Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 30: Inspired by a Tutorial

Hey guys!

Ok, now we're back to days where I'm actually feeling inspired by the prompts (albeit there's only this one and one more left, but still)!

Today's design is inspired by a tutorial, and this one was hard to narrow down because there are so many great nail artists out there! But in the end, I went with the very bold "Have I Crossed the Line?" design by Melissa over at The Daily Nail.



If you've been following me for a while, you know by now that I do not like using tape - striping tape, scotch tape, or any other variety of tape, to create designs. Yet, this design is done using only tape (and a lot of it). Well, since this 31 day challenge is about challenging myself, and I love this design so much, I decided to just go for it!


I don't own any of the shades Melissa used for her original design, so I had to improvise.

The white base is Wet 'n' Wild French White and the black crossed lines are done with Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme. The triangles were done using OPI Red My Fortune Cookie, OPI A Roll in the Hague, Orly Spark, China Glaze Four Leaf Clover and Zoya Robyn.

As I said above, the entire design is done using pieces of tape, which I generally have no patience for. This was no exception. I managed to do all of the black stripes using tape, but I just couldn't wait any longer, so I did all of the coloured triangles freehand with a striping brush.


Mine didn't turn out quite as sharp as Melissa's, but I still really like it. It's so graphic and bold that you just can't help but stare at it! I also think it's nice to show it on a completely different nail shape since Melissa's nails are oval shaped and mine are squared.

Only one more day left! Tomorrow's prompt is to recreate a manicure I love, which can be interpreted in any number of ways. Check back to see what I come up with for the final challenge mani!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 29: Inspired by the Supernatural

Hey everyone!

The theme today is to create a nail design that's inspired by the supernatural, and this is the second day in a row that I've felt rather uninspired by the prompt. I feel like both yesterday's and today's themes are sort of limiting and they've definitely been my least favourites of the challenge.

Regardless, I obviously did manage to come up with a design for today! I'm calling this design "dragon scales".


I was pretty determined to get one more full nail stamping design in before the challenge ended, so that's something I'm happy about! I'm also pleased that my stamping practice during this challenge has really paid off. :)


The base colour for this design is Illamasqua Radium, and then I used small bits of a makeup sponge to add random spots of other green shades, including:

China Glaze Laser Lime
China Glaze Paper Chasing
Orly Here Comes Trouble
Orly It's Not Rocket Science
Orly Lucky Duck
Orly Space Cadet


Finally, I stamped the scales using Konad White and plate BM-215.


I actually do really like how this turned out, I just don't think it fits the theme as well as I would have liked.

Only two more days left! Check back tomorrow for nails inspired by a tutorial!

Friday, September 28, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 28: Inspired by a Flag

Hi guys!

Today's prompt is inspired by a flag and I was feeling completely uninspired about this theme. After whining on twitter about my lack of inspiration, I received an awesome suggestion to just create my own flag for my own made-up country! I loved this idea because it gave me complete creative control over my design!

So then I got to wondering what a flag for my own country would look like. Well, it would be bold and eye-catching, it would have bright colours, and possibly a touch of animal print. Luckily, I didn't stray too far from the challenge prompt because I found a website that sells novelty/accessory flags and they had the perfect flag for me to draw inspiration from! So, I'm still sticking to the prompt, it's just a little outside the box. ;)


Actually, if you remove the dots and the animal print, there's definite real flag potential with the tricolour vertical stripes!


To create this design, I started with a base of white on all of my nails. I then used a striping brush to block off the pink, green and black sections. The black is Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme, the pink is OPI Kiss Me On My Tulips and the green is Color Club Twiggie. I added the dots using a dual-ended dotting tool and the zebra stripes were done using a striper brush.


I really like how thus turned out! I feel a little bad about straying from the challenge prompt, but I just wasn't feeling the flag inspiration!

Only three more days left! Tomorrow calls for a mani inspired by the supernatural, and I'm sadly not really very inspired about that theme either. Check back to see what I come up with!

Tutorial - Gradient Nails

Hey guys!

You all seemed to really like yesterday's challenge mani! Thank you for all the lovely and kind comments that you left for me - I truly appreciate each and every one of them.

I also received several emails asking how I did such smooth gradients as the base for the design, so I decided that the best way to explain it would be through a picture tutorial!


Keep reading for the step-by-step tutorial!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 27: Inspired by Art

Hey everyone!

