Flaming Manicure

Not too long ago, I played the opera Die Walküre by Richard Wagner, the 2nd of 4 [very long] operas that make up Wagner’s Ring cycle. Everyone was expecting some appropriate nail art from me, so I chose to do a fire design based on the last scene of the opera. It’s the only place where I had to play the piccolo in my part, so it just made sense to me.

Because it’s a fiery scene, I started by painting my nails with a red based black polish called chelsea from nails inc. It’s perfectly opaque in 2 coats, although you can see more of a red tint if you only use one coat.

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Constellation Manicure

This month has been all about the stars, and I’m not talking about the Hollywood kind. It being the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon, Mercury being in retrograde pretty much for the whole month, to the recent obsession with Area 51, it’s hard to not be thinking about outer space lately! Here’s an easy nail art design you can put together to join in the madness.

My first step was to paint my nails with this cool glittery black jelly polish from Julep called Celeste. I needed to apply 3 coats to get good coverage as jelly polishes can be pretty sheer. I love the iridescent glitter combination that they used because it sparkles and really looks like a built in galaxy.

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Neon Rainbow Pride Nails

It’s June, and pretty much the entire month is associated with Pride celebrations. I was playing with drag diva pianist Jacqueline Jonée for her shows, so I wanted to do a set of rainbow nails to complement her “50 Shades of Jonée” theme. I’ve been itching to try out my neon powders with stamping, so keep reading to see how this was achieved!

I started by painting all my nails black with Black Lace, a color from Sephora’s ancient “5 day shine” series of nail lacquers. This polish was part of a set that was gifted to me for my birthday 9 years ago, and it still works great!

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2 coat swatch of Black Lace from the Sephora 5 day shine collection.

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Review of Born Pretty Chameleon Pearl Stamping Polish Set

If you’ve ever ordered from Born Pretty, you know how long it can take to receive an order. It’s not unheard of to receive items in the mail that you totally forgot you bought because over a month has passed! But with Born Pretty’s US Warehouse, one can receive their order within a week, which is a pleasant surprise! They tend to have sets of items rather than listing each item individually, but the prices are still reasonable with the shipping still being free. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up loving everything in the set anyway!

This review focuses on their 6 piece chameleon pearl stamping polish set. Each box is wrapped in cellophane (not sure if this is a permanent change across the brand or if this is exclusive to US Warehouse products) so you know the item hasn’t been tampered with. Other than that, the packaging is identical to the polishes from the regular Born Pretty website. The cellophane is a little bit of a pain to remove as it seems to adhere to the box slightly during the sealing process, and there is no pull tab to help with tearing it off. I had to use scissors to make an incision to be able to get a hold of the wrapping. This kind of seal seems wasteful to me, but I guess the US is known for creating a lot of garbage.

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A pretty assortment of colors is offered in this set of chameleon pearl polishes.

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Easter Bunny Manicure

I know I’m posting this tutorial a little late, but at least it will be a reference for future Easters to come! After seeing the Easter bunny around town a few times, I decided to make some Easter bunny nails that didn’t look as creepy as the ones that I saw! Seriously, some of those bunnies are terrifying!

To start, I painted 3 coats of LV010 from Ünt. This company is best known for their legendary peel off base coat, a product that I use in combination with a lot of my gel manicures to make them easy to remove seeing as I change my polish quite often, but they also have a full range of colors and cosmetics. This beautiful light pink polish dried with a vinyl finish, but it also took forever to set and was streaky for the first 2 coats. If you have a lot of free time to do nothing, this is a good polish, but it definitely does not dry in a New York minute. It was disappointing considering how well loved their Ready for Takeoff base coat is.

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This beautiful swatch of LV010 from Unt needed a lot of time to dry, and it still wasn’t fully set when I started doing the rest of the nail art. Oops.

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Funky Pineapple Nails

As a flute teacher, I have to be inventive while teaching my students. One of the rhythms that has been somewhat problematic for them is the one with an 8th note followed by two 16th notes, so to try to help them out, I tell them to think of saying the word “pineapple,” emphasizing the “pine” part so that they hold that syllable a little longer. It was only a matter of time for me to do nails based on the fruit, seeing as I end up saying “pineapple” during the day quite a bit!

I decided to swatch this bright shimmery yellow polish from Sally Hansen’s HD collection called Lite. You’ll see that I ended up changing the colors on two of my nails after taking this photo, but I have a goal of trying to get swatch photos of all of my polishes. I think it’s going to take awhile, though!

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2 coats of Sally Hansen HD Hi-Definition Nail Color in 05 Lite were applied for the perfect shimmery canary yellow shade here.

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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!