Egyptian King Tut Nails

Tonight is our first official performance of Verdi’s Aida, the story of which is set in Egypt. I decided to go with an Egyptian theme of gilded gold nails, hieroglyphics, and the head of King Tutankhamun’s (Tut’s) sarcophagus as an accent nail.

I started by painting all my nails a shiny metallic gold. I used Charge It! from Sephora by OPI.

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2 coats of Charge It! from Sephora by OPI turn your nails into opulent gold works of art.

While looking for Halloween manicure ideas in the past few weeks, I came across plate BM-S250 from Bundle Monster, now called Maniology, that had an Egyptian theme. They clearly thought that it would be used for the mummy aspects of it, but you can create a pretty classy looking manicure from some of the other designs.

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King Tut was the highlight of this manicure, so I opted to work on him first before proceeding with the rest of the design.

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Election Day Voter Nails

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, not just for me, but for the nation.  I went to the polls immediately after I finished doing these nails, but I didn’t have time to post the tutorial until today.

I wanted an almost graffiti like look, so I went for a splatter technique in classic red, white, and blue colors.  Go USA!  This method was done with coffee stirrers that I cut in half so that the small opening could fill with nail polish easily (see the bottom right photo below for the size).  Simply brush the end of the straw with the color that you want to use and then blow through the other end to splatter the paint all over the place.  Things will get super messy, so make sure you protect all surrounding surfaces before starting!  Keep in mind that thin polish formulas work best for the actual splattering, and the farther away you hold your hand from the straw, the finer the splatter will be.

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  1. Paint your nails white.  I used wild white ways from Essence Cosmetics.
  2. Brush some red polish (And A Cherry On Top from Sephora by OPI) onto the end of a small straw or coffee stirrer and quickly blow through the other end to splatter the color onto your nails.  Repeat until you are satisfied with the coverage.
  3. Repeat the splatter technique with blue (royal blue from b.m.c. nail lacquer) and white (White Hot by Sephora by OPI) polish.  Obviously, white does not show up much, but it does look good when sprayed over large patches of red and blue.
  4. Be prepared for an intense clean up session!  I painted liquid latex around my cuticles, but I also washed my hands with a pumice scrub to get some of the polish off before wiping up the rest with acetone and a cotton pad.
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All cleaned up! Red, white, and blue patriotic speckled effect.

For the lettering, I cheated and used a stamping plate.  I seriously wish that companies would offer a full alphabetic plate, but I managed to make BM-426 from Bundle Monster work for this mani.

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Plate BM-426 from Bundle Monster. Vote can spelled from love and hate. How appropriate.

Because the letters have negative space, I filled in these parts with silver glitter polish (Silver Bells from Finger Paints) and did some reverse stamping.

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I used a clear stamper with Konad Special Nail Polish in Black to first pick up the letter from the plate, then I colored in the empty part with silver glitter nail polish and let it dry completely before transferring it to my nail.

Optional: Use a detail brush with black acrylic paint to correct and/or thicken up any lines as necessary.  I touched up some of the lettering after the stamping was done to make sure the word was visible enough even though most of the stamping came out perfectly.

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Repeat these steps until you spell out the word you want.  Then go out and vote!

I know that there are quite a few people disappointed in the results of the election.  I’m not going to voice my opinion here because this is a nail blog, not a political forum, so if you want to know my views, please talk to me in person.  It is our responsibility as a nation to try to get along with each other and accept the results instead of insulting people and their choices for supporting the “wrong” candidate.  Our voting system is the way it is for a reason, and all we can do is have faith that our president elect will make good decisions in the best interest for the country.  If not, we will have another chance to elect someone else in four years.

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People fought hard for the right to vote, so go out and register if you are able to do so.  It may not seem like one vote matters, but you never know how things might have turned out if everyone who could vote cast a ballot!

Take care, and happy polishing!

 

Review of Ya Qin An Stamping Polish #8

After trying out different stamping polishes from Ya Qin An, I decided to test an electric blue color this time.  The color is bright and absolutely stunning!  It’s a true royal blue worthy of the Duchess of York.

