Friday, November 30, 2012

Gray and Pink Floral Dot Manicure

I've been keeping my manicures pretty simple lately since I cut my thumb while slicing a pear earlier this week (and as you all can probably guess, acetone and nail polish remover stings like mad when you've got an open wound). Hopefully this weekend it will be 100 percent healed and I can come up with a new design or be inspired by one of my favorite bloggers. I've been avidly following Chalkboard Nails, where I've found a lot of helpful tips on nail art that have really helped improve my polishing skills.

Today's mani is a simple pastel polka dot with pink flowers on the accent nail. For the base color, I used two coats of OPI Skull and Glossbones, which Wendy used in a previous floral print stamping manicure. The pink dots were done with my medium-sized dotting tool and OPI Pink Friday. For the flowers, I used a technique I adopted from Chalkboard Nails. As you can see, I don't follow her tutorial step by step, and I was really happy with the way these flowers turned out. This is the first time I tried using a dab of glitter for the center of the flower, and I'm pretty pleased with the effect.
My pinky gives me a really small space to work with, so I goofed a bit on the spacing of the dots.
Skull & Glossbones is definitely one of our tried-and-true colors and we've found that it looks good on almost any skin tone. It goes on glossy and smooth and I always love an OPI base to help stop chipping!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

NYC Ballet Jelly Sandwich

Today I kept it simple and did a quick and easy jelly manicure using colors from the OPI NYC Ballet Soft Shades 2012 collection. Wendy did a swatch post a while back featuring the mini set of these colors, but until now I'd only used the glitter from the collection.

I recently picked up OPI My Pointe Exactly, a soft, sheer gray color that looks amazing in the bottle. It took five coats of polish, but I finally got the opacity that I was looking for. On top of the gray, I layered a coat of OPI Pirouette My Whistle, a clear polish with small glitter as well as some pieces of larger, circular glitter (the kind that's a pain to remove). Every time I use this glitter, I'm disappointed because I can never get enough of the larger pieces out of the bottle. I managed to get a fair amount on my index finger, but the rest of my nails only had around three or four pieces.

On top of the glitter, I layered another coat of My Pointe Exactly and voila! A soft shade jelly sandwich.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black and Pink Argyle Mani

As I was scrolling through Facebook and catching up on my friends' lives - particularly the several weddings that took place this summer - I came across a super cute photo from a college acquaintance who dressed her groom in pink and black argyle socks. I couldn't get my own husband to agree to this on our day, so I decided to settle for the second-best option: black and pink argyle nails.

I started out with a base of OPI Her Royal Shine-Ness, which I picked up in a set with OPI Servin' Up The Sparkle at Ulta. I actually have never used this lacquer before, but it was a nice surprise to find out that the formula had a nice consistency and opacity, plus went on smoothly, especially for a glitter.

I painted the top half of my nails with a new pink that I picked up ... Sinful Colors 24/7. After this first use, I decided I wasn't a big fan of this color. It's a few shades brighter than I usually wear and looks more neon on the nail than it does in the bottle.

I used my black It's So Easy Nails Stripe Rite brush to draw the outline of the black argyle sections. At first, I was filling them with a black Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear, but realized I had better control using the striper to fill in the outlines.

Where it all went wrong was when I whipped out the white striper brush -- the polish had gone a little clumpy and the brush was hard to control, which meant the  application was really uneven. If you decide to do this mani at home, I would recommend using a newer striper brush and polish that has a good consistency.

This is definitely one that I'm going to try again sometime, only with a new brush and a color other than that shocking shade of pink!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

OPI Skyfall Bondettes Swatches

I just saw "Skyfall" last weekend and Bond Girl Severine was rocking some killer nails that inspired me to finally swatch the box of OPI Skyfall Bondettes that I bought back in October. I think I was far more interested in these lacquers than I was in the movie! This OPI mini set features two polishes from each of the Skyfall groups, the warm-colored "Seductive Shades" and the cool-hued "Dangerous Shades." Check out the swatches and reviews of Goldeneye, The Spy Who Loved Me, The World Is Not Enough and Live and Let Die below.

The Spy Who Loved Me
Named after the 1977 film starring the longest-serving Bond actor Roger Moore, The Spy Who Loved Me is a bright, vivid red with a gold-tinted shimmer. It has a jelly-like formula, though definitely more opaque than a traditional jelly polish.

The World Is Not Enough
Even after inspecting this color for quite a while, I'm still not sure how to describe this color. OPI calls it a "rosy silver," but to my eye it's more of a bronze-pink with hints of gold and silver. It wasn't as opaque as I had hoped (pictured below is two coats), but the color is definitely unique.

Live and Let Die
When I'm itching to paint my nails a dark metallic, this may become my go-to shade. Live and Let Die is a dark, inky black with a greenish/blue tint and great formula.

I'm definitely not a gold person and this was the only shade I wasn't excited about trying. While I really liked the formula (a glitter that wasn't difficult to remove!), this shade just isn't for everyone. It's a vibrant gold that clashes badly with my skin tone, although I think others, like Wendy, might be able to rock this look.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black and White Floral Print

More OPI Kiss Me On My Tulips, this time in flower form. I've done florals recently, but wanted this one to be a little more understated. I've always loved manicures that mix and match different elements, so I thought I'd try a stripes and floral combo with contrasting colors.

Black, white and pink were my wedding colors, so obviously this is a classic combination for me. First, I painted the base  with my go-to white, OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls. Next, I used It's So Easy Nails Stripe Rite brush in black to paint vertical stripes up and down each nail. The brush is getting old so the lines aren't as  straight and consistence as they once were, but I'm standing by my favorite tool until the polish starts getting crusty. After the stripes dried, I painted two splotches of Kiss Me On My Tulips on each nail, then blended it separately on a palette with My Boyfriend Scales Walls and a black onyx from Sally Hansen to create light and dark variations of pink. Using my dotting tool, I layered the light pink blend, a dab of white and then a small center of the dark pink blend. I created the leaves (two for each flower) with a dab of OPI Greenwich Village.

