Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Argyle and newsprint!

I'm not feeling too wordy tonight, so without further ado, here are my two most recent designs!

Argyle print! I personally love most prints, except maybe paisley...but I'm especially a fan of houndstooth and argyle. I had seen some argyle nails online but didn't think I could pull it off...seemed too hard. But I saw one called "big argyle" that seemed more doable. I used tape to make the four diamonds with (relatively) straight lines, and then I crisscrossed over those with a white nail art pen. I ended up really liking this - yes, I know my lines aren't perfectly straight or even and it's sloppy in some places but for a first attempt, I'm happy.

Another shot, without flash. By the way, I think part of my shakiness is because I finished this up at about 7 am. I was so thrown off by working midnights that on my nights off I just stayed awake and did nail stuff. Early in the mornings, right before I went to bed, I was somewhat wobbly and I think I'd do better if I were more awake!

And my most recent design - I did this last night!! I LOVE it.

Finally,  my first ever attempt at newsprint nails! I tried it once before, but failed miserably because I tried using nail polish remover and not alcohol. I think I just didn't read the tutorial all the way through, haha. I originally got this idea from my boyfriend's mom and I finally tried it out last night because I needed something that was fun yet professional for a job interview I had today! This was also the first manicure where I tried the acetone/paintbrush cleanup technique for around the cuticles that I saw on The Nailasaurus. It worked great! I've never had such clean lines around the nail. Too bad my cuticles are horrible. Stress will do that to ya. Anyway, above is my left hand and the hand I did first, so the letters aren't as crisp or clear.

By my second hand, I had learned to soak the nail longer and press down the newspaper longer and harder, so they came out much clearer. Well, I don't know if it was my great nails or not, but I got the job!!! Imagine that, I search for jobs for months - NOTHING - until now and I'm getting offers left and right and unfortunately have to narrow it down between jobs that all sound great. The final verdict is I've accepted one part-time job as a Job Coach, and one part-time job as a Crisis Support Specialist at the YWCA, and I think (I hope!) I'm going to love them both. :] Anyway, my newsprint nails died today as I was cleaning out bottles for frankening and the acetone ate them up. I need to pick up another paper and then I'm going to redo them tomorrow! That's all for now, hope everyone's Memorial Day was fun and relaxing!



Here are some pictures I took last week when I tried out a couple of duochrome polishes. I read about these polishes on a few different sites, and from what I gather, it just means that they change colors in the sun. Apparently, Sally Hansen's Nail Prisms were a really popular and pretty duochrome brand a while back, but they don't make them anymore - luckily I found one when raiding my mom's old stash from when she worked in a makeup department! I tried it out and it was really pretty! Of course, I did it too close to bedtime and it got smudgy - even Seche Vite couldn't save it, but the differences in color were pretty awesome anytime. Here it is!

This is what it looks like with the flash, at night time. This color is called Amber Ruby, and it went from a dark bronze to more of a yellow-y goldish color in sun.

This is when I woke up, so you can see the sheet creases. But I couldn't believe how much the color changed in the sun! Definitely a polish I will try again another time (long before I go to bed)!

So, I liked this color so much I decided to try another duochrome that I saw at Rite Aid - Scherer's Chameleon. I always see these at my Rite Aid but for whatever reason never end up getting them, maybe because I wasn't in love with the colors they had in stock. But I went to a different Rite Aid and they had more colors, including this one - Blue Sky, and I liked it so I decided to try it.

In natural light, but in the shade. It was a sort of steel-y blue that reminded me of metal. Really pretty, but the formula was a nightmare - not sure why. After I put it on, I looked up some reviews (maybe something I should have done BEFORE buying it) and I guess a lot of people had this problem with the formula. For me, it applied really streaky and there were even lumps in it. And for the record, I applied to completely clean, dry nails so I'm not sure what the problem was. I ended up just having to apply really thick coats, and I did about three coats plus two coats of Seche Vite...it ended up evening out all right, but still was not happy with the formula overall.

In the sun, outside (in my car). It became much more metallic looking and when I would turn it in the sun, it shifted back and forth between colors in a way that was really interesting.

