Friday, November 28, 2014

Brown and Gold 2 Ways

Hello Hello!

So, if you have checked out my new YouTube channel, you will have seen the video I recently uploaded about my KLEANCOLOR haul! I couldn't wait to try out some of these new colors! For this mani I used 2 of the new shades as well as a favorite from my stash.

I used Dark Brown and Gold Bright, from KLEANCOLOR and Fifth Avenue from NYC's New York Color Minute collection. Aren't these colors gorgeous together and just perfect for fall :-)
Of course, I started with a basecoat and then used 2 coats of the Dark Brown on all my nails. The opacity is really good on this particular polish, so if your application is perfect, you may only need 1 coat. I waited for that to dry completely and then I added Madly Matte, a matte topcoat from KLEANCOLOR. 
I wanted to not only play with these colors in 2 ways, but also the 2 contrasting finishes of matte and glossy. So, after the nails had 'mattified' and were all dry, I used scotch tape to mark off triangles going down the center of the nails on my left hand and I alternated their direction. I stared on my middle finger and made the triangle point on the tip of the nail and on the ring and index finger, the tip of the triangle was at the top of the nail near my cuticle. It was back to triangle point at the tip of the nail of on the thumb and pinkie. I used a detail brush to paint in the triangles in the Gold Bright. I also used the detail brush to topcoat just the gold triangles with glossy topcoat. 

I know this isn't my usual photo angle, but I had a really hard time with the lighting on these pics doing my usual poses. So, in order to get good lightening, I switched it up a bit for you today :-) And I know my triangles aren't perfect, but I was still proud of myself. I think I'm getting a little better!

On my right hand, I used the scotch tape to mark off the tips of my nails on the diagonal. Then I filled in the tip with the Gold Bright. The I used the Fifth Avenue and a toothpick to make little dots along the edge where the Dark Brown and Gold Bright meet, kind of like a little copper colored 'ruffle'. Once again I waited for everything to dry and then used the detail brush to add glossy topcoat to just the gold and copper. 

It was kind of mixed consensus in my household. My brother, sister and I all prefer the left hand with the golden triangles, but my husband prefers the right hand because of the copper, which he thinks really brings the color combination together. Which hand is your favorite? Let me know in the comments please! And don't forget to check out my YouTube channel and see what other colors I got from KLEANCOLOR! I just ordered a bunch of supplies from,,,, konad, the Born Pretty Store so subscribe to my channel if you want to see those haul videos as stuff arrives in the mail! I'm so excited!

As always, thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed this look. Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Shades of Purple for Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Hello Lovely Readers!

Today's look is designed in recognition of National Alzheimer's Awareness Month. I am going to try and focus on at least one special cause per month, but this one specifically is another cause dear to me since I lost an aunt to this illness. In 1983, when President Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer's Awareness Month, fewer than 2 million Americans suffered from the disease. Today that number is up to nearly 5.4 million. Did you know that Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the US and the only cause of death in the top 10 in the US that has no prevention or cure? You can visit the Alzheimer's Association website to find out more about this disease and ways to help raise awareness.

So, lets get into this look. I don't have a picture of all the colors used lined up for you because I couldn't get good lighting for the picture, I'm sorry! All my purples kept looking blue in the bottle pictures. But I will tell you each color I used and where I used them. Also, I was really happy because I had just started my manicure when my husband checked the mail, and my stencils had arrived! Last month I won a giveaway for smART Nails stencils by the fabulous Wendy of  Wendy's Delights and I received 5 stencil designs of my choice. You can find these stencils on smART Nails website. One of the designs I chose was an awareness ribbon stencil, so I got to use that in my design! YAY!

I did the right and left hand differently, but used the stencil on both hands to tie the looks together. Let's look at the left hand first.

I started with a basecoat and a base color of 'Tempest' by Sinful Colors. I used 2 coats of the base color on the middle finger, since it was my accent nail, but for the rest of the fingers I only used 1 coat. For the water marble I used three shades of purple, all by Sinful Colors. I used 'Tempest', 'Amethyst', and 'Enchanted'. I drew my design differently on each nail because I didn't want them to all look the same this time. The awareness ribbon on the accent nail was done with the stencil I mentioned from smART Nails and the color is 'Amethyst' again.