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18 mL of goodness: Ya Qin An Stamping Polish #8

Now honestly, I’m not sure what the color is called because other than the brand, all the writing on the packaging and the bottle is in Chinese.  I’m only referring to it as #8 because that’s the number assigned to the color on the Born Pretty Store website (see the end of the post for the item link).  Maybe one of my kind readers would like to translate what everything says in the comments?

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The bottle comes packaged in a box. This shot shows the instructions that are printed on the back. Thank goodness for pictures!

I’m guessing that the label on the bottom lists the ingredients and maybe the exact name of the color.  I also see numbers (2018.7.1) which could be the expiration date.  I’ve had old bottles of polish stay in good usable condition for years, so I wouldn’t take that expiration date too seriously, but according to the label, this bottle will be ok for nearly two years.

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I love the cube shape of the bottle because it provides a sturdy base that can’t be tipped over easily.

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The brush is a normal sized one, and it works fine for stamping because hardly any polish gets used on the plate anyway.  One stroke of polish should be more than enough to cover whatever design you wish to use.

As with any good stamping polish, the color provides excellent coverage in one thin coat and looks just as good on your nails as it does in the bottle.  I used a pattern from plate BP-L006 from Born Pretty Store for the stamping below.

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The top shot is shown without top coat while the bottom shot is pictured with top coat added. Base colors from left to right are White Hot from Sephora by OPI, Torque by Formula X for Sephora, What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI, and one coat of Ya Qin An #8 stamping polish.

You can see that the polish shows up beautifully over both light and dark base colors.  The fact that I could swatch one coat of polish on my pinky and get perfect, even coverage shows that the formula is well made.  Also, unlike other opaque stamping polishes, the polish is not overly thick.  This means that if you want to use Ya Qin An stamping polish as a base color, you can do so easily for a quick dry, one coat manicure.

The only complaint that I have is that over white polish, the blue color develops a little bit of a purple halo effect around the stamped design a few minutes after top coat is applied.  I tried to take a macro shot of it, but it surprisingly did not show up in the photo.

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Several minutes after the top coat was applied, the blue polished developed a purple halo around some of the edges of the stamped design. You can see a tinge of it toward the cuticle area, but it did not photograph well.

It was also interesting to note that when I cleaned my stamping plate, the cotton ball turned the same purplish hue.  I guess that’s how strong the pigments are in this polish.

You can see the purple tone bleed more clearly in the double stamped plaid manicure below.

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If you look at where the blue and white stamping overlap each other, you will notice that there is a third color that appears as a result of the color bleed off the blue polish.

The purple halo effect is very subtle and only seems to happen over white polish, so be warned.  Overall the quality of this product is extremely high and I have no reservations in recommending it to my friends.  The proof is in the stamping!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamping polish (retail price is $8.76 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!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/bottle-18ml-electric-blue-stamping-polish-nail-varnish-nail-plate-printing-special-polish-p-27003.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com

rsspx31

Porcelain China Inspired Nail Art

Fancy a spot o’ tea?  I’m planning to dress up as Alice in Wonderland for Halloween, so I did my nails already to plan ahead.

This one was a pretty simple one to do despite the complexity of the design.

I started out by painting all my nails with mayfair by nails inc.  The color is a perfect porcelain white with a pearl finish.

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mayfair by nails inc.

I used plate BPL-003 from Born Pretty Store for the two designs.  This plate has a great variety of tile type patterns, so I chose a somewhat busy looking one for the middle two nails and thumb and a more understated one for the other two fingers.

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Plate BPL-003 from Born Pretty Store. The designs I used for this manicure are in the top row, 2nd from the left and the first one on the left in the bottom row.

The stamping was done with royal blue from b.m.c. nail lacquer.

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b.m.c. nail lacquer in royal blue and mayfair from nails inc. Doesn’t anyone capitalize their company name anymore?

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The stamped design with Seche Vite topcoat added.

I didn’t do a perfect job with the stamping on my index finger, so I created a distraction by added some pearl studs from Born Pretty Store to the middle of the bottom curve of my index and pinky finger nails.  Tricked you, didn’t I?  😉  Pearls make this manicure more sophisticated and ladylike, so I just went with it.

