Saturday, August 16, 2014

OPI Feel the Mo-heat-oes & Roses

I posted a picture of this matte nail design several days ago on Instagram, planning to write up a post, and then...it just never happened.  Bad Sarah.  But, I was determined to not put it off any longer, so here I go.


For this look, I started with 2 coats of OPI Feel the Mo-Heat-oes.  It's such a beautiful shade of green.  For a leafy background, I stamped part of a design from Pueen plate PUEEN73 using Konad Special Polish in green.  The roses are a single rose design from PUEEN14, which I just stamped multiple times, in random spots.


The colors used for the roses were all recent purchases from Rica Nail Polish on Etsy.  Lavender Lotus, Pinky Promise and Ain't It Peachy? are all stamping polishes but also serve double duty because, unlike Konad stamping polishes, you can apply any of Rica's stamping polishes just like regular polish and wear them alone.


I had actually started out wearing this for a day with regular, glossy top coat and felt really "meh" about the whole look.  I'm so glad I decided to try it matte, because applying a coat of OPI Matte Top Coat really brought the whole look together and I went from meh to completely loving it.  In case you're curious though, here are a few shots I took that first day, when it was glossy.



Still pretty, but definitely not as nice compared to how it looked with the matte top coat.  Here's one last look at it matte!

Monday, July 28, 2014

ModCloth Nail Klub Nail Art Challenge

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email last Wednesday from ModCloth, asking me to participate in their Nail Klub nail art challenge.  The challenge is to create a nail art look inspired by one of their many dresses.  One of their many, many, many dresses.  So many dresses!  It took me a while to narrow it down.  I started a Pinterest board just to try to keep track of all the ones that sparked an idea for nail art.  In the end though, I kept coming back to a dress called In the Key of Chic Dress in Polka Dots.


To mimic the design of the dress, I started out with 2 coats of Milani White On The Spot.  Once dry, I sponged a gradient onto Bundle Monster plate BM-018, using OPI Red Hot Rio, OPI I Just Can't Cope-acabana, and OPI Ogre-The-Top Blue, which I then scraped and stamped onto my nails.  One of the things I really loved about this dress was the way the colors were blended throughout the dots.  In the smaller thumbnail image, it looks like just solid dots of red, yellow, and blue.  But if you view the enlarged photo of the dress on the ModCloth site, you can see that the colors sometimes mix with each other, creating some dots with streaks of several colors and even blending to create some orange and green tones.


My original plan for this whole design was actually to start off with a gradient base, rather than white.  Then stamp on white polish with a design from BM-423, which would leave dots of the gradient underneath peeking through.  The gradient itself was looking pretty awesome.  But with the stamp applied, not so much.  The dots just didn't pop on the nail the way they did on the dress and the white borders were too thick.  So then I decided to reverse it and stamp with a gradient instead.  I've stamped with multiple colors at once before, and ended up with some blending in the final result.  But I wanted to make sure I'd get much more of a gradient effect this time.  So rather than just placing blobs of polish next to each other on the plate and hoping they would blend a little when scraped, I sponged the gradient onto the plate just like I would onto my nails.  And I was extremely happy with the results!


I repeated the stamp on all my nails and then top coated with Seche Vite to seal it in.




Ideally, I would have loved to have added some type of bright blue accent for the blue bow wrapped around the waist of the dress.  And believe me I tried.  Multiple times.  In the process, I confirmed that I can't free hand a bow to save my life, lol.  I tried stamping a few different bow designs, but none of them looked right or were just not opaque enough.  I even went so far as to attempt both a ruffian design and framed nails to try and incorporate the bright blue of the bow.  When all that fell flat, I decided to just stick with what worked.  So I finally left my little polka dots alone, and I think they look great all by themselves.  There's 52 other dresses from ModCloth still on my Pinterest board (now you can understand my need to organize them!), so if I'm ever stuck for nail art inspiration in the future, that'll probably be the first place I turn to.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Old Glory

So I did end up doing a second July 4th manicure on Friday afternoon, to wear for the rest of this weekend.  I posted a quick cell phone shot on Instagram Friday after it was done, but Saturday morning I was able to get some better shots in natural light with my Canon.  I wanted to break out a few Zoya PixieDust polishes because I thought they would work well for another flag design.  I'm so glad I did because I'm pretty sure this is now my new favorite July 4th manicure.


Initially, I was a little worried that the stars and stripes wouldn't show up that well over the darker colors, but the stamping actually came out more opaque than I expected.  I really like the way the white has just a slightly faded look to it.  Mixed with the texture of the PixieDust bases, it really reminds me of pictures of historic, vintage looking flags.


