Saturday, February 23, 2013

9-Day Challenge Day Nine

I can't believe this is the last day of the challenge!  It's flown by so fast, and I've had a blast doing this challenge.  Once again, it's caused me to go outside my nail art comfort zone and do manis I normally wouldn't wear.

So for today, the last day, the theme is: Recreate Your Favorite.  I tell you, I had a heck of a time with this one!  I went through all my creations and just couldn't settle on one, so I took a break and tried again.  I finally picked one out and just got done with it.  Normally I'll have these posts scheduled, but I've been really busy with working at the spa and doing work study and getting my requirements in, so I'm sorry for this delay!

For my Day 9 nails, I chose to recreate my Day 6 nails.  I LOVE leopard print and this was so fun to do!  I used the same technique as I did for Day 6, except this time got better coverage near the cuticle by using an eyeshadow applicator sponge to dab on Orly Goth.  Because I used up my Finger Paints Black Expressionism, I used Goth to outline the dots on the print.

I've had two very long days in a row (hair/makeup/photoshoot yesterday, spa work today), so I'll keep this short and simple and ON WITH THE PICTURES ALREADY!

Polishes used:  China Glaze White on White, Orly Goth, Essence Gray-t To Be Here, Pure Ice Velvet.  I think I did a little better this go round.

This challenge has been so much fun!  I can't wait for Erica's next one (HINT HINT) so I can exercise my creative muscles.

I've loved seeing all the manicures the participants have come up with.  I can't wait to see what they all have for the final day!  Ladies, it has been a pleasure to participate in this challenge with you.  Happy polishing!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

9-Day Challenge Day Eight: Polka Dots

Welcome back!  Today is Day Eight of the 9-day nail art challenge.  I can't believe it's gone by so fast!  I've had so much fun with this challenge.  It's really helped me grow in my nail art and do things I normally wouldn't do.

Today's theme is polka dots.  Now I'll admit, I whined about this one.  When I think of polka dots, I think of frilly, girly clothes and manis which are NOT me.  I just can't be comfortable in frills and girliness, so off to Pinterest I went.  I browsed and browsed and browsed and finally found something to inspire me...but I put my own twist on it, as usual.

I wasn't prepared for how this turned out.  I LOVE IT!  I'd wear it all day tomorrow if I could...actually, I probably will.  I know I've explained this before, but because I'm right-handed, when I do services and remove polish, of course I use my right hand.  It ruins any manicure I've done, so I've taken to leaving the nails on my right hand nekkid and keeping my manicure only on my left hand.  The way I see it, it may look strange, but it certainly shows my clients what I can do!

So enough of that...on with the polka dots!

It's so bright and pretty and shiny and, most importantly, it's RAINBOW.  I think I have a rainbow addiction...

So for this, I wanted a cute accent nail.  I was inspired to do it when I was looking through all my tools and found some disc-shaped charms.  A light bulb went off in my head, and I went to work.  I used China Glaze White on White on my thumb, ring and index fingers, and Finger Paints Black Expressionism on my pinky and middle fingers.  I then used White on White to place the dots on the black nails, and went over them with the rainbow colors.  I used a toothpick, a dotting tool, and the end of a nail art brush to make various-sized dots.  On each nail, except thumb, I placed two rhinestones for a nice little accent.  On the thumb, I placed a line of polish onto a makeup sponge and sponged the rainbow onto my finger.  I made sure to tape it up REALLY well so I wouldn't have a ton of cleanup to do.  I then went over it with a coat of Gelous, dipped a toothpick into the top coat, and placed the charms and rhinestones over the nail.  I added a coat of Gelous to finish it off.

Isn't it so pretty?!?

Here's a closeup of the thumb:

And a closeup of the rest of the nails:

Now go on over to check out what the other participants have done!  I can't wait to see...they've all done such OUTSTANDING work!  I feel like such an amateur compared to them, but that's okay!  I love to see such gorgeous work from all these ladies.
I want to make a quick shoutout to Sandra Bickel of Nails Love Polish:  CONGRATS ON WINNING THE NAIL ART CONTEST!  Her anti-Valentine manicure was so GORGEOUS!  I'm so glad she won <3

Until next time!

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 9-Day Challenge Day Seven

Hello everybody and welcome back!  Today is Day Seven of the wonderful February 9-Day challenge.  Today's theme is....Inspired By A Tutorial!

