Monster of Frankenstein Nails

You know how facebook likes to show you what you posted several years ago on this same day?  Well, a few days ago, this atrocity popped up on my timeline: IMG_6309I made the image nice and big so that you can see just how terrible it is.  My black lines are terrible, apparently I’d never heard about clean up, and what’s with the grotesque hand pose?  I felt like I needed to recreate this look, only better.

Here’s what I did:

IMG_6334I started with a base coat, of course.  I’ve been using Rejuvacote for…. I’m not really sure.  Six month, maybe?  This is still my first bottle and I still have about half of it left.  It had really helped the condition of my nails.  They are just so much stronger and rarely peel anymore.  It’s about $10, but that’s not bad at all considering how long a bottle lasts.

IMG_6335Next I applied a coat of a sheer nude colored polish.  I think this is some old Mary Kay stuff that I’ve had for years and years.  I don’t even remember buying it, so I’m not really sure how I ended up with it.  I used this just to tone down the yellowness of my nails, but really, you can just skip this step if you feel like it.

I then applied some liquid latex around the sides of my nails.  This is just to make clean up easier in the end. The stuff I use IMG_6336is actually hair glue and I got it for super cheap ($2 maybe) at Sally Beauty Supply.  You could also use school glue instead.  Whatever you use, just make sure you let it dry before you move on.  Oh, here’s something that nobody ever mentions about liquid latex: it sticks to itself.  So, if you have the sides of your fingers covered with latex (like I do in this picture), you have to be really careful that your fingers don’t touch each other.  If the latex on one finger touches the latex on its neighboring finger, it will just stick together an pull right off one finger.

IMG_6337Next, I took orange, purple, and green polishes, and using the brushes in the bottles, I did two swipes on each nail to make a “V” shape.  I started about halfway down the nail and just sort of dragged the brush, aiming for the opposing corner.  If your lines aren’t perfectly straight, it’s not a big IMG_6339deal, because you’re going to go over them with black anyway.

I then went over each nail with a second coat to make sure that it was opaque.  Oh, and I painted my ring finger solid green.  It was at this point that I realized that I wouldn’t have had to put a coat of the nude polish on my ring finger or put latex on that finger either.  Oh well.  Stuff like that happens when you watch TV while you do your nails.

IMG_6340I then peeled off the latex.  Use tweezers or an orange stick or something to remove the latex.  Obviously, if you use your nails, you’re just going to mess stuff up.

As you can see, most of the extra polish came off with the latex, leaving IMG_6341just a little bit to clean up.  I then used my little $1 elf concealer brush dipped in acetone to remove the little bit of remaining polish around my nails.  Seriously, this is the best little brush.  And it’s $1.  Who doesn’t love good quality things that are also cheap?  These little brushes last for a pretty long time, too, and when they finally do wear out, hey, they only cost $1 to replace.  I usually get about 6 months use out of one of these brushes, and that’s doing my nails 2-3 times a week.

Okay, at this point, I got a little excited and sort of forgot to take pictures of each little step as I was doing it.  I’ll talk you through it.

I used black acrylic (or craft) paint and a thin brush that I got at Michael’s to line the “Vs” on my nails. For my thumb, I IMG_6342started on the left side of my nail and painted a thin line to the point of the “V”.  Then I started on the right side of my thumbnail and painted a thin line that I extended the whole way to the corner of my nail.

I then did the same thing on each finger (except for my ring finger), mirroring the design on each finger, just to keep it interesting looking.  lastly, I went back and added the “stitches”.   As you can see, I sort of added the stitches in pairs.

On my ring finger, started by making two black circles with my largest dotting tool right in the middle of my finger for the eyes.  Using my little brush, I added hair, a mouth (with stitches), and eyebrows.  I then took white paint on the same large dotting tool and added the whites of the eyes, being careful not to cover the entire black circle underneath it.  Then I used a little dotting tool with black paint to add the pupils of the eyes.  I pretty much did that IMG_6343immediately after I did the white dots, so the white paint was still wet.  Then I let it dry for a while.

Because they eyes had so many layers of paint, they definitely sort of stuck out.  After the eyes were dry to the touch, but not completely dried through (maybe 10 minutes), I carefully pressed the eyes down with my finger.  Here’s a sideways shot of my finger after I smooshed the eyes down.  Hopefully you can tell how I sort of flattened them.

IMG_6352I let them dry for a while longer before I added the top coat.  I’d made the mistake in the past of not letting the acrylic paint dry completely before applying top coat, and it really shortens the lifespan of your manicure.

So here’s the final look!  Much better than two years ago!

In case you’re wondering, the polishes I used are NYC – High Line IMG_6345Green, Sally Girl – Mango, and Ulta – Tinsel Town.