Another picture in the sun. Overall, I'd probably buy it again if I saw any more colors I liked a lot, since it's pretty cheap (only 2.99). Also, I'm not sure if I just got a bad bottle and it might not be as streaky normally. I think for me, the bottom line here is that I really like duochrome polishes and I would definitely be open to trying more in the future - except not til July. I've resolved that June is my no-buy month. :P


Friday, May 25, 2012


Yes, I finally got the pictures I took with my boyfriend's camera so that means...a galaxy tutorial will be up soon! But, since I have to go shopping and I have to work tonight, that one will have to wait since it will take me a while to type up. Today, I have an update of my last few hauls (as of, like, three weeks ago so I've bought a lot more polishes since these) and some of my latest designs. I had a few coupons or needed certain colors so here are a lot of the polishes I've gotten recently:

I think I grouped these together because I either bought them or got them in the mail on the same day. I had a coupon for BOGO half off Revlon at Rite Aid so I picked up these two - Copper Penny and Whimsical. I had seen a lot of people talking about Whimsical so I was excited to get it - haven't tried it yet! Then, I heard about this free $20 basically, at bloom.com and I made good use of it by getting an awesome basecoat - Zoya Anchor, and then two pretty polishes - Zoya - Jem, and Essie - Shine of the Times. From what I can tell, Shine of the Times is another must-have, and so far, I can see why. I just tested it on one finger at some point, over green and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Some spring colors I picked up, I don't have them next to me at the moment so not sure of the names right now, but you get the idea. That purple Pure Ice has so many colors in it, I love it!

Some new Wet n Wilds - can't remember the first one, but the Fastdrys are from left to right,, Gray's Anatomy, then How I Met Your Magenta, and last Party of Five Glitters.

New Sally Hansens. I got the first one because I went to try to paint a Pokemon nail set and realized I had no lime green. That grey Xtreme Wear must have been broken open or something because it is really thick and lumpy and it was all dried around the lid when I opened it, but of course I didn't save the receipt. It's too bad because it's an awesome flat grey. I'm sure I'll buy it again. The blue and green came in a two-pack for ONE DOLLAR at the Dollar Tree! :} And those last three Diamond Shines, especially the glitters - I'm in love. I showed the pink one, Ring-a-Ding, in an earlier post.

I went to the mall intending to buy...something else, I can't even remember what! I left with this. The four on the ends are from Forever 21. They had some really interesting colors and they were pretty cheap. Plus I think I was hungry when I was shopping and they're mostly all named after good (i.e. sherbet, mint chip, etc). The middle three are from Icing. I haven't tried the mood one, but it was on clearance, so I thought why not? And the other two were pretty glitters. I've tried the rainbow confetti one, and it's great! The black and gold one reminds me of Pittsburgh, so that's why I picked it up.

A bunch of new NYCs. The first two came in another two-pack at the Dollar Tree, then there's Bowery Black (I fell in love with it because it's such an interesting color, it's not really quite black), then Matte Topcoat, Flat Iron Green (I believe) and Big City Dazzle.

I think that's it for now. I've bought more since then but don't feel like doing another one of these, haha. I have some new nail designs that I've been working on that I will probably put up tomorrow since this post was so picture-heavy. I'm excited to try some of these out still! :] I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day!!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Here's what I've been doing lately..

So, like I mentioned before I haven't updated in forever because the tutorial I made and my last few hauls are on my boyfriend's camera. But I have some updates on the rest of what I've been doing lately! I finished school the first week of May and finished my practicum the week after. So I didn't have a whole lot of time to do anything super creative with my nails. I've been doing a lot of gradients 1)to practice new techniques and 2)because they're quick and easy and I like them! So here are a few I've done in the past couple weeks!

Here's a pink and gold gradient I did before my last day of work because the weather was beautiful and I felt like doing something sunny! The colors are Wet n Wild Fast Dry - How I Met Your Magenta and Revlon - Copper Penny. For my accent nail I just added a couple coats of Sally Hansen's Diamond Strength in Multi-Faceted - which I LOVE! It's a chunky black, blue and silver glitter. Anyway, for this gradient, I did a few (I think 3) coats of the Wet n Wild, then I started at the tip and painted layers of the Revlon, painting gradually more and more of the nail each time and staggering it a bit so it wasn't straight across. This would have been easier if the Revlon wasn't so opaque - it was definitely a 1-coater which I didn't know at the time.