Ready for the right hand? This is always interesting since I'm painting with my non-dominant hand, LOL.
The good news is that the stencil was equally easy to use on either hand! The base color on this hand is by Kleancolor and it is 'Pastel Purple' and it is 2 coats on each nail. My kind of 'scruffy-looking' hearts (LOL) were done in the 'Enchanted' purple from Sinful Colors. I've seen a lot of nail art tutorials that say drawing a heart with a toothpick or dotting tool is a great way for beginners to learn, but that didn't really work for me. I could manage it well enough with my right hand, but not with my left. So, what I ended up doing is just painting them with a detail brush. They aren't perfect, obviously, but I was encouraged that they at least looked like hearts and not blobs :-) The ribbon color on the accent nail was done with Kleancolor 'Purple'. When I swatched this color it was a nice shimmery purple, but against the pastel purple base it came out looking kind of pink on camera, but it was still a light purple-ish in person.

Finally, once my nails were dry, I used my new topcoat! I stopped by Sally's Beauty this weekend to pick up a few things and I got my Beauty Club card, yay! I picked up 5 new topcoats, if you can believe it! I've mentioned before that I was on the hunt for a new and better one. I may just do a whole post comparing the different topcoats. For now, I used Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat, which I've been hearing a lot about from other bloggers and YouTubers. I've only used it this one time, but it was such a difference from my old drugstore brand topcoat that I instantly fell in love. The application and finish were as smooth as silk, it didn't smear my colors at all, and it dried completely in less than 2 minutes!

I hope you enjoyed this manicure. Don't forget to stop by the Alzheimer's Association website and if you have any thoughts on Seche Vite or other topcoats you would like to recommend, leave them in the comments, please! Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fun with Black and White

Hello Lovely Readers!

Today's nail design is all about different looks with black and white! I only showed 2 in my mani but the possibilities are practically endless.

I absolutely love black and white together, seriously. Anyone who knows me knows it is in my top five color combos. In fact, my bedsheets are varied patterns of black and white and my room is painted with 1 black accent wall and 3 very very light grey walls. The black wall has some turquoise diamonds for a pop of color. I LOVE BLACK AND WHITE! So, it was only natural that it should end up on my nails.
Left hand
I started off with a basecoat, as always to protect my natural nails and then two coats of Sinful Colors 'Snow Me White' as my base color. Now I did the white as a base color on all my nails because I thought originally that I would paint them all in the jigsaw design.

Starting at my thumbs, I used off-brand invisible scotch tape cut into small squares with smooth edges to block off opposite sides on the top and bottom of my nail. Then I painted over the open areas with Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails 'Black Heart'. While the polish was still wet, I carefully removed the tape to 'hopefully' get clean lines. Most of my lines did come out clean.
Right hand
For the few smudged lines I used a very small (size 2, I think) square brush to touch it up a bit. Then I used my little homemade dotting tool to put one dot of black in the white boxes where they met, and vice versa for the white dots. Voila! Easy jigsaw puzzle pieces!
Right hand

I moved on and started the design on my index fingers, but even though I'm not sure how much you can tell by the pictures, I have VERY small nail beds. Every manicurist I have ever had has commented on my tiny nails, LOL. Anyway, because my nails are so small, the puzzle piece came out looking very smushed. I didn't like it at all. So, I took it off and decided to only do the jigsaws as accent nails on my larger nails, specifically the thumbs and middle fingers.

Left Hand

For the remaining nails, I went over the white with a single coat of black and then added my dots! I liked the idea of the dots because it kind of stayed with the geometric theme of the puzzle pieces. I added a topcoat for some shine and to seal in the design. I will be shopping for a new top coat this weekend because my drugstore brand topcoat is still smudging my designs ten minutes after applying the polish. Any recommendations? Leave them in the comments! Thanks for reading and 'see' you next time!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Black, Purple, and Blue: Watermarbling and Freehand Designs

Hello From Texas!

It has been uncharacteristically cold here for the last week or so with temperatures dropping below freezing! What makes it even seem colder, is that the week before it was in the 60's and 70's! As I was trying to decide what to do for my nail design, I overheard my brother joking about getting frostbite while walking the dog. So, I used that as inspiration for my colors: black, purple and blue.

I started with a basecoat, of course and then applied a single coat of my favorite black creme polish which is Sally Hansen Hard as Nails 'Black Heart'. I did my watermarbling with the purple and blue as well as a clear polish. The purple is 'Enchanted' by Sinful Colors, blue is 'Midnight Blue' by Sinful Colors, and then Sinful Colors 'Clear Coat.' I added the clear coat because I didn't want the purple and blue to cover up the black entirely. I only did the watermarbling on three fingers of each hand. My thumbs and ring fingers I left black so I could use as accent nails.

The accent nails is where I spent the majority of my time since as we all know by now, I am not very practiced or very good at freehand design, but I am trying to get better. It took me about an hour to do the freehand design on my left hand, which meant I was painting with my right (dominant) hand. When it came time to do the accents on the other hand, I threw in the towel and left the nails plain black, LOL.

