Sweet Treats Manicure

It has been another insanely busy week for me. I just can’t seem to catch my breath, and it’s already the second week of July! Where has the time gone?

In any case, today’s nail art centers around sweet things: cookies, cupcakes, and saltwater taffy. This design was partially stamped and partially done with water marble but overall fairly simple to do if you are familiar with these techniques.

To start, I painted my nails with white and yellow colors. The white nails are simply to make my water marble more vivid while the yellow nails provide a happy background color for the design I will be stamping on top of them.

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The white base color is White Hot by Sephora by OPI. I did not go for full opacity as I knew that a water marble design would be applied over these nails later. The yellow color is called Metro Pollen-tin from China Glaze.

For the stamping, I used the design from the lower right hand corner of the Cake BPX-23 plate from Born Pretty Store.

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Sweets abound on plate BPX-23 from Born Pretty Store.

I stamped the design with Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish in color #15 (brown) and colored in the details directly on the stamper. To save time, prepare multiple stampers with the same design so that you can do all your coloring and transferring simultaneously.

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Colors used on this design are Vera by Julep for the cookies, Lollipop by Orly for the cupcake wrapper, White Hot by Sephora by OPI for the squiggle detail of the cupcake, and Cherry Red by Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear for the cherries.

After allowing the polish to dry completely, I stamped my colored in creation directly onto a nail and applied top coat to protect the design.

Next, I taped up my thumb, index, and pinky fingers and did a water marble technique using the lavender (Lollipop by Orly) and yellow (Metro Pollen-tin by China Glaze) colors that were previously mentioned in this manicure. After forming a bullseye in a small container of water, I swirled around the polish with a water marbling pen and dipped a finger into the part of the pattern that I thought would resemble saltwater taffy. With care, I was able to dip two fingers into the same bullseye pattern in order to save time and nail polish.

After removing the tape and cleaning up my cuticles, a layer of top coat was applied to the water marbled nails, and the manicure was finished!

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Sweets for the sweet!

It’s a little labor intensive to do reverse stamping, but the final look is super cute and detailed.

Hope you enjoyed this manicure, and I’ll see you again soon! Happy polishing!

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Aruban Flag Nails

My orchestra was asked to re-record the Aruban National Anthem for the first time in 40 years.  What an honor it was to participate in this event and make music with the choir full of gifted singers from Aruba!

Because of the significance of the occasion, we were warned that in addition to making an audio recording, the sessions would also be filmed and photographed.  I wanted to respect Aruba and show my support for the project by painting the country’s flag on my nails.  Thankfully it wasn’t a very complicated design.

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By http://www.vexilla-mundi.com/aruba.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=375101
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I used Snowcone by Orly for the base color.

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With a striping brush and yellow acrylic paint, I marked two straight lines along the side of my thumbnail and across the tips of my other nails.

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To make the red star in the corner, I started by painting a small cross with a detail brush and red acrylic paint.

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I gently filled in the star by painting small lines over the cross shape done in the previous step.

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I finished it off by painting a white outline around the star with acrylic paint.

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The thumbnail shows the flag in its entirety.

I think the recording went well, and I’m anxious to hear the final cuts of the versions of the anthem that we did!  And who knows, maybe my nails will make it into one of the video cuts as well.

Happy polishing!

 

 

Snowy Cityscape Nail Art

Raise your hand if you got hit by winter storm Jonas over the weekend!

It only seemed fitting to do some sort of snowy nail art after being dumped with over 20 inches of snow in NYC.  With a travel ban in place on the day the blizzard came, I used the time to do some nail art.

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The color palette: Snowcone by Orly, Konad Special Nail Polish in Black, and Wham! by Formula X for Sephora.

I began by painting all my nails with the aptly named Snowcone polish by Orly.

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This beautiful sky blue is brought to you by Snowcone from Orly.

I used a plate from Bundle Monster to construct my city.

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Plate BM-414 from Bundle Monster.