Well, that’s it!  you’ve got one more day to paint your nails for Halloween, so get crackin’!  Have a fun, safe, and smart holiday!  Don’t do anything stupid!

Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Pretty, Ugly-Pretty, or Just Ugly?

Hi!  I’m back!  Where have I been, you may or may not ask? Well, my hubby and I took a two week trip to London for our  10th anniversary, and it was awesome!  It’s a big city, so I can’t claim that we saw everything there is to see, but we did visit a ton of IMG_5452great places.  In a nutshell, we tackled to varying degrees: the London Eye, Tower of London, The Tower Bridge Exhibition, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, Wimbledon, Notting Hill, the British Museum, Les Miserables, Buckingham Palace, Abbey Road, the British Library, IMG_5851Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Speaker’s Corner, double-decker buses, a river tour, Greenwich, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Harrods, All Souls Church, the Tube, Big Ben, lots of pubs, lots of tea and scones, and lots of other stuff.  We got out of London for a day and visited Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath and Lacock.  We had awesome weather, we learned tons of stuff, and just really had a super great time!  So, that’s where I’ve been.  Now back to nails….

This time of year, all of the nail people start talking about ugly-pretty colors.  These are colors that look like that could have been inspired by something gross you encountered in the bathroom after a night of bad choices.   To put it frankly, most of the colors that are described as ugly-pretty look like they could either be poo or puke.  Or maybe they are just colors that are inspired by nature at this time of year.  I mean, the grass is browninsh green, the leaves are all shades of green/brown/yellow/orange.  Maybe that’s it.

All of the ugly-pretty talk on youtube and instagram put me in the mood to do a full manicure of an ugly-pretty polish that had been sitting on my shelf for awhile.  It’s China Glaze – IMG_6256Budding Romance from the Avant Garden collection that came out in the spring of 2013. I picked this one up on clearance IMG_6255for super cheap a year or so ago.  At the time I bought it, I definitely thought it was ugly, but #1. It was really cheap, and #2. I didn’t have any other color like it.  I’ve used it in nail art a time or two, but I’d never done a full mani of this.   I figured it was time, and what the heck?

You know what I found?  I actually liked how this color looks on me!  IMG_6257Generally warmer tones don’t work well on my fair pink skin, but I actually liked how this worked with my skin tone.  And it was just so shiny!  Plus, it’s pretty much the same color as olives, and I LOVE olives!

My hubby, on the other hand, didn’t love it.  When I asked him his opinion, he furrowed his brow and declared it to be not one of his favorites.  Fortunately, it’s just nail polish and I change it frequently, so it did no permanent damage to our relationship.  I should add that he also hates olives.

So, what’s your opinion of nail polish in gross shades of green, yellow, or brown?  Do you have any favorite ugly-pretty polishes?  Or do you just prefer to stick with pretty-pretty polishes?

My Influenster Wellness VoxBox

A few weeks ago, Influenster sent me this awesome box of stuff free of charge for me to review.

IMG_5233I was seriously super excited when I got this box full of stuff!  (By the way, anyone can sign up at influenster.com to get products for reviewing purposes.  That’s awesome, right?) I’ve been using the four full size products for several weeks, and here’s what I think…

Colgate Enamel Health MouhtwashIMG_5293

I completely appreciate what Colgate is doing with this mouthwash.  As a fairly heavy coffee drinker, and a medium wine drinker, I realize that I’m probably doing a number on my enamel every day.  To be honest though, I don’t love the flavor.  I might be in the minority here, but I like a good burning mouthwash.  If my eyes water while I’m swishing, I know I’m getting my mouth clean.  The flavor of this mouth wash was pretty mildly minty and kind of medicinal.  I guess the bottom line is that I don’t really love using the product, but sometimes you have to do stuff you don’t really like just because it’s good for you.  Yay for adulthood. This 250 ml size retails for $2.99.

ATTITUDE Shampoo for Volume & Shine

IMG_5295I like this stuff!  I love that they’ve done away with all of the bad-for-you chemicals and created a product that works well and smells good!  The shampoo itself is clear and a little on the runny side, but I didn’t find that to be an issue.  The fragrance is so nice – sort of citrus-y and herbal-y.  It has that kind of pleasant smell that a lot of all natural cleaners have.  It lathers nicely and leaves my hair feeling clean, but not stripped.  And I think because the formula is a little on the thin side, one bottle will last longer than most shampoos.  I’m not sure if this line is available exclusively at Target, but it’s definitely available there.  This 12 oz bottle retails for $9.99.  I know,  that’s a little expensive for shampoo, but if you’re looking to avoid those nasty chemicals, I really recommend this!