Today the challenge prompt is to create nail art based on art. After looking through my inspiration folder, I found a piece of artwork that I'd saved from Pinterest a while ago that I thought would translate really well into a nail design!


When I saved this to my inspiration folder, I never made note of the source. So I had to do some research, but it seems that this painting originates from this Etsy shop. There's a lot of other great paintings in the shop and I could definitely pull inspiration from many more of the pieces!

It also seems that this is a popular painting to use as inspiration for nail art! A few weeks age Kelsie from Kelsie's Nail Files also created a nail design based on this piece of art! Great minds think alike. :)


I used over 20 polishes to create this design (see a photo of all of them below), so bear with me as I try to run through them all.

On my index nail, the pink gradient is done using OPI Mod About You, Zoya Jolene and Zoya Brie.

The peachy gradient on my middle nail is done using China Glaze Peachy Keen, Illamasqua Purity and Wet 'n' Wild French White.

The blue gradient on my index nail is done using China Glaze Kinetic Candy, China Glaze For Audrey and OPI Fly.

On my pinky nail, the green gradient (which I think is my favourite one) is done using OPI Jade is the New Black, China Glaze Gaga for Green and China Glaze Re-fresh Mint.

To create the tree and its branches, I used a striping brush and OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys. Besides all those colours, I also used a bunch to create the dots on the branches:

China Glaze Orange You Hot?
China Glaze Sun-Kissed
OPI Did It On 'Em
OPI Funky Dunkey
OPI Rumple's Wiggins
OPI Ski Teal We Drop
Orly Emberstone
Orly Stone Cold


I'm probably forgetting at least one polish, but those are all the ones that I can remember at the moment!


I'm super happy with how this mani turned out and I'm actually pretty bummed that I have to remove it so quickly! I'll have to redo it some time in the future when I'm able to wear it for a longer period of time.


As promised above, here's a look at all the polishes it took to create this design. And just because I thought they looked kind of pretty, I also included a photo of the sponges post-gradient.



That's twenty-seven down, only four more to go!

Tomorrow is inspired by a flag, and if you follow me on twitter, you know that I've been feeling less than inspired about that theme. I'm still running through ideas though, so check back tomorrow to see what I come up with!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 26: Inspired by a Pattern

Hey guys!

I'm super excited about today's manicure! The challenge prompt is inspired by a pattern, and I thought it would be fitting to finally do a design that's inspired by my site's background! I did a water marble a while back that matched my the colours of my site, but that's not quite the same. So this time I went full out retro peacock feathers!


The idea I had for this design was to stamp the peacock feathers using BM-212 and then fill in each of the feathers individually with the appropriate colours to match my background. However, because the base colour for this mani is white, I had to find a stamping colour that would be visible over white, but also that wouldn't interfere with the colours I wanted to fill in the feathers with. I came up short.

So, I decided to just stamp with white over the white base and hope that I could see enough of the outlines that I could manage to fill the feathers in. Yeah, that didn't work. So in the end, I just freehanded the little feathers with a small detail brush. It was definitely more time consuming this way, but the result was totally worth it.


The base colour of this design is Wet 'n' Wild French White. The purple feathers were done using Color Club Pucci-licious and Orly Charged Up. The blue feathers were done using OPI Fly and OPI Ski Teal We Drop. Finally, the green feathers were done with Illamasqua Nomad and Orly Lucky Duck.


This is definitely one of my favourite designs from this entire challenge. I think it's mostly because when I look at my nails, I immediately think of my blog and that really excites me!


The theme tomorrow is inspired by art, and if my idea works out on my nails as nice as it is in my head, it's going to be pretty awesome! See you then!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 25: Inspired by Fashion

Hi everyone!

Well it's day 25 and the theme today is to create a nail design that's inspired by fashion. I'll be upfront and admit that I'm not much of a fashionista. I mean, I'll stay on trend for the most part, but it's not something I'm ever overly concerned with.

I will say though that if I could afford to buy designer clothes/accessories, Kate Spade is where I would go. I really love the quirky, graphic and playful style. The Kate Spade Spring 2013 Collection really caught my eye - it's bright and youthful with accents of bows, polka dots and graphic floral prints. You can see the entire collection here.

The look I used as inspiration for today's nail design is a bold, geometric print dress accessorized by a bright pink handbag.