Of course, my accent nail looked a little bare, so I decided to add one more set of flowers on my ring finger to give it some extra color. Here's the final product:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Purple Striping Tape Mani

Two exciting pieces of news: I just got a DSLR (a Nikon D3100, to be exact) and the husband finally built me that lightbox from Chalkboard Nails that I've been dying to have. Both of those things mean that I'm giving up my iPhone photos in favor of real high-res images!

I just picked up a bottle of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Lacey Lilac, so I wanted to test it out in this new mani I saw on Pinterest. I painted two coats of the Sally Hansen on my nails and then a coat of Seche Vite before applying four pieces of striping tape.
I painted below the center line with two coats of Rimmel Night Before, a dark inky purple with a metallic sheen. After the polish had a chance to set (I waited a little longer than usual, since the formula was a little chunky), I pulled each piece of striping tape off one by one. I tried to be careful, but still ended up smudging some of the lines, as you'll see below. (In case you noticed, my cuticles are a little shiny because I smeared a bit of Vaseline around the nail to help keep the stray polish off ... it worked).

Not my favorite mani, but I loved the colors. With a little bit more practice with this striping tape -- and maybe a polish with a smoother formula, this one could be a winner with a second go-around.

- Posted by Allison H.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Colorful Quilt Nail Art

I may have gone a bit overboard with this mani (there is a LOT going on), but I can't deny that striping tape is awesome. I wish I had thought to take an "in-progress" photo, since I had about six or seven pieces of tape on each finger. It was a bit time-consuming -- about three hours total -- but I really like the effect. If you can get past the rough edges and colors that don't quite go together, it's a fun manicure and a great use of striping tape.

For the base, I created a gradient using OPI Kiss Me On My Tulips (bottom) and OPI Panda-Monium. The colors in the quilt pattern were China Glaze For Audrey (top) and OPI Purple With a Purpose.

I think if I end up doing this mani again, I would use Purple With a Purpose at the tips and try OPI Fly as the bottom of the quilt pattern. But until then, I have so many more manicures I want to try with my new set of striping tape!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

First Ever Tribal Print

Since I started this blog, I've been terrified of tribal prints. For one, they seemed like a ton of work. Plus, how the heck was I supposed to be able to do my right hand (since I'm right-handed)?

So I waited ... and waited and waited and waited. And finally, almost a year later, I decided it was time.

Without further ado, here is my first attempt at tribal print:
There were a few missteps and smudges, but overall, I was thrilled with how these turned out. Starting with a base of OPI Fly from the Nicki Minaj collection, I used black and white It's So Easy Nails Stripe Rite striper brushes, with OPI Did It On 'Em as accents on my thumb, middle and ring finger. The pink accents are OPI Pedal Faster Suzi and OPI Elephantastic Pink.

The next attempt will hopefully be a little cleaner -- by then I should have perfected the art of these striper brushes!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pretty in Pink Nails

There's really no other color that cheers me up quite like pink. Pink shoes, pink cocktails ... and pink nail polish. I do have my favorite shades, but the color of the moment for me is OPI Kiss Me On My Tulips from the Holland Collection. It's vibrant without being ostentatious, colorful and incredibly versatile -- for being a bright pink!

I needed a birthday pick-me-up, so I turned to my go-to shade to prep for the big quarter-century milestone. Although there's a lot going on, I kept it pretty simple with the colors. Take a look below -- and pick up a box of rhinestones. They're awesome.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany's-Inspired Nails

The first thing that pops into my head when I see robin's egg blue, black and diamonds is Audrey Hepburn and "Breakfast at Tiffany's." I saw these nails over at Prettyfulz and fell in love. I can't find the original link, but they looked really cute on her shorter nails. My nails are getting monstrously long, so the proportions were a little off, but I still love the color combination.

For the base color, I used two coats of China Glaze For Audrey. I seriously can't get enough of this color — it's one of those shades that just makes me feel happy looking at it. Next, I freehanded two coats of OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls on half of each nail. That one is becoming my go-to white shade, though I've discovered that although I'm only used about a quarter of the bottle and had it for a couple months, the formula is getting a little clumpy.

The dots were made with my dotting tool and China Glaze Smoke and Ashes for a metallic black shimmer. I used a striper brush from It's So Easy Nails for the vertical line. For the accent nail, I used tweezers to place a row of small silver rhinestones. Overall, I liked it -- and with a few coats of Seche Vite, none of those rhinestones fell off! 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

First Galaxy Nails

I've just been in love with all of the galaxy nail designs, but can never seem to strike the right balance between colors. This is actually the second attempt of the day — I ended up botching the first attempt using too much pink and purple.

For this design, I started with a base of China Glaze Smoke & Ashes (if you've never seen it, it's black onyx polish with hints of shimmer, from the Capitol Colors collection). Then I ripped up a make-up wedge and sponged on light layers of OPI Swimsuit ... Nailed It, OPI A Grape Fit and OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls, in that order. Every tutorial I've ever read has made a point to tell you to use VERY light layers -- so I'll reiterate, you do NOT want a heavy hand while sponging. Trust me.

After that created sort of a cool galaxy-like effect, I used OPI Pirouette My Whistle (a fine glitter with a clear base) to create space dust. Instead of brushing this over the entire nail, I painted between the colors so I didn't overwhelm my canvas — a big mistake that I made on my first attempt.

Once sealed with a few swipes of Seche Vite top coat, I had my very first set of decent galaxy nails!