Unicorn Mermaid Nails

I’ve been holding off on using gel polishes after a bad skin reaction to the curing lamp a few months ago. I was really scared that my nails might fall off because my nail bed started peeling back, and the skin around the nails was itchy and getting hard before peeling off! Truly a nightmare. I’m a little wary about overdoing it with the lamp now (what, you’re not supposed to do gel manicures more than once in a day?), so I purchased some fake nails and decided to go about my swatches in this manner instead. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up doing sets for people now that I have all these fake nails!

In any case, I was super excited to use some holographic powder to create a fun and whimsical unicorn mermaid manicure, so as per the usual steps, I applied gel base coat from iMethod Beauty, cured that for 60 seconds, then applied and cured 2 coats of black gel polish. The color was 007 Blackpool from Aimeili, and it’s a trustworthy but affordable gel polish that provides the perfect base for chrome and holo powders.


Disclaimer: this is an old swatch on my actual nails because I was too lazy to take a new photo of a polish that I already swatched.

I then applied a layer of no wipe top coat from iMethod Beauty and cured it for 60 seconds before burnishing in their holographic powder with a sponge applicator. After all the black polish was covered by holo, I swept away the excess powder with a brush and applied another layer of gel top coat.


With a dazzling effect like this, who can say they don’t like holo?

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Tropical Spring Break Nails

Everyone was going away for spring break recently, which was the inspiration for this manicure. I have one student who adores flamingos and had a “flamingo experience” where she got to interact with them in person while she was in Florida, which sounded amazing! These nails are dedicated to her.

I chose a rosy salmon pink as the base color for this design. This was achieved with 3 thin layers of Belen gel polish in color NU016. Each coat was cured for 60 seconds in a 36W UV/LED lamp.


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Tropical Flamingo Nails

Schools have their winter recess now, so there are quite a lot of folks who hit the road (or skies) for warmer destinations. Unfortunately I am not one of those people, and I can only live vicariously through my nail art, so I created a tropical scene for this design.

I started by painting all my nails with Coconut Milk, a beautiful creamy white polish from Dimension Nails. It’s totally opaque in 2 coats and has the best painting consistency out of a lot of polishes that I have tried.


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Review of Born Pretty Fruit BP-X45 Stamping Plate

Craving some fruit? This square stamping plate from Born Pretty has you covered!


This square plate comes delivered in a cardboard sleeve that is printed with the series, instructions, and company contact information. A sticker with the item number and name of the plate seal the open edge to keep the plate from slipping out during shipment.


As with most stamping plates, a thin layer of plastic (this one is tinted blue) covers the surface to prevent it from getting scratched during shipment. You can remove this by picking at an edge with an orange stick and peeling it away.


Do note that because this plate is a square shape, the edges can be sharp, so it is not recommended that you grip the sides too hard while you are removing the film. At least the corners are rounded so you can’t stab yourself!

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Sandy Beach Nails

It’s hard to believe that we’re halfway through August already! I have no idea how time has been flying by. To be honest, I did these nails 2 weeks ago but am only just now starting to catch up with my blog.

In any case, I still haven’t been to the beach this summer because I’ve been so busy. The closest I can get to one is through some nail art.

I started by painting my nails with Born Pretty Thermal Gel in color BP-5730. I love thermal polishes for their natural gradient effect and also for their ability to entertain me in different temperature settings! This one looks like a pale periwinkle blue in warm temperatures and a deep royal blue in cold temperatures. It also has the perfect sprinkling of two different sized glitters in the formula which truly makes it look more special.



I applied and cured this polish for about 1 minute and repeated the process for a second coat.

My next step was to create a sandy beach line along the half moon area of my nails.  Continue reading

Jellyfish Ocean Manicure

Happy summer, everyone! Who is looking forward to going to the beach? I have to live vicariously through my memories of previous summers for now because I’ve been ridiculously busy this month with gigs, so I brought the beach to my nails with this jellyfish design.

I started by painting my nails with Recall from Born Pretty’s Flower in Sunshine Series. It’s a beautiful mermaid turquoise green color with a pearl pink sheen and holographic sparkles.


To create an ocean effect with some depth, I sponged on dabs of Diva into the Pool from Nicole by OPI.


For more contrast, I added a few dabs of Queen for a Night from Finger Paints. This was also a good choice for me because it alludes to the Queen of the Night character from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, which I am currently playing!


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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.


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.


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.


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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Black and Magenta Mandala Manicure

We’ve had a bit of a heat wave in NYC lately! Temperatures have been in the 90s here, and so I’ve been in the mood to do a summer bright manicure even though it’s officially fall.

The color that spoke to me was Beach Cruise-r from China Glaze which is a shimmery hot pink/magenta shade.


Things heat up quickly with a color this bright!

I figured that black stamping would look awesome over this base shade, so I dug through my plates and found this beauty from Born Pretty Store.


BP-48 plate from Born Pretty Store.

