Thursday, January 24, 2013

Erica's Nails And More 9-Day Challenge!

I am SO excited to be participating in yet another nail art challenge!  I've been feeling "dry" lately, at least creatively, so it was really nice to have my Fluttershy nails done.  I'm usually inspired by other things and sometimes (okay, most of the time) have a hard time coming up with something on my own.  So glad these challenges help with that, thanks to having a theme.

So here are the themes for the month's challenge:

I just about had a conniption upon seeing the theme for the first day!  This is really bringing me out of my comfort zone again; I'm really not that great with polka dots or gradients, but I'll be giving it a shot...and as for the galaxy nails, well, I hope my sponging skills come in handy!

Stay tuned for Day One of the challenge!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fluttershy Nails

I was pondering doing swatches of Zoya polishes today when someone on Instagram commented on my Rainbow Dash mani: "I need this in my life, only with Fluttershy".  I haven't done any nail art for quite a while, so I thought, why not?

I admit to being a HUGE My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan.  Heck, I've loved MLP since it came out when I was a child and I love this revamp that was done.  I can't wait to get started on doing 3D nail art because then...oh the possibilities!  I am excited just thinking about all the possibilities.  Until then, I'm relying on acrylic paint to help me out with the fiddly details.

I found three pictures, two of Fluttershy and one of her bunny, Angel.  I had all my polishes ready to go, then had to dig out my acrylic paints with WET NAILS.  No polish was smudged, thankfully. 

I'm rather proud of how these turned out and can't wait to do the DJ Pony next.  Enough blabbing for now, on with the photos!  Hope you like them :)

And here is my workstation, where it all happens!  

Have a fun and fantastic Friday night, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The 3-Day Naked Nail-A-Thon Day Three

It's day three of my Pure Oil regimen and WOW, again.  I can see where the yellowing of my nails has almost completely gone!  I honestly didn't think nail oil could actually help with that; I was thinking of using either a peroxide and baking soda mix, or whitening toothpaste to get my nails looking better.  I also want to apologize for how my nails look under the free edge; my nail brush is upstairs and, because I'm still stuck downstairs, I can't get to it.  It's driving this clean freak BONKERS.

Here was my daily regimen according to the instructions:  Using the pen, I applied the oil to my nail, cuticle, nail folds and brushed it over the skin above the cuticle on all ten fingers.  Then I massaged the oil into my nails, cuticle, nail folds and skin up to the first knuckle on the finger.  I repeated this a few times per hour until the oil was absorbed and my nails were no longer oily.  Once the oil was absorbed, I repeated the process.  My nails and skin are still thirsty, but not like they were on Day One.  It's taking longer and longer for the oil to be absorbed, which is good.  Once it takes four hours or more for the oil to be absorbed, I will be on the twice daily regimen.

I am so excited to have been able to try this product out.  It has far exceeded my expectations and has most definitely lived up to the reviews from other nail bloggers.  While it's been tough to have bare nails for the past three days, it's been beyond worth it.  I will be keeping them bare for a few more days, then will be posting swatches and reviews of some Zoya polishes I ordered two weeks ago.

Anamarie, I want to thank you for coming up with such an amazing product.  I really can't express how amazed I am with how my nails look and feel; I swear they feel stronger already.   I'm so used to wearing polish to cover up the yellow discoloration, but now I don't have to be ashamed because these nails look beyond beautiful to me.  I think that I can love my nails now, instead of hating them.  I'm definitely going to be using Pure Oil for as long as I'm a nail tech and will be recommending it to ALL my clients and fellow nail techs.  I am in love with Pure Oil and so are my nails!

*drum roll* And here are the Day Three pictures!

And so we can all see the difference, I'm going to put Day One and Day Three of each hand together.  What a difference!

Day One and Three of the left hand:

Day One and Three of the right hand:

I hope this will convince you to hop on over to Simple Nail Art Tips to try out Pure Oil for yourselves.  Not only will you get this awesome oil, but the site is full of excellent advice on nail care and nail tutorials, as well as testimonials from Pure Oil users.  Be sure to "Like" the Simple Nail Art Tips Facebook page for even more rave reviews on this product.