JERGENS Wet Skin MoisturizerIMG_5291

First of all, the fragrance reminds me of something from my childhood, and it’s driving me a little bit nuts because I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is.  I think it might be Petite Nate by Jean Nate.  Does anyone remember that perfume for girls back in the 80s?  I even remember the commercials. Anyway, this stuff smell really nice.  It’s sort of a light floral scent with a hint of baby powder.  Very pleasant and inoffensive.

The way this stuff works is that as soon as you’re done with your shower, before you dry off, you slather this all over, and then you blot dry with a towel or just air dry.  I found that for me, about a quarter-sized dollop covered everything from the waist up, and a dime-size amount worked for each leg.  The directions on the bottle recommend using a bit more than that, but I found that if I used more, I felt like I had this residue on my skin, and that bothered me.  When I used a lesser amount, I really liked how my skin felt right after applying it – super silky and hydrated.

Check out this claim:

IMG_5292What?  The little asterisk says that it takes half the time versus ordinary lotion…  How much time do the rest of you spend applying lotion?  I really don’t feel like this product reduced my “getting ready” time at all.  Really, this product just means that you moisturize before you dry off instead of after.  And even if it takes half the time, how long does it take to apply regular lotion?  Thirty seconds? So lets say it only takes 15 seconds to use this Jergens stuff.  That extra 15 seconds is hardly life changing.  Anyway, that’s the end of my rant.  I just wish they’d take that silly claim off the bottle.

A more serious claim of this product is that you get 2X the moisturization compared to regular lotion.  From my experience, I’ll have to disagree.  Immediately after applying it, my skin does feel really great, but after a few hours, my skin would start to feel dry.  After using this product for about 5 days in a row, I started to develop dry, itchy patches on my upper arms and calves.  After a few itchy days, I switched back to using my normal routine of applying Bath & Body Works lotion after my shower, and within a few days, my dry, itchy patches cleared right up.  Recently, I’ve just been using it once or twice a week, and I’ve been using my regular lotion on most days.  That’s sort of disappointing, because I really like the fragrance and how it makes my skin feel immediately after use.  I think this product would be best for someone who really doesn’t have any issues with dry skin and would just like a really light moisturizer. This 10 ounce bottle retails for $7.99.

Olay Active Botanicals Refreshing Gel CleanserIMG_5289

I really like this product!  It is a clear gel, but when you rub it in your fingers it lathers up really well.  And you only need a pea size dollop.  Well, maybe the size of a big pea. The fragrance is just sort of a generic soapy smell.  This stuff is apparently infused with snow mushrooms.  Okay.  But really, it lathers up so well, and… Do you remember Noxzema?  Is Noxzema still around?  Well back in the 90s, all the teenage girls uses that stuff.  It basically made your skin feel like it was freeing and on fire at the same time, but we were sure that meant our faces were getting really clean.  Well, this Olay cleanser has this mild cooling effect that took me back 20 years to my Noxzema days.  It’s just a mild kind of cool feeling.  Very pleasant, I must say!  And it really leaves my skin feeling clean, but not overly dried out.  I’ve been using it daily for a few weeks, and I’m definitely a fan!  This 3.3 ounce tube retails for $5.99, but that tube is going to last forever, because you only need a little bit to do the job.  Oh, and I should add that my skin can be sort of sensitive, but this hasn’t bothered me at all.

I was also sent a few little samples.  I received one ounce of ATTITUDE Dishwashing Liquid that I haven’t actually used yet.  It’s carcinogen free, which of course is great!  I also got a sample of UrgentRx Ache and Pain Relief To-Go.  It’s aspirin in a flavored powder form that you can take without water.  I haven’t uses that yet either, but it seems like a great product, especially for people who have problems swallowing pills.

So, that’s my whole review of my Influenster Wellness VoxBox products.  I hope you found this helpful!

I will leave you with a super quick nail tutorial:

Paint your nails brown:

2.6.10 412

Add gold glitter:

IMG_5408

(The red-looking glitter is actually just from the reflection of my neon pink phone case. Ooops.)

Top with an orange jelly polish:

IMG_5410

Ta-da!  Super easy fall nails!

August Nails

In August I was a bit of a slacker in the nail art department.  I ended up wearing a lot of neon polish,.  I was feeling that summer-is-coming-to-and-end crunch, and I felt like I needed to squeeze in as much obnoxiously bright polish as possible.

IMG_5262I found a little bottle of China Glaze – Celtic Sun for $2.49 at Sally Beauty Supply, so I finally added this one to my collection.  Although I have a few neon yellows, this is truly the brightest of the bunch.  This polish will definitely get you noticed, if that’s your goal.

