Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Favorites.

At the end of 2012 I compiled my favorite manicures from the year for you and shared them in a post. Throughout 2013 I enjoyed having that post to look back on and see the designs I consider my best all in one post. Which led me to the easy decision that I had to do a similar post at the end of 2013, and somehow we are at that point in time already! 

And here are the favorites I selected in no particular order...

During my reflection on my manicures of 2013 there was a significant difference in the quantity of designs as opposed to in 2012. And my goal for 2014 is to improve on that and post more often. In order to kick the year off right I'll be posted new nail art everyday in January, and you can expect the first post tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Butter London Patent-Gel Review.

For the most part I'm very loyal to my Seche Vite top and basecoats. However, when I received the Butter London Paten-Gel Flawless top and basecoats I was very curious about how comparable to a gel manicure they could be. 

I usually don't keep a manicure on for more than a few days, making the long lasting aspect of a gel manicure unnecessary. But I decided to but these to the test during a week where I wanted my manicure to last through finals, Christmas shopping, and traveling home for the holidays. 

I gave the topcoat and basecoat an extra hard test by using them with all glitter polishes, which of course tend to chip very quickly. And I'm happy to say that after my week with this manicure my nail polish has worn a little bit at the tips and suffered very minimal chipping.

I wouldn't say it's quite like a gel manicure (although I've never had one myself) since they did chip a little, but I'll definitely be using these more in the future.

I also tried out a few new polishes (and polish brands that are new to me) for this manicure. I used Mr. Positivity and Atom + Eve from the Sephora Formula X collection and Jenna Hipp Flair Your Affair. I loved these polishes and they made for the perfect holiday manicure.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Candy Cane Heart Nails.

I decided to do my first holiday manicure of the season for a Christmas party last week. I did a bunch of Christmas designs last year so I wasn't sure what to choose until I was inspired by this candy cane hearts manicure. 

I chose to skip the faded look of my inspiration mani and opt out of the typical bright Christmas colors and instead chose darker, winter appropriate shades. The polishes I used for this design were Zoya Gemma, American Apparel Port, and a LA Colors gold glitter striping polish. The white was done with acrylic paint.

I received a lot of compliments on these and I thought they were just festive enough without being too much!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Born Pretty Star Stickers Review.

I have another Born Pretty Store review for you today! The product I have to talk about are glitter star stickers. I have them in six colors; silver, white, hot pink, black, purple, and pale pink. 

For today's manicure I used two different sizes of stars in the white color. The white has a very pretty iridescent glitter that reminded me of snow. 

The base color I used is Wet n Wild Saved by the Blue (I hadn't broken this color out in forever but I love it!) So far the stars have received very positive reactions and the stars in combination with the blue have elicited comparisons to the 4th of July, Boogie Nights, and Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.

These work great as an easy way to make any manicure special. They're of course super simple to use, my only tip is to use a thick top coat because they're not completely flat!

Born Pretty also sent me a couple of accessories; a bow ring and a pink lipstick pen which I've been getting a lot of use out of lately.

It's easy to forget that Born Pretty has non-nail related things since they have so many great nail art products. But they have plenty of cute things that aren't related to nails, these are just two examples!

If you want to order one of these items or anything else from BPS you can get 10% off with the coupon code below!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Stone Nails.

It's finals week (or weeks as it happens to be at my school) and one of my final projects was all about nail art. Part of the project involved a how-to section, and the design I thought would be easy and fun to teach was water spotting. Instead of teaching off a water spotted manicure I've done on the past I decided to do a new one using nice icy winter colors.

The polishes I used were Wet n Wild French White Creme, CND Asphalt, and Color Club Lumin-icecent. The white was my base color and then I water spotted with the CND and Color Club polishes over top.

The project also involved doing nail art on a few other people. Here are the manicures I did for them that I instagrammed earlier in the week. I especially liked the one on top, I'll have to break out my striping tape again soon!