I went through my YouTube subscriptions and settled on CutePolish.  This gal has some cute ideas and her tutorials are so easy to follow!  As I browsed, I spied a Nightmare Before Christmas tutorial...and immediately thought of my best I watched the tutorial and then browsed Google for some images.  I didn't want to follow this to a T, so I changed it a wee bit.

Here's her tutorial:
Cute Polish Nightmare Before Christmas tutorial

I did Jack's bow tie on my thumb...and then had an idea.  Here's how it came out!

ISN'T HE SO CUTE!  I'm way pleased with how this turned out.  Now check out the middle and thumb together:

And here's a closeup!

Here's what I used:
Orly "Goth" - pointer, ring, and pinky fingers
China Glaze "White on White" - Middle and thumb fingers
White on White and a striping brush was used for the pinstripes and middle of Jack's got a bit glumpy though :(
Goth and a striping brush to create the bow tie, and Jack's eyes and mouth.
Gelous top coat sealed the deal!

Now go check out what the other participants have done for Day 7!  I hope you've enjoyed this so far ^-^.

Friday, February 15, 2013

9-Day Challenge Day 6: Gradient

Howdy y'all!  I hope you had a cool Valentine's Day if you celebrate it, and if not, well, I hope you at least got some chocolate on sale!  Because this is a scheduled post, being written on the 13th, I can't say how my V-day was.  I know I've got two services to do, which makes me so EXCITED.  I love doing nails and just did a service on one of our massage therapists today.  Her nails turned out so cute, I was so happy.  It does me good to hear happy squeals from my clients!

So today's theme is gradient nails.  I was going to do some pretty rainbow gradient nails...but then I saw THIS:

I'm an avid visual kei fan.  This guy is Shou, from Alice Nine.  The moment I saw his jacket I thought "That would make a neat mani!".  So today, as I browsed through my nail inspiration folder for ideas for my client, I saw this and a light bulb went off.  Instead of doing my rainbow gradient, I decided to put this jacket on my nails.  If I could find this and buy it, I'd wear it all the time.  I just love leopard print, mainly if it's on black and white or if it's on rainbow.  As soon as I got home, I got some food, watched "Adrift in Tokyo" (a VERY thought-provoking movie), and got started on these nails.  I have to give myself time in between the moment inspiration hits and when I do it; otherwise, I'll end up being overly critical of the finished product.

And now...on to the nails!  I used China Glaze White on White as the base, sponged Orly Goth at the half-moon and free edge, then sponged Essence Gray-t To Be Here, then sponged more White on White in the middle.  I took an OLD Pure Ice brown polish in Frosted Ice Velvet and dotted random areas in the white, then took Finger Paints Black Expressionism and outlined the dots.  Topped it all with Gelous and here we are:

I love it!  It came out so much better than I expected!  This is the first time I've done a manicure that's come even CLOSE to what I envisioned.  I don't want to take this off, not at all!  I wish I had a gel top coat and LED lamp so I could protect my manicures.  They always come off when I'm doing services because we use acetone, and that stuff RUINS my manicures.  Boo!

The background is my leopard-print skirt that a classmate tried to steal...while I was wearing it!

I hope you've enjoyed this manicure!  I can't wait to see what the other participants have come up with for the gradients!  Be sure to stop by and check them out, and leave a lovely comment :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 9-Day Challenge Day Five

Happy Valentine's Day y'all!  Today's theme is, of course, Valentine's nails. 

I'm going to admit...I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day.  I've only ever gotten roses twice in my life on V-day, and I spent many a year without a Valentine, envying all the girls with romantic significant others.  I'm really a very low-maintenance girl...all I ever ask for is geeky stuff to do with Dr. Who, anime, comics, and Hello Kitty.  So, being the rebel that I am, I decided to do a manicure with my own cynical twist!

It took four tries to get what I wanted to do.  When I'm hashing out ideas, I'll paint each nail on my left hand with an idea until I land on something I like.  I was looking through my nail inspirations folder and saw a cute mani someone had done.  It was in pink, and the thumb nail was covered in opalescent pink hearts.  I thought "Why not?" and did the same...only the hearts I used are green and blue iridescent.  I covered my ring finger in them, and out of boredom and not knowing what to do, I did a black French tip on my pinky finger...the designs on the other three nails came right off, and this is what I ended up with!