IMG_5195I enjoyed adding some shimmery toppers to my neon polish, too.  Here is an unnamed Sally Girl light neon pink that is really similar to China Glaze – Shocking Pink topped with Valley Girl Lacquer – Profundity.  I opted for a matte top coat, too.

Valley Girl Lacquer is an indie polish shop on Etsy.  She’s got some really  cute polishes.  Check out her shop! (By the way, I don’t have any relationship with Valley Girl Lacquer; I was just given some of her polishes as a Christmas gift by my sis.)

IMG_5185

Here is Orly – Fireball topped with Valley Girl Lacquer – Enigma.  Fireball is a beautiful neon red with a blue shimmer in it.  Unfortunately, the blue shimmer didn’t really show up on the nail as well as it did in the bottle.  Fortunately, I had Enigma on hand, so I added my own shimmer!

IMG_5151I also had some fun with glitter in August.  Here’s a gradient I did using LA Girl Color Pop – Rebel over my natural nail.  I’ve only ever seen the LA Girl Color Pop polishes at Rite Aid, and they are pretty inexpensive.  They are often on sale for two for $4.

IMG_5159While I was wearing this glitter gradient, I was given two of the Essie Silk Watercolor polishes.  Since I was pretty much dreading removing this glitter, I opted to make it last a little longer by topping it with the Essie polishes.  The purple color is No Shrinking Violet and the teal is Pen and Inky.  So fun and shiny and squishy!

IMG_5285I did actually do one bit of legitimate nail art in August.  After all of the bright colors, I felt I needed something a little more subdued, and it had been ages since I had done some simple, classic leopard print nails.  Leopard print is really so easy and takes very little skill.  After applying my base color, I just used the brush of the metalic-y bronze-y brown polish to make my spots.  Then I used a little dotting tool to quasi outline the spots in black. (A toothpick would work just fine for this step.)  Then I filled in any extra spaces with black dots or “C” shapes.  It looks way more complicated than it actually is.

Just a little aside:  This pattern is sometimes referred to as cheetah print, but if you look at actual cheetahs, you’ll notice that they just have regular black spots.  Leopards are the ones who have this circular type pattern.

So, that’s what happened on my nails in August!  My next post is going to be non-nail stuff.  Through influenster.com, I was sent some products to review, so I’ll be covering those items next.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering… I’m not tackling the 31 Day Challenge this September. I just knew that with some of the other things in life that I have coming up this month, I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.  I love checking out what other nail art lovers are doing for #31dc2015, and I’m a little sad not to be joining in.  Maybe next year.

Thanks for reading!

Just a Bunch of Summer Nails

And the award for Most Infrequent Posting goes to…. ME!  I apologize for my absence.  I’m sure it’s left a gaping hole in your summer.  I’m here and I’m fine and I’m still painting my nails.  I’ve just been busy.  It’s summer, so I can be outside doing stuff.  In a few months it will be cold and miserable and I’m sure I’ll be posting much more regularly then.

I thought I’d just highlight a few manicures that I’ve sported over the past month or so.  Here we go…

IMG_4983Turquoise and red with white polka-dots.  Aren’t these cute?  I really liked them.  I didn’t know until I did them how retro-looking they would be.  And they were so shiny!  These were super easy, too.  You only need a dotting tool.  This is such a fun way to try out different color combinations.  I wish I had a dress that looked like these nails.

IMG_5005

Glittery plaid print.  No picture could do these proper justice.  The base polish was Funky Fingers – Sand & Stilettos which is a crazy sparkly holographic micro glitter.  It’s like camping… It’s in tents.  (Intense.  Get it?)  The pink and blue polishes were both jellies,so the glitter was still visible.  So, so sparkly.

IMG_5019 Dry brush tie-dye.  I started with a white base and then just did a little dry brushing, starting with the yellow at my cuticles.  I just made sure that each of the colors overlapped a little.  The dry brush technique is super easy, by the way.  You just wipe almost all of the polish off the brush on the neck of the bottle and then drag the “dry” brush over your nails.  No tools or artistic skill required!

IMG_5031Neon orange citrus nails.  I should call these neon orange orange nails.  The base color was Orly – Tropical Pop and the darker orange was a Sally Girl polish from Sally Beauty Supply.  To pull off orange polish, I always have to wait until I get a little bit of a “tan”. I don’t really tan.  According to my foundation, I go from “fair” to “light”.  These were so bright, but you know how it is to photograph neons.  IMG_5040

Oh, I also took a picture of these nails while riding the Sky View at Hersheypark.  I really, really liked these nails!  By the way, Hersheypark is where I spent a significant amount of time in June.  It’s an awesome place to go before the crowds get really heavy in July and August.