In other news, I can't promise too many more posts during the rest of December because of finals and holiday busyness. However, I've decided that since last year I enjoyed my attempt to post everyday in December, I'll do the same thing for January. So, come January 2014 I'm planning to post nail art everyday. Feel free to let me know if there are any manicures in particular you would like to see during that time! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Born Pretty Neon Square Studs Review.

During the time I've been blogging here, I've reviewed a lot of things from Born Pretty Store, many times those things being studs. 

At this point there is only so much to be said, but they keep coming out with new studs that I want to share with you! 

Most recently, I've received a wheel of their fluorescent candy colored square studs. The wheel contains twelve different colors, which basically means endless manicure options! I already have lots of ideas of how to put them to good use, but for today's post I tested out two of the colors.

My first time using the studs I decided to do a kind of creepy, neon drip manicure. I thought it would be fun for Halloween. The polishes I used were China Glaze In The Limelight and Wet n Wild Black Creme. Then I finished off my accent nail with the neon green studs. I stuck them on using my typical method, a little bit of topcoat and a dotting tool.

Since I wanted to give using the studs another shot, the manicure you're actually going to find my sporting for Halloween is the one below.

For this manicure I used the same black polish and just added orange studs to the base of each of my nails. I've really been enjoying the simplicity of this one!

In the future I can't wait to combine lots of different colors and play around with my options. Studs are already so much fun to add to any manicure, and even more so when they're in awesome colors.

If you're interested in getting a wheel of your own they cost $7.59, or you can buy different colors individually for $2.99 a bag. As always you can get 10% off any BPS purchase with my coupon code, BRJ61. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sparkly Bat Nails.

My nails have been breaking a lot lately, which has led to them being quite short. I don't find short nails as fun to work on, but thankfully I do find Halloween to be very inspiring for nail art. Which means I've actually been doing designs more lately. 

For today's manicure I broke out one of the glitter polishes I bought when I loved them. ( I mostly stick with cream finishes now.) In order to update it a bit I decided to stamp bats overtop for Halloween. 

For the base of the manicure I used Icing's Force of Love over a coat of Wet n Wild Black Creme for opacity. Force of Love is supposed to be a dupe of Deborah Lippmann's Across the Universe.

The stamp I used was Bundle Monster BM-213, and the polish I used is Sally Hansen Silversweep.

I was happy with how this design turned out, and I think the bats go great with Force of Love. Sadly I didn't get much use out of the manicure because it turns out Force of Love is just one of those glitters that goes on very thick and refuses to dry!

If you're still trying to decide on nails for Halloween, you still have a few days to think up something awesome! If you want any ideas, you can check out some of the designs I've posted in the past or keep waiting because I have a few other appropriate manicures that I'll be sharing soon!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Born Pretty Rose Water Decals Review.

Finding time for blogging (and good lighting) isn't always as easy during the school year as it is in the summer, which is why I've been absent lately. I haven't been doing any nail art over the last two months or so, but when I received rose water decals from Born Pretty Store, I had to test them out and share the results.

I haven't had any experience with water decals before, so I was very happy to find that there wasn't a learning curve and they were super easy to use right off the bat.

My method was to paint all of my nails and let them dry completely before starting on the decals. The base color I chose for this manicure was China Glaze VIII, I wanted something dark so the roses wouldn't seem to spring-y.

Once my nails were dry I cut out all of the flowers I wanted to use and set them aside. Then one by one I dropped them into a cup of water for a few seconds before pulling them out. Then I used tweezers to separate the decal from the paper backing and placed them on my nails. Once I had all of the decals in place I just added topcoat to keep everything in place.

I love a good floral manicure, and I was very happy with how these turned out! I also tested the decals out for a week and was pleased to find that since I put topcoat on top there wasn't any peeling and they stayed perfectly in place all week.

The decals I used come in three different colors, but the ones I got are called HOT-035. They're currently on sale for $1.99 from $2.99 and you can get at least a few manicures out of one sheet of decals.

Born Pretty also has lots of other water decal options and if you're interested in trying those or anything else from BPS you can use my coupon code BRJ61 to get 10% off your order!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Metallic Stone Nails.

For today's manicure I played around with the water spotting technique and hoped for the best because I wasn't sure if it would turn out!