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

3-Day Naked Nail-A-Thon Day Two

WOW.  After 24 hours of applying oil, rubbing it in periodically until it absorbs, then repeating, my cuticles look better than they've looked in a LONG time!  The extremely dry area on my right middle finger was also really hard and calloused, as well as areas near the free edge of my nails.  Those areas are now softer and, amazingly, the cracked skin on my thumb is healing thanks to the oil.  I normally just slap a band-aid on when my skin cracks like that, and leave it on for a couple of days, but since using this cuticle oil, it won't be necessary.  It's worked much better than I thought it would, especially on my dry, peeling, breaking nails.  Thanks Winter, my nails love you too ;-).

I can absolutely say that I will be using Pure Oil ONLY from now on...on myself, and my clients.  It's only Day Two and I'm so impressed!  This is better than CND, Sally Hansen, Deep Sea Cosmetics...better than any and every brand I've ever tried before.  And for just $24 for the starter kit and refill kit, and $10 for the pen, this is an excellent deal!  She's got a sale going on right now, so be sure to like her Facebook page to get the coupon codes!

Here's the Day Two photos of right and left hands.  I can see, in real life (I think my camera is set to "Expose all flaws), where the discoloration of my nails has majorly faded.  That's what I get for wearing polish almost all the time, lovely yellow nails.  Take a look and judge for yourself!

Come back to check out Day Three's photos!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The 3-Day Naked Nail-a-thon

I am ten kinds of excited right now.  I received my Starter Kit from Anamarie of Simple Nail Art Tips.  This is Pure Nail Oil, created by Ana as an alternative to the almond-based cuticle oils out on the market, because she is allergic to almonds.  This is an excellent idea, because for my clients who are allergic to nuts, this will be an alternative.  She's got some awesome tutorials and tips, as well as terrific advice on nail care and also goes into some nail disorders and how you can take care of your nails.  I totally recommend her site, she's a sweetheart and really knows her stuff!

I've seen at least one review on this cuticle oil by Erica of Erica's Nails and More blog, and it received a rave review.  I admit that my nails may look great, but the skin around them...not so much.  I spend so much time working on making others' nails look good that I neglect my own.  On top of that, I'm really picky about what I use on myself and my clients.  I wanted a stellar cuticle oil that wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg from some big name company.  I put in an order for the 3-day starter kit from Ana, it shipped out Friday, and came in today!  I'm also entering her Get Naked Challenge and crossing my fingers to win, and I'm about to tell you why.

As a public service announcement, I want to give you a little info about the cuticle.  The skin that you push back is not the cuticle, it's the eponychium.  The cuticle is the colorless dead tissue UNDER the eponychium.  It's dangerous to cut the eponychium, because it and the cuticle are seals against bacteria.  It's totally okay to push the eponychium back and GENTLY scrape the cuticle off, as long as the eponychium stays intact.  I recommend a plastic or even rubber cuticle pusher, because the metal ones can damage the nail plate if too much pressure is applied, and the wooden ones, well, those can have sharp points and I just don't want to poke my clients!  So this is your public service announcement for the day :)

On with the photos!  I cringe every time I see my pointer and middle fingers on my right hand.  They nail folds are so dry because of the acetone sapping the oils out of my skin. 

The "Before" of my left hand:

The "Before" of my right hand (YIKES look at how dry those fingers are!)

Here's a shot of the bottle of oil:
 And a closer shot of the horrible right hand:

Shot of the Nail Oil pen:

She also included a sample bag of up and coming scents!  Pure Summer has me in love:

I've already applied the cuticle oil to my nails.  It smells DIVINE!  It's not overpowering, unlike the pineapple-scented cuticle oil used at school.  I am really sensitive to scents, and this is absolutely perfect.  My nose just loves it, I'm constantly sniffing my nails and getting strange looks from my husband.  I'll be posting daily as this progresses, because I believe that will be helpful in case any of you readers want to order this.  I always prefer to see photos of something that's being tested as it goes along, rather than just a "before" and "after".  I always think that the "after" photo may be touched up to look better, and the "before" photo is of course made to look as terrible as possible.  All my photos are 100% NOT Photoshopped or retouched in any way at all. 

