June Nail Art Challenge #4: Purple!

Hello, dear readers! For this prompt, I decided to re-do a mani I did almost exactly two years ago. (Now I actually live where there are fireflies, how funny is that?)

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I was reminded of this old manicure when I saw a lone little firefly floating around outside my window this weekend, and I thought it would be fun to re-create with the purple theme in mind. I used a gradient of Giver’s Theme, Funkey Dunkey, and just the littlest bit of Russian Navy (which I think technically is an indigo, but it always looks purple to me) for that just-before-nighttime sky coloring.

6.14.16 Fancy Finger Guns around bottle

When the gradient was dry, I used a nail art brush dipped in black polish (I used an old Sally Hansen) to make the tall grasses at the tip of my nails. I like this a lot better than what I did on my previous one – I used two different greens to make the grasses, but it kinda looked cartoon-y. I much prefer the black – it really looks like a silhouette of the grass as the sky darkens to night.

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The last time I did this mani, I didn’t like how I had too many of the larger orbs and it looked kind of cluttered, so I did only one or two at first on each nail, then added one or two here and there until I liked it. I’m really pleased with the end result (and that the yellow I used – China Glaze’s Happy Go Lucky – didn’t smear when I applied top coat like Zoya’s Pippa did on my previous mani).

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Oh, I almost forgot to talk about CMAFest! We ended up doing some of the free concerts during the day on Saturday (Jamie-Lynn Spears (!) who did a little medley of ’90s songs including obviously a little Britney, and my sister’s new fav singer on the scene, Russell Dickerson), but DUDE, it was so hot. Everyone was walking around sweaty as hell, but luckily they had a lot of water stations set up, plus those little paper fans everywhere, otherwise I would’ve died. My sister had a friend in town for CMAFest but she and her friends were leaving early, so they nicely gave two tickets to my sister and I, which meant we got to go to the closing show on Sunday.

I am not a country music person, but it was cool to be in the stadium (where the NFL team plays) with 50,000 people all stomping and singing along to each performer. We saw Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, and Luke Bryan, with hilarious introductions by the Property Bros – who apparently are now a band and performed earlier in the day?! Can’t believe I missed that one. Anyway, besides the humidity and the shitshow of getting a Lyft after the show (we left early but it still took almost 45 minutes because there’s never clear instructions for the drivers with all the crazy street closures and stuff around these kind of events, and our guy said they held the cars for almost 20 minutes before they let them all to the pick up area?), it was a really fun night!

Thanks for reading, everyone! See ya next time – A x

June Nail Art Challenge #3: Fruit!

Hello, everyone! By the time you read this, I’ll be downtown for CMAFest! I’m not really a country music fan – the one exception is my queen, Kacey Musgraves – but I love downtown and I’m excited to see all the craziness! I’ll try to get some good pics while I’m down there, but for now, let’s get into my third mani for June!

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I’m so thrilled how this came out! I knew as soon as I saw the prompt that I wanted to do dragonfruit – it tastes like wet nothing, but it’s SO PRETTY, I couldn’t resist. My mani version all centers on a jelly sandwich, the lacquerhead term for when you layer a sheer polish and a glitter polish. I’ve never used OPI’s Don’t Touch My Tutu!, one of the NYC Ballet Soft Shades from 2012, but I got it on a whim a few years ago after seeing a bunch of nail bloggers rave about it. Using it for the first time here, I’m pretty disappointed, actually. It’s insanely sheer – at one coat, it looked like nothing was on my nails at all. But I wanted to mimic the clouded effect of the black seeds deeper within the dragonfruit’s white flesh, so I ended up using two coats of butter LONDON’s Cotton Buds as to get a full base color, then added Tangled In My Web and a few coats of Don’t Touch my Tutu! on top of that. This mani has a LOT of layers, y’all!

6.11.16 Fancy Finger Guns around bottle

Wet ‘N Wild’s Tangled in My Web is from a small Halloween collection in 2011, I think? I really love it – there are other black glitters, but none that I’ve found that are small, uniform pieces like this, and it’s a really fun effect. The formula used to be really thick and gloopy, but when I used it this time it was actually really easy to use? Very weird. Anyway, after that layer was dry, I applied three coats of Don’t Touch My Tutu!, then when I was sure those were completely dry, I applied another layer of Tangled In My Web.

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Last but certainly not least, I used a small nail art brush to add a thin layer of the hot pink outer part of the dragonfruit around the top half of my nail. It was difficult to get it even since I am not experienced with super detailed nail art like this, but I think I managed it pretty well! Phew, you guys – this was a LOT more work than I thought it would be, but I think it turned out really cool and I kinda love it!

I hope you enjoyed this fun mani, too! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time – A x

June Nail Art Challenge #2: Colors You Don’t Usually Wear

Today’s prompt and mani are all about one color, a color I have a weird bias against – red.

