Thursday, May 31, 2012

Moving Mani - Neon Animal Print

Hey guys!

I'm still in the process of moving, but I wanted to write a quick post today to show you a nail art design I wore last week. Obviously, moving takes a toll on the nails, but that doesn't stop me from sporting eye catching nail art!

I'm really loving the China Glaze Summer Neons Collection, so I picked out two colours that I hadn't used yet and did a simple animal print design (surprise, surprise).

I laid down a white base first and then I painted all of my nails (except my ring finger) with China Glaze Hang-ten Toes - a hot barbie pink with subtle shimmer. On my ring finger, I used I'm With The Lifeguard - a bright highlighter green shade with subtle shimmer. I then freehanded on the animal print designs using a black creme polish.

For fun, I switched the colour/design scheme up on my right hand so that I'm With The Lifeguard with the cheetah print was the dominant colour/design, while Hang-ten Toes with the zebra print was only featured on my ring finger. I really liked how both hands were different, yet still matching! I'll have to do that more often! I wish I had gotten a picture of my right hand, but I didn't think of it at the time.

Sorry this is such a short post but I've got to get back to moving! I can't wait until we're finished so I can relax and get back into blogging and talking about nail polish on a regular basis.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Graduation Nails - Peacock Feathers: Take 2

Hey guys!

First off, I want to thank all of you for the kind comments you left on my Pepper tribute post. They really meant a lot and are helping me get through this.

Second, today is a big day for me because today is my university graduation ceremony! I finished my schooling in December but today is the ceremony when I actually receive my degree. I picked out a gorgeous dress to wear under my graduation gown and of course, I had to do some nail art to match!

The colours of the dress scream peacock so I re-did my peacock nails from last year, but used different colours to better match the dress. I also added an accent nail of rhinestones because the waistband of my dress has a lot of rhinestone detailing.

The colours I used are all from the Hits No Olipmo Collection: Poseidon, Apolo, Atena, Hera and Dionisio. I started with a base of white (China Glaze White on White) because some of the Hits holos are on the sheerer side and I needed the colours to pop without having to go over them several times. I then followed my own tutorial to create the rest of the design.

Here's a photo that shows my nails together with my dress. I think it matches perfectly!

Ok, I have to go graduate now! Talk soon!

P.S. Thanks to everyone who entered my nail art contest! One of my judges is on vacation in France right now (I'm totally jealous), so I have to wait for her to get back in order to help with the judging. She'll be back on June 2nd, so the winner should be announced soon after. As well, we should be finished moving soon after that, so posting (and lighting/photo-taking) will return to normal then, too.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Gradient Friday - In Memory of Pepper the Hedgehog

Hey guys.

As many of you might already know from my Facebook page, our hedgehog Pepper passed away a couple of days ago. It was sudden and unexpected and truly devastating. I really loved the little guy and I know that anyone with a pet can totally understand what we're going through.

In memory of Pepper, I decided to take part in today's group collaboration and dedicate a nail design to him.

Today's theme is the gradient, so I based my gradient off of Pepper's quills (which are the spiky spines all over his body, for anyone who doesn't know). His quills were a mix of cream and dark grey and there was some brown in there as well, but I couldn't find a perfect brown in my stash so I just went with the cream and grey colours. Incidentally, when blended together, the cream and grey colours sort of created a slightly brown colour, so it turned out perfectly in the end.

The colours I used are Illamasqua Load and China Glaze Concrete Catwalk. I had planned on using this awesome tutorial by The Nailasaurus to do the gradient, but that method produces super blended and perfect gradients, while I wanted my gradient to be a little more harsh because that's more reminiscent of Pepper's quills.

I left my ring finger with just the base of Illamasqua Load and then I added a little heart to symbolize the love I have for him. That might be a little corny, but I thought it was fitting.

RIP Pepper, you'll be severely missed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

China Glaze - Love's A Beach

Hey guys!

Our move is going well, in case anyone was wondering! We took possession of our new place a couple of days ago and we started moving a few things in yesterday. There's still a huge amount of work ahead of us, but we're definitely excited!

Today I'm going to show you my current mani featuring one of the new polishes from the China Glaze Summer Neons Collection - Love's A Beach. This shade is a super bright hot pink with a touch of fuchsia pink shimmer. It's one of the few neon shades that I think looks great with any skin colour - even my ghostly white skin!

My swatch of Love's A Beach is 2 coats over 1 coat of a white creme base. Many of the neons from this collection don't actually need the white base, but I like to use it to really make the neon colour pop. The formula was good - thicker than your average neon, yet still very easy to work with.