IMG_5045Metallic butterfly nails.  I’m not sure who came up with butterfly wing nails originally, but ever since I first saw them a year or so ago, I’ve wanted to try them.  I finally got around to it.  These were a little time-consuming, but not really too bad.  I was going to use a pink/purple/blue neon gradient for the base, but I opted for a softer, more realistic green/purple gradient instead.  I also went with a matte top coat to make it a little more true to actual butterfly wings, also.

IMG_4955 Wavy teal nails.  These nails just sort of happened.  I thought they might look like lace of maybe fish scales, but they ended up looking more like waves.   I pretty much just used a doting tool to make rows of dots that touched each other.  I started at my cuticle, and then just picked a contrasting color and overlapped the next row of dots.  I didn’t love these at first, but they sort of grew on me.  IMG_4963

Jaunty Juli recreation.  I can take no credit for this design.  Jaunty Juli came up with it, and lots of people have recreated them.  I had to jump on the bandwagon. Super cute, right?  That Jaunty Juli is so creative!

IMG_4940Matte pastel with gold glitter.  These are pretty much a recreation of some nails that I did last summer and really liked.  I just love how gold glitter looks under a matte top coat.  Its just so frosty and beautiful!  This is another fun way to play with color combinations that requires pretty much no artistic skill either.

So, Those are a bunch of my summer nails!  Between fancy manicures, I love wearing obnoxiously bright neon polishes.  Someday I’ll be too old and they will be out of style, so I’m going to carpe diem.

Thanks for reading, following, liking, commenting, sharing, and whatnot!

Awesome Argyle Nails

It’s been way to long since I posted a good old fashioned tutorial, so today I’ll show you how I got these cute nails:

IMG_4932I was prompted to do these nails for the Weekly Nai Art Challenge (#wnac2015) on instagram.   This month’s theme is Paterns and this week’s prompt was coral.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done argyle nails, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity!  Here’s how to get this look…IMG_4917

1.  Start by picking three colors.  I opted for white, a neon coral (Fresh Paint – Guava), and a darker orangey-pink (Wet n Wild – Dreamy Poppy).  Paint alternating nails with the two lightest colors.   It’s easier to start with a base of lighter colors, because we’re going to layer the darker colors over top.  Obviously, It’s easier to cover a lighter color with a darker color than the other way around.  Let them dry really well.

2.  Take a 6 inch  (15 cm) strip of painter’s tape and stick it to a piece of

IMG_4918wax paper.  I cut my painter’s tape in half long-ways and then snipped it into little half an inch (8 mm) squares.

3.  Using tweezers, peel your little squares of painter’s tape off of your wax  paperIMG_4923 and stick them onto your nails.  Tweezers are helpful because they keep you from messing up your wet nails by picking off the tape with your nails, and it also helps to keep the tape from losing its stickiness by being touched by your fingers too IMG_4924much.

Take your time with this step.  You will want to put the corners of the tape in the middle of your nails.  While you’re sticking the tape on your nails, make sure that you are making nice right angles with the tape.  If your tape is nice and straight, you should have the illusion of two straight lines crossing on your nail like an “X”.

4.  Using the tweezers or a cuticle pusher, make sure the edges of the tape IMG_4925are pressed down well on your nails.  You don’t want any polish leaking underneath.

5.  Doing one nails at a time, take the polish that is a shade darker than your base color, and paint it over the exposed parts of your nail. Us a quasi thick coat of polish and make sure you have nice, even coverage.

IMG_4926 6.  Using the tweezers, peel off the tape.  Make sure you grab the part of the tape that is not covered in polish.  Look how nice and pretty and crisp the lines are!

The reason we do this step one nail at a time is because we don’t want the polish to start drying before we have a chance to peel the tape off.   IMG_4929

7.  After you’ve done this to all of your nails, it’s time for the step that makes them really look like argyle!  TakeIMG_4930 a really little brush and dip it in whatever of the three colors is missing from your nail.  Then paint four thin lines in a diamond shape on your nail.  You want the lines to parallel the “X” that is in the middle of your nail.  It’s okay if these lines cross each other at your cuticle, nail tip, and the sides of your nail, because that gives the illusion of the pattern continuing off your nail.   This is the step that requires a bit of a steady hand, but don’t stress.  Just relax and let the polish flow!

10.  Let your nails dry for a bit, and then add your top coat.  I opted for a glossy quick dry top coat, but this would look really good with a matte top coat, too.  Kind of like fabric.    IMG_4931If you give these a try, please let me know!  Tag me on facebook or instagram!  Thanks for reading, and happy argyle nails to you!

Nail Polishing Basics

I’m currently trapped in my computer room at home while some guys install our new carpet in our living room.  I figured writing a new post is a good use of time while I’m a prisoner in my own home.