On my thumb, I tried my hand at color blocking. I started off using tape, but found it was just getting in my way so I took it off and finished the design without it. It's not perfect, but overall I'm happy with it. On the ring finger, I did a wide striping look, also without tape. My results are below and I hope you enjoy! Thank you for reading and feel free to leave comments. 
Left hand

Right hand

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fall Inspired French Tip Skittle Nails

Hello Lovely Readers!

I'm sure you've noticed by now that I am on a fall colors 'kick'. I think its because fall is my favorite season and we don't have much of one here is Texas, so I miss it. (Don't me wrong, Texas is home and I have plenty of state pride!) For today's look, I went with an imaginative take on trees and their changing colors. The brown nails represent the tree trunk and the different colored french tips represent the changing leaves. This was my first time painting french tips and I will think I will give myself a respectable 7 out of 10!

I started out with a basecoat, as always, followed by a 2 coats of my base color which was Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in 'Slick Slate'. This is a very pigmented polish, so you could probably get away with one coat, but my application was a little patchy so I used two.

Once that was completely dry, I blocked off my tips using those little hole punch reinforcement labels. Then I applied 2 coats of my tip color and removed the label with tweezers while the polish was still wet. The colors I used were Sinful Colors 'Anchors Away' (yellow), Sinful Colors 'Happy Ending' (green), and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails 'Die-Hard Fan' (orange). I let that dry for a few minutes and then added my top coat for some extra shine and to seal in the design. Here are my finished results. What do you think of these french tip skittle nails? Let me know in the comments! As always, thank you for reading and take care til next time!
Left hand

Right hand

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Autumn Trees Manicure

Hello Everyone!

So what I have for you today is another attempt at a freehand design! (Some of you might be wondering why I do this to myself after admitting I'm not very good at freehand. I know I've asked myself that a few times, LOL! But, I'm never going to get any better if I don't practice, right?)
I was inspired by an image on Tumblr and just had to recreate these.

As always, I started with a base coat to protect my natural nails.  (Speaking of natural nails, it might be about time for a naked nails update! I think my nails are currently the longest they have ever been so it might be cool to document that before I give them a drastic trim again.) I didn't include a picture of my top and base coat, but you can really use whatever base and top coat that you prefer. My base color is a franken polish I threw together using a half-empty white polish and adding mainly some grey and brown with a drop or two of pink and yellow. I realized I really don't have any nude colors, so I was trying to come up with a light nude to beige/taupe color. What I ended up with was really more of a dirty white, but at least it wasn't stark white behind the fall colors.

I used a lot of colors in this look so I will list them for you as they appear in the picture, going from left to right. Sinful Colors 'Nirvana', Sally Hansen Hard as Nails 'Die-Hard Fan', Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear 'Red Carpet', Sinful Colors 'No Text Red', Sinful Colors 'Happy Ending', and Sinful Colors 'Anchors Away'.  Most of the colors I used as they appear, but I actually mixed the two reds to get the shade that I wanted.

I used a makeup sponge that I cut into small pieces and color by color (except the brown) I sponged them onto the nails to create a multi-colored patch across the nail, representing the foliage. Once that dried (which was pretty quick since it was very thin layers of color) I used a detail brush and the brown polish to go back and draw my tree trunks; which is where it kind of fell apart for me, LOL. Although, my left hand definitely turned out better since I'm right handed.

Overall, I would say that I was about 70% happy with how this manicure turned out. It could have been 80%, but the left hand dragged it down quite a bit (oops).  Here are the pictures of my final results, including my disappointing left hand :-)
Right hand
Left hand

In related news, I have started a YouTube channel! I wouldn't say that I'm uploading tutorials per say, since I don't think I'm good enough to try to 'teach' anyone, LOL. But I am uploading nail updates, tips and tricks, haul videos, that type of thing. I'll add a link to the 'Let's Get Social' area on the right side of the page so look for it there if you want to subscribe to my channel! (*hint hint*)
As always, thanks for reading and I'll meet you back here in the blogosphere soon!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Black and Neon Dottciure

Hello Everyone!