To make a little bit of a variation on some of the buildings, I tried to stamp the pattern at varying heights, and I also erased parts of the design by painting over the tops of some structures with Snowcone.

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Stamping done with Konad Special Nail Polish in Black and plate BM-414 by Bundle Monster.

Wham! is a great glitter top coat from Formula X that mimics snow quite well.  I applied one coat to the top 3/4 of my nail so that the buildings would not be completely covered by glitter.

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Wham! by Formula X creates a realistic looking snowfall with its different sized glitters.

Important note- I should have let the stamping polish dry completely before applying Wham!  I’m so used to instantly applying Seche Vite top coat over all my designs that I forgot that stamping polish can get streaky if a different clear based polish is used on top of it.

I did try to clean up some of the streakiness by adding touches of Snowcone over the parts that didn’t look so nice.  I think the overall effect is pretty cool.

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Winter in the city.

Hope you’re all staying warm and safe out there!  Happy polishing!

Review of Ya Qin An #19 Stamping Nail Polish

I’ve been dying to try Ya Qin An stamping polish ever since I used one of their stamping plates a few months ago.  I’ve come to expect pretty good quality from this company, and I was sure that their nail polish would hold up to their standards.

Let’s start off by addressing the packaging.  The nail polish comes in a box, which instantly makes the level of the product seem more classy.  The box also has the added benefit of protecting the bottle.  Who wants to risk the glass bottle banging against another hard surface and chipping or breaking as a result?  I don’t!

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The sticker was added by Born Pretty Store for inventory purposes, but the Ya Qin An brand name is printed on the box underneath the label.

Also, although I’m sure no one who is buying this would need this, there are instructions for use printed in Chinese on the back of the packaging.  Even if you can’t read Chinese, you can figure out what to do based on the pictures.

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Instructions for use are conveniently pictured on the back.

The bottle itself holds 18 mL of nail polish, which is actually more than your average bottle.  Orly nail polish is the same size, but most brands give you 12-15 mL of varnish.  Safe to say, this bottle will last you awhile.

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Ya Qin An stamping nail polish in color 19.

What I also love about the bottle is how the base is pretty much a cube.  Not only will it be easy to store alongside other colors of the same brand, but it also makes the base nice and sturdy so that it won’t get knocked over easily.

Although the color is listed as #19 on the Born Pretty website, the packaging does not make any reference to the number anywhere.  In any case, it’s a pretty pale blue.  I think of the “periwinkle” crayon from the Crayola box when I see it.

It makes a nice looking manicure when used on its own.

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Pretty pastel. 2 coats of Ya Qin An polish in color 19 pictured without topcoat.

As a stamping polish, this light blue works like a charm.  It transfers onto all colors with even consistency and is completely opaque.  I love how subtle this color looks over a white background and the vibrant contrast it has over a black background.

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Stamping done over the following colors with plate BPL-028 from Born Pretty Store: Sephora by OPI- What’s a Tire Jack?, Orly- Snowcone, and Sephora by OPI- White Hot. No topcoat applied in this picture.

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A coat of Seche Vite topcoat smooths everything over beautifully.

I think this polish definitely is worth buying.  I’m going to need more room to collect the other colors made by Ya Qin An!

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Lace manicure using Ya Qin An stamping polish color 19.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this nail polish (retail price is $8.66 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy polishing!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/18ml-candy-color-nail-stamping-polish-newly-nail-varnish-stamp-p-21282.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

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FAQ- Secrets Behind A Long Lasting Manicure

Do you complain about any of the following?

My nail polish keeps chipping.
My nail polish peels off.
I can’t get my manicures to last more than a day.

Have I got a post for you!

One of the top concerns that my friends have about DIY manicures is how to make the polish last.  Not everyone has the money to drop at a salon to get their nails done (*cough* especially me), but people claim that their polish comes off way faster when they do their nails at home.  Stop the madness!  This does not have to be the case!  Here are some tips and product endorsements that may make your life easier.  I’m not getting paid to represent any of the companies or products listed in this post, although hey, I’m open to that happening!  😉  But this is what works for me.

