Koi Manicure

Feeling a little fishy? Here’s a manicure featuring koi. Did you know they are a symbol of love and friendship in Japan?

To give my fish somewhere to live, I first painted my nails a turquoise blue shade from Sephora by OPI called Bright as a Feather. This polish has shimmery silver particles in it that give the color more dimension. I applied 2 coats for the swatch below.

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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Manicure

We recently had our first snowfall storm in NYC, and wow, did it make a mess out of the city! Nothing takes the magic out of snow away like sitting in traffic on unplowed streets for hours and hours! The weather inspired me to create a gray skied manicure with a lovable icon of Christmas to try to bring the wonder back.

I started by painting my nails gray with Laguna Moon Classic Soak Off Gel Polish in color CL064. Because I was using gel polish, I applied 3 very thin coats cured at one minute each in a UV/LED lamp.

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3 coats of Laguna Moon’s CL064 shade turns your nails into a chic gray with the added reinforcement of a gel polish.

My initial plan was to mostly use stamping techniques for this manicure, although things did not go exactly according to plan for me as you will soon see!

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Elegant Wedding French Manicure Nail Art

Today I wanted to bring some pretty and easy nail art to the table. Weddings were my inspiration for the week, so I brought together glitter and pearls to come up with this look.

For my base color, I chose Perky Pink from Sally Hansen. It’s a beautiful pink jelly that has iridescent glitter suspended in the color.

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I wanted some noticeable glitter coverage, so I used 3 coats of Perky Pink to achieve this look.

For the French tips, you can either paint them by hand or use a stamping template to help you out. I recently acquired the French BP-X20 plate from Born Pretty Store, so I used the pattern from the upper right hand corner to easily stamp some pearl polish onto my nails.

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French BP-X20 plate from Born Pretty Store.

The pearl white stamping polish (Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish in color #54) provided even coverage over the pink base, and thanks to the stamping plate, my smile lines were nice and even.

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To add a little something extra, I applied a simple flower design to my ring finger using Harunouta plate L025 and some black stamping polish from Ya Qin An.

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The pattern for my accent nail comes from the 2nd row of the left side of the plate.

I isolated one group of lines and flowers from the design and stamped it at a slight angle on my nail.

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This look can easily be recreated with a thin striping brush and a dotting tool.

To finish off the manicure, I applied Seche Vite top coat and immediately placed two small silver microbeads from the Recollections Signature brand to the centers of the flowers before the polish set.

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I’m in love with these nails and think they look super pretty and feminine without being over the top. Wear them for a special occasion or everyday. Life is too short to save good things for later!

Happy polishing!

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!

London Bridge Nail Art

I had to fine tune my last manicure to be more functional because the glitter kept catching on everything and falling off, but I wasn’t about to get rid of that lovely flag yet because of how long it took to paint.  I knew I had a template for London Bridge on one of my stamping plates, but I opted not to use it the first time around because I thought it didn’t look enough like the real structure.

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Cheeky Jumbo Plate 3. I wasn’t totally digging the London Bridge graphics on this one, but I used one anyway. It’s in the 5th row, 2nd image from the right, and a single version of it is in the 2nd row, 3rd image from the right.

London Bridge is a sandy color, so I picked a nice tan polish and decided to go with a sky blue background.

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From left to right: b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black, Infatuated by Formula X for Sephora, and Vera by Julep.

After removing the glitter from my original manicure, I repainted those nails with Infatuated.  For a full tutorial on how to paint the flag, please refer to my last post.

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British pride!

To add color to the bridge, I stamped the image onto several stamper heads before coloring it in with Vera and a small dotting tool.

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A set of stamp heads makes working on several images a piece of cake.

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I used a dotting tool to color in the image. I could have been more precise if I used a detail brush, but I hate cleaning nail polish off my nail art brushes.

I didn’t bother to put the stamper heads back into the holder to transfer the image onto my nails.  After letting the polish dry a little, I took a head and gently rocked the stamper back and forth across my nail to make sure the image transferred.

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Closeup of my index finger.

The plate image still looks hokey in my opinion, but it’s still somewhat recognizable.  The simplified design along with the color scheme also makes me think of sand castles.

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London Bridge hopefully won’t fall down like it does in the song!

So ends my Anglophile week.  I’m playing a recording session tomorrow and Friday that will also be filmed, so I’ll need to change my nails lest people start wondering why a NYC musician is sporting UK nails!  I’ll be sad to lose the flag, though.  I hate working with striping tape, but I love how clean the lines turned out.