All stamping was done using Konad Special Polish in white.  For the blue base, I used 2 coats of Zoya Sunshine.  The red base is 3 coats of Zoya Chyna.  The stars design is off of Nailz Craze plate NC05 and the stripes are from Winstonia plate W107.



I can definitely see this being my go-to design for any patriotic holidays anytime I might have trouble coming up with something new to wear instead.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Stars and Stripes - Happy 4th of July!

Happy July 4th everyone!  Leading up to July 4th this year, I took part in an Independence Day themed swap on Facebook and my awesome swap partner, Cari, sent me a box full of Salon Perfect goodies and some candy.  So after I came down from my sugar high, lol, I got to work on putting together a look for July 4th.  Using a bunch of the items she sent me, here's what I came up with this year.


For my thumb and index nail, I started with Salon Perfect Blue Ribbon.  This was my first experience trying any Salon Perfect polishes and I was pretty happy to see I only needed 2 coats of Blue Ribbon for decent coverage.  The star designs are from a Salon Perfect decal kit that Cari also included in the swap package.  I topped these blue nails with 2 coats of Seche Vite, just to try and even out the edges of the decals.


For the red and white stripes on the rest of my nails, I decided to do a reciprocal gradient instead of regular stripes.  I started with one coat of Salon Perfect Sugar Cube, then sponged on a red and white gradient using Sugar Cube and Salon Perfect Paint The Town Red.  Once that dried, I placed 3 strips of striping tape onto each nail, then redid the gradient with the colors on the opposite ends as the original gradient and quickly removed the striping tape.  I finished off these 3 nails with just one coat of Seche Vite.  The gradient isn't quite as smooth as I would have liked.  But I didn't want to blend the red and white much more because I was hoping to minimize the amount of pink through the center of the gradient.



I've been wearing this all week and it's starting to show a little wear in real life compared to the pictures.  Since July 4th is a Friday this year, there is sure to be some celebrating all weekend long, so I may take this off and do another July 4th manicure sometime today.  Have a fun and safe holiday everyone.  'Murica!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

OPI Taupe-less Beach and Floral Double Stamping

Here's an older mani I hadn't gotten around to posting yet.  I put a pic of this up on Instagram about 3 weeks ago, and I actually had worn it about a week before I posted that shot.  This was another one of those designs that I didn't really have planned out ahead of time.  I just started by picking a polish that I wanted to wear anyway, then browsed through my stamping plates and messed with some ideas while my base color dried.  What I ended up with was this floral look, the result of some double stamping using 2 different designs and colors over OPI Taupe-less Beach.


Taupe-less Beach went on very smooth.  I had just picked it up not that long before at Sally Beauty.  When the Brazil Collection was first released, I started out only wanting, and only buying, 2 of the shades.  But thanks to a few sales and grabbing 2 more here and there, I've come to realize that I now own almost the entire collection, lol.  Taupe-less Beach is definitely one shade that I do not regret picking up though.  It is a great neutral color and was perfectly opaque in just two thin coats.  For the design itself, I started with a leafy pattern from Pueen plate PUEEN33, which I stamped using Konad Special Polish in white.  Over that, I used Konad Special Polish in dark purple to stamp part of a flowery design from another Pueen plate, PUEEN59.



A pretty simple and quick design, but I think this is definitely one my favorites so far in 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

KBShimmer Summer 2014 Collection

Press Sample

KBShimmer just released their new Summer 2014 Collection this past Friday and I was able to try out 6 of the 12 polishes in the collection.  If you've been following me on Instagram, you probably already saw a few swatches that I had posted leading up to the release, but today I've got a whole lot more to show you.  Picture heavy post so follow the jump cut below to see all the swatches.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

China Glaze Metro Pollen-tin

Here's another look with my nails still a bit shorter than usual, thanks to a broken index nail.  This mani is about a month old.  Posting a manicure from Mother's Day a few days before Father's Day makes total sense, right?  Ha, well really it wasn't meant to be a Mother's Day look, except that I put this together during Mother's Day weekend and my mom ended up asking me to repeat it on her for Mother's Day itself.


I started out with 3 thin coats of Metro Pollen-tin, another polish I picked up from the China Glaze City Flourish Collection.  The first coat was a little streaky, but it was almost completely even by the second coat.  I ended up applying a third coat just to get it perfectly even.  After that dried, I stamped a floral pattern from Pueen plate PUEEN25 using Konad Special Polish in pastel orange (which isn't really pastel to me, but that's what Konad calls it).  I added an orange rhinestone to the nail on my ring finger as an accent, and topped everything with Seche Vite.


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