  1. Start with clean, dry nails.
    I can’t emphasize this step enough.  Your nails can’t have any oil or residue on them if you want that mani to last.  If you’ve ever had acrylics done, the technician starts by filing down your nail.  Do you know why?  Because filing will take away that top shiny layer that has your skin’s natural oils all over it and will help the acrylic stay put for a longer time.  Same thing goes if you look at a lot of those gel polish pre-wipes.  Most contain 90% isopropyl alcohol which again serves to dry the nail out and strip away any oil on the surface.  Everyone knows that gel polish lasts a long time.  So…
    What should you do at home?  Wipe your nails down with a cotton ball soaked with either pure acetone or 90% isopropyl alcohol.  Forget those special blends of polish remover that have moisturizers or are non-acetone.  If you want the polish to stay, you want to dry out your nails as much as possible first so that your base coat will adhere to your nail bed better.
  2. Use a base coat that dries to a rubbery finish.
    And yes, I would highly recommend using a base coat!  Seeing how porous your nails are going to be with all the natural oils stripped off, you’re going to want a protective layer between your nail and the polish unless you like having stained nails.  I’m not saying that every polish will stain your nails, but if you happen to get one that does, you’re going to be seeing the remnants of that color for a long time if you don’t keep painting your nails.As for what has a rubbery finish, I tend to use Bonder by Orly a lot when I want something to last.  I’ve also had another nail art enthusiast friend recommend Stickey by CND Colour, although I don’t have first hand experience with it.  Both of them have a slightly rubbery, sticky finish, and this is what is going to anchor your polish to your nail bed.
  3. Paint no more than 3 coats of nail polish color onto your nails.
    Thick nail polish is not your friend.  Unless you’re using it for stamping, I would either toss the bottle or add some nail polish thinner to it prior to painting your nails.  Thick nail polish will trap air bubbles in the formula from when you shake it up to mix it, and those bubbles will surface when you paint your nails and won’t look cute at all.Also, the thicker the coat of polish on your nails, the more likely it will crack and chip off.  You want to use as few coats as possible so that the polish will remain somewhat flexible on your nails.  If you can even get away with one coat, more power to you.  2 coats is pretty standard.  3 is pushing the limits.  4 is hot mess territory.
  4. Run a coat of polish along the edge of your nail after you paint it to help prevent chips.
    Chips will almost always start at the tip of your nail, so it helps to seal in the layer of polish by wrapping the color around the edge.  No need to actually paint it on- just swipe your nail against the side of the brush.
  5. Seal in your polish with a good top coat.
    Don’t try to skip this step!  Not only will your polish look nice and glossy, but it will often help to dry your polish faster and keep the color from wearing off too quickly.  My personal fave is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.  I use it on practically all of my manicures and pedicures.  It helps bond all the layers of base coat, color, and top coat together, smooths out any weird imperfections (like brush strokes and clumps), and sets quickly.  I tend to do a lot of my manicures at night right before bed, and I have never woken up with a smudged manicure.  This stuff is magical!  Just make sure you also coat the edge of your nail the same way you did in step 4.

And that’s it!  My pedicures last a month without any chips and no reapplication of top coat with that method.  The polish might be able to stay on longer than that, but I don’t know because I usually have to cut my nails at that point.  😉

My manicures could probably last just as long, but I’ve never tested it out because I’m always trying to find an excuse to paint my nails again.  But here’s an example of a manicure I did last summer following the steps above.

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Floral manicure featuring Suzi’s Hungary Again! by OPI and acrylic paint.

Because I thought this mani looked pretty, I decided to keep it for awhile.  After a week, I brushed on another coat of top coat to revive the shine, but I tried out Freedom Polymer Top Coat by Julep (get your first box of polishes free through the link) for the first time that day.  Julep says that you can also cure this top coat with a regular light to add additional protection, so I did that, and 13 days later…

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13 days of looking beautiful and chip free!

