Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 Nail Art Designs of 2012

Hi again!

You're getting a second post from me today because I want to get this up before the end of 2012!

These are my favourite manicures that I've done throughout 2012 and I've got to say, I had a super hard time narrowing it down! So much so that I was actually going to change this to a top 20 instead of top 10, but I did top 10 last year and I wanted to remain consistent. I did include an honourable mentions section so that I didn't feel like I was leaving out too many, though.

You can see the original post by clicking either on the photo itself or the title of the mani above the photo.

Let's take a look!

#10: Ikat Print
I did a lot of manicures during the 31 Day Challenge that I'm rather proud of, and this is one of them. I love the colours, the print and how easy it was to do. I'm definitely going to be doing more manicures like this but in different colours. I also have a tutorial for this design on my to-do list!

#9: Winter Wonderland
This is definitely one of my favourite Christmas designs that I've ever done so of course it had to be included here!

#8: Lightning Storm
This mani was a Pinterest Week creation and turned out to be my favourite of the designs I did that week.

#7: Neon Geometric
I love using neon polishes in my nail art designs, so I had to include at least one neon mani here, and this one was by far my favourite.

#6: Tropical Toucan
This little toucan is just too cute to not be included here!

#5: Hunger Games Book Cover
When I decided to do this Hunger Games design, I was nervous about attempting it because it's just so detailed. But I'm super happy with the way it turned out! And this is actually the design I wore when I went to see the movie!

#4: Nude & Purple Glitter Leopard Print
I do animal print manis all the time, so you're probably wondering why I chose this one in particular as my #4. Well, there's just something about the combination of nude, black and the deep purple glitter that I absolutely love. So the design itself might not be anything totally original, but I just love the colour combination and the glitter accent nail.

#3: Inspired by a Pattern
One of my favourites from the 31 Day Challenge is this mani which is inspired by my non-Christmas themed blog background. I like to use this now as my signature manicure so it's my profile picture on twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. It just represents me so well that it had to be included here!

#2: Rainbow Ruffles
We all know that I love rainbow nail art and I did many rainbow manis throughout the year, but this one was my favourite of all of them. I was/am still proud of how cleanly I executed this ruffle design!

Drumroll please...

#1: Inspired by Art
This manicure is probably my favourite one that I've ever done, not just in 2012! It took a lot of effort, time and polish to achieve, but I think it was wholly worth it. Since it was a 31 Day Challenge mani, I only had it on for one day, but it was definitely a good day!

Honourable Mention #5: Tribal Print
This was my first ever attempt at a tribal manicure and I was pretty pleased with how it came together! I also really like the colours I chose.

Honourable Mention #4: Cute Hedgehog
How could I not include this mani somewhere in this post? Hedgies are my fave.

Honourable Mention #3: Halloween Polka Dots
This Halloween mani is super simple and not all that unique, but there's something about it that always catches my eye so I had to include it.

Honourable Mention #2: Rainbow Drips
Another rainbow mani! I've always loved the simplicity of drippy manis, and this is my favourite one that I've ever done.

Honourable Mention #1: Framed Floral
A stamping design! I got more into stamping this year, but I'm still a primarily freehand nail art kind of gal. But I really loved this monochromatic stamping design with the added border.

So those are my favourites! Did I miss any that you think belong here?

Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve everyone! See you again in 2013!

Essence Nail Art Twins - Edward & Bella

Hi everyone!

Continuing with the twins swatches, today I have Edward & Bella to share with you! Now this is a set that I didn't have to do any googling about. I mean, I'd have to be living under a rock to not know who this famous couple is. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the series, but I've read the books and seen the movies, so I can't say I dislike the whole franchise either.

But anyways, let's take a look at the polishes, shall we?

Bella is a really pretty medium turquoise creme shade. It reminds me a lot of my regular non-Christmas blog theme, actually! The colour is really similar to the colour of the peacock on my header! So I guess it goes without saying that I love this colour. To boot, the formula was a dream to work with and covered perfectly in two coats.

Edward is the glitter topper and it consists of teal, blue and holographic glitter in both square and hexagonal shapes. This applied really easily and I used two thin coats to get the amount of glitter coverage I wanted. I can see this one looking really awesome over a lot of other colours besides turquoise, too! I'm thinking white, navy blue, grey, etc.

I assumed this was going to be my favourite of the five sets of twins I have, but there's one that turned out to be a surprise favourite! I'll be showing you that set soon.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's Nails - Blinged Out Holographic Ruffian

Hey guys!

