Under The Sea (And On The Beach!)

I had big plans for this month to post at least 10 fun summer-themed nail art designs but unfortunately my life has been hectic lately and I just haven’t had time to do as many looks as I wanted. I still really like all the ones I managed to do, though, and although I had a few ideas left I thought I’d end the month with a beach-y/ocean-y design.

I keep forgetting to take the sale tag off Go Deeper, whoops. Also, my poor bottle of Frisky - it's so freaking  messy from collateral damage during a previous splatter mani.

I keep forgetting to take the sale tag off Go Deeper, whoops. Also, my poor bottle of Frisky – it’s so freaking messy from collateral damage during a previous splatter mani.

Godiva looks just like sparkly sand in the bottle, so it was a no brainer that I’d include it in this mani. It’s pretty sheer, so it took three coats to be completely opaque. I could’ve sworn I had a little golden shell charm but alas I was wrong, so I just added a little circle stud – just pretend it’s a shell and the manicure is so much cuter!

06-29-14 curled around bottle1

On my middle fingers I wanted to mimic the pretty shallow waters of the sea, so I did the Saran Wrap technique with Jade Hypnose over Orly’s Frisky. I kinda wish I had used China Glaze’s Aquadelic because I think the slightly more green aqua would’ve looked more like the ocean whereas Frisky looks more like pool water, but I still really like it – I think the holo particles of Hypnose really make the design look like sparkling water.

See? They basically exactly match the water of my pool!

See? They basically exactly match the water of my pool!

On my pinkie I wanted to evoke the deeper ocean waters that are a bit darker but still have enough sun for a range of sparkly greens and blues. (P.S. Never Google “deep sea” – it will just bring up hundreds of terrifying monsters from the bottom of the ocean and you won’t be able to sleep tonight.) I did one coat of Shower Together and a crappy glitter gradient of Go Deeper, the inappropriately named Orly that is gorgeous with its teal holo sequins and tiny blue glitter. I had a hard time capturing GD’s sparkle but you can see how it looks in the bottle in the first photo – so fabulous!

06-29-14 curled under

Even though I didn’t get to do everything I wanted this month, I’m pleased with the designs I did get to do. I got to try out a bunch of new techniques and designs and ended up with some really fun looks that I loved, and I hope you guys enjoyed them, too! Thank you for reading, and see you next time for my Fourth of July look! – A x

Bunting Nails!

I’ve been wanting to do bunting/ nails for a while, but I didn’t have any brushes near as fine as what I’d need to do it, so I finally ordered some nail art brushes I’d been eyeing on Winstonia (FYI they’re having a 20% sale right now [which I missed, dammit!]!) and they finally arrived a few days ago so I tried them out!

Oops - as usual, I forgot to add my base coat color, it was Snow Me White by Sinful Colors.

Oops – as usual, I forgot to add my base coat color, it was Snow Me White by Sinful Colors.

These brushes are super fine, and I used the smallest/shortest three for this manicure. I had to do the banners once then go over them again – I’m not sure if it was because I dipped the brushes into little dabs of polish on a napkin, so the polish got too thick, but originally the banners were super streaky from an issue with brushstrokes/filling in the polish. They still weren’t perfect in the end, but it was late and they looked really great in person so I left them at this (stupid cameras, exaggerating flaws!):

Ahhhhhh I didn't see that huge chip on my thumb when I was taking these pics, I'm sorry!

Ahhhhhh I didn’t see that huge chip on my thumb when I was taking these pics, I’m sorry!

I still had a bit of an issue with getting a nice straight line – a few hairs of the brush would always sort of stray or separate and it was a little frustrating. I don’t think it was the polish – the second time I just dipped my brush into the bottle so it wasn’t exposed/gloppy – but maybe it was user error somehow? I think maybe I just need to get used to them – you can tell by the not-at-all-similar size/shape of the bunting that I’m not half as good at freehand nail art as some of the other way more talented ladies out there! But I really love having a way to do slightly more detailed nail art, though – I’m not going to be painting the Mona Lisa on my nails anytime soon, but now I can do little things and even tiny touch-ups!

06-25-14 down

I’m sorry for the super sporadic posting – I just started a new job and I’m verrrrrrrry slowly adjusting to the new hours/schedule, so I haven’t done as many designs this month as I’d originally wanted to, but I definitely have at least one more summery nail art coming up soon.

Weirdly, my polish is fully intact in this photo. I must've banged my nail between taking this photo and the others…?

Weirdly, my polish is fully intact in this photo. I must’ve banged my nail between taking this photo and the others…?

I hope you guys liked this post! Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x

Fireflies in the Garden

I know a lot of people don’t like them because bugs = gross, but I just love fireflies!

