Tuesday, July 31, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by a Tutorial

It wasn't really a tutorial that I was inspired by but it was someone else's design that I had copied.  I'll just say that mine isn't nearly as good as the original look that I saw on My Nail Graffiti's blog but it's still super fun to do!  It's supposed to be a sort of stained glass look.
Polishes I Used
Sorry for the picture spam but I loved this and wanted to showcase it in all sorts of lightings and finishes.  I'll show you how I did it.
After my base coat, I applied two coats of this tiny Sally Girl nail polish in Surf's Up.  It's a pretty greenish teal creme but it took so long to dry!  I am impatient!
Next I used an eyeshadow applicator sponge to apply some spots of Spoiled's Plenty of Fish in the Sea.  I needed to go over it to make it darker so that's basically two coats.
Then in any areas that didn't get Plenty of Fish in the Sea, I sponged on Essie's Shine of the Times to give the polish a "lit from within" look.
Finally I stamped over everything with Wet N Wild Wild Shine in Black Creme and Bundle Monster Image Plate BM208.  I added a shiny topcoat and this is what I ended up with.  This photo above is taken in direct sunlight.
This photo is in artificial lighting.
I took this picture in low lighting so you could see how Shine of the Times can really seem to glow.  Too bad you can also see the flakies left over on my cuticles but oh well!
Another artificial lighting photo.
Finally, the next day I wanted to see what this mani would look like matte so I gave it a coat of Hard Candy Mattely In Love.  I can't decide which one I like more!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by the Supernatural

I didn't really know where to go with this challenge at first, but then I decided that a sort of phoenix life cycle would be fun and supernatural and I actually had a lot of fun creating this design.
For my base color, I used Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Malt, which is a great nude cream.  It was two coats of wonderful application with super shine.  It made a great base.
On the index, thumb, and ring fingers I stamped Bundle Monster Image Plate BM314 (the phoenix) with Sally Hansen Insta Dri in Rapid Red.  On my middle finger, I stamped BM202 (flames) with Sally Hansen Insta Dri in Lightening (yellow) and Heat Flash (orange).  On my ring fingers and pinky, I sponged on Pure Ice in Kiss Me Here (dark gray), Wet N Wild Wild Shine in Black Creme, and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On.
My idea for the life cycle was the start of the phoenix, the phoenix bursting into flames, the ashes left behind, and finally the phoenix rising from the ashes.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by a Flag

Remember how I'm really awful at manicures where I have to stick things onto my nails?  I sort of knew this would go down the same way but I love it anyway because of the symbolism for me.
The flag I chose is the flag of Lucerne, Switzerland.  I've been to this amazingly beautiful town twice before and I absolutely love it!  The flag that I found online is basically half blue and half white.  I wanted the curved part at the bottom to be represented by the cuticle area, since it's rounded, but then when I took the pictures I forgot which way it went and I accidentally took them all with my hand positioned the wrong way.  I flipped the picture above upside down so you could see that it does match the flag but they looked so funky upside down that I just left the rest alone.  You get the idea, I'm sure!
I started off with two coats of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On, which is my go to white because it applies really easily and you only need one to two coats for the white to be opaque.
Next, I attempted to tape off half of my fingers with scotch tape.  That didn't go so well. On several fingers, you can see that the tape line is not really down the center (index finger).  Also, the tape didn't stick perfectly to every finger so there are some places where the line isn't very crisp (middle and ring fingers).
Last, I painted the blue stripe with one coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Brisk Blue and then took off the scotch tape as soon as I could.  I tried to touch up some of the areas where the blue line wasn't so perfect but this is what I ended up with.  Not great looking, but brought back great memories for me.
And here are some photos of my last trip to Lucerne!  I have never realized before that this picture actually has a flag of Lucerne in it!  It appears this one is square.
And last, this is a picture of the beautiful Kapellbr├╝cke bridge that Lucerne is quite famous for.  Such a lovely place!  Wish I was there now.

Friday, July 27, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by Artwork

I'll be honest... I really just wanted to use my new Bundle Monster nail image plate with the owls!!  I love cartoon owls and this is image is one of the reasons I bought this set of plates.  So really I just found a piece of artwork with owls and tried my best to imitate the color scheme.  The original artwork piece that I copied can be purchased here.
The base color I used for this manicure was a peachy creme shade.  This is from the Julie G line and the shade is 9 to 5.  I really had high hopes for this polish, as it was a unique color and I love Julie G, who is a wonderfully sweet guru.  However, this particular shade was very disappointing.  I used three coats and it was still streaky and the formula was really difficult to work with.
I stamped over 9 to 5 with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Brisk Blue.  I used the full nail owl image on Bundle Monster Image Plate BM309.  This image transferred really well, just like all of the other images I've tried from this Bundle Monster set.  SO CUTE!
And here's a close up of the cute little owl on my thumb!  How sassy is he?!?  Love!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by a Pattern

