize the rest of the damage that this item can do.

The back of the plate is stamped with the name of the company and their website.


Rear view of the stamping plate.

Like all Born Pretty plates, a cardboard sleeve is included so you can store your purchase safely inside it when you aren’t using it.  The packaging is nondescript and fits all 6 cm square plates, so feel free to use it with plates from other companies if you want to.


The front and back views of the cardboard holder. You can refer to the backside for instructions on how to stamp nail art.

The etching is deep, but I did find that little details were hard to pick up.  For instance, in the image below, the poles did not transfer very well, and the outline of the leftmost girl’s bikini top and the heels of her shoes are missing.  Some of the silhouettes have arms and legs that look too stick-like whereas on the plate there are sensuous curves.


Stamping transferred the majority of the design correctly but not precisely.

Honestly, this was the first time I ever had a hard time with a Born Pretty plate, but it was easy to fix the errors with some acrylic paint.


I tidied up this manicure by repainting some of the details with a striping brush, a detail brush, and some acrylic paint.

While this plate is great at giving a basic image that you can tweak and fix, it won’t be exactly the same as what you see etched.  Had the designs not contained so many fine, tiny lines, this would have been a perfect score.  However, if you love dance, you should own this plate because no one is going to sit around nitpicking that the legs or arms don’t look right.  I’m sure you’ll be able to rock the look no matter what!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamping plate (retail price is $3.99 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!


Rainbow Musical Nails

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to update the blog lately, so I apologize for that.  These nails are from May, so even though I’m posting in June, I’m filing this under last month.

I really felt like doing a rainbow gradient across just the tips of my nails, so I had to pull out a whole arsenal of polishes for this one.  Pictured below from left to right are the following colors:

OPI- Privacy Please
Sephora by OPI- Curve-aceous
Sephora by OPI- Cab Fare
Formula X for Sephora- Danger Zone
Confetti- Ice Ice Baby
Sephora by OPI- Gleek Out
Sephora by OPI- Who Let the Dorks Out?
Formula X for Sephora- Hyped

I tried to pick polishes with shimmer in them so that the overall look would be more unified.

I started out by painting my nails with a nude color base.  You can opt to only do the gradient if you have nice looking nail beds, but I wanted to even out the tone.


Privacy Please by OPI- a neutral shade that makes it look like I have healthy nail beds.

Using a small sponge, I applied dabs of each color in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Each nail has 2 colors on it starting with red on my thumb and ending in purple on my pinky.


The rainbow gradient is beautiful by itself.

I wanted my rainbow to have some more sparkle, so I added a stroke of Ice Ice Baby, an iridescent glitter, to the top half of each nail.


The lighting doesn’t pick up the different reflections of the glitter, but it’s there.

Finally I took craft smart Acrylic Paint in White and drew in a few lines with a striping brush to draw two lines across the tip of each nail.  I made little note heads with a dotting tool and painted in the stems with a detail brush.


The notes are entirely optional, but I wanted to acknowledge my music career with this design.

I think it’s pretty and represents what a colorful part music plays in our lives.


My two loves: my flute and nail art.

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?  😉

Happy polishing!