I didn't notice the reflection of the hearts on my middle finger until I was looking through the photos.  I LOVE this manicure, so much so that I did it on my right hand and hope to keep it for a few days.


See that flashy reflection again?  I love it!

And it took me about ten tries to get this closeup of the hearts, because I wanted you all to see just how pretty they are!  My camera hates me, I need a new one with a macro setting!


I used: Kiss French base, Orly Goth for the black tips, and China Glaze White cap over the Kiss base before adding the French tip.    On the ring finger, I used two coats of Goth, a generous coat of White on White, and while that was still wet, I added the hearts.  I'm really pleased with this manicure!

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to check out the rest of the participants' pages!  I so can't wait to see what they do!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Memorial Manicure

Hi y'all!  I have a very special manicure to show you today, because tomorrow will mark five years since my grandfather's passing.  He and I were extremely close, closer than even my mother and I were.  While the rest of my family was extroverted, Peepaw and I were introverted.  He understood me better than anyone else did, and we had a blast together.

My favorite memories are of Fridays; school ended, I went home, packed up, and impatiently waited for Peepaw to come pick me up and take me to my grandparents' house.  Every other Friday night was Dallas and Knight Rider, with me and my grandmother popping tons of popcorn and stuffing our faces as we watched our favorite shows.  At bedtime, Peepaw would read to me and then we'd sing our favorite songs until I conked out.  Saturday mornings meant me waking up at 4:00 ready and raring to go fishing with my favorite person.  We'd leave the house at 5, and by 10:00 I was begging him to stay just a "little longer".  I still love to go fish just as much now as I did then.  He said I was the most patient fisherman he'd ever seen!  On the other Friday nights, we three would head out to go square dancing!  I couldn't dance, but I sat and watched my grandparents and their friends dance.  It was so much fun, except for the time I got sick and ended up throwing up into their friends' sweater.  Poor Hazel, I'm sorry I ruined it!

This is my favorite picture of my grandparents.  I have my grandfather's old collar points, the ones he was wearing in this:

The fact that they're both wearing my favorite color may or may not contribute to this being my favorite picture of them ;-).

The best memory, the one that will always warm me up and make me smile, is of mine and Peepaw's pansy bed.  He made a flower bed on the side of their front yard, and every spring we would go pick out new pansies to plant, and plant them together.  I loved this time, and even as a teenager would pester him until he agreed to go do it.  He thought I would be too old for it.  No way!  I loved the time we got to spend together doing "little" things.  Peepaw brought a lot of joy to my life.

Not many of you know...actually, none of you do.  My mother died when I was 14, and my grandparents took me in.  I bonded with them even more strongly during this time, and to see both of them become ill broke my heart.  I was there with Meemaw when she passed, but I didn't have the strength to be with Peepaw.  I didn't want his last moments with me to be filled with tears.  I did sing our favorite Peter, Paul, and Mary song: Puff the Magic Dragon, when I knew he was about to leave.

I'm sorry this is so depressing, but it makes this manicure more significant.  I loved my grandfather dearly, and five years after his passing, I still can't talk (or write) about him without crying.  I miss him every day.  Spring lost its brilliancy, because it was in spring that we planted the pansies.

Peepaw, these are for you.

I chose blue because it was Peepaw's favorite color, and the butterflies represent his freedom.  He's no longer in a world of pain, but he's in a place where there is no death and sadness.  I'm thankful that he and I were so close, and that he sacrificed a lot for me.  I can only hope that I've made him, Meemaw, and Mom proud.

Thank you for stopping by, and don't forget to come back on Valentine's Day for Day Five of the 9-Day Nail Art Challenge!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February Challenge Day Four!

Today is Day Four of the nail art challenge.  The theme?  Inspired By A Pattern.  I almost did zebra stripes and leopard print, but figured I shouldn't because it's kind of a cop-out for me.  I love both prints, especially with a rainbow background.  This time, however, I was inspired by something else.

I spent Saturday at a friend's house, painting my half-moon nails while he was painting a HUGE canvas.  It started out looking like a puzzle, but as he filled in the areas he sketched, it began to look more like camouflage.  I had done rainbow eye makeup before coming over, and it apparently inspired him to really get going on his painting.  It turned out SO awesome, I'm really tempted to steal it.  So as I sat here, pondering what pattern to use, it hit me: why not use the painting as inspiration?  It's got a base of camouflage print, and it's rainbow-y, so why not?