Yes, it's that bright!

I think this might actually be my favourite neon ever! I don't often wear just a solid colour as a full mani, but this is one that I can see myself reaching for a lot this summer. I also think it'll make a great pedi colour!

When I applied this, the colour was just screaming at me to add some black zebra stripes, but I couldn't bear to cover this up! Maybe after I wear it for a day or two I'll add some zebra stripes to create a whole new look and extend the life of this mani.

Have you picked up any of the China Glaze Summer Neons yet?

P.S. Have you entered my nail art contest yet?! It ends on Friday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Purple & Blue Leopard Nail Art

Hey guys!

Before I get to today's nail art, I have a couple of things to mention.

First, I was one of the winners in the Bundle Monster nail art contest! I'm so excited! I, along with the other winners, will receive a set of the new Bundle Monster plates! Thanks to everyone who voted for me to get to the finals and a big thanks to Bundle Monster for picking me as one of the winners.

Second, my boyfriend and I are moving to a new apartment over the next couple of weeks, so I might not be able to post as often as I'd like. Not only is moving time consuming, it takes a toll on the nails as well, so I might not be doing much with them during this time. I'll still try to post as often as possible, though!

Finally, today's photos are the first ones using my new camera! I'm still getting used to it and I haven't figured out all of the functions yet, but I'm really loving the picture quality and colour accuracy of the photos! Besides that, we're staying at his parent's house while we're in the transition period of moving, so I don't have my normal lighting/background setup with me.

Now, onto today's nail art! I only have a few polishes here with me at David's parents, so I was limited in my design options. I'm sure that no one will be surprised that the design I ended up doing is an animal print!

As my base colour, I used Illamasqua Grab which is a gorgeous magenta creme. Grab has an amazing formula and it covered easily in 2 coats. For my leopard spots, I used a dotting tool and Essence Let's Get Lost from the Color & Go line of polishes. Then, using a small nail art brush and a plain white creme, I outlined the spots.

I actually think the end result sort of resembles eyeballs instead of leopard print, haha. Regardless, I do like these colours together!

Have you entered my nail art contest yet? The deadline is one week from today!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Manicuring 101 - Beveling

Hey guys!

Today I have another instalment of my Manicuring 101 Series! This is going to be a shorter post, but its still an important one!

I've already discussed how to properly file your nails and how to achieve three of the most common nail shapes. Today's discussion is about beveling, which is a process that should be completed after the filing process.

So, what is beveling? Simply put, beveling is a method of removing excess nail shavings and smoothing out the edges of your nails after filing them. It's a simple process and I've included step-by-step photos in this post so that you're able to understand it fully.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Elemental Styles - 79 Fool's Gold

Good morning!

Today I have an indie polish by Elemental Styles to show you! Whitney from Elemental Styles was generous enough to sponsor my nail art contest and when she sent me the prizes, she also sent me a couple of minis for myself! One of the ones she sent me is 79 Fool's Gold, which is also one of the ones that's being offered as a prize in my contest!

One of the cool things about Whitney's polishes is that they're all science themed! The 79 in the name 79 Fool's Gold stands for gold's number on the periodic table.

79 Fool's Gold is a shimmery gold base with several sizes of gold and holographic glitters mixed throughout. I've taken a couple of bottle shots below to give you an even better idea of the glitters in this polish.

Because I've already seen a great swatch of 79 Fool's Gold on its own by Sarah of Chalkboard Nails, I decided to layer it for my swatch. I chose a base colour of OPI Ski Teal We Drop, which is a gorgeous deep teal. I only needed one coat of 79 Fool's Gold to get a nice layer over the base.

The formula was easy to work with and I didn't have any application issues. The glitter spread evenly and didn't feel thick like these kind of glitter polishes sometimes can.

Overall, I really enjoy this polish. I like the look of it alone, and I like it layered. I think it would also look great over a gold polish!

Elemental Styles polishes can be purchased through Whitney's etsy shop. She recently launched a new collection that I'm really excited about and I plan on picking up a few more of her creations soon.

And of course, you have a chance to win three of her full-size polishes by entering my nail art contest!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Comparison - OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees Suede vs. China Glaze Stone Cold + New Camera!

Hey guys!

First off, is anyone else having trouble with blogger not publishing scheduled posts? Most days it works for me but there's been a few days, today included, that I've scheduled my posts the night before and then they're not published when I check the next day. Maybe I'm doing something wrong in my sleepy state before I go to bed, but I don't think so.