That's it for now, I'll see you tomorrow with the update for Day Two!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Frost Bitten Toes

I don't want to feature only manicures on this blog, I want to feature pedicures too.  I know, I know, feet can be gross, grody, and generally unattractive (save to a select few people heehee).  When I started my classes, I was bound and DETERMINED not to do a pedicure.  I hate my feet with a passion; ever since I cut  my foot and severed two tendons, I've hated the sight of not just my feet, but feet in general.  To actually TOUCH another person's foot gave me the heebie-jeebies.  I couldn't run away from the fact that yes, I will have to give pedicures even though I prefer just manicures.  The day came when I had to do a pedicure on a classmate...and I ended up LOVING it.  Our feet carry us everywhere and need TLC, just like our hands do.  The more pedicures I've done, the better and more confident I've felt.  My favorite part is the foot massage; I've practiced and done my best to perfect what I do so the client will feel extra-relaxed. 

With all this in mind, for Hanukkah I decided to give a friend and "big sis" a pedicure.  We were at her house for a party and after telling the kids to hush up, sit down and watch a movie, I gave my friend her gift.  She's one of those "do whatever you want" people (a dangerous thing to say to a nail art addict!), so I decided to do blue toes with a snowflake.

She ended up loving it and was relaxed by the end of the pedicure, so I figure I did well!  Here are a couple pictures of what I did using China Glaze "Frost Bite", a GORGEOUS blue that's easy to apply and won't stain your nails.  It dries a bit matte, but some top coat makes it perfectly glossy.  I used white acrylic paint for the snowflake, and Orly "Tiara" for some nice silver sparklies on the snowflake (which didn't turn out quite like I wanted).  For the other nine toes, I used a silver holo glitter from Claire's and added blue to the top.  The idea was to keep with the silver, blue and white theme for the Hanukkah party.

Hope you like and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My First Manicures

I know I've been absent for quite a while; I was busy doing work study for school and forging ahead to complete my 50 required manicures/pedicures for school, as well as preparing (mentally) for my foot surgery.  I had a bunion removed last Thursday (January 3, 2013) and from how my podiatrist sounded, he thought I should have gone with orthotics.  It turns out that the bunion was bigger than what the x-ray of my foot had shown, so he did agree that I made the right decision.  I should be feeling relief soon, but for now, my foot is throbbing and feeing sore up to the ankle.  The numbing started wearing off around midnight on Friday, so I was glad I started taking Vicodin beforehand.  I also understand why the prescription was for TWO every six hours; this puppy felt like it was being squeezed in a vice while a nail was hammered into my foot.  It got to the point where I was about to cry, it hurt so much.  Having a nerve removed was a cakewalk compared to this!  I'll probably be on crutches until this Friday, when I have my follow-up with my doctor.  I hope that afterwards, I'll be able to go back to doing my work study and services.  It's been nice, though, having a little break :-).

The following photos are from the first manicures I did when I was still in the theory part of class.  Our teacher showed us how to file nails properly (in one direction only; doing the "sawing" motion when filing causes microscopic serrations on the free edge), and also showed us the best way to apply polish.  She directed us to begin practicing on friends and family, and to send her the before and after pictures so we got credit.

A friend had a get-together and invited some ladies over from our congregation.  I had spoken with her and she let them know I needed practice for manicures, so they more than kindly agreed to help me out.  Her daughter is into nail art as well; she's a ton of fun to do nail art for and comes up with such neat ideas.  I'm including her manicure in here as well, it's too bad her rhinestone-eyed smiley face didn't turn out well in pictures :-(.

These are all "before" and "after" photos, and I'll do my best to remember what brands and colors I used.

Hope you enjoy!

Number One:


After:  Using a Funky Fingers purple holo (PURE gorgeous polish!)


After:  Using a Hot Topic red glitter polish, Stripe Rite striper in white, and rhinestones


After:  Using Sally Hansen Crackle in Antique Gold, and some nameless glitter polishes.

I loved being able to do this, because it gave me so much more practice in applying polish on nails other than my own.  I don't care if I get a bit of polish on my cuticles, but I am SUPER picky about my clients' nails.  I can't stand the thought of doing a less-than-satisfying job on them; I think I'm more picky about it than the clients are!  It also gave me practice in dealing with clients who just won't relax, and how to move their fingers around to be able to polish their nails.

I'm hoping to have some swatches and reviews up soon.  I initially started this blog to be just about nail art, but because I've relied on other bloggers doing swatches of polishes I want to get, I'm going to follow in their footsteps.  Hopefully I can make a light box so the photos turn out better and more true to life.

Have a wonderful day!