He let all the paint dry completely, then did something we nail art addicts are familiar with: he put painter's tape over top of the pattern, went over it with black paint, then took the tape off.  Here's the gorgeous result:

I LOVE THAT PAINTING.  I swear I'm going to commission him to do one for me one of these days.  His other two paintings are just as awesome, both are black and green, my main colors of choice. 

I used a dotting tool to place the polish on my nails in a camouflage-ish pattern...and accidentally deleted the "before" photo!  I let my nails dry completely and then put on a coat of fast-drying top coat for protection, then let that dry.  I took some striping tape and placed it on the nails in a random pattern, then put two coats of Orly "Goth" over.  One coat was not opaque enough, but two really did the trick.  I pulled the tape off right after applying the second coat, which is REALLY important.  If you leave the tape on and allow the polish to dry, then remove the tape, it will result in one hot mess.  I let the polish dry and followed up with a coat of Gelous. 

Enough about that, I bet you want pictures!  Here they are :)

And here's a nice closeup for you:

And Hatsune Miku decided to drop in to say hello ;-)

I hope you have enjoyed this manicure!  Don't forget to stop by the pages from the other participants!  I'm excited to see what they all have for today's manicure.  I'm certain that they will all have some really gorgeous nail art.  I love how creative they all are!

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Little Pony Mani: DJ Pon3

After I did my Fluttershy manicure, my best friend requested DJ Pon3 from My Little Pony.  She's made a few appearances in episodes, such as the one where Rarity has the chance to impress a famous designer.  The pony was the DJ at the fashion show, and is quite a popular character for a "background pony".

So here's a picture of DJ Pon3:

For this mani, I wanted to have fun.  I used Essence Gray-t To Be Here as base for my thumb, then used striping tape to create a checkered pattern.  I used Sally Hansen HD polish in Cyber and Orly Goth for the black and purple.  China Glaze White on White was used for the cutie mark nail, Cyber was used on the middle finger, and Funky Fingers Zone was used on the pinky.  On those two nails, I put a coat of Lush Lacquers' Salt 'N Peppa.  For the ring finger, I mixed blue and white acrylic paint and put on two coats and let dry.  For the cutie mark, the bass and treble clefs and leopard print on the ring finger, I used black acrylic paint.

On to the mani! 

This took about two hours, because I had to wait for the polishes to dry.  Sally Hansen's Cyber is a thinner polish but is such a GORGEOUS purple, it's worth the wait for it to completely dry.

I hope you've enjoyed this installment of My Little Pony Manis.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 9-Day Nail Art Challenge Day Three!

Good morning/afternoon/evening and welcome to Day Three of Erica's Nails And More February 9-Day Challenge! I hope you've been having a good week so far and have checked out all the other participants' posts.  I've been absolutely blown away by how amazing, talented, and creative they all are!  The half-moon nails I've seen have made my jaw drop, they are all so gorgeous!

Today's theme is Glitter Loaded Nails.  I admit, I cringed at this one.  I have a love/hate relationship with glitter polish; it's gorgeous and sparkly, but such a pain to remove.  I've spent ten minutes with a cotton ball full of acetone on my nails, tin foil holding it in place, only to be rewarded with super-dry cuticles and nails.  However, after much agonizing over polish color AND the impending possibility of acetone-dried nails, I realized...I can use glue as a base coat!

I've heard of this trick before but hadn't tried it yet.  I've given it a shot and you know what?  It's super easy!  You just use some Elmer's School Glue instead of a polish base coat.  What I did was take some glue and put it on my palette, then used an old art brush to apply the glue to my nails.  I let the glue dry, then applied to coats of a pretty shimmery pale blue as a base, then three coats of Rainbow Honey's 20% cooler polish from her Equestria line.  I let that dry, then put on a coat of Gelous top coat.

I had a really hard time choosing what polish to use.  I have lots of glitter polishes, both from major companies and from indie companies.  In the end, I chose 20% Cooler because it's got RAINBOW GLITTER.  I love anything rainbow colored that sparkles or shimmers.  My nickname is Niji, which is "rainbow" in Japanese, because my nails, eye shadow, hair, and accessories always have lots of bright colors in them.  Not to mention the fact that I love rainbows...every time I see one I feel comforted.

