Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31DC: Recreate your favorite

I've made it to the end! I really did not think that I would make it much past the first week, but now I can say that I have completed the 31 Day Challenge! The final challenge is to recreate your favorite from the month. There are a ton that I loved and am excited to try again or work on. This was a bit tricky because today is Halloween, so I really wanted to choose one that was Halloween-themed. Then I couldn't decide. So, here's my Halloween skittle!

That's the lineup!  I changed up a few polishes from the original designs, but most are the same.

Day 12: Stripes.  My candy corn is a Color Club Almost Famous base, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Sun Kissed and Julep Kate, topped with Out The Door Northern Lights.  It's getting late and I know that this will be coming off tomorrow night, so instead of waiting for the base to dry an use tape, I freehanded the stripes.

Day 2: Orange.  For my orange nail, I used Zoya Myrta instead for this nail, which is a bit darker than the previous 2.  It is still shimmery with a great "foil" finish.  This Surf collection is gorgeous and they need no more than 2 coats.  I used Black Cat Lacquer Static Age again over the top.


Day 23: Inspired by a movie.  I decided to give Mr. Skellington another try. I couldn't decide between him and spider webs from my black and white mani, but I'm going to see my aunt tomorrow, and I'd love for her to see him!  This is 2 coats of Julep Kate with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out for accents.

Day 29: Inspired by the supernatural.  It's not Halloween without the Great Pumpkin!  I wanted to do the pumpkin that I painted again, but because I was doing this on both hands, I worried I wouldn't be able to pain straight lines.  So, I had to settle for this polish that I love!  Bummer!  This is 2 coats of Zoya Yara under the awesome Sonoma Nail Art Sincerest Pumpkin Patch.


Day 11: Polka dots.  Before I began this challenge I really wanted these little spooky eyes to be my Halloween mani.  I used 2 coats of Fantasy Makers Rest In Pieces with Kate and Black Out for the eyes.  I love these little eyes!

So there it is!  This is my Halloween look and a decent round-up of different themes and techniques from this month.  Thank you so much for sticking with me through some of the rougher challenges and letting me get excited about the ones I felt successful about!  I'm a little sad that it's over because it forced me to try new things and to post all the time.  I do have a lot to revisit, though, and try with new insight.  Plus it's fall now, so it's a whole new color palette to play with (not that I really stick to "seasonal" colors).  Have you completed the challenge?  What are your favorite days to do?  What are you wearing for Halloween?  I'd love to hear!

On a side note, on 10/20 I mentioned that it was my 4 month anniversary of starting this blog and I was so excited to have reached 450 page views.  In the past 10 days I have reached over 700!  I am so amazed that there are people out there who are interested in what I am doing and I want to THANK YOU so much for stopping by!  Please feel free to leave me comments and start up a conversation--I can talk about nail polish for days!

Go Pink Wendesday: not the end

Today is the 5th and final Go Pink Wednesday manicure for breast cancer awareness.  Andrea at Finger Painting Fingers has done a wonderful job of uniting bloggers and helping promote awareness!  It has been inspiring seeing all of you ladies promote awareness and give support to those who are fighting, have fought, or are vulnerable to this disease.
I figured I'd try to redeem by last post of polka dots (based on a tutorial from Chalkboard Nails) without my hair getting in the way!

*1 coat Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Hardener
*3 coats OPI I Think In Pink
*Zoya Kimber
*Zoya Rory
*1 coat Seche Vite

I Think In Pink is a cream polish that is quite sheer.  I used 3 coats, which build pretty well, but still had visible nail lines.  I knew I was going to cover the tips with dots, so I didn't add a 4th layer.  This is pretty much the perfect baby pink, part of their Pink of Hearts duo for breast cancer awareness.


I used Rory for my first round of dots, knowing that Kimber would be able to cover it when I overlapped the dots.  I love Kimber so much that this light, shimmery pink tends to get overlooked in my collection.  Because of the shimmery "foil" finish, it has good coverage with just the one coat dotted on.

Beautiful, shimmery Kimber went over the top of Rory.  I still wish that the dots had a bigger difference in sizes for contrast.  Besides that, I like how these two look together, especially as a tip for the cream base. 

So, this is the end of the breast cancer awareness posts for this October, but it's not the end of awareness.  There is a danger in seeing this as a yearly crusade when it is really meant to be a daily one.  Continue to know yourself and and changes in your body.  Be comfortable and willing to discuss tough issues.  Cancer is scary.  When you are open about it, when you are aware and catch it early, when you are willing to face the reality head on, you rob it of some of its power.  Thanks to continued vigillance, research, and support, we will hopefully see a day when there is a cure.  Until then, this isn't over.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31DC: Inspired by a tutorial

Here we are--the last original challenge!  I am so proud of myself for sticking with this all month and pretty impressed with how far outside of my little comfort zone I ventured!  I have learned a lot of new techniques and found a ton of places for improvement, but overall I am really pleased with a lot of the work that I did! 
Today feels a bit redundant, like my color inspiration did.  I used different tutorials for many manicures this month (gradient, galaxy, water marble, animal/sponging, etc.), even more manis for inspiration, and really have found so much help out there!  There are a million other tutorials I am excited to try, but today I wanted to do a dot mani from one of my favorite blogs, Chalkboard Nails.  I wanted to make this a little Halloween-y, so there aren't any untrieds today.