Before I explain what I did differently, here is a video on how you would typically do water spotting. This is still pretty accurate to what I did (although I started with a solid base color and used a body spray not hand sanitizer,) the only difference was I repeated the process multiple time. I did the technique with white polish first, and then again with a metallic color, and then again with black. 

Something else I did differently as opposed to the last time I tried this technique, was to create a thin veining look instead of more circurlar-ish shapes. I just sprayed a bit more body spray this time and was able to get the look I wanted.

The main polishes I used for this design were CND Oilslick and Color Club Lumin-Icent.

I ended up being super happy with these nails and kept them on a few days longer than I typically would have!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

School Chalkboard Nails.

Ciaté always seems to be coming out with kits that help create the latest trendy manicures. But usually there is a cheaper way to get the look. And their Chalkboard kit is no exception! All you need for a similar design is a good matte topcoat.

For my version I painted my nails with CND Oilslick and then added my school inspired designs using acrylic paint, and then finished things off with Claire's Matte Topcoat. (I'd recommend a different topcoat like Essie Matte About You because I'm not a big fan of this one.) It's a great design for back to school!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Black Swan Nails.

There are a handful of manicures I did before I started this blog that I really liked the concept for and have wanted to share with my blog readers. One of those was a design I did inspired by the movie Black Swan, and even though it isn't the most summer-y design, I decided to recreate my old manicure today.

Black and white, feathers, and blood pretty much sum up the film, so I think these nails do a good job of capturing the movie. 

For this design I painted my nails black (CND Oilslick) and stamped white feathers on all of my nails using Bundle Monster BM15 and Konad Special White polish. Then I splattered a mixture of Mary Kay Radiant Red and an unnamed red shimmer polish (which I'm holding in the photos) to look like blood.

I've really enjoyed doing manicures inspired by books and movies, and I think this is another fun one. It would be great for Halloween.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer Splatter Nails.

I originally planned for this manicure to be a bit more complicated, but then I ended up liking the color combination so much that I left it alone when I finished doing the splatter (with a straw.)

The polishes I used were American Apparel Office, China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy, CG Secret Peri-winkle, Essie First Timer, and Essie Boom Boom Room.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Watercolor Floral Nails.

For today's manicure I decided to use the acetone watercolor technique for a floral design. I used all neon polishes which balanced nicely with the subtle design.

The polishes I used are Essie Boom Boom Room  (a perfect Barbie pink,) China Glaze Pink Voltage, China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy, and China Glaze Purple Panic.

I don't think the design ended up being quite my style, but I was happy with the results!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Green Saran Wrap Nails.

I first saw the saran wrap technique months ago and I wasn't sure that I wanted to bother giving it a shot. But eventually it grew on me, and worked its way up on my list of manicures to do. 

I decided to try it out for the first time and do a tone on tone green design. The colors I used are American Apparel Office and Essie First Timer.

I certainly appreciated the simplicity of the technique. Do your base color, let it dry, paint a coat of your second color on top and immediately mess it up with some saran wrap. As for how it turned out, I think I like it. It reminds me of a bit of a cross between this tie-dye technique and the watercolor nails. I'd have to say I prefer both of those techniques though, I don't think I'll break this one out much in the future unless I'm very pressed for time!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Sunrise Nails.

I've had the idea to do a sunrise or sunset design based around a half moon manicure for a while, and after looking at pictures of pink and purple sunrises I had to give it a shot. 

This was a pretty time consuming manicure because there were different elements going on, a few of which required lots of drying time.  The first step of the manicure was painting my nails with Orly Spark, and then I used reinforcements to create the half moons. I created the gradient overtop using China Glaze Shocking Pink, OPI Ate Berries in the Canaries, and China Glaze VIII. The last part of the manicure was creating the sunbeams, which I did using striping tape. This was the part that took the longest, which probably is surprising if you've done a striping tape manicure before.

I don't think the design exactly screams sunrise, but that wasn't really the purpose of the inspiration. They're just fun and bright, and something different than what I've done before.