I have to be honest and say that this design was very time-consuming and also very difficult to do using my non-dominant hand. There's just so many lines! And the perfectionist in me wanted them to be perfect, so I kept going over every little mistake, which is why this took so long. But in the end, I'm very happy with how it turned out.


I used a lot of colours for this design, so I'll try to run through them all. The base colour that I started with on my two accents nails is OPI Mod About You. On my non-accent nails, I used China Glaze Pink Plumeria from the Summer Neons Collection. This colour is also featured on the accent nails. The other colours used on the accents nails include:

China Glaze Aquadelic
China Glaze Recyle
China Glaze Splish Splash
China Glaze Sun-Kissed
Wet 'n' Wild French White


And all of the black outlining was done with the It's So Easy Stripe Rite Paint in Black.


That makes twenty-five down and only six more to go! I'm really excited for what I have planned for the next two days, so be sure to check back!

Monday, September 24, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 24: Inspired by a Book

Hey guys!

Today's prompt is to create a nail design inspired by a book. I've known all along which book I was going to use as inspiration for today - it's Oh The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. For me, this is one of the most significant and poignant books that I've ever read.


The book is a popular gift for graduates (whether high school or college/university) and it's actually the last book published by Dr. Seuss before his death.

The story is not your typical "you can do or be anything" type. Instead, it reminds the reader that life has its challenges and that everything doesn't always go as planned. It's realistic, and as a recent university graduate myself, it's so very relatable.


Here's just a few of my favourite quotes from the book:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)"

“When you're in a slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself, is not easily done.”

"I'm sorry to say so, but sadly it's true, that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you."


The base colour here is Wet 'n' Wild French White. The colourful stripes/blocks were done using a number of polishes, so I'll just list them for you.

China Glaze Gaga for Green
China Glaze Papaya Punch
OPI Planks a Lot
OPI Sparrow Me the Drama
Orly Spark
Zoya Robyn


Finally, the outlines in black were done with the It's So Easy Stripe Rite Paint in Black.


The messages in this story are timeless, and I can definitely see this book being a gift I give to my own children some day.

Hope you all liked today's design! See you tomorrow with some inspired by fashion nails!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 23: Inspired by a Movie

Hi everyone!

Today's inspired by prompt is inspired by a movie, and given yesterday's posts, you've probably guessed that my favourite movie genre is comedy. So I picked a recent and, in my opinion, hilarious movie to base my manicure off of - 21 Jump Street.

For anyone who hasn't seen the film, I've included a brief synopsis from Wikipedia:

"21 Jump Street is a 2012 American action comedy film starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Based on the 1987 television series of the same name, the film follows two police officers who are forced to relive high school when they are assigned to go undercover as high school students to prevent the outbreak of a new synthetic drug and arrest its supplier."

Through the antics, both lead characters take the drug in order to not blow their cover. While high, Tatum's character goes on a scientific rant while writing on the white board in science class. When he steps back, the board is covered with just the number 4. It's probably one of the funniest scenes in the entire film and I just had to emulate it for today's mani!


For this design, I started with a base of Wet 'n' Wild French White. I then used a small detail brush and drew on the number 4 in various sizes. The polishes I used are OPI Ogre-the-Top Blue, Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme, OPI Red Lights Ahead...Where? and China Glaze Four Leaf Clover.


I'm really thrilled with how well this turned out! I was afraid that this was going to be one of those designs that was really awesome in my head but that wouldn't translate on the nail. I'm glad that I was wrong!


Oh and for anyone interested, there is a 21 Jump Street sequel in the works! There's no anticipated release date yet, but I'm definitely excited about it. :)


Twenty-three down, only eight more to go! Check back tomorrow for some inspired by a book nails!

Review & Swatches - Essence Ready For Boarding Collection

Hey guys!

Before I post my inspired by a movie nails, I have the polishes from the limited edition Essence Ready For Boarding Collection to show you! There's five polishes in this collection - all of which are of the creme variety.


Keep reading for the swatches and review!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 22: Inspired by a Song (for real this time)

Hey guys!

Welcome to my actual inspired by a song manicure! I hope you enjoyed my silly post from earlier haha.

I had a lot of ideas for today's mani, but I always wound up coming back to the same one. The song I chose might seem kind of strange, but based on today's earlier post, you'll probably understand not only my song choice, but a little bit more about me as a person (ie: I like to laugh).