I’ve never lived anywhere that had them but we visited our extended family in Pennsylvania a few times when I was little, and I remember being obsessed with the fireflies flickering all around me on those warm nights – I thought they were magic! I was thinking about those moments the other day and decided fireflies would be a perfect summer nail art design.

06-20-14 bottles

I wanted to do something with a deep blue sky that resembled the firefly scenes from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (which has some terrible stereotypes, but honestly, the animation is maybe my favorite ever. It’s so gorgeous!), but I also wanted a nice, subtle gradient. I think I achieved that but like the genius I am, I accidentally did the gradient in the opposite direction I wanted when I started on my left hand. I fixed it on my right, but that means the design is flipped upside down on each hand!

I'm sorry, these photos look super blown out, I'm not sure why.

I’m sorry, a few of these photos look super blown out and I’m not sure why.

I applied the grass with Posh using my dotting tool (I ordered brushes from Winstonia recently but they haven’t come in yet), then I added a few swipes of Holly-Day to try to add some dimension. I did the fireflies with my dotting tools also, although I do wish I had done less of the bigger dots.

Again, please forgive my tip wear and the freaking smearing of the dots from my dying Seche Vite.

Again, please forgive my tip wear and the freaking smearing of the dots from my dying Seche Vite.

My favorite nail is my right thumb for that very reason – the fireflies are all pretty small, so it really looks like they’re flickering in the distance.

This would be almost perfect if not for the few dots that smeared. Seche Vite, whyyyyyyy?

This would be perfect if not for the few dots that smeared. Seche Vite, whyyyyyyy?

My blingy pinkies (OPI’s My Vampire Is Buff with Milani’s Gold over it) are leftover from a previous mani I was trying out; I really like them, but I’m not 100% sure they go with this particular look. Hm. Overall, though, I really liked doing this – it was easy and fun to create, and I think they’re pretty adorable.

I don't know why my pinky nails keep breaking, ugh.

I don’t know why my pinky nails keep breaking, ugh.

If you like fireflies, do yourself a favor and check out this series the Japanese artist Yume Cyan did using long exposures. I can’t get over how gorgeous and magical this looks, I just adore it! I would love to get huge prints of these one day.

06-20-14 Yume Cyan

I hope you enjoyed this post (and that the design actually looked like fireflies…?)! Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x

Captain Ahab Approved

Any summer nail art theme isn’t complete without a nautical manicure, so I put together this fun design.

06-15-14 bottles

First and foremost, I wanted to let y’all know that everything went wrong with this mani, so it’s not my best, I apologize! Now that that’s out of the way – I’m obsessed with this giant tentacle stamp on my ring, it’s so fun! I had to include it to spice up the usual “anchors and stripes” nautical look. Unfortunately, it stamped like crap. I’m not sure if it’s 2030 – which didn’t even transfer the first time I tried it, freaking me out because it’s my favorite stamping polish! – or the stamp itself, but I could not get a super opaque, crisp image. The stripe/anchor design stamped fine, as you can see:

I stamped the tentacle on my thumb, too, but you can't see it in these pics.

I stamped the tentacle on my thumb, too, but you can’t see it in these pics.

I also kinda wished I’d used China Glaze’s First Mate instead of Bermuda Blue, because it dries significantly darker on the nail than it does in the bottle so it’s hard to tell it’s blue and not black, but oh well. Bermuda Blue is a one coater, which is obviously great. I thought it would be fun to do a neon coral or pink instead of the usual red/navy nautical color scheme, so I suffered through Neon & On & On’s terrible formula for this. Every single time I use that polish it’s a whiplash of emotions – annoyance at how it needs at least four coats to be non-streaky and opaque, adoration at the gorgeous color, anger when after all that work it chips after one day…

06-15-14 curled

I added some little studs to the stripes on my ring which I think are so cute, it reminds me of a nautical striped shirt with buttons. However, I used blue striping tape and as you can see, it bled into My Vampire Is Buff – and this is after I tried to salvage some clean lines since the striping tape kept coming off my nail. At this point I was thisclose to just taking the whole thing off and doing something else, but I figured I’d already come this far so I kept going. I do like this mani – I think the squid keeps it a little more weird (in a good way) than the usual nautical design and even though the striping tape bled, I love the “buttons” – but argh it was just so much work. I need to do something really simple next time!

06-15-14 diagonal

On a slightly more positive note, I saw 22 Jump Street today and it was hella good. I don’t want to amp it up too much, but I definitely thought it was as funny as the first one. I especially loved the end credits. I’m so glad Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have become such a big thing – I’ve loved them since Clone High, the short-lived MTV show that my best friend and I were obsessed with in high school (and we even found a way to buy shitty DVDs from Canada, which was the best decision of my life). If you’ve never seen it, I think there’s some episodes on YouTube so you should get on that pronto. You’ll thank me later.