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Sailboat French Manicure

Seems like I’ve got beaches on the brain a lot lately! I put together a cute little sailboat manicure this week for an unconventional twist on French tips.

I didn’t want to leave my nails totally bare because they’re a little damaged right now, so I used a sheer iridescent glitter polish from Confetti called Ice Ice Baby to give my nails a bit of a twinkle. Like most iridescent things, it is hard to capture the sparkly blue green shift of the glitter under bright light and direct focus, but you can see its true color in the picture of the bottle.


Only one coat of polish was applied as a base. I wanted an ethereal look rather than strong glitter coverage.

The waves were done using a French tips plate from Born Pretty Store.


French BP-X20 plate from Born Pretty

I layered the pattern from the lower left hand corner of the plate with different shades of stamping nail polish from Born Pretty.


Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish in color #7 (royal blue) was applied across the tips of each nail.

I painted a sailboat by hand using Craft Smart Acrylic Paint and a detail brush. Painting it at this stage allows for subsequently stamped waves to overlap the hull of the boat.


Painting this boat was fairly simple, but it requires patience.

After the boat was done, I stamped the same French tip pattern from before with Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polishes in #284 (light blue) and #4 (white), staggering the tips of the waves so that the base color was covered. I repeated the stamping process with the same three colors until the tip was filled in completely.


Seche Vite top coat was applied on top to complete the look.


This was a cute design to put together, and I think it was a fairly creative use of the French tips plate. The layered look would work well with many different color combinations, so I’ll probably use this technique again at some point!

Happy polishing!

Review of Born Pretty Store BP-L068 Stamping Plate

Today’s review is going to cover item BP-L068, the fabulous nautical themed stamping plate that I used for my last two manicures. You can purchase this from Born Pretty Store from the link listed at the end of this post, so keep reading to find out more!

When the plate arrives, it comes shipped inside a pretty floral cardboard sleeve. It’s unfortunate that the picture on the package doesn’t match the image from the plate, but it serves its purpose of protecting the plate from scratches once the blue film from the top of the plate is removed.


The plate, freshly removed from the sleeve, has a layer of thin blue plastic wrap covering the metal portion. This must be removed prior to use, preferably before you start to paint your nails.

As is the case with all the Born Pretty rectangular plates, BP-L068 features rounded corners for safer handling, and the metal part is mounted on a thin plastic slab to prevent you from getting cut from grasping the edges too hard. You wouldn’t want to have to get a tetanus shot just to do your nails, after all!


The beauty of this plate is fully revealed once the plastic film is removed.

What I love about this plate is the large assortment of images that fit the marine theme. You get everything from ropes and anchors to the ships themselves and the crew members aboard and the creatures in the sea! Plus the layout on the right side of the plate is extremely cute because different patterns are arranged to make up the larger image of a boat. It makes for a pleasing overall look.

While the designs are all well etched into the metal and transfer well, the aforementioned right side of the plate has rectangular images that are just a tad bit too small to comfortably fit on adult nails without distorting the patterns. I tried to make ocean waves with one of the patterns, and the only nail that it fit completely was on my pinky. For the other nails, I was forced to try to stretch my stamper head in an attempt to cover the entire surface with the same pattern, but this distorted the image. Also, despite my attempts, you can still see where the design changes at the tips and sometimes also base of my nails.


Too bad the rectangular images from the lower right side of the plate aren’t a little bigger.

To give you a better sense of how much surface the rectangle covers, this is what the same design looks like stamped on my thumb nail without trying to stretch the stamper head.


You can clearly see that if you are trying to isolate one rectangular design, it is nearly impossible to make this happen on top of a larger nail. This is also one of the largest rectangular images on the plate so it only gets worse from here.

I do admit, the image is not unpleasing to look at despite the lack of continuity of the same pattern, but this will not do if you have any sort of OCD. It’s even hard to try to make a larger decal out of the same image because the entire rectangular portion is connected by lines that make it hard to remove excess portions of the design with tape. If there was empty space between the rectangular images, it would have been more easy to isolate and double stamp the same image again on the areas of the nail that were not covered.

I managed to hide the distortions of the wave stamping above by adding some double stamping of single images to create the ocean voyage manicure shown below. For details on how to get the outlined look, please refer to the tutorial link here.

The freestanding images all transfer beautifully, as you can see. They are all well proportioned to my nail size, and even the tiny details of the rope on my ring and pinky fingers come through.

I did try my luck with using the compass rose image from the rectangular section in the manicure below and managed to find an angle that fit on my ring finger, but if you look closely at the upper right and lower left corner of that nail, you can see a little bit of the bordering images.


Globe trotter nails. For information on the other plate used here, please see the original tutorial.

As much as I love the images on this plate, I have to take one diamond away from the rating because the rectangular sections just aren’t big enough to cover almost any nail fully unless you are ok with having bits of the surrounding images on your nail as well. You can still create tons of different manicures using the other singular designs here without having to worry about whether or not they will fit, making this a great plate for summer beach and boat outings.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

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!