Happy polishing!

UK Nail Art

One of my friends went to London for the month, so naturally she put in a request for London themed nail art.  I joked that I could simply paint my nails all gray and say that it was London fog, but I didn’t think that was what she had in mind.

I could have opted to paint some of the landmarks- Big Ben and London Bridge came to mind, but I feel like my ability with acrylic paint couldn’t do justice to the structures.  In the end, I decided to make the fuzzy texture of the hats of the royal guard flanking the British flag.  If I had long nails, I would have included a face with the hats, but with my current length, I felt like the heads wouldn’t have the right proportion if I went that route.

I really wanted the flag to look nice, so I decided to use striping tape to keep the lines super straight.  I hate using striping tape because it involves lots of drying time, patience to apply many pieces of tape correctly, and the possibility of messing up your nails when removing the tape, but my friend deserved the best.

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Flag colors: White Hot by Sephora by OPI, Blue It by Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear, and And A Cherry On Top by Sephora by OPI.

Because your nails have to be complete dry before applying any kind of tape, I painted my thumb, middle and ring fingers with White Hot to start the drying process as soon as possible.

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Please excuse the nail discoloration- the red glitter from my last mani somewhat stained my nails.

While the white polish was drying, I decided to do the fuzzy hats.

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The “hats” are done with What’s a Tire Jack? by Sephora by OPI and Recollections Signature Glitter in Ebony.

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To apply the glitter, I first painted my nail with black polish.

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While the polish was still wet, I sprinkled on the glitter. Keep a piece of paper on your table to catch the excess so you can pour it back into the container when you’re done.

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I used a fan brush to dust away the excess. I cleaned up the extra pieces of glitter by running an orange stick along the borders of the polish on my nail.

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After patting down the glitter a little, the resulting manicure looks rather chic and interesting. Lovers of texture polish will love this look.

I waited a few hours for the white polish to fully dry before attempting to apply the striping tape.  Be sure to test a small area of your nail with the tape to see if you will ruin your base color before proceeding.

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This was the layout for the striping tape. You can see that it already resembles the British flag.

When working with striping tape, it is best to use thin coats of polish so that the color you are painting doesn’t bleed into other areas when you remove the tape.  Also, try to remove the tape as soon as possible so that the polish doesn’t start stretching and/or blending with the base color as you pull each piece off.  Because of this, I don’t have pictures of every single step, but suffice it to say that I colored in the blue areas first and the red stripe down the middle of the flag as shown below.

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You can see that even though I tried to follow my own tips, some of the blue polish leaked into the white area. You can fix this later by going over these spots with a dotting tool and some white nail polish.

Of course, I totally forgot to color in the horizontal red stripe, so I had to reapply the tape to fill in that area, and I left it on to paint the red diagonal stripes as well.

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I reapplied striping tape to fill in the horizontal red stripes. I used a striping brush to draw in the diagonal stripes by hand.

Incidentally, painting the flag by hand is a ton faster. Start with a blue base color, use white acrylic paint and a striping brush to paint large stripes, and then add red polish over the white paint.  You will save yourself hours of drying time and not be super frustrated with placing all those pieces of striping tape.

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My finished Union Jack done with striping tape.

But wait, what did I do with my thumb, you ask?  I painted another flag of course…  because it’s so clear that I loooooove using striping tape.  The steps are pretty much the same as for the bigger flag, but I took more pictures this time.

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Lots of striping tape.

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I painted the red stripes first with the assumption that if I bled into a blue area, the blue polish would cover up any red mistakes more easily.

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I used the brush from the bottle to paint the blue sections, so that’s why it’s a bit messy.

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After removing the striping tape, I still had to use red polish to finish the cross in the center, but you can also see what happens when you leave striping tape on for too long. Because the polish set more during the time that I used taking extra photos, the colors pulled up with the tape and created a bleeding effect along some of the edges.

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I wish my thumb looked cleaner, but it’s not bad.

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The guards are at attention!

My friend loved the nails, thankfully, and now another friend has put in a request to do a South African theme in honor of her homeland.  I better start doing some research on the area!

Incidentally, I didn’t apply top coat to the glitter for the photos, and most of the glitter will flake off if you don’t.  The texture doesn’t look as nice once you apply top coat, but it’s a real pain feeling like you’re shedding glitter on everything, so I had to change those nails.  But that’s for the next blog post…

Happy polishing!