You can see the nail growth by my cuticles to show that I wasn’t faking the number of days that this manicure lasted.  There was a little bit of wear at the tips just from everyday living, but everything stayed intact.  I would have kept going, but my fans wanted to see a new manicure.  😉

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The tried and true top coats and base coats mentioned above.

Let it also be said that if you really want your manicure to last, don’t abuse your hands.  Try not to pick at things with your nails or use your nails as tools.  You can also wear gloves when you do the dishes if you’re really concerned about keeping your polish looking pretty.  For the record, I do none of those things.  😉

I hope this helps solve your manicure and pedicure problems!  Let me know what works (or didn’t work) for you in the comments below.  Happy polishing!

Crown Nail Ring Review

You know what I’m jealous of?  All those manicure pictures that have cute midi rings.  I had no idea where to buy them until I saw Born Pretty Store‘s website.  I thought they only sold nail supplies at first, but then I realized that they have the absolute cutest and most unique jewelry that I’ve ever seen.  I’ve easily spent more than $100 on various items from them, and that’s saying a lot because they have good prices as well as a good selection of merchandise!

So guess what I managed to get a hold of?

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Jeweled crown midi ring.

Be still, my heart!  This little ring is gorgeous and it has a split in the back so the size is adjustable.  It also comes in a gold color, but I prefer silver metals.  It’s really meant to be worn as a midi ring right by your cuticle as a finishing touch for a nice manicure, but I guess you could wear it as a regular size pinky ring.  I don’t want to stretch it too many times just in case the metal isn’t that strong, but the price is so cheap ($3.36 USD retail) I suppose it couldn’t hurt to try.  Personally, I only wanted this for manicure photos.  I can’t see myself wearing this out for the night because I would be too paranoid about it slipping off my finger.

The packaging it comes in is less than glamorous.  It basically comes in a little poly bag with a sticker covering up what it looks like.

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The ring comes in a little bag with a hole at the top so that it can be hung up on store display racks.

But the magic is really inside the package.

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Every girl deserves a crown, even if it’s only for one nail.

There are 3 pearl studs and 3 iridescent rhinestones set into the crown.  The rhinestones change colors depending on how the light hits them.  The rest of the crown is embossed metal, but at a distance, it has the effect of looking like the embossing could be crystals.  This is one shiny ring!

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Bippity, boppity, boo! My nails don’t need a prince to get a crown! The polish shade is Blue Collar by Orly.

I’m just pleased as punch about this ring.  I’m sure you’ll be seeing it a lot in future posts from me.  😉

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this ring (retail price is $3.36 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Stay pretty!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/elegant-crown-nail-ring-mini-pearl-rhinestone-open-adjustable-nail-ring-p-21304.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

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Sunflower/Black Eyed Susan Nail Art

When I was doing my review for Temix Mini Nail Color yellow stamping polish, I had to find a plate that would go well with the shade I got.  The suns from Cheeky Jumbo Plate 2 looked like they could be turned into sunflowers or Black Eyed Susans very easily with some brown rhinestones, so I decided to make a full mani out of it.

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Cheeky Jumbo Plate 2. The design I used was 3rd from the left and 3rd from the bottom.

I liked the idea of having sunflowers being backed by a blue sky, so I used Blue Collar by Orly for my base color.

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A beautiful blue polish: Blue Collar by Orly.

After letting that dry, I went ahead and stamped the design from Jumbo Plate 2 with Temix Mini Nail Color in #3 and applied topcoat.

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Bright suns serve as the base for this floral design. Stamping is done with Temix Mini Nail Color in #3.

Afterward, I set dark iridescent rhinestones with Kiss Nail Art Glue into the centers of the suns to turn them into flowers.  The way the rhinestones protrude resemble the centers of Black Eyed Susans.

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The finished look against a bed of Black Eyed Susans.

Overall it was a very easy manicure to do, and it’s very eye catching and summery.  Happy polishing!