When I sat down to do my manicure today, I had planned on doing a water marble with  black and neon colors. But once I had gotten about 3 nails done with the marbling, I decided I didn't love it. I took it all off and started over. I really liked the color combo and even though it isn't exactly a fall look, the black tones down the neon so it isn't quite summer either.
I've mentioned before that I'm not a freehand artist, not because I don't like or don't want to do it, but simply because I don't have very steady hands. I couldn't draw a straight line if my life depended on it, LOL. Which is why I really want some water decals, stencils, vinyls, and stamping equipment. But I already spent October's nail polish/art budget on new polish colors and November's budget isn't available yet. I sat at my desk considering my options for about 10 minutes before I figured out what I wanted to do: a dotticure! Now, I don't have any dotting tools, but I do have pins and toothpicks.
Turns out, doing dots isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I couldn't really get my dots to all come out the same size and some of them even came out as different shapes! But, all in all, I'm happy with the overall look. I'm willing to cut myself some slack considering that it is my first attempt at any kind of free hand design!
As always, I began with a basecoat to protect my natural nails. Then I used Sally Hansen Hard as Nails 'Black Heart' as my base color. One thing I love about this particular polish, is that it is completely opaque in one normal coat. For my neon dots I used three Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear shades: 'Fuchsia Power', 'Blue Me Away!', and 'Sun Kissed'.  

Now, the plan was to have bigger dots in the center of the nail that would be smaller as I got closer the edges of the nail. However, I only have one size of pin and I couldn't really seem to vary the size of the dot with that. So, I tried a toothpick, since it is smaller than the size of the pin head. Maybe it is because my toothpicks are sharp and pointy on both ends and I need one that has at least one rounded edge, but I couldn't seem to make ANY dots with the toothpick. So, I did what I could to make them a bit smaller using the same pin head. I did mix up the design on bit. On the left hand, I have dots of every color on my thumb, then the fingers alternate between pink/blue dots and pink/orange dots. On the right hand, I only did dots in one color per nail. I like both ways, but let me know in the comments which one you like better!  As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this manicure. See my final results in the pictures below! 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset - A gradient with water marble overlay

Hello Lovely Readers!! So, this look kind of evolved today. The finished result ended up like the picture below, but originally I was going to do a 'plain' gradient (although I don't know if you can actually call a gradient 'plain'). Once I was done however, the colors were just a bit brighter and more Summer-y than I wanted for a Fall look. Adding the brown water marble turned out to be the perfect touch to bring it back in season! So, here is how I created this look.

 As always, I started with a basecoat to protect my natural nails. Then I applied a single coat of Sinful Colors Snow Me White as a base color to make  the gradient pop.

Using a make-up wedge sponge, I created my gradient with colors that reminded me of a sunrise or sunset. I chose Sinful Colors Anchors Away (the orange-yellow color), Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear Coral Reef, and Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear Pucker Up. I painted a stripe of each color directly onto the moistened sponge so that they blended at the edges. Then I 'stamped' them onto the nail moving it up and down and side to side a little to further blend the colors. I applied three coats to to each nail to get the opacity I wanted. I applied a top coat for shine and cleaned up around my cuticles. Below are pictures of the result, which although I liked, just didn't meet my goal for a Fall manicure.                                                  
 I considered a water marble in grey, black or brown and then decided to go with the brown. It seemed to go better with the color palette. I filled a 3oz Dixie cup with room temperature distilled water. The polishes I used were Sally Hansen's Insta-Dry Slick Slate and Sinful Colors Clear Coat.

I used about 3 drops of each polish to build up my bulls-eye. Then I drew in lots of thin petal shapes. I dipped one taped-up finger at a time so that I could capture the petal shapes. After using a q-tip to clean the surface of the water, I slowly removed my finger and tapped it lightly in a paper towel. Once I was finished I removed the tape, added a top coat and cleaned up around my cuticles. I was in love with my finished results! The water marble over-lay gave this manicure the cherry on top, so to speak!

 Oh crap moment of this manicure? I was preparing tape for my water marble after the gradient was done and the nails were touch dry but not completely dry. I goofed and the tape fell across 3 nails on the right hand and when I tried to remove it, it tore off several layers of polish with it! I had to take off most of the polish on the right hand and begin my gradient all over again! *grumble, grumble, grumble*
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this manicure as much I do and as always, thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An Image Transfer Manicure and review plus a bonus knitting update!

Hello All!

So, I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos on nail art during my spare time, frequently while I'm knitting. A technique that I've seen a lot of and thought would be cool to try is transferring images, or Newspaper Art, as I've seen it called.

Now, one of the reasons that I was really excited about this was because most of what I watched and read talked about how you could do this with ANY image, not just newspaper or comic strips. I'm really not good at freehand nail art, as much as I love looking at it. So, I thought this could be a cool alternative.

I searched Google for some cute images I liked, resized them with a very basic photo-shop-type program and printed them off on regular printer paper with my Canon Inkjet printer. The image I was most excited about was a minion from Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 doing Kung cute! I poured a little rubbing alcohol (90%) into a small measuring cup and prepared an acrylic nail tip with 2 coats of white creme polish. I test most of my water marbling colors and designs on acrylic nail tips first so I don't have to go through all that taping and clean-up until I have something I like.