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I don’t really gravitate towards red in general, although sometimes – usually in the fall or holiday time – I do like a nice wine/vampy or metallic red. But something about just a plain red creme polish I really don’t like – I remember getting super annoyed when I’d watch Parks & Rec because Leslie often had red nail polish, and I couldn’t stand it. I’m not quite sure what it is about it that presses my buttons – I guess maybe it just seems dated to me now? Like very ’80s or something (even though red nail polish has been around since I think the 1920s, and was one of the few nail polish colors until fairly recently, history-wise)? I even prefer a nude manicure to a red creme one, and I am definitely not an all-nude polish type of chick! Anyway, because of this, I almost never wear red in a mani unless it’s holiday time or 4th of July, so when I saw this prompt I knew immediately that I’d be doing something with red.

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Another problem I have with red is what to pair with it – anything metallic seems Christmassy, as does any kind of green or white. I hate the red/pink pairing that fashion-y people are always trying to make a thing, and red + purple doesn’t really work for me, either, while red + yellow just looks like advertising colors (specifically, McDonald’s). For my taste, basically the only options left were gray or a blue that wasn’t cobalt (because then it gets into 4th of July territory), so I opted for a bright turquoise to make a pop-y combo. Then I chose to do a bubbly gradient of dots because I thought it would be a fun and peppy look to make me not hate seeing red on my nails!

Ugh freaking reds - I let this dry for 15 minutes, but it still streaked when I put on top coat :/

Ugh freaking reds – I let this dry for 15 minutes, but it still streaked when I put on top coat :/

Well, that seems like one big rant against red, ha! I’m pretty pleased with how this came out, though. Sometimes I wonder if the nail art that I do isn’t exciting or intricate enough to warrant a blog, but I think that in this age of super crazy nail art on Instagram and in famous salons that maybe there’s some merit to the kind that I do – I think maybe it’s nice to just show some cute or pretty looks that can be done with minimal tools and time. I see enough page views that makes me think this is true, so thank you for your support! Also, if you ever have any ideas of nail art or colors you’d like to see, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to feature it! As always, thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next time with a super fun prompt that I really loved – A x

June Nail Art Challenge #1: Squares!

Hi, everyone! Today I’ve got the first challenge of my June nail art challenge, so let’s get to it!

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Summer has officially hit, and when it’s over 90 degrees out, all I want to do it wear NEONS. I kept this mani super simple because I kinda just wanted some neon skittles! The yellow and orange are from my prize box of polishes that China Glaze sent me a few weeks ago, and they’re those old-school neons, so the formula is streaky as hell and needs a lot of coats, damnnnn the neon is so bright! The green is a newer China Glaze, from their neon collection last year, and it’s awesome – I love seeing a more blue-toned neon green instead of the usual acid-green hue, and the formula is great, too. And as always, Color Club’s Warhol is super opaque and super bright. Mmmm, neons.

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As for the “square” part, I added some gold square studs from Born Pretty Store at each cuticle, secured with a drop of top coat. I love adding studs to my manis, but even if I put top coat over top, they usually pop off within 24 hours, so I don’t use them that often.

Japanese Koi isn't coming across as neon here as it is in person, but it's BRIGHT.

Japanese Koi isn’t coming across as neon here as it is in person, but it’s BRIGHT.

Sorry this was so short, but it was was super simple mani and I didn’t have much to say about it ha. Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next time! – A x

May Nail Art Challenge #9: Mani You’ve Never Posted Before

Hello, all! This post was supposed to go up a few days ago, but I was out of town, sorry about that! I’m happy to get it in just under the wire (I totally woke up thinking today was June 1), though!

My right hand came out a little bit better than my left, which had more black than I preferred.

My right hand came out a little bit better than my left, which had more black than I preferred.

I forgot to take a polish bottle photo, but I’ve featured China Glaze’s Too Yacht To Handle (TYTH) so. many. times. on this blog, I think you know what it looks like! This mani is from a few weeks ago – I did it on a whim just to try out the turquoise nails technique, then it came out amazing and I was mad at myself for not taking photos of the process. I almost went with a more true-to-life turquoise color for this, buttttttt I can never resist TYTH’s neon allure.

So prettyyyyyyyy!

So prettyyyyyyyy!

I will probably do a photo tutorial for this technique at some point, but the basic steps are: 1. Paint on your base turquoise color. 2. Take a balled-up piece of plastic wrap, dab it in a little gold nail polish, and gently and sparingly sponge gold onto different spots on each nail. 3. In a cup of room-temp water, add one drop of black nail polish, spray perfume or alcohol into the spread-out drop (so it gets a spotted look), then place your finger into the water nail-first. 4. Use a Q-tip to gather up the rest of the black polish still floating on the surface, remove your finger, clean up the excess black with polish remover, and add top coat. 5. Voila! Nails that look like a turquoise stone!

MAN did I love these nails! I always love TYTH, but the turquoise stone look was really cool. I want to try it again with a lighter color turquoise – hopefully having a color that reuiqres less coats means it won’t chip as quickly as this did (as I say for all my posts featuring China Glaze’s Sensational pastel neons – the colors are amazing, the formulas are crap). Anyway, that wraps up my May nail art challenge! The group where I got this challenge from on Instagram, @clairestelle8challenge, already has up another one for June, and I like a lot of those prompts, so I think I’m gonna do it again for June! I really like someone else giving me a broad idea that I can just run with, and I already have some ideas brewing! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again in a few days with the first challenge for June – A x