Anyways, today's post is a comparison using a polish that I used in one of my most recent manicures - OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees Suede.

I used Suzi Skis Suede as the base colour for this funky french and I thought to myself that Stone Cold from the recent China Glaze Colours from the Capitol Collection might be a dupe. And since the OPI Suedes are discontinued, it would be worthwhile to find a currently available alternative.

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees Suede - index and ring
China Glaze Stone Cold - middle and ring

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees Suede - index and ring
China Glaze Stone Cold - middle and ring

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees Suede - index and ring
China Glaze Stone Cold - middle and ring

The verdict: They're very similar, only Stone Cold is a touch darker than Suzi Skis. Though, I think they're close enough that if you have one, you don't need the other. Formula wise, they're similar, but Stone Cold is a bit thicker than Suzi Skis. I used two coats for each, but you can actually get away with just one since they're both so easily opaque.

So, if you've been looking to complete your OPI Suede Collection but you already have China Glaze Stone Cold, I'd say don't bother with Suzi Skis Suede.

Also, I have something exciting to share! My university graduation ceremony is at the end of the month and as a graduation gift, my dad was very generous and offered to get me a new camera!

The one I'm using now is actually a pretty good little camera and I've gotten several years of use out of it, but the motor in the lens is starting to wear out and it's missing a lot of the features that I would like to have in a camera (it doesn't even have a white balance setting, for example).

So, I did some research and talked to a camera store clerk in my area about my camera needs and I decided to go with the Nikon D3100 with the 18-55mm lens.

Isn't she a beaut? I haven't started using it for nail photos yet since I want to get acquainted with it and read the manual first, but hopefully you'll be seeing a difference in my photos soon!

And finally, one last thing! Today is the final day to vote in the Bundle Monster nail art contest! So if you have a spare moment, I'd appreciate your votes! If you've already been voting for me, thanks so much!

If you have a Facebook account, click HERE to go directly to my entry and vote.
If you don't have Facebook, you can still vote! Click HERE if you don't have Facebook but would still like to vote for my entry.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Splatterday - Bumblebee Splatter

Hey guys!

Welcome to another blogger/nail art enthusiast collaboration! This time we decided to all come up with our own versions of splatter manicures. I've done a fair share of splatters in the past, but most of them were done not with the straw method, but with my own dotting tool method. However, for this collaboration, I decided to go with the original method.

I chose a bumblebee inspired colour scheme and now that I'm thinking about it, "bumblebee splatter" probably isn't the best name for this manicure. It sounds kind of morbid, yes?

Anyways, morbidity aside, I like how this turned out.

I started by applying two coats of China Glaze Sunshine Pop from the Electropop Collection. Then, to add a little more sparkle, I added a coat of China Glaze White Cap. Sadly, my camera didn't pick that up very well, but I promise it's much more sparkly in person! Then, using a black creme (OPI Black Onyx) and a thin straw, I blew the splatters onto all of my nails.

I think the trick with this type of splatter manicure is knowing when to stop! Sometimes if you're using several colours, they can become muddled, or you could just end up covering way too much of your base colour. I think I was able to achieve a good balance of colours with this mani, though!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Celebrating 1,000,000 Pageviews with a Nail Art Contest!

Hey guys!

Yesterday I hit 1,000,000 page views! I'm so amazed by this milestone and I wanted to do something fun and interactive to show my gratitude. So, I decided to host my very first nail art contest!

Nail art contests have been pretty popular lately and an awesome tool by Inlinkz has provided a great way to submit entries, as well as a way to see everyone else's entries!

So let's discuss the theme, the rules, the prizes, and all that other good stuff, shall we?

Since the contest will be running during the month of May, I decided to use the phrase "April showers bring May flowers" as inspiration for the theme! To simplify this, the theme will be "floral".
I think that this theme is general enough that it will allow nail artists of any skill level to enter, but it's still something that will be fun and provide a number of diverse, unique entries!
Some of you may remember that I did a floral nail art series a while back, so you can certainly check that out for some inspiration!

Only one entry per person.
Your design must include one or more floral elements in order to meet the requirements of the theme.
The design must be done by you, on your own nails.
Stamping is prohibited, as is the use of any decals, stickers or fimo slices. You can however make use of certain nail art decorations such as rhinestones and bouillon beads.
The use of acrylic paint is discouraged, but not prohibited. If you would like to use acrylic paint for your design, just please make sure that the majority of your design is made using nail polish.
You can use any nail art tools at your disposal to create your design. That includes nail art brushes, dotting tools, the polish brushes themselves, etc.
Your design does not have to be a new one, but I do strongly encourage you to get inspired by the theme and create a new design.
You must submit your design by using the Inlinkz tool at the end of this post between now and Friday, May 25th.
This contest is open internationally.