Unfortunately, it was downhill from there. No matter what I did I could not get that little minion onto my nail tip. I tried soaking the piece of paper in the alcohol and then applying to the nail, I tried wetting my nail with alcohol and then putting the paper over it, I tried diluting my alcohol down with water to get closer to the 50-70% solution that the tutorials mentioned. After close to 2 and a half hours of tweaks like these, I thought, "Maybe it doesn't work on acrylic!" I thought I was on to something so I cleaned a nail of my previous mani, prepped it with base coat and white base color and tried again. It still wouldn't work!

I was really close to giving up at this point so I decided to take a break from that and I used the method of sticking a picture directly onto the nail and sealing it in with topcoat, like a stud or fimo.
 This worked and I think my nephew looks adorable as nail art! But, I'm not a huge fan of any embellishment that isn't flush with the nail because I do a lot of things with my hands and I'm afraid I'd constantly be knocking them off or something. I decided to give the image transfer one more try and only use a black and white image instead of colored this time. And guess what?? It worked! I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that the success of this technique depends not only on the solution percentage of the alcohol, but also on the formulation of your printer's ink. Something about the colored ink used in my printer, just did not work.

I went back and selected some new black and white images and prepped all my nails with a base coat and base color of white. I used Sinful Colors 'Snow Me White'. Then I thought that was a little plain so I added a single coat of Sinful Colors 'Let Me Go', which is a really sheer, iridescent polish that leans a little to purple.

I considered not even writing this post or sharing this manicure, since it wasn't exactly what I wanted or as good as I think it could have been if I were better with this technique. But then I decided, that at the end of the day, it's just nail polish and nail design and isn't the point to have fun with it? At least, that's a large part of why I got into nail art. Also, I've been up front with the fact that I am a nail art newbie. So, I'm not going to get everything right or perfect the first time I try it. And, if nothing else, at least I'll be able to look back at my beginning blunders one day, LOL. So, here they are!
Left hand

and the right hand

I finished with a top coat to add some shine and seal in the design. I know it's not a perfect look, but I hope you enjoyed anyway. If you have tried this technique and know of any tips or tricks, please share them in the comments and feel free to share your recreations on my Facebook page which is linked on the right. 
Bonus knitting update after the jump!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Turquoise and Lace: A Water Spotting Manicure

Hello Readers!

What I have for you today is a nail design that uses elements of water marbling, but is quicker and a little easier. For this design you will need a base and top coat, a base color (this was my turquoise) and an accent color for the 'lace' (I used black). You will also need a small cup of water, a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol (you can also use hair spray, body spray, perfume, or spray hand sanitizer), nail polish remover or acetone, and q-tips or a small angled brush for clean up. I used Sinful Colors Basecoat and Quick Dry top coat. My colors were Sinful Colors Rise & Shine (turquoise) and Pure ICE Black Out.

I started by applying my basecoat to protect my natural nails. Then I applied 2 'normal' coats of Rise & Shine. I waited for the polish to dry completely and then used one 1 thin coat of topcoat to protect my nails before moving on. This is how my nails looked before adding the 'lace' effect with the water spraying/spotting technique.

Here is a quick video demonstrating the water spotting technique. I said in the video that I was holding the spray bottle about six inches from the cup of water, but in reality that was more like twelve inches and I noticed I typically hold the bottle 12-18 inches from the water to get the random pattern that I like best. If this is your first time using this technique than it will probably take a few 'practice' times to determine exactly what works for you. I am using a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and regular gel-based hand sanitizer, as recommended by MySimpleLittlePleasures on her YouTube channel. I've heard you can use the other things I mentioned at the beginning of this post, but I found this formula works best for me.

I taped up my nails to make clean-up easier, dropped 2 drips of my black polish on the surface of the water, just as I would have for a water marble and then misted it with my alcohol spray. When I was happy with the random pattern created in the polish, I dipped one finger at a time. As always, I thoroughly cleaned the surface of the water with a q-tip before removing my finger from the water. I lightly tapped the tip of each nail on a paper towel and then removed the tape. Once all my fingers were done and the polish was dry, I applied a generous top coat to seal in my design and add some nice shine. Then I used my angled eyeliner brush dipped in acetone to clean up around my cuticles. Here is my finished nail design. I apologize that the pictures of the left hand did not come out as well, so I included 2 of them. 

As always, thanks for reading. In a day or two, I will be posting a knitting update, so stay tuned for that and don't forget to follow my blog so you can be notified when I update! Feel free to leave comments and if you recreate this design, show them to me on my Facebook page!