Another angle. I really loved this mani!

This is a mani I did last week when I was getting ready to come back home to Pennsylvania to work for a couple of weeks. Again I felt summer and wanted something super bright. For this gradient, I tried a tutorial that I found at thenailasaurus.com. The picture really doesn't do it justice because of the flash - the graduation was much more subtle and cool looking than it appears to be here. I got a lot of compliments on this mani, and I liked this sponging technique better than the one I tried in my FA at gradients. I switched up my accent nail because I got a few more bumps than normal on my pointer fingers for some reason! I added a couple coats of this pretty confetti-ish glitter I got from Icing, the name is escaping me right now. The colors here are Sinful Colors - Tangerine (something or other) and Sally Hansen X-treme Colors in Pacific Blue.

And lastly, like I said I came home and since I don't have a lot of money for presents, I told my mom she could pick any mani she wanted and I would do her nails for her. She picked "tie-dye" which I begrudgingly agreed to even though as I've said before water marbling and I are not best friends. She wanted bright colors, which turned out kind of pastel over a white basecoat but she was happy. Here it is!

Mother's day mani :] It came out better than I hoped it would but I still think my swirling technique still needs work! Anyway, that's basically what I've been up to lately, more updates soon when I get my pictures off the camera. Hope everyone's summers are starting out wonderful! Mine has been full of work but I am thinking of the paycheck...  ;]


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Water Marble Wednesday!

Okay, I have to say that maybe I didn't give water marbling enough of a chance. I hated it the first time because I could not get it perfect and I also just didn't like how it came out. I think I've realized what it wasn't I didn't like about it after some experimentation. I'm just much more a fan of bright colors and I didn't like the pastel-y tones that came out, SO I've practiced with layering a bit and I like it much more! When it came out too light or I wasn't crazy about the swirl pattern, I let it dry and did another layer. This was I was able to get some great colors and some really unique patterns. So here it is, my second real attempt at water marbling!

Left hand

Right hand

Better shot of the patterns on the left hand.

Colors I ultimately used. I used Candied Violet by C for a base, it's a gorgeous white with a pale, pale lavender tone - hard to describe but so pretty. It was one of those gems that I found in my mom's old polish collection and I don't think this brand even exists anymore but I plan to use the hell out of it until it's gone!Actually all the colors I used were old finds, so it's doubtful these exist anymore, but I'm sure dupes could be found easily. Anyway that was the base, and the four colors I ended up settling on were Revlon - Bronze Beam (copperish), Wet n Wild - Denim Chrome (dark purpley blue), PRO Nailcare - 1000 Watt (bright pink), and Revlon Street Wear - Next Dimension (shimmery teal). I really liked how it turned out and I found that the Revlon actually marbled beautifully! I think in future marbles I'll try more Revlon polishes because the formula just seems great for it. Only thing I'm not crazy about is how the base shows through sometimes around the cuticle depending on how I put my nail in the water. I really tried to make sure it was all submerged but apparently I didn't get it all, but that's my only real complaint. Oh well - hopefully next time it will be even better :]


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sorry I've been so MIA!

Just wanted to post a quick update to say I'm still alive, just haven't been able to post much lately! I have a Galaxy tutorial and posts of some designs and projects I've been working on, but they are on my boyfriend's camera and he's having trouble offloading them. So, not to worry I will have an update soon. I was also lucky enough to have my mom give me her old (REALLY old) stash of nail polish and I found some real gems and lots of stuff I can use for frankening which I'm starting TODAY!! Very excited and can't wait to share all my updates with you very soon :D

A sneak peek of all the polishes my mom gave me...to give you an idea what I've been up to! Updating my inventory file is going to be a nightmare...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This addiction is honestly getting out of hand...