Thank you for reading! See you next time – A x

Strawberries On My Fingers

Continuing my summer nail art month with this super cute look:

Color So Hot It Berns, Running In Circles, Happy Go Lucky

Color So Hot It Berns (CSHIB), Running In Circles, Happy Go Lucky

I did two coats of CSHIB and when it dried, I did little slightly elongated dots with Happy Go Lucky. This mani made me realize I really need to get some teeny tiny brushes for detailing – I used my smallest dotting tool for these dots and they were still too big for my liking. Oh well. I applied a coat of Seche and after waiting about an hour, I cut some tape pieces in little jagged shapes (sort of like my shark bite look but thicker), applied them to my nails, and quickly painted two coats of Running In Circles.

Please excuse my janky tips - my Seche Vite is at the halfway point, which means it's gotten way too thick/gloppy and it's started shrinking my tips. Sigh.

Please excuse my janky tips – my Seche Vite is at the halfway point, which means it’s gotten way too thick/gloppy and it’s started shrinking my tips. Sigh.

I’ve done this strawberry look before and I always manage to nick it because the greens I use for the top take foreverrrr to dry since I have to quickly apply a second coat on top of the first without waiting for it to dry – you can’t let the tape sit very long once you’ve painted over it because it dries on top of the tape so the tape will tear off the polish underneath. I’ve tried this look twice before with Orly’s Fresh and managed to ding it each time. This go ’round I did ding a nail but I kind of smoothed it back out, which I count as a victory. I also did yellow for the seeds this time – usually I do black, but last time I did that people asked if they were watermelons :/

06-10-14 diagonal

I think I’d like these better if the “seeds” could be smaller – they look kind of cartoony here – and I just now thought of using a darker red instead of the yellow, which I’m not crazy about. Why didn’t I think of that earlierrrrrr? Whatever, these are so freaking cute, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on them, and they definitely fit the summer theme!

06-10-14 thumb

So yesterday LACMA had its second annual live commentary screening event where they screen a film and have the director, writer, and/or actors there with microphones to give anecdotes, facts, and general commentary on the movie (like the ones on the DVD). This year’s pick was Napoleon Dynamite, which is celebrating it tenth anniversary.

06-10-14 title

I feel so freaking old! I remember when this movie came out – it was the summer before I began college and I was working at a multiplex. Napoleon Dynamite screened daily to nearly empty theaters, but I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen and ended up dragging friends to see it on three separate occasions that summer. I was a film student in college and it’s funny to remember how much I used to truly love movies like this (whereas now I rarely watch movies and haven’t bought one for probably five or six years. I’m all about the TV now). I have ND on DVD, but I haven’t watched it in years and I was surprised how well it actually held up – still a weird little flick, but funny. The director Jared Hess, star Jon Heder, and Will Forte (no idea why) gave commentary although they didn’t even talk that much, but I enjoyed the little behind-the-scens tidbits.

I was surprised how much of the film is made up from Jared Hess’ real-life experiences. The scene where the old farmer shoots a cow just as a school bus of children rolls up to see? That actually happened to the director’s brother (“That’s farm life, you guys,” he laughed). Also, a friend of his growing up really bought a “time machine” – for $800 from a guy in Florida (of course it was Florida) – like Kip and Uncle Rico do in the film, and later that kid also bought a “wish machine.” When Napoleon calls Kip and asks him to bring his Chapstick was taken from Jared’s younger brother actually calling Jared to bring him Chapstick at school.

Except for the unicorns, all the drawings of Napoleon’s in the film were drawn by Jon Heder. They also had to fly in a hand model for the opening credits because someone at Fox Searchlight thought Jon had a gross hangnail on one of his fingers, so half the hands are Jon’s and half are a much tanner models (Jon added that it was super awkward having to be there with the model and direct him how to move the plates). Tina the llama was Jared Hess’ mom’s llama in real life (named Dolly), and Jon said the line he gets quoted at him the most is “Tina you fat lard, come get some dinner!” Oh, and when Jared moved to Idaho, his school required everyone to join a club but the only one left was the sign language club, which was the inspiration for the “Happy Hands” club.

From left: Diedrich Bader (Sensi Rex), Shondrella Avery (Lafawnduh), Jon Heder (Napoleon), Carmen Brady (Starla), Efren Ramirez (Pedro), Sandy Martin (Grandma aka Mac's mom), director Jared Hess.

From left: Diedrich Bader (Sensi Rex), Shondrella Avery (Lafawnduh), Jon Heder (Napoleon), Carmen Brady (Starla), Efren Ramirez (Pedro), Sandy Martin (Grandma aka Mac’s mom), director Jared Hess.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I highly encourage you to do a little strawberry nail action yourself – they’re a real crowd pleaser, and they’re adorable for summer. I’d love to see your version if you do! Thank you for reading, see you next time – A x