#nailartjan Day 14 – Nature

I attempted to mimic malachite for today’s “nature” theme using water marbling. I don’t know what I was thinking! Water marbling has long been my nemesis and today’s attempt was no different than any of the other times I’ve tried – I got pissed, made a huge mess, and the final product wasn’t even worth it. Sigh. Polishes used:

From back: Sinful Colors Open Seas, Revlon Posh, OPI Jade Is The New Black, SH Insta-Dri Jumpin' Jade

From back: Sinful Colors Open Seas, Revlon Posh, OPI Jade Is The New Black, SH Insta-Dri Jumpin’ Jade

I put one coat of Milani’s White On The Spot as my base, although in retrospect I should’ve used my lightest green color, since it was very sheer when I marbled with it and the white came through, messing up the effect on a few nails. I got all my supplies ready – cup of room temp tap water, millions of Q-tips, dotting tool, remover, tweezers, tape, and the polishes.

The huuuuuuuuge mess I made.

The huuuuuuuuge mess I made.

I taped around my nails for easier clean up (ha!), then unscrewed all the caps because time is essential in water marbling and started dropping colors in – I think at first I did lightest to darkest, but each and every single freakin’ time, after the third or fourth drop, the color refused to spread out. I jiggled the cup and sometimes the drop would spread a bit, but not over the whole water area like it’s supposed to.

Before I cleaned everything up. Check out how absolutely terrible my right hand is - at least you can see swirlies on my left hand.

Before I cleaned everything up. Check out how absolutely terrible my right hand is – at least you can see swirlies on my left hand.

 

I do think my thumbs looked really cool, though!

I do think my thumbs looked really cool, though!

I experimented to see if it was a specific polish or combo, but it didn’t seem to matter. Eventually I just started putting a bunch of drops in close contact with each other, dropping other colors on top of those, and attempting to spread those out with my dotting tool. Sometimes it would work, sometimes the second I put my dotting tool in the water all the polish would wrap around the dotter and be un-useable, meaning I had to clean it out and start again. Plus, for some reason these dried with little bumps/bubbles, which has never happened to me before. Grrrrrrrr.

01-14-14 curled

Water marbling is super hard because it takes so much work and makes a huge mess, but I keep attempting it because a few times it works and looks amazeballs. I’ve even looked at tutorials for “dry water marbling” but they seem to be just as much work. Sigh. It bothers me because this is something that should for all intents and purposes be easy, but I just can’t quite master it. At least it’s somewhat comforting to know that a lot of other people have issues with it, as well.

My own little chunk of malachite isn't as vibrant or swirly, but it's still pretty.

My own little chunk of malachite isn’t as vibrant or swirly, but it’s still pretty.

Bleh I’m so over this. I’ll probably keep my thumbs since I actually think those both turned out cool – of not exactly the effect I was going for – and paint the rest plain green. Ah well, better luck next time! Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x

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#nailartjan Day 11 – Pastel Blue

This one took a while, but it was so worth it. I’m not usually very girly, but this is adorable and I really love it! The challenge was “pastel blue” so I decided to go for a rococo-inspired mani, adding peach and white to my color palette.

Back row: white Konad stamping polish, Orly Prelude To A Kiss, Milani White On The Spot; front row: stamper, striping tape, tweezers, Konad plate m79, Bundle Monster BM21

Back row: white Konad stamping polish, Orly Prelude To A Kiss, Milani White On The Spot; front row: stamper, striping tape, tweezers, Konad plate m79, Bundle Monster BM21

Unfortunately all these polishes were streaky as hell, so I had to do three coats of both Baracuda and Prelude To A Kiss. Barracuda also had a tendency to flood my cuticles, so I had to go really slowly with it and the layers didn’t match up so it looks weird at the bottom. PTAK was still a bit streaky even after three coats but I knew I’d be doing designs on top, so it didn’t bother me as much as it normally would. My bottle of White On The Spot has gotten gross, so it was kinda lumpy after two coats on my pointer, but again, I was going to cover it up.

Please excuse my nubbin pinkie!

Before adding any embellishments. Please excuse my nubbin pinkie!