I was trying to think of a cool New Year's nail design that wasn't just the typical champagne glasses/fireworks/2013 and I also wanted an excuse to use some of the loose glitter that I've had for ages. The result turned out to be this super blinged out ruffian look! And the best part is that it's super easy (albeit time consuming), so anyone can achieve this look!

I started with a base of GOSH Holographic Hero and then I added the ruffian with Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme. Then came the time consuming part: manually adding tiny pieces of black and holographic hex glitters one-by-one. I got the glitters on eBay quite a while ago, but I'm sure you can still find something similar. Just type in something along the lines of "hexagon nail art glitter".

I actually first started adding the glitters on my ring nail so that I could just go with an accent nail if I found the whole process to be too tedious. But I loved the look too much to stop there so I had to finish it on the rest of the nails.

I think this would make a great look for New Year's, but it's also versatile enough that you can wear it anytime during the year. And you can switch up the colours, too!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Laquerlicious - Assorted Swatches

Hey guys!

Today I have a new-to-me brand of indie polish to share with you! It's called Laquerlicious and the creator Michelle was kind enough to send me a few of her creations to test out.

Christmas Morning is a sheer off-white base with subtle gold shimmer and shards of red, green, white and silver glitter. I've shown two coats layered over one coat of Sinful Colors Snow Me White. It's too bad that I didn't get this swatched before Christmas because I really love this mani and I totally would have worn it during the Christmas season! The formula was easy to work with and I didn't have to do any placing of the glitters.

Funny story: I chose this polish to review because my fiance and I have an ongoing inside joke using the phrase "Christmas morning" (it's a long story, so I won't bore you with it), so when I saw that Laquerlicious offered a polish called Christmas Morning, I just HAD to have it. It's a happy bonus that the polish is great!

Grape Soda is a mix of purple, fuchsia, pink and silver glitters in a clear base. Purple lovers rejoice! This is such a pretty polish and the formula was great to boot. I didn't have to do any placing of the glitters and this is just one coat over China Glaze Sweet Hook.

Lava Rocks is a clear base with black hex, diamond, square, and bar glitter, as well as magenta hexes and squares. I've shown it layered over Zoya Avery and I think the combination of nude, black and magenta is really visually appealing. The glitter coverage is really good and I only had to do a minimal amount of placing to ensure there were no bare spots.

Salt Water a mix of teal hex and square glitters as well as white hex and square glitters in a clear base. I love teal, so I had to choose this one and I wasn't disappointed. I've shown one coat here layered over OPI French Quarter For Your Thoughts.

Overall, I'm really happy with all four of these polishes! I've sort of been stepping away from the indie trend lately, but these polishes have re-piqued my interest in indies. I definitely want to try some of the other shades offered by Laquerlicious.

Laquerlicious polishes can be purchased on Etsy. Many of the polishes are on sale for $6.50 which is a great price, especially for indie polishes! I suggest giving this brand a try!

The product(s) in this post were provided by the manufacturer or their PR in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Essence Nail Art Twins - Troy & Gabriella

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends!

Today I have another set of the Essence Nail Art Twins to share with you. This time it's Troy & Gabriella, which is another pair I had to google to find out who they are. Evidently, they're the main couple from the High School Musical franchise, which I've never seen any of. God I feel old.

Gabriella is a medium purple that has a flash of subtle blue shimmer. I love that this one isn't just a plain creme like most of the other base shades are! The formula was very easy to work with and my swatch shows two easy coats.

Troy is a glitter topper that consists of mostly purple and blue glitter, but there's also a little bit of gold in there as well. The glitter coverage was perfect in one coat.

Overall, I really like this pair! The two really compliment each other and together they make for a super pretty manicure.

Stay tuned because I've still got three more sets of twins to show you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Nail Art - There Arose Such a Clatter...

Hi everyone!

I have one last holiday mani to share with you today! This is my official Christmas mani, so this is what I'll be wearing over the next few days. I've actually seen this design around before and I just knew that it would be perfect as a Christmas Eve/Christmas Day mani.

First I started with Zoya Song as a base colour. I thought this was perfect because it's not too dark but not too light and the little bit of shimmer sort of acts as night stars without being too overwhelming.

For the Santa nail, I started first by drawing the basic shapes with white polish. I then filled the chimney in with China Glaze Brownstone and added the detailing with American Apparel California Trooper.
I did the snow and the fluff on Santa's pants using a small dotting tool and Wet 'n' Wild French White and Santa's pants were done using China Glaze Salsa. Finally, his boots were done with Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme.