Well, I just updated my inventory (I think the fact that I even have an "inventory" shows that I have a problem) and I'm now up to 146 polishes! It's hard to resist when I keep finding so many cool sales, but I seriously need to limit my spending for a while. Anyway, I thought I'd update with my District 4 set I've been talking about, so here's that:

I borrowed from a couple District 4 designs I've seen online and tried my best at recreating them. I'm not thrilled about it, but only because they're sloppy - I think if I tried again after more practice, I'd be satisfied. The first I did an ocean-inspired blue glitter gradient, and that one is probably my favorite. The ring finger, which is hard to see in this AWFUL lighting, is my take on a gorgeous net design I saw done by Theodora at Red Hair and Black Nail Polish. The other three I saw here, and though I tried my best to imitate them, they were harder than they look! I especially want to redo the coral "4". I do love how the trident nail turned out because of the matte finish of the background (Sinful Colors - Savage) contrasted with the sparkly gold (Sinful Colors Nail Art - Flower Girl). Questions on colors just ask - I forget at the moment but it wouldn't be hard for me to figure it out if someone were curious! :]

In other news, my first Julep box came in the mail the other day! Overall, I was really happy with the three polishes I got. I apparently fit into the "It Girl" style profile, and I received the colors Helena, Mandy and Heather (in that order in the above photo). So far, I've only tried Heather and I really like it. I think it took two coats to get the color shown in the bottle, which I thought was great considering how shimmery it is. Can't wait to try the other two, I think they're perfect for summer!

Here is my current pedi. We were getting ready to go out and celebrate finishing grad school and I wanted something appropriate for the summery weather and the celebratory mood of the evening! SO I tried a trick I saw online somewhere to make my own "dotting tool" using a bobby pin and it actually worked pretty well! That being said, most of my toenails are too small for this so I think next time I will try it on my fingers or with less colors, but I've overall been getting tons of compliments on them :]

And lastly...

My current mani! After the galaxy and all the things I've been trying, I felt like my nails needed a breather so I left them basically naked all weekend. Well, not exactly naked, they had a pale pink basecoat. But today I wanted to add something to them so I tried a new polish I got over the weekend. I usually never buy Sally Hansen Diamond Shine because I felt they were too expensive, but I saw two of these jewel overcoats (see below) that I just could not pass up. The one in the picture is called "Ring-a-Ding" and the other I bought is called "Multi-faceted" and it is a gorgeous chunky glitter with pieces of black, silver, and blue sparkles. I thought when Ring-a-Ding was added to that pale pink base, it ended up being a classy yet eyecatching look. I'll definitely consider buying more of these jewel topcoats in the future! It's great when you're rushed for time and still want to feel pretty. :]

Plans for this week - trying out some of the MANY new polishes I got over the weekend, including maybe the Matte topcoat by NYC I picked up, maybe the Saran Wrap technique, or one of two new gradient techniques I saw described online. Now that classes are over, I'm feeling ambitious ;]


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Galaxy Nails

So last night I tried my FA at galaxy nails...as you might have guessed from my previous post I don't have a whole lot of patience. So needless to say if you've tried this technique, this was not my favorite manicure. I probably had to remove polish from a nail and start over about 4-5 times, which was extremely frustrating. I've watched some tutorials, looked at a ton of pictures and still couldn't get it just right. The sponging was tough, and I couldn't get the colors right. Finally after about 2 hours (on and off while working on a take home final) I ended up with something that I wasn't embarrassed to leave the house with. I like it, but I don't love it - I think it's something that will just get better as I practice with sponging and blending colors, etc. So here it is, my FA at galaxy nails:

Yes I'm holding a bunch of pens because I was at work, haha - I didn't have anything else! I tried a few different color combinations as well as different glitters for the "stars". I think my favorite might be my pinky - I used a silver sparkle (Wet n Wild - Kaleidoscope) rather than the blueish, chunkier sparkle that I used on my ring and middle finger (Sinful Colors - Hottie). I think I prefer the silver because the blue sparkle almost sort of covers up all my hard work!

A closer picture, and one that you can see the thumb. I chipped the sparkle coat on the ring finger (stress!) but otherwise I think they are holding up pretty well. I did try to vary the patterns and shapes in the nebula on each finger, but they ended up looking really similar so I will have to keep trying!

And, just for reference, a picture in natural lighting (the other two pictures were with flash). I really like how the sun hits some of the bigger sparkles and give a sort of iridescent look. I did these last night, and I was really pleased with how they looked in daylight with the sun on them. So overall, I really like the pattern, but the process was really frustrating and stressful so maybe next time I try this I will not start while working on a final! Now I'm off to Rite Aid to buy the NYC Matte Me Crazy top coat that I read a review on today at Cosmetic Sanctuary. I think I officially have a problem....