The Lonely Island is a group that does satirical songs/videos and they're often featured on comedy/skit shows such as Saturday Night Live. I think all of their song are insanely hilarious, so I chose one of my favourites - I'm On A Boat, as the inspiration for today's mani.

For anyone who doesn't know, the song is a parody of rap and the many clich├ęs associated with rap songs/videos. The music video for I'm On A Boat reached number one on YouTube in February 2009 and was number one on the U.S. iTunes music video chart. It was also nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 52nd Grammy Awards!

If you haven't seen I'm On A Boat before, I've embedded the video below so that you don't have to go search for it. But as a warning, the song contains a lot of coarse language, so I've embedded both the clean and explicit versions of the video (but to be honest, the explicit version is much funnier).

With all that said, now let's get my nail design that was inspired by this song!



There's a lot going on in this manicure, so I'm going to break it down nail by nail.

On my thumb, I did an easy drawing of a boat on the water. I made sure to use the same detailing on my little cartoon boat as is on the boat in the video. The base colour for this nail is Color Club Take Me To Your Chateau. The boat is done using Wet 'n' Wild French White, the side detailing was done with China Glaze Salsa and the water is done using China Glaze Shower Together with a little bit of Take Me To Your Chateau marbled in with it.

On my index finger, I stamped the flip flop image from BM-309 using Konad White over a base of simple blue stripes. If you listen to the song, at 1:14, the lyrics say "I got my swim trunks and my flippy floppies", so that's where the inspiration for this nail came from.

On my middle finger, I have a cheeseburger, which will really only make sense if you've listened to the song. At 1:16, the lyrics say "I'm flippin' burgers you at Kinko's straight flippin' copies", so that's where the burger comes from.

On my ring finger, I've also featured some stamping, this time using the dolphin image from BM-320. At 1:19 in the song, the lyrics say "I'm ridin' on a dolphin, doin' flips and shit, this dolphin's splashin', gettin' everybody all wet". The base here is also Color Club Take Me To Your Chateau, the water is done using the same colours as the water on my thumb.

Finally, my pinky finger features a simple anchor that's inspired by the line at 1:35 that says "I've got a nautical-themed pashmina afghan", as well as the accompanying imagery of that scene. The base colour here is China Glaze First Mate (how apropos, right?) and I drew the anchor on using a detail brush and China Glaze Midnight Kiss.


In the end, I was happy with how this mani turned out, especially the cheeseburger on my middle nail!

In hindsight though, I think it would have been better if I would have used a different colour scheme for the stripes on my index nail. There's just too much blue in the whole mani, and the cheeseburger nail sort of sticks out like a sore thumb. I think that if I had used some different colours on the index nail, this would have looked more like the skittle manicure that it's supposed to.


And as promised, here's the I'm On A Boat video. The explicit version is first and the clean version is second.




Alright, this is definitely the longest post yet in the 31 Day Challenge, but hopefully it was worth it and you all got a chuckle out of it!

See you tomorrow with some inspired by a movie nails!

31 Day Challenge - Day 22: Inspired by a Song

Hey guys!

Today's inspired by prompt is inspired by a song. The song I chose is pretty popular, so I'm sure you'll all recognize it - it's The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars.


The lyrics that spoke to me the most in this song are "Today I don't feel like doing anything, I just wanna lay in my bed". So I pulled inspiration from those lyrics in particular and came up with this mani.


I used so many polishes for this design that frankly, I can't even list them all!


Everything you see here was done completely freehand, and I know that can seem a little intimidating with such an intricate design. But there's so many tutorials out there for this type of mani that I'm sure you can easily find one that will walk you through this step-by-step.


This design is very on trend right now, so you're certain to be the talk of the town if you're seen sporting this fashion forward mani!

...

If you've gotten this far, I'm sure you understand that this is a complete and utter joke post. My real inspired by a song post will be up later today.

Hope you got a chuckle out of this! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 21: Inspired by a Colour

Hey guys!

Today marks the beginning of the "inspired by" series of manis and I'm really excited about many of the designs I have planned!

The first inspired by prompt is inspired by a colour, and I think most of us have interpreted that as inspired by a particular polish. I went completely and utterly literal with my design today and I think it's a really fun mani!