Once the base colors were dry, I did my stamping! I stamped my middle and ring fingers using my tiny, ancient bottle of white Konad polish that came in a little stamping starter kit I got years ago. The polish didn’t perfectly transfer on the polka dots (Konad plate) on my ring finger, but did pretty well on the swirly design (Bundle Monster plate) on my middle finger. I forgot how small the designs were on those BM plates! Luckily I just filed my nails down a bit, otherwise I don’t think it would’ve covered my whole nail.

01-11-14 curled around flower

Next was the time-consuming part, taping! I painstakingly placed striping tape pieces an even width apart with my fun mermaid tweezers on my pinkie and pointer. Then I stuck two pieces of tape to my palm a few times to make them less sticky, and placed them to make a triangle shape on my thumb.

See what I mean by it being weird towards the bottom of the cuticle?

See what I mean by it being weird towards the bottom of the cuticle?

Once all the tape was in place, I did one coat of Barracuda on each nail, waited a few seconds, then did another quick coat. You can’t wait too long to pull the tape off because the polish will start to dry on the tape then when you pull it up your design is all messed up, but Barracuda is pretty sheer at one coat so I had to add another. I immediately pulled the tape off after the second coat on each finger, though, and let it dry for about five minutes just to make sure I didn’t dent it. I put a coat of Seche on each nail but the striped nails were still bumpy so I added another coat. I kind of wish I had done peach with blue stripes on my pointer, too, because I love how it looks on my pinkie! It looks like the decoration in a whimsical sweet shop or something.

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I don’t think this will last very long because of how many coats of polish I used, but I’m holding out hope because I want to enjoy it for a few days! I’m really surprised how much I like this. It’s very Marie Antoinette, no?

Any thoughts on this mani? Anyone else doing this nail art challenge?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

#nailartjan Day 9 – Pattern

Finally, I posted on time! I knew I was going to do something with stamping for the “pattern” challenge, but it took me a surprisingly long time to decide which design, and which colors. I finally landed on this combo:

01-09-14 bottles with names

I think my bottle of That’s Shore Bright is getting kind of thick already, unless the formula has always been like this? I haven’t used it in a while, so I really don’t remember. It was also pretty opaque (I guess because it was so thick?), almost a one-coater, which is awesome. Oh man, I love this color, it’s so fun! (What is not fun is trying to photograph it properly – it kept showing up way more blue than it really is. My photos taken in the sun are more color accurate.)

01-09-14 curled upside down

When TSB was dry, I used a-England’s St. George to stamp Bundle Monster plate 423 from the Create Your Own fan collection.

Sorry my plate looks kind of gross and smudgy. It's just weird residue from polish remover!

Sorry my plate looks kind of gross and smudgy. It’s just weird residue from polish remover!

Originally I really wanted to stamp with Dragon – probably my favorite of my small store of a-Englands – but in the end this pinky-purple/deep teal combo won out. A-England polishes are super pigmented, many of them one-coaters or nearly so, so they stamp fantastically, and St. George is no exception. In bright light you can see the scattered holo sparkle of St. George, too:

Okay so the stamping isn't perfect around my cuticle, but this is pretty great considering my track record with stamping!

Okay so the stamping isn’t perfect around my cuticle and it kinda smudged at the top, but you can’t really tell normally.

I did have a weird issue on my first few nails where a big chunk of the image wouldn’t transfer to my nail. I’m not quite sure what the issue was, but I made sure that my plate and stamper were both completely dry from the remover each time and used a slightly thicker coat of polish each time, and that seemed to do the trick. Here’s what my right thumb looks like (and you can kinda see how my index was messed up, to):

01-09-14 thumb

Weird, right? I only messed up two before I figured it out, though. I really like this combo! The teal + purple and triangles feels sort of ’90s to me, but not overtly enough to be too cutesy. Also, I’m pretty proud of my stamping job since I did this fairly quickly but almost all the designs are straight and across the entire nail!

Shot in indirect light outside, this is probably most color-accurate.

Shot in indirect light outside, this is probably the most color-accurate photo of TSB.

So I made an awesome discovery today – Veronica Mars is now available on Amazon Prime! I’ve recently been thinking about rewatching the series since a) the movie comes out in March (!!!!!!) and b) last time I tried to rewatch I was only at the beginning of season two when Netflix rudely took it off streaming with no warning last year. I’m almost as excited to rewatch the whole thing as Veronica is about ponies!