As always, enough talking already and on with the pictures!

Bottle shot!

Isn't that color GORGEOUS?!?

I have to admit, this time I think I did well on picking a color.  I LOVE this polish dearly, and you might remember it from my Rainbow Dash manicure I did last year.  The glue base coat did so well too, I've already peeled this mani off because I was working at school, and the polish chipped off TWO NAILS, despite my use of gloves.  Oh well, that's what to expect when doing work study!

Don't forget to stop by the other participants' pages and check out what they have for Day Three!  I can't wait; if the half-moons were so awesome, then the glitter bomb nails must be to die for!  Have a good weekend all <3

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Nail Art Challenge Day Two

Gooood morning/afternoon/evening to you!  I hope you're having a fantastic weekend and are ready for the Superbowl.  As for me, I'll be watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet.  If I want to be watching the Superbowl, it will be alone because my husband hates sports, and I LOVE watching sports.  I have to be in another room watching because I tend towards the "screaming and shouting at the ref as if he can hear me" type.

Today's challenge is Half Moon nails.  I can tell you, I had major issues with this one.  I went to a friend's house to motivate him to do a painting, and did my nails while he painted and we talked.  I tried about four different things before making my friend help me out on what polishes to use.  In the end, I ended up using China Glaze White on White, Lush Lacquers' Lite Brite (my FAVORITE glitter polish), and an unnamed Funky Fingers purple holo.  As I was typing about the Superbowl, I realized that two of the colors are the same as the team colors for the Baltimore I dedicate this manicure to Chris; dude, I hope your team wins!

Enough about that, on with the pictures!  Only three this time because I must say, I'm disappointed in this.  This isn't my best work, and I had a bit of a hard time getting the glitter where I wanted it, but I do like it.  I love rainbows (my nickname is Niji, which is "rainbow" in Japanese), which is why Lite Brite is a favorite glitter.  It looks STUNNING with white undies, which also bring out the mini holo glitter in the polish.  I absolutely recommend Lush Lacquers; their polishes are so adorable and FUN.  Check them out on Etsy!

No more chatter, on with the pictures!  Enjoy :-)

Don't forget to stop by the other participants' pages to see what awesome work they've done!  I LOVED all the galaxy nails I saw...while you'd think that all galaxy manis look the same, they don't!  Just like the universe, they're all beautifully, gorgeously diverse.  I can't wait to see what they'll all have for Day Two of the challenge <3

Friday, February 1, 2013

ENAM February 9-Day Challenge: Day One!

Am I excited to show off what I have for you today!  As you now know, today is Day One of the Erica's Nails And More February 9-Day nail art challenge.  Today's nail art challenge is: Galaxy Nails!

My first attempt at this was last week.  I've watched the tutorials thinking "This looks kind of hard...", but when I actually tried it, it came out better than I had expected.  It was easy and way fun, the kind of nail art that takes a while to do.  I love that, because to me, getting lost in creativity and losing track of time is a WONDERFUL thing.  I think this took about an hour or so; I'm not entirely sure, because I was absorbed in doing this and listening to Buck-Tick (yes, I love Japanese rock <3).

I want to share this awesome drawing, done by a Miss Alex Redden.  She's the daughter of a good friend of mine, and the moment I saw this, I KNEW it needed to be on today's nails, but as an accent nail.  I totally hope I've done it justice!  Alex and Christy, thank you so much for allowing me to use this as inspiration!  I really think that without it, I would be having some boring nails!

So on with the photos!

I used Orly Goth for the base, then Haley's Comet, a mini Orly yellow, and a rose holo polish from Claire's over the yellow.  Haley's Comet was sponged on around the edges of the yellow and rose, then I sponged on a black holo polish from NYX for some "stars".  I also took a toothpick, dipped it in white polish, and dotted on the stars.  For the comet, I used the yellow polish, took a brown polish and dabbed it on for the rock, and took a thin striping brush and black polish to create the craters in the rock and the black accents on the nail.  I used some small yellow glequins for stars, and the base is Essence Grey-t To Be Here.  I LOVE that polish, it's a gorgeous gray with rose pink shimmer.

I hope you like the nails, and I hope I did Alex's artwork justice in my recreation.  Be sure to check out the awesome manicures from the other challenge participants!  Have a great Friday everyone :-*