Entries will be judged by myself and a small panel of judges that I have chosen.

If you've never used the Inlinkz tool, here's a quick and easy rundown of how to enter your submission. After you've taken photos of your design, upload them to your own blog. If you do not have a blog, you'll still need to upload your photos online so that you have a URL to use in your entry. You can do this by using any free photo hosting site such as Photobucket or Flickr. Then, click the add button and simply fill in all of the required fields to submit your entry.

Here's the most exciting part!
The winner will win 3 polishes from the indie brand Elemental Styles! The 3 polishes are: 26 Iron Man-ia, 117 Unuseptium and 79 Fool's Gold.

On top of that, the winner will also be able to pick any 2 items from my Etsy shop! If there's not current anything in stock that interests you - no problem! I will custom make your 2 pieces for you using any polishes from my stash! That's right, even my rare and hard to find polishes! I'm also in the process of producing earrings, so there'll be some of those available when the winner picks their prizes!

And that's all the info you should need! If you have any other questions, leave a comment below.

Happy polishing!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Tutorial - Half Moon Mani + Classic Leopard Print Nail Art

Hey guys!

Today I have another tutorial for you! I've been trying to post more tutorials since I know how much you guys like seeing them, so I hope you're enjoying them!

Today's tutorial is going to be for one of my designs from last year's music video nail art series. The design was based on the Beyonce's 1+1 video, and the end look is very retro and classic looking. The mani I did features a red half moon and leopard print, so this tutorial will not only show you how I create my leopard spots, but also how to get the perfect half moon mani!

To refresh, here's the design I'll be showing you how to do:

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What's In My Traincase?

Hey guys!

I'm sure many of you have seen those "What's In My Purse?" videos on youtube, right? Well, I decided that since this is a nail blog, I'll show you what's in my traincase instead!

I offer my nail art/manicure services to a few people in my area and sometimes they'll come to my apartment, but most times I'll bring my supplies to their homes. I keep all of my supplies in two traincases - a professional OPI one and a cheap Caboodles one.

I'll start with my OPI traincase and go through everything that I keep in that one, and then I'll move on to my Caboodles one.

This is what the OPI one looks like. I got it on eBay and I think it was around $60.

This is what it looks like when all of the compartments are open.

In the top half, there are 32 felt-lined spots for polish bottles. I love this about the OPI case because it really keeps the polishes protected when they're being carted around.

I always keep a few different base and top coats in here, as well as a bottle of OPI's Black Shatter. After consulting with the client, I then fill it up with whatever polishes they desire. I also keep a headband in here so that my hair is always out of my face when I'm doing their nails.

In the bottom left compartment, I keep things like acetone, nail bath solution, hand sanitizer and hand cream. In the right compartments, I keep small containers that hold nail art decorations such as loose glitter, rhinestones and bouillon beads. I also keep ziplock bags with q-tips and polish remover wipes in these compartments.

As much as I love my OPI traincase, it definitely doesn't fit near as much stuff in it as I would like. In a perfect world, I would prefer to only have to carry around one traincase, but I haven't found one that will fit everything nicely.

Now, onto my second traincase - the Caboodles one. I got this one from Wal-Mart and I believe it was around $20.

Despite being smaller than the OPI one, this one actually holds a lot more. I wish there was a somewhat larger one like this that offered the bottle holders like the OPI one.

On the right hand side of the case, I keep two clean towels. There isn't actually a compartment on that side but the towels just sort of fold up into the empty space when the case is closed.

The trays on the left hand side hold rubber gloves, two different exfoliating scrubs, a moisturizer and a receipt book.

In the bottom large compartment, I keep a larger pump-style bottle of polish remover (this bottle won't fit in the OPI case, otherwise I would keep this with the small bottle of acetone), my brush/tool holder (this holds all of my manicuring implements as well as my nail art brushes), a nail bath and nail treatments such as cuticle softener, cuticle oil, etc.

And that's everything I need to do manicures on-the-go! I hope you guys enjoyed this post and if you have any questions about any of the products in this post, leave a comment below.

Monday, May 07, 2012

My Entry to the Bundle Monster Nail Art Contest!