01-09-14 Buy me a pony01-09-14 A Pony?!01-09-14 Impressed

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time! A x

#nailartjan Day 6 – Sparkles

Hi all! My entry is late again, but it’s because I was trying to catch a sunlight pic and of course it’s been weirdly hazy and overcast the last two days. Challenge the second, “sparkles,” was actually kind of hard for me. I had a bunch of ideas and was originally going to do something very dainty but then I remembered this polish, which I haven’t worn in a very long time:

01-07-14 bottle

Enchanted Polish was one of the first indie polishes to make a splash a few years ago. They’re super fancy now and got lovely professional bottles from what I’ve seen on other blogs (I’ve never been able to snag another one!) but I kind of like the indie polishes I have with handwritten or typed labels like this. It’s like the bottle was created just for you! Anyway, I don’t think Cray Cray is part of the line anymore, which makes my lone EP bottle all the more special to me!

Shot outside in cloudy weather - this is what it looks like most of the time.

Shot outside in cloudy weather – this is what it looks like most of the time.

I also love the name, it’s so fun telling people when they ask! Cray Cray is multicolored holo glitter in a clear base. There’s blue, magenta, purple, and maybe silver glitter pieces along with linear holo shimmer! Check out the macro:

01-07-14 macro

WUT. How gorgeous does that look? Cray Cray is sparkly enough under indoor lighting but the holo doesn’t come out until you’re in the sun or harsh direct light (which is why my skin tone is so crazy in some of these pics, I had to blast unfiltered light to show the holo).

01-07-14 diagonal

You could definitely get this opaque in three coats but as with all my indies/expensive polish babies, I layer them to conserve polish. Here I’ve got one coat over Essie’s No More Film, a dark, cool-leaning blurple creme that I bought on a whim a few months ago. It’s not my normal color jam – I prefer warmer purples – but it’s a one-coater, which is pretty awesome, and I liked how Cray Cray looked over this instead of a plain black, like I was originally planning.

No More Film looks positively blue in all the photos I took, so I gave up trying.

No More Film looks positively blue in all the photos I took, so I gave up trying.

I did get one shot in super bright, direct sunlight, shot in my car.

01-07-14 in car

Sparkle achieved, y’all! What do you think of Cray Cray? Are you lucky enough to own any Enchanted Polishes?

Thanks for reading! See you next time – A x

In Which I Attempt a 30-Day Challenge

While killing time at the airport two days ago, I saw on Instagram that there was a “Totally Doable 30-Day Challenge” and decided to take the plunge! I’ve always loved seeing my favorite blogs do these things and come up with incredibly inventive nail art. Now, I’m not a “nail art” person, per se – meaning I can’t recreate an exact replica of The Mona Lisa on my pinkie with acrylic paints or anything, like some bloggers can do! – but I love me a theme plus the point of this challenge is that it’s pretty chill and “doable” so it’ll be more fun than anxiety-inducing.

01-05-14 stragiht words

Of course, having said that, my first submission is a little lame. But I was jet lagged and had lots of running around to do this weekend and was already a day behind on the challenge, so I needed to just quickly slap something on my nails. This is one of my favorite polishes, Color Club’s Blue-Ming, which feels like the very definition of “fresh” to me, especially since I’ve been wearing dark/holiday colors lately! I received a tiny sample of this in a Birchbox sometime last year and quickly ran out to get a full-sized bottle.

Please excuse the ding on my ring finger and how crappy my painting looks around the cuticle. I did this in record time, on my way out the door, and I'm surprised I didn't mess it up more!

Please excuse the ding on my ring finger and how crappy my painting looks around the cuticle. I did this in record time, on my way out the door, and I’m surprised I didn’t mess it up more!

Blue-Ming’s color changes a bit depending on what light it’s in, looking like a light aqua or more green, closer to a turquoise. The formula is finicky – super streaky so it takes at least 3 coats – and it usually chips in a day or so, but I genuinely don’t care. This bright aqua hue makes me happy whenever I catch a glimpse at my nails and even makes me look like I’m a little tan (sadly I’m currently the palest I’ve ever been in my life) so it’s a win in my book.

01-05-14 curled upside down

If any of you are going to participate, let me know your blog or Instagram name, I’d love to check out what everyone’s doing!

This was a quick one, so that’s all for today! I’m hopefully going to brainstorm something a little more fun for the next few challenges and I can’t wait to see what you all will be doing! Thank you so much for reading, see you next time – A x