Here’s a mani I did a week or two ago for the Weekly Nail Art Challenge (#wnac2015) on instagram.  IMG_4810  The prompt was neon tribal.  I started with a white base of nail polish and then used neon craft paint for everything else.  I did the black lines first and then added in the color. I just sort of winged it.  (I always want to say “wung it”, but I know that’s not a word.)  I looked at a bunch of tribal prints on line to get some good ideas before I started, and then I really just made a bunch of diamonds and triangles and dots and circles and lines on my nails.  I sort of regret that I didn’t take a picture of my right hand, since all 10 nails were different.  The lines on my right (or Cinderella) hand weren’t as straight and crisp and the ones on my left hand, but it turned out decently enough. These suckers were time consuming!  They took around 2 1/2 hours on a Friday night in front of the TV.   I get that spending that long painting tiny shapes might be infuriating and painstaking for some people, but for me it’s sort of therapeutic and relaxing.  We all have our own thing, right?

Okay now, let’s cover some nail polishing basics.  This is all stuff that I either figured out on my own over the years or that I learned from some of the amazing nail guru types that are out there.   Here’s we go.

1.  Do the stuff in Nail Care Basics first.  Now that you have done that, you are allowed to move onto step #2.

2.  Start with clean nails.  I don’t just mean that you should clean the dirt and nonsense out from under your nails, although that’s always a good thing.  For nail polish to really adhere to your nails, you need to remove any and all oil and lotion from your nails.  A good drying soap, like dish soap that breaks down oil works well.  For extra measure, you can whip your nails down with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. If you have a lot of problems with your polish chipping really quickly, you may have naturally oily nails.  There are nail dehydrators out there that might help.  They typically are in a little bottle and look just like clear polish.  I’ve never used one.  I think in my old age, my nails are probably naturally kind of dry.

3.  Apply a base coat.  This will do two things: it will protect your nails from staining and it will help the polish adhere.  There are a ton of base coats out there, so you might have to try a few to find one that works well for you.  I covered based coats a little more thoroughly here.  Since I wrote that post, I have found two more base coats that I like.  The first is Orly Bonder.  This is a “rubberized”  base coat, so like the Revlon base coat, it feels like rubber cement on your nails when it’s dry.  The Orly base coat is a lot thinner than the Revlon one, so one bottle seems to last forever.  I don’t feel like it wears quite as well as the Revlon one, but it’s a great value since one bottle lasts so long.  Another thing I really like about the Revlon base coat is that it is sort of thick, so it fills in any ridges you might have on your nails. The other base coat that I’ve been using a lot lately is Rejuvicote.  I don’t feel like it wears as well as either the Orly or the Revlon base coats, but it really works well to strengthen my nails.  If you have weak nails or nails that are prone to pealing, you might want to give this a try.  With Rejuvicote, I can really grow my nails as long as I want them.  (They start to drive me nuts when they get too long, so I sort of keep them a medium length.)

3.  Roll your polish.  Don’t shake the bottle like a crazy person.  If you do that, you’ll get little irritating air bubbles in your polish which will show up as your polish dries.  Just roll the bottle on its side between your palms.  I’m good, so I can just roll the bottle with one hand.  Just kidding.  The one-handed roll is not hard to do.

4.  Load your brush with the right amount of polish.  All polish is different, but generally, I pull the brush out of the bottle and wipe off one side of the brush on the bottle neck.  You want to transfer a decent size drop of polish onto your nail without having a bunch of polish drip all over the place in the process.

5.  This is maybe the most important thing: DON’T GET POLISH ON YOUR CUTICLES!  Seriously, this is what separates the5.10.14 002 pros from the amateurs.  I look at some of my old nail pictures and shudder.  Do you see that polish slopped all over my cuticles?  Oh the shame.   5.10.14 003Really, the only way to get good at not slopping polish all over your cuticles is to practice.  The best way that I’ve found to avoid getting polish on your cuticles is to take your polish brush (after you’ve loaded it correctly) and place it on your nail close to – but not touching  your cuticle.  Then sort of push the polish up as close as you can to your cuticle without touching your cuticle.  Then pull the brush down to the tip of your nail.  Lacquerized has a great little graphic of this technique. The only thing I do differently than she does is that I do the sides of my nails first and then finish with a swipe down the middle.  Figure out what works best for you.  JUST DON’T GET POLISH ALL OVER YOUR CUTICLES!…. So you messed up and got polish all over your cuticles?  There’s still hope for you.