As an aside, I think I need to prime my stamper a little more.  I used my squishy head stamper for this manicure, and it has never been the best at picking up every detail.  Truth is that I was impatient to wait for the base color to dry, so I figured that using a squishy head would allow me to stamp my nails without having to worry about smudging the polish, so the stamper worked perfectly in that respect.

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Finished tile print nails.

I could have made more literal Alice in Wonderland nails, but maybe I’ll save that for another day.  So many ideas, so little time!

Hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!  🙂  Happy polishing!

Hurricane Joaquin Inspired Floral Nails

NYC has been all abuzz about whether or not Joaquin was going to make an appearance here, but thankfully all we got was a Nor’easter, and I ended up with an idea for a manicure.

Looking through my plates, I found a floral image that looks a lot like a bunch of hurricane symbols.

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How does your garden grow? Plate BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store is all about flowers.

The roses in the 2nd row, 3rd image from the right proved to be the starting grounds for my stormy manicure.  Little did I know how tempestuous this design would end up being.

Here is the color palette I used:

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Silvery grays and blues. From left to right: Silver Bells by Finger Paints, Caviar Cocktail by nailtini, Sailor’s Lure by Finger Paints, and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! by OPI.

I wanted the eye(s) of the storm to be in the center of the manicure, so I painted Silver Bells on my middle and ring fingers and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! on the other fingers.  I figured that when I did the stamping, the flowers (hurricane symbols) would be glittery, something that is seldom seen because people can’t really stamp successfully with glitter polish.

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Very pretty start to a stormy manicure using I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! by OPI and Silver Bells by Finger Paints.

For the two outer nails, I wanted to do a gradient that darkened toward the two middle nails.  For this, I used a mix of Caviar Cocktail, Sailor’s Lure, and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! and tilted the sponge at an angle for the index and little fingers while I kept the sponge vertical on the thumb.

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A gradient of blues and grays is applied with the darkest sections facing the glittery parts.

It should be mentioned that I didn’t realize that Sailor’s Lure is a textured polish.  It isn’t marked as such on the bottle, so I was wondering why it looked so clumpy on the brush.  It still suits our stormy purpose, so it was fine.

Here is where the storm truly begins.  I thought I was going to stamp with Sailor’s Lure, but the thought of trying to scrape the polish off the plate with all the texture in it was making my skin crawl.  I couldn’t stamp with Caviar Cocktail because the color is too similar to the silver glitter.  I tried using royal blue by b.m.c. nail lacquer, but the design didn’t show through well.  I tried layering noir black by b.m.c. nail lacquer over the blue color, but it looked like a mess.  Neither one looked good nor fit my color scheme, so I had to wipe those two nails clean and try a new approach.

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Nail fail: bad stamping because my blue polish wasn’t dark enough and the black polish didn’t match my color scheme.

I decided to use a white polish as a base instead of the glitter and decided to stamp with a chrome polish because the royal blue color would seem out of place.

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Enter two new contenders: mayfair by nails inc. and Awaken by China Glaze.

Luckily I used school glue as a base coat, so I scraped the glitter off the two middle nails and applied mayfair first.

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Newly revamped nails with mayfair by nails inc. in the middle.

I did the stamping with Awaken and was fooled again by the polish.  This is what I get for not swatching colors before I start.

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Stamping done with Awaken by China Glaze.

While the polish stamped better than expected, the color was not what I thought it was.  Even when I originally bought the color, I thought that it had more of a dark blue tint to it, at least from the look of it in the bottle.  Instead, it is more dark silver gray with a lavender hue, and now I got to be frustrated all over again that my stamped nails didn’t match the gradient around it.

Ultimately I scraped the gradient off and painted Awaken on those nails instead.  You can see a difference in the color of the stamping compared to the color of the polish in the bottle more clearly below.

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The final result- not exactly what I intended due to being misled by the color of the polish in the bottle versus the color actually being swatched.