For the non-accent nails I just added a bit of snow at the tips with white polish and a medium sized dotting tool. I wanted these nails to incorporate the elements that are in the accent nail, but I still wanted the Santa nail to be the primary focus.

... After reading all of that back to myself, it reads like I over-thought this manicure like crazy! But what can I say, I put a lot of thought into each and every one of my nail art designs!

OMG a wild thumb has appeared!

Thanks for reading! And have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Seche - Collage

Hey guys!

I'm sure most of you have heard that Seche, the company behind the beloved Seche Vite Top Coat is now producing polishes as well! I haven't seen the full line in my area yet, but I did come across a small display of the glitter topper called Collage.

Seche Collage is a mixture of small and medium pink-hued holographic hexes, larger white hexes and holographic bar glitter in a clear base. I've shown it over both China Glaze Creative Fantasy and China Glaze Dance Baby.

The application was sort of tricky. The pink-hued holo hexes tended to clump together so I had to do some playing around with the brush in order to un-clump them. On top of that, the larger white hexes were quite elusive and I had to fish through the bottle to get any on the brush.

Over Creative Fantasy I showed two "coats" of Collage and I just showed one "coat" over Dance Baby. I would suggest waiting in between coats so that you don't pull at any of the glitters that are already in place.

Overall, I do like the finished look and it's a fun glitter topper, but it does require some work.

I found my bottle at Sally Beauty Supply in its own little display near the counter.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Nail Art Tutorial - Winter Wonderland

Hey guys!

I'm cutting it close, but I think I've got time to squeeze in one last Christmas tutorial! Can you believe that Christmas is just a little over two days away? This year has gone by so fast!

This tutorial is for my Winter Wonderland design that I posted a couple of days ago. It's actually quite easy, just a little time consuming.

Keep reading for the tutorial!

Essence Nail Art Twins - Chuck & Blair

Hi everyone!

A secret santa of mine sent me five sets of the Essence Nail Art Twins! They've been on my wishlist for ages, so I was absolutely thrilled that she sent so many to me!

I'll be showing you the pairs over the next little while and I'm starting today with Chuck & Blair. I actually had to google who these two were named after and apparently they're characters from the television show Gossip Girl, which I've never personally watched. That doesn't mean that I can't enjoy the polishes though!

Chuck is a medium royal blue creme. I've read on some blogs that this is more of a blue-purple, but mine pulls all the way blue on me, so it might be dependent on your skin tone. The formula was very easy to work with and you could get away with just one coat if you apply it a little thick, but I prefer to just do two thinner coats myself.

Blair is a clear base with a mixture of different sized grey-silver hexagons as well as smaller holographic glitters. Since these two are a pair, I've obviously layered Blair over Chuck and I found that one coat gave me enough glitter coverage while still allowing the base colour to show through.

This isn't my favourite of the pairs I was given, but I still really like it. I can't wait to show you the rest of the twins I have!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Manicuring 101 - How to Properly Apply Nail Polish (+ My YouTube Debut!)

Hi guys! Happy Apocalypse Day!

My Manicuring 101 Series covers all the basics of nail care. I've already covered many of the basics, including the anatomy of the nail, the different types of nail files, cuticle care and more. Check out the Manicuring 101 tab above to see those posts!

It's actually been a shameful amount of time since my last Manicuring 101 post, which is why I had to sort of re-introduce the series above. Shame on me. But I knew what the next post had to be, and I knew it would have to be a video, so I just kept putting it off.

I'm still rather nervous about posting this, but I know it might be helpful to a lot of you, so I'm sucking it up. With that said, please go easy on me! This is my first video, so I'm aware that it's not going to be perfect. But I'll keep working on improving my videos for you.

Anyways, this post had to include a video because what I'm showing you today is something that has to be seen and not just explained through text. The video will walk you through the steps of how to properly apply nail polish!

I know that it seems like such a self-explanatory subject to a lot of people, but I also know that some still struggle with polish application, so those are the people I'm doing this video/post for. I've still added some explanations below in text, but I know it'll be a lot easier to understand with the accompanying video.

Disclaimer: As a professional manicurist, this is how I have been taught to properly apply polish, and I've found that it is indeed the best method for achieving an even, clean-up free application. However, that's not to say that you're wrong if you aren't applying your polish using this method. On the contrary, if you're using another method and getting results that you're happy with, then continue on. This is primarily for beginners or anyone who's struggling with their polish application.