6.  Do some clean-up with a little brush and some acetone.  I use the e.l.f concealer brush. This sucker only costs $1-2 and it works perfectly.  You should be able to find it at Target or Kmart, and I think Walmart is starting to carry e.l.f. products, too.IMG_4843 Just dip the tip of the brush into acetone and then give it a quick dab onto a paper towel.  Then use the brush to remove any polish that ended up where IMG_4843it wasn’t supposed to be.  To some degree you can clean up your nails with a Q-tip dipped in acetone, but you can’t really get into the tight placed with a Q-tip that you can with a little brush.

Apart from just using the little brush dipped in acetone to clean the polish off your skin and cuticles, you can also use it to get a perfectly rounded edge near your cuticle.  l  as you can see from the super-duper up close and unforgiving picture on the right my polish follows the curve of my cuticle with out actually touching it.  This is the goal, folks.  (By the way, over my white polish is Nicole By OPI – Party Bus and China Glaze – Point Me to the Party. I’m kind of loving this combo!)  After you get your polish all cleaned up and perfect looking, it’s time to…

7.  Apply a quick drying top coat.  There are lots of these out there.  I’ve used Seche Vite, INM Out the Door,  and Hoofer’s Choice, but I keep going back to NYC – Grand Central Station.  It dries so quickly and it’s so shiny and it only costs around $2!   I hear amazing things about Glisten & Glow HK Girl top coat, but I have yet to try it because I’m so happy with NYC.

So that’s it!  Your nails should look perfect now!  Seriously, it does take practice to get your polish looking perfect, so just hang in there.  It will come eventually.  Your thoughts, comments, questions, and tips are all very welcome!  Thanks for reading!

April Favorites

IMG_4827So, before it’s ancient history, here are my April Favorites.  Let’s start on the left….

First up we have Bonita – Made to Envy.  It had been ages since I had purchased a Bonita Polish.  I used to buy them on IMG_4676occasion at Francesca’s when they used to carry them.  That was maybe 4 or 5 years ago.  Within the past year or so, I’ve noticed little Bonita displays in Kmart and Rite Aid.  IMG_3940I’ve seen at least 3 different bottle shapes, which is sort of unique for a nail polish line.  Anyway, I had been eying Made to Envy for a few months.  I’m a real sucker for teal polishes.  I have a good half a dozen shimmery teal polishes, so I had been telling myself that I didn’t need this one, too.  I can’t remember exactly how or why or when I finally caved and bought this, but am I glad I did!  the thing that makes it unique to my collections is that it is a one-coater!  And the color is just so rich and beautiful!  And it’s only $2.49, so I’d definitely recommend picking this baby up, if you can.

Just for comparison, here on the left is NYC – Precious Peacock.  Although it looks much more green in this picture than Made to Envy, they really are super close in color in real life.  This is four coats of Precious Peacock.  Four coats.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Back to Made to Envy… It’s just so pretty. Sometimes I just hold this polish and stare at it lovingly.   P.S.  My hubby really likes this one.

Next we have NYC Prospect Park Bloom.  After wearing a lot of bright polishes, I was craving something neutral.  This one was in my untried stash. IMG_4728  This polish is pretty sheer, so I think this took 3 coats.  I just love how shiny it is and how soft the color is!  Neutral colors like this are really forgiving if your application isn’t perfect.  Heck, there could be all sorts of polish gunked on my cuticles, but you wouldn’t even be able to tell.  The best thing about colors like this is you really can’t tell when they start to wear or chip a little.   I’m not sure how this polish would look on someone with darker or more olive-toned skin, but if you are a bit on the pasty white side like me, this will work well for you.

Next is Fresh Paint – Honeydew.  Really, I’m kind of embarrassed to even put this polish in my favorites.   This was in both my February and March favorites.  When I’m looking to pick out my Monthly Favorites, I don’t really look at (or remember) what polishes I picked the month before.  I just look back through my instagram account for the past month and pick out the polishes that I really liked and/or used a lot.   Apparently, I’ve been fixated on this polish for at least 3 months.  I specifically picked it as an April favorite because I used it for both of my Easter manis.  This polish is one of those neon pastel type colors that is all the rage these days.  I realize that this polish is exclusive to Five Below, which is not really convenient for lots of you.  Sorry about that.

Next up is NYC – Sidewalkers.  This is just a plain old grey polish.  (I like “grey” better than “gray”.  I feel like the spelling with an “e” just looks nicer.)IMG_4688   Anyway, I went through a phase 3 or 4 years ago where I wore this polish all the time, but in recent months, it’s just been sitting on my shelf, unloved.  I pulled it out to use as a base for my pastel ikat nails for a nail art challenge (#wnac2015) on instagram.   It made me remember how much I like this polish!  It’s such a pretty cool-toned polish that works well for pale people.  I’m sorry if I’m not much  help to you darker skinned people.  Maybe I should just do a post on the colors that look awful on my, assuming that would mean they would look good on darker people.  Not sure if that’s solid logic or not.  P.S.  My hubby does not like this color.