Just In Case
This manicure was inspired by the pattern in Sheldon Cooper's mother's dress in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.  You can see some photos of the dress here.  It's a dark brown background with blue paisley print.  I like the way it turned out but it wasn't an easy trip to get there.  When I when to start painting my nails, I grabbed what I thought was Essence Colour & Go in Just In Case but I accidentally grabbed Luxury Secret instead and didn't realize it until I was all done painting!
Luxury Secret
The photo at the top of this post is the final, fixed manicure using Just In Case.  Since I had the pictures of both manicures, I figured I might as well share them both.  The photo directly above this paragraph was taken using Luxury Secret.
Just In Case
Above is a swatch of Just In Case.  This was two easy coats.  It's a lovely medium brown frosty color.  If you aren't careful, this can get a bit brush strokey but it's not too bad.  I think it's a great shade!
Just In Case
For the paisley print, I stamped using Pure Ice in Pussy Cat, which is a light frosty blue.  I used Bundle Monster Image Plate BM315.  The detail is awesome!  These new plates are really impressive!
Luxury Secret
This photo above is a swatch of Luxury Secret.  Again two coats that can leave some visible brush strokes but it applies very easily.  This is a dark grayish brown frosty that's quite lovely.
Luxury Secret
I stamped with the same plate and polish as the other look.  I feel like Just In Case was more of what I was going for but I really liked both!  Which one do you think looks the best?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by Fashion

When looking for some inspiration for this fashion inspired manicure, I came across this photo on eBay.
First of all, I want this dress!  Second of all, great colors, great design and not too hard to copy!  I started off with two coats of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Posh Plum.  This base is a bit darker than the dress but you get the idea.  It's a great deep magentaish color with blue undertones and the most subtle lovely shimmer.  Drool!
Next, I stamped using Sally Hansen Color Quick in Gold Chrome.  I used Bundle Monster Image Plate BM323 to replicate the gorgeous gold belt of this dress.  I tried my best to stamp the design across the center to keep the same look as the dress.
The image I chose wasn't an exact match for the belt but I think it gives the same feel.  I think this looks great and I was really impressed with how well this image stamped.  Look at all the fine little details!  I'm really impressed with these new plates from Bundle Monster!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by a Book

The manicure assignment for this look was inspired by a book.  At the time that I did these nails, I had just finished reading The Glassblower of Murano.  You can buy it here.  It was written by Marina Fiorato, who is also the author of The Botticelli Secret, another great read.  In The Glassblower of Murano, the main character is rather obsessed with an artisan red glass blown heart that was made by her ancestor.  So I decided to use the red glass blown heart as my inspiration.
I started off with a white base so the red would really pop.  I chose Wet N Wild Megalast in Break The Ice, which is a seriously pretty shimmery white.  I needed three coats for it to be opaque but it was so worth it and the application was really nice.  As far as white polishes go, this is among my favorites.
Next, I stamped on Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Rapid Red.  The image plate was from the Salon Express kit.  I thought it well represented the glass blown heart, as the top of the heart sort of looks like breath being blown in.
I wasn't really trying to get perfectly straight hearts but I think the stamping on some of these could have been better but I still really liked the way this represented the heart from the book.

Have you read any good books lately?  I have to read fifteen children's chapter books for a class I'm taking for in-service points and I've read nine so far.  I love to read!  So far my favorite has been The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows.  If you have a child in upper elementary school (grades 4-6), I definitely recommend it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by a Song

Okay, follow me here.  The song that I was inspired by was Enchanted by Taylor Swift.  This is one of my favorite songs ever, as it reminds me of when I met my husband.  <3  Taylor Swift currently has a perfume out called Wonderstruck.  Wonderstruck is part of the lyrics from Enchanted so my inspiration was really the perfume bottle that went with the accompanying lyrics.  You can see what I'm talking about here.
The perfume bottle is basically a purple holographic bottle with gold detailing at the top. I used Milani 3D Holographic polish in Hi-Res to achieve the same effect.  You can't really tell in my photos, but Hi-Res is a holographic.  You can see the holo better in my swatch post about this polish.  I used two amazingly easy to apply coats.  Next, I knew I wanted to stamp on an elaborate gold image to mimic the cap on the bottle.  I chose Bundle Monster Image plate BM11 and Sally Hansen Color Quick in Gold Chrome.  Like many of my manicures, this one had a low point.
After painting my base coat, I wanted to stamp the gold design horizontally across the center of my nail.  Ummm... I'm terrible at aiming!  As you can see, every finger turned out looking awful.  So I removed the stamping, touched up my base coat, and tried again. This time I thought I'd just stick to stamping across the top of my nails, since the cap is on the top of the bottle anyway.  Success!
I actually really liked how this looked with the stamping only at the top.  It's sort of a half moon effect without my horrible off center moons!  I topped this whole mani off with a coat of N.Y.C. Grand Central Station and I was good to go.
I bought this nail polish specifically to do this manicure and it really did not disappoint!  I'll have to look into some different shades from this line, as the holographic effect was great and the application was incredibly easy.  The finish was super smooth and shiny, not grainy like I thought it would be.  If you see this 3D Holographic line from Milani, you should definitely give it a try!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

31 Day Nail Challenge: Inspired by a Movie

I really don't watch a lot of movies at all so this was a new sort of challenge for me.  Luckily, I had recently seen The Vow with my hubby, and fell in love with Paige's wedding dress.  It was a girly, nontraditional peachy pink thing with flowers.  So pretty!
I started with this peachy pink creme.  This is three temperamental, crummy coats of Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in Sweetie Pie.  It was still streaky after three coats, it never dried, and I may never use this polish again except for the fact that it is so feminine and stunning on the nails.  And shiny!  But a total pain.
To get the subtle flowers, I stamped a flower image from my Salon Effects Image Plates with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Snappy Sorbet.  Then I put a little dot of Spoiled's Shrimp on the Barbie in the center of each flower to make it stand out a little bit.
This didn't turn out exactly like I had envisioned it so that was a bit of a bummer but I wouldn't classify as a fail manicure.  This one goes into my so-so category.