So that’s how I weathered this storm.  It took a few unexpected turns, but all ended well.  Hope you all have been staying warm and dry!  It’s a great excuse to stay indoors and do your nails.  😉  Happy polishing!

Q*bert Nail Art

After feeling so unsatisfied about my Matrix nails, I decided to look through my plate collection once again to try to find new inspiration.  This time I focused on the cube design on Cheeky Jumbo Plate 10 because it reminded me of Q*bert, a game I really sucked at because my age was in the single digits when I first saw my brothers playing it.  Q*bert was also featured in Wreck It Ralph and more recently in Pixels.

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Cheeky Jumbo Plate 10. I used the cube design 2 rows from the bottom and 3 columns from the right.

Obviously I wanted to paint Q*bert, so I planned to put him on my thumbnail so that I could make him big enough to stand out.  I also decided to paint Coily, the snake who is out to get Q*bert on the board during game play, so I planned to put him on my ring finger.  To make the characters stand out, I used a plain black polish as a backdrop.  I wanted to put the cubes on the other nails, so for a base, I used yellow polish, decided to stamp with a blue one, and colored in the other squares with a red polish.

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The color line up from left to right: b.m.c. nail lacquer- royal blue, Sephora by OPI- What’s a Tire Jack?, Sephora by OPI- Cab Fare, Sephora by OPI- And A Cherry On Top.

I painted the base colors first.

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Buzzing around with yellow and black polish.

Cab Fare takes 3 coats of polish to look opaque, so I needed to wait for that to dry before I could do any stamping.  I used the time to paint Q*bert and Coily instead.

For the characters, I used acrylic paint by Craft Smart and various sized detail brushes.  You can follow the painting process in the photos below.

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Q*bert step-by-step photo tutorial.

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Coily step-by-step photo tutorial.

A note on Coily- I know he’s supposed to have more coils, but I don’t have long enough fingernails to paint the extra loops!  I think you get the picture, though.

All that was left to be done was the stamping.  I tried using all 3 of the stampers that I own to save time, but I have to say that the Konad stamper still works the best.  In any case, after stamping the pattern, I filled in the striped boxes with And A Cherry On Top.  I used the mini bottle of polish for this because I turned the brush for this bottle into a striping brush awhile ago (just cut off 3/4 of the bristles from the original brush).  If you do this yourself, you can use a dotting tool or a detail brush to fill in the red boxes.

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Coloring in red boxes on a Konad stamper.

After transferring the pattern to my nails, here is the finished look:

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Q*bert and Coily amidst their cubes.

For those keeping track of which stampers work the best, the Konad stamper was used for the pointer finger, a large and squishy stamper from Amazon was used for the middle finger, and a stamper from Born Pretty Store was used on the pinky.  You can see that the Konad stamper picked up every detail without a problem.  You can read the original review of these stampers here.

This is maybe not the cutest mani that I’ve done, but it certainly evokes a lot of nostalgia for the 80s and arcade games!  I might decide to revisit Q*bert again because I’ve decided that an all hand-painted design is more preferable to a half hand painted and half stamped one- at least for me.  But if you love gaming and don’t want to let Pac Man steal all the 80s thunder, Q*bert is a great option.  Have fun!

Triangle Gradient Nails

I was inspired to use the triangle pattern on a plate made by Qgirl to do some nail art.  A full review of the plate can be found on my blog.

The list of materials for this mani are:

Sephora by OPI- White Hot
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri- Lickety-Split Lime
BMC Nail Lacquer- Royal Blue
Qgirl- plate 008

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Summer fun colors!

What I was first inspired to use was the triangle part of the plate.  I tried a different technique this time around to attempt a gradient (I say attempt because this is my first time trying this).  I applied a stripe of blue polish and a stripe of green polish to the plate as shown and scraped the excess polish starting from the blue in the direction of the green part so that the colors would blend.

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Swipe the polish off from left to right, and you’ll get a gradient of the colors.

And voilà!  A gradient is made! To jazz it up a little, I decided to hand paint the larger triangles onto my ring finger with a detail brush, which is why the polish looks more marbled there.  Guess it dried on my palette a little quicker than expected.  It was still a fairly easy mani to do.

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