My final polish China Glaze – Sun of a Peach.  That name just cracks me up!  I used this polishIMG_4667 in one of my Easter manicures, and it was just so bright and pretty!  In general, I can’t really pull of orange, but this shade is one shade in the orange family that I can actually wear pretty well on my nails.  I had been wanting this polish for a while, and I found a little mini bottle at Sally Beauty Supply for like, $1.29 or something, so I couldn’t really turn that down.  Mini bottles are just the best, aren’t they?  I mean, they don’t cost as much as a full size bottle, they don’t take up much room on my nail rack, and really, it’s a rarity that I finish a full size bottle of nail polish anyway.

So, that’s that.  Thanks for reading!  Seriously, I appreciate all of your comments and “likes”.

Nail Care Basics

Check out my nails!

IMG_4758These neon citrus nails really have nothing to do with what I’m writing about.  I’m just really happy with how they turned out!

I’m super happy to have gained some new readers lately, and that made me realized that a review of the basics of nail care is in order.  Here we go.

1.  If your nails aren’t as long as you’d like them, keep some kind of nail strengthener on them to help them grow.  Right now I’m using Rejuvicote.  It’s about $10 and one bottle is lasting me forever.  I’ve heard good things about OPI Nail Envy, and Sally Hansen has all sorts of nail care products that can help your nails grow.  Just keeping polish on your nails adds an extra layer of strength to your nails.

2.  Pick a shape for your nails.  Right now I’m rocking “squoval”.  I like how square nails look, but the corners of my nails feel sharp and scratchy, and that drives me nuts.  Because of that, I file my nails straight across the top, and then round off the sharp edges just enough so that they don’t bother me. I don’t ever cut my nails.  If they start to get a little too long for my liking, I just file them straight across with a glass nail file.  A glass file, by the way, is not nearly as harsh on your nails.

3.  For heaven’s sake, push back your cuticles.  Pushing back your cuticles instantly makes your nails look longer and gives you a larger surface area to polish.  You can buy fancy tools to do the job, but you don’t need them.  I generally push mine back when I’m in the shower.  After your cuticles are softened by the water, just take the thumbnail on your opposing hand and use it to gently push back your cuticles.

4.  Moisturize.  You can use cuticle oil for this, but any good, heavy hand lotion will do.  I generally moisturize throughout the day, especially after I wash my hands, and at night before bed. The only time you don’t want to moisturize is right before you polish your nails.  It will keep the polish from properly adhering to your  nails and your polish will be chipping off in no time.

As far as nail care goes, that’s all I can think of right now.  I think I’ll follow this up with Nail Polishing Basics and Nail Art Basics…. I’ll call this my Basics series.

Thanks for reading, commenting, subscribing and whatnot!

Fun With Painter’s Tape

We are in the process of redoing our living room.  Right now we’re painting.  I was actually supposed to be painting when I came up with these nails.

IMG_4705While I was getting ready to start painting, I saw a roll of painter’s tape laying there, and it hit me that painter’s tape should work really well to make my own nail vinyls.  And it did!   Here’s how I got this look…

FirstIMG_4719 I picked out five polishes that I liked together and painted each finger a different color.  Then, while my nails were drying, I took a piece of wax paper and stuck about a 10 inch piece of painter’s tape to it.

IMG_4702Then I took my zig-zaggy crafty scissors and snipped the tape into a bunch of little strips.   When my nails were really dry, I stuck a strip of my zig-zag cut tape down the center of each nail.

Then, one nail at a time, I painted the sides of each nail a different color.  I brushed a pretty thick coat down the sides of the nails because I wanted it to cover the polish that was underneath in one coat.

As soon as I painted both sides of the nail, I pulled up the painters tape with tweezers.  You don’t want to wait until the polish is dry, or the polish will come up with the tape.

The colors on my nails look pretty random, but there actually is a pattern.  I lined up my polishes in this order:  pink, yellow, periwinkle, coral, green.  For the sake of ease, let’s just number them 1 – 5.  I painted my nails with colors 1-5, starting with my thumbs.  on the sides of my thumbs, I used colors 2 and 3.  On my first fingers, I used colors 3 and 4, on my middle fingers I used 4 and 5, on my ring fingers I used 5 and 1, and on my pinkies, I used 1 and 2.

I topped these with a quick dry top coat, and I loved how glossy they looked!

I sort of felt like the end result looked like a pinata, but I really liked it!  The colors were soft enough to keep them from looking obnoxious.   These nails actually got a ton of compliments and they really weren’t hard at all!  I will definitely be using this technique in the future.

Thanks for reading!  I hope this inspires you to fancy up your nails.