Hey guys!

Today I'm going to share with you the mani that I submitted to the Bundle Monster Nail Art Contest! 25 winners will be selected and each will win a set of their new set of plates!

I know it will come as no surprise that my entry consists mainly of neon polishes! I chose six of the shades from the China Glaze Summer Neons Collection - which I'm totally in love with. The six I chose are all ones with that subtle shimmer in them and I honestly can't get enough of them!

I had my colours picked out before I even had a design idea, so I leafed through my Bundle Monster plates and landed on the peace sign image on plate BM07, which I thought would go really well with the neon colours.

I started out by applying a base of white and then, using the polish brushes, I did diagonal lines with all six of the colours (listed below). I waited for all of that to dry and then I added a coat of China Glaze Fairy Dust to give it some extra sparkle. Once that was dry, I stamped the peace sign using Konad Special Polish White.

Here's a list of all of the neons I used for this design (in order from pink - purple):

Hang-ten Toes
Orange You Hot?
I'm With The Lifeguard
Splish Splash
Beach Cruise-r

I love everything about this mani! I had originally planned on just doing this design for the contest and then removing it, but I loved it so much that I decided to keep it on!

Here's the photo I entered for the contest (without holding the bottle):

If you also like this mani, I'd really appreciate it if you would vote for me in the contest!

If you have a Facebook account, click HERE to go directly to my entry and vote.

If you don't have Facebook, you can still vote! Click HERE if you don't have Facebook but would still like to vote for my entry.

You can vote once per day throughout the week, so vote as many times as you can!
Thanks in advance for your support!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Comparison - Essence Choose Me! vs. OPI Catch Me In Your Net

Hey guys!

Today I have a comparison swatch for you, which is something I haven't done in a while! In this post I'll be comparing the popular and discontinued OPI Catch Me In Your Net from the 2010 Summer Flutter Collection with Essence Choose Me! from the permanently available Colour & Go line of polishes.

If you guys remember, Essence recently launched here in Canada in Shopper's Drug Mart stores and I was able to get 15 of the Colour & Go polishes so far. I'm still on the hunt for the rest from this line, but people seem to love these little polishes so they're almost always sold out!

Anyways, when I saw Choose Me!, I immediately thought that it looked like a dupe of OPI Catch Me In Your Net, but I wasn't 100% sure without doing a side by side comparison, so that's what I did today!

Catch Me In Your Net - index and ring
Choose Me! - middle and pinky

Catch Me In Your Net - index and ring
Choose Me! - middle and pinky

The verdict: I think Choose Me! might have a touch more gold shimmer in it, but it's barely noticeable. For all intents and purposes, these are dupes. Formula wise, they're both really easy to work with and cover in 2 coats (you can see a bit of nail line in my photos but this isn't at all noticeable in person).

This is all great news because Catch Me In Your Net is discontinued and sort of hard to find, while Choose Me! is permanent and costs just $1.49!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Nail-Venturous Lacquers - Floam

Hey guys!

Today I have a super special polish to show you! It's Floam by Nail-Venturous Lacquers! I know you've all seen this a million times already, but it's so awesome that I'm sure you won't mind seeing it again.

Nail-Venturous Lacquers are created by Amy of I'm Feeling Nail-Venturous. She obviously makes incredible polishes, but more importantly, she's really sweet as well. I'm lucky enough to know her through a Facebook group and that's how I was able to get my hands on a bottle of Floam.

Floam is a clear base with a mix of small neon blue and green-yellow glitter pieces. You all know the neon kick that I've been on lately (which, by the way, I don't anticipate ending anytime in the foreseeable future), so this polish is right up my alley.

Floam is rather thick, but surprisingly not hard to work with. My swatch is 2 coats and it's not providing complete coverage, but I would most likely layer this over another polish anyways. But for my swatch, I wanted to show it to you unaltered.

The neon glitter dries to a matte finish and the texture is bumpy, so I definitely suggest a coat or two of top coat to smooth it over. I also suggest waiting in between layers so that you don't push the glitter around and end up with bald patches.

To conclude, I'm in love with this polish and I need more Nail-Venturous Lacquers in my life.

Floam is, as usual, not currently in stock due to its incredible popularity. But sign up for email updates from Ninja Polish as well as Amy's etsy shop so that you'll be notified when it's back in stock.

Still worried that you won't be able to get your hands on a bottle of Floam? Well, keep your eyes peeled because I may or may not be having a giveaway soon and it may or may not include Floam as one of the prizes! *wink*
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