Onto the video!

In case anyone has trouble viewing the embedded video, here's a direct link to view it on youtube.

Step 1:
Apply your base coat.

Step 2:
The first thing I explain in the video is a trick that you can use in order to not flood your cuticles with polish. When you're removing the brush from the bottle, swirl the wand of the brush against the sides of the bottle. This will remove the excess polish from the wand so that none drips onto the brush while you're painting, which can often be a cause of flooded cuticles/uneven application. This is hard to explain, so be sure to watch the video to better understand what I mean.

Step 3:
Place a dollop of polish near the cuticle, but not at the cuticle.

Step 4:
Push the dollop back towards the cuticle, stopping about 2mm away from the cuticle. This small gap between the polish and the cuticle makes for an overall cleaner and neater looking manicure.

Step 5:
Moving to one side of your nail, paint all the way up to the tip. Do the same on the other side of your nail. Again, leave a small gap between your skin and the polish.

Step 6:
If applicable, wrap the free edge of your nail with polish.

Step 7:
Apply your second coat using the same method, except do your first stroke on the opposite side of your nail that you did on the first coat. In other words, if in Step 5 you did your first stroke on the left side of your nail, do it on the right side for this second coat. Out of pure habit, I forgot to do this on two of my nails in the video (ring and pinky), but you get the point from the first two nails.

Step 8:
You can wrap the free edge once again on the second coat, but this is something I choose not to do. I feel like I get a more even, smooth coverage if I only wrap the tips on the first coat, but this is up to you.

Step 9:
Wait for your polish to dry and apply your top coat!

I know this post was super wordy, but hopefully some of you found it helpful! If you have any further questions, leave me a comment below!

I think the next post in this series will be a clean-up tutorial, but I'm not totally set on that. Is there a topic that you guys would like to see from this Manicuring 101 Series that I haven't already covered? Let me know!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Nail Art - Winter Wonderland

Hi everyone!

I have another Christmas mani for you today! This is probably my favourite one that I've done this year so far, so hopefully you all like it as well!

To create this winter wonderland design, I first started by doing a gradient with China Glaze First Mate, Sky High-Top and Bahamian Escape. Most of Bahamian Espcape ended up being covered by the snow tips, but that's ok. And I do have a step-by-step tutorial for gradient nails, so you can check that out here.

My next step was to create the snow at the tips, which I just did using a striping brush and Wet 'n' Wild French White. When that was done, I used a really small nail art brush and freehanded on some trees with both China Glaze First Mate and Wet 'n' Wild French White. Finally, I used a tiny dotting tool and added some falling snow.

Although I get a strong Christmas vibe from this mani, I think it could still be appropriate during the entire winter season! So it's a little more versatile than most other Christmas designs.

I had planned on doing a tutorial for this design while I was doing it, but didn't end up having the extra time. So if you'd like to see a tutorial, let me know in the comments and I'll put that on my to-do list. :)

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

GOSH - Holographic Hero

Hey guys!

GOSH Holographic is one of those really coveted discontinued polishes that everyone wants to get their hands on. Well, GOSH listened to our pleas and brought Holographic back, but they did change it a bit. It's been re-released with the name Holographic Hero, but it's still a silver linear holographic polish.

After visiting two Shopper's Drug Mart locations and finding empty displays, I managed to find a full display at a third location. I considered purchasing two, but I have a number of silver holo polishes already, so I thought it was fair to leave the others for someone else to find and love. It is the holidays, after all!

As I said above, Holographic Hero is a silver polish with a linear holographic finish. It doesn't look like much in the shade, but once you get the sucker out in the sun or under some direct lighting, you see what makes it special. The holo is quite strong, but I've seen swatches comparing the old and new versions that show the old version as still being more holographic.

Something I found funny/interesting about this polish is that the label on the bottle cap says "One Night Wear for Holographic Lovers". It's like GOSH recognizes the flaw in holographic formulas (ie: they generally tend to chip quite easily) and decided to turn it into a marketing ploy. It's pretty clever, but we nail polish addicts see right through it.

In terms of formula, Holographic Hero was on the thin side, but still built up to opacity in two coats. It applied quite well and I didn't need to use an aqua fix base coat or anything of the sort.

Like I said, I got my bottle from Shopper's Drug Mart, which is a Canadian drugstore. It was the same price as the rest of the GOSH polish line at $7.
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