As you have already guessed, the polish(es) that I chose to pull inspiration from are a few from the extremely coveted China Glaze OMG Collection. With that inspiration, I decided to create what I'm calling a "Text Talk Mani".


The base colours I used are obvious, but I'll run through them anyways. The index finger features China Glaze DV8, my middle finger has China Glaze OMG, my ring finger features China Glaze BFF and on my pinky nail is China Glaze IDK.


To add a little more to the "text talk" theme of this, I also did some special characters including a hashtag, an explanation point, a percentage sign and a question mark. All of the lettering was done using a small detail brush and Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme.

And here's a flash photo to show off the holographic finish of the OMG polishes.


So that's twenty-one down, only ten more to go! See you tomorrow with some nails inspired by a song!

Review & Swatches - China Glaze Magnetix II Collection

Hey guys!

Before I show you today's challenge mani, I first have the China Glaze Magnetix II Collection to share with you!

I was much more intrigued by the colours of this collection than the ones from the first collection, and the magnet caught my attention as well.


Keep reading for the swatches and full review!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 20: Water Marble

Hey guys!

So today's theme is the water marble, and it's a technique that I've definitely had a love/hate relationship with in the past.

I ran into so many problems when I first started water marbling, but I'm finally comfortable with it! So comfortable in fact that I actually did two different marble manis for today! I picked one of them as my "official" challenge mani, but I'll definitely be showing you the other one some time later.


All of the polishes I chose for this marble are by China Glaze as I've found that they work quite well for water marbling. That's not to say that any other brands don't work for marbling, but I've just personally had good luck with China Glaze.

The colours are White on White, Make Some Noise, Custom Kicks and Sunshine Pop. There's no rhyme or reason to the marble patter that I made in the water, I just played around until I had something that I liked each time.

It wasn't exactly planned, but I think it ended up having sort of a retro vibe, and I like that!


I won't give you a super in-depth tutorial, but I'll give you a few tips that I've learned that help to ensure I always get good results from my water marbles.

1.) Use room temperature, filtered water.
2. ) Have your polishes ready, lined up in the order you're going to use them, with the caps unscrewed.
3.) When dropping the polish into the water, don't drop it from too high. If you do so, the dollop of polish will just sink to the bottom.
4.) When you're creating your designs with your orange stick (or toothpick/dotting tool/whatever you choose), clean it off after every couple of swipes through the polish.
5.) If you're dunking two nails at a time, make sure that they hit the polish at the same time. If they hit at different times, the first one is going to drag the polish into the water and your second nail isn't going to look very hot.
6.) Before removing your nail(s), make sure the water is completely clean.

Those are just a few tips that have helped me along the way, so hopefully they'll be helpful for you as well. And for more in-depth water marbling tutorials, you can always check out the Queen of Water Marbling herself, Colette from My Simple Little Pleasures.


That's twenty days down, only eleven more to go!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the "inspired by" series of manicures, and I'm pretty excited about the designs I have planned!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

31 Day Challenge - Day 19: Galaxies

Hi everyone!

The theme today is galaxy nail art, and I've known from the very start of this challenge exactly which manicure I was going to do for today.

A while back, I stumbled upon an absolutely amazing blue/green galaxy manicure on Pinterest and it linked me back to this site. Honestly, this is by far the best galaxy nail art I've ever seen! So I set out to recreate this stunning design!


Sadly, I wasn't as successful as I had hoped I would be. She used an interesting technique where she sort of "flicked" white acrylic paint onto her manicure using a toothbrush, and although I tried doing the same, this technique just doesn't work as well with polish. Or maybe the spare toothbrush I had lying around was too stiff? I'm not sure. But I think that's one of the things that made her design so super special.

Furthermore, she used a particular polish (Isadora Marzipan) that I could not find an even close to dupe of in my collection, and I think that colour was one of the other keys to her design.

All of that aside, I do still love my end result, but comparatively, mine just doesn't cut it! Kudos to this blogger for creating such an amazing mani!


The base colour I started out with is Orly Halley's Comet and I used tiny bits of a makeup wedge to sponge on the other colours, which consist of Orly Lunar Eclipse, Essie Aruba Blue, China Glaze Flyin' High, China Glaze Four Leaf Clover and Essie Mint Candy Apple. I then added the stars using Wet 'n' Wild French White.


So it's not as good as the original, but hopefully you guys still like my galaxy nails!

See you tomorrow with some water marble nails!
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