Review of Born Pretty Melody Life Series Stamping Nail Polish in BP-ML01 Nirvana

I’ve always loved Born Pretty stamping polishes, and this green one from their Melody Life Series does not disappoint.

The color of this polish is called Nirvana (BP-ML01), and it’s a pigmented yellow green that reminds me of Kermit the Frog.

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Grape Manicure

Hello! Sorry to have been MIA again, but I was depressed about my peeling, brittle, breaking nails. In my haste to remove some of my last few manicures, I’ve been using 100% acetone, which really wreaks havoc on natural nails, so I needed a bit of a break. I ended up repairing a broken nail with some acrylic powder, which accounts for some of the lumpiness in the manicure you’re about to see because I didn’t apply it to the whole nail and apparently didn’t file it down very well, either. Oops. But hence the inspiration for my [sour] grape manicure.

In my head I saw grapes on top of a terracotta tile like the decor you might find at Home Goods, so I opted for a buff neutral color (Alison from Julep) to go with the nails that would have grapes on them. The other nails got painted with one of the accent colors that I planned to use for my grapes: Purple with a Purpose from OPI.

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I love the shimmer in the purple polish from OPI, and the buff/peach colored nails have what Julep calls a “soft focus finish.”

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Glittery Flowers and Leaves Manicure

Hello! Today I’m bringing you a floral season crossover manicure that fits spring and summer months equally well. Let’s get started!

For my base color, I picked a light pink from Ulta’s Salon Formula collection called Encore Pink. Honestly, now that I’ve tried out this line, I wouldn’t use it again because it took 3-4 coats to get even coverage across my nails, and it took forever for it to dry properly! I do love the pink color though.

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Ulta Salon Formula Nail Lacquer in Encore Pink.

I wanted to use leaf and flower patterns for this design, so I sourced them from two different plates from Born Pretty Store.

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I used the 3rd image from the left of the bottom row of the Floral BPX-L018 plate from Born Pretty for my index, pink, and thumb nails.

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The flowers from the 2nd row, 2nd image from the left of plate BP-L066 from Born Pretty were used on my middle and index fingers.

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Dried Flower and Damask Print Nails

I’m bringing you some more flower nail art to brighten your day today!

Again, I’m featuring some dried flowers from Born Pretty Store. Stay tuned for a review on these flowers coming soon to the blog!

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This time I used the little lavender blooms from the far left. Some prep work is needed before starting to paint.

I gently pulled the petals from the husks and trimmed down the brown parts with a small pair of scissors before setting the blooms aside. Be very careful that the area is not drafty because the petals can blow away very easily!

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Dried flowers can be messy, so work over a piece of paper for easy clean up.

For the nails, I started by painted everything with a shimmery lavender polish called The Color to Watch from OPI.

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This polish is a little sheer, so it takes 3 coats to get the look in the photo.

I wanted to add some stamping to my nails, so I picked some pretty prints from the L026 plate from Harunouta to do the job.

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I chose to stamp with the 2 square designs in the top and middle rows, 2nd column from the right.

I alternated my chosen patterns on each nail, turning the stamper 45 degrees for a diagonal placement to change the look. That pretty lavender lacquer is Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #271.

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A very subtle and classy damask print design will complement the flower petals that are added next.

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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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Game of Thrones House Greyjoy Nails

How many of you watched the Season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones on Sunday? I’ve been eagerly awaiting the new episodes, so it was fitting that I do some Game of Thrones nail art to celebrate the day!

Why House Greyjoy, you ask? It’s definitely not the house that I’m rooting for. I’m not a fan of anyone from that family except for maybe Yara/Asha. But I had been approached on Instagram to do a Game of Thrones house sigil collaboration and ended up choosing the kraken because it seemed like it was the most adaptable sigil to fit across my nails, and a few of the other houses had already been taken. Little did I know that everyone in the group decided to bail on the collaboration and didn’t bother to tell me! Oh, well- at least I got some cool nail art out of it.

House Greyjoy’s sigil is described as a gold kraken on a field of black. I went through my black polishes and chose this shimmery version that I had never tried out before. I suppose a basic black would have done the job equally well, but this shade was gorgeous.

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Black Dress Not Optional by OPI is the perfect shade of shimmery black.

The easiest part of the manicure was my thumb. The words of House Greyjoy are “We do not sow.” so I wrote this out with yellow acrylic paint from Craft Smart with a fine detail brush. To aid with the spacing, I wrote “do not” first across the middle and added the “we” and “sow” afterward.

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“We do not sow” is a whole lot easier to write out on one nail compared to “What is dead may never die but rises again harder and stronger.”

The kraken proved to be an interesting conundrum. Pretty much all graphic images of the sigil make the kraken look square and spread out, but it still looks like a cross between a squid and an octopus. I initially sketched out a rough draft with pencil and paper to get a better sense of the spacing across all four nails, and then I took yellow acrylic paint and started by painting the head and worked my way across each nail, attempting to center the design as much as as possible and make sure parts connected to each other. The tentacles were essentially squiggly lines, so it wasn’t the hardest thing to paint, although it was hard to keep the lines looking clean and somewhat symmetrical. I also chose to not be too detailed with the image to keep it looking bold.

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My kraken was painted with yellow acrylic paint first to establish the layout of the image and to provide a more opaque base for the gold polish applied afterward.

I applied a bright gold polish (Charge It! by Sephora by OPI) with a small detail brush over the yellow acrylic paint to smooth out the design and stay true to the Greyjoy colors. This part required patience more than anything.

A nice layer of top coat from Seche Vite smoothed everything out a little more, and with that, a kraken was born!

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House Greyjoy represent!

It was great to see the episode afterward and watch the Greyjoy ships flying their banners. My fiancé recognized the image immediately whereas previously, he probably wouldn’t have known whose ships they were. It’s great that nail art can be so educational in that respect!

I’m looking forward to seeing the next episode, but until then, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This one’s for the birds!

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