*1 coat Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Hardener
*2 coats China Glaze Elephant Walk
*Julep Kate
*Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out
*1 coat Seche Vite

Now, before I begin, let's talk about the elephants in the photos (no pun intended).  First off, those awful red cuticles are a little reminder of my beloved Supernatural mani yesterday.  I scrubbed and used q-tips.  They were getting drier, but not cleaner.  Sorry!  Secondly, today I did not work, which means that I let my hair stay down.  As long as it is, that made a big problem.  As I finished up, it rubbed right over the top of my tacky black dots.  I know, those streaks are the only thing I can look at too.  I liked everything else so much that I just didn't have the heart to redo it all...

I used Elephant Walk as my base because I didn't think it was opaque enough to use for dots.  I love the soft shimmer of this polish, which you can really see in the pictures.  Using the larger end of my dotting tool, I used Kate first, and then switched to the smaller end. 

The dots are supposed to overlap a bit (I wish I had done more of that) so I decided to do Black Out second, unsure of how well white would cover it.  Again, I started with the large side and then switched to the small.  I love how they look like little bubbles!  The ones my hair did not ruin turned out really cute.  I had to go back and adjust the shape of my dotting.  A couple moved down one side more than the other, almost like a little wave.  This would have been fine if I had done it for all for them, but I didn't.  That's one thing that is wonderful about this design--it's so easy to add dots in and adjust the effect!
That middle nail is my favorite!  It turned out the most like the tutorial and the dots are clean.  I think that I would like to try this again with a bigger difference in the sizes of the dots--these are kind of close, so there isn't a ton of contrast.  Overall, this is such an easy, cute design that can lend itself to any color combo or season.  You will be seeing it again very soon!
What tutorials have you found and loved?  What do you think I should try out next?

Monday, October 29, 2012

31DC: Inspired by the supernatural

I have been so excited about today's post!  I saw this "supernatural" challenge and was really worried about what on earth I could do.  Then inspiration struck!  I was so bummed that it was late in the challenge, but it's kind of perfect because it's a Halloween mani!  I'm also really pleased with how it turned out (which is rare when I attempt nail art).  I have one awesome untried today.  Here it is:

"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!"

Growing up just north of Charles Schultz's hometown, the Peanuts gang was a huge part of my childhood.  My family loves them and no holiday is complete without a Charlie Brown special.  In honor of the mystical Great Pumpkin, here we go!

"I don't understand it. I went trick-or-treating and all I got was a bag full of rocks."  Poor Charlie Brown!  I already recreated his iconic shirt for my yellow post, so this time I recreated his ghost costume (ignore the red around my cuticle from my flag nails--that was NOT coming off!).  Chuck has a little trouble in the scissor department, but don't we all sometimes?  I used 2 coats of Julep Kate and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out for the eye holes.  In real life they look a little cleaner, but I kind of like how they are a bit messy, like the original comics were.


"On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises from his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys to all the children."  Linus, with all of his hope and innocence, waits patiently for the Great Pumpkin to visit his pumpkin patch all night.  No matter what anyone says, his faith endures.  For his shirt, I used 2 coats of OPI Danke-shiny (gorgeous--a post on that later!) and Black Out. 

"There he is! There he is! It's the Great Pumpkin! He's rising out of the pumpkin patch!"  Okay, okay, it's not the real Great Pumpkin, but a really sparkly pumpkin.  Linus took such pride in his patch.  I used 2 coats of China Glaze Riveting, Black Out for the accents, and Zoya Yara for the grass and stem.


"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see."  AHHH!  I could NOT wait to get this polish and it just came!  I tried a couple of times to get Sincerest Pumpkin Patch in Sonoma Nail Art's Etsy sales, and I missed out.  I was going to have my mom stop by a boutique that sells them, but I finally scored online!  She makes such gorgeous polishes, most of them tied to our home area, and I just can't get enough!  This polish is a-mazing!  It is thin, as far as the indie glitters I've tried, which makes it really easy to work with.  The green tinted base is full of green glitters in different shapes and sizes, silver glitter that looks green, and orange hexes to look like pumpkins.  I love this!  This is just one coat over 2 coats of Zoya Yara. 

"I had to listen to you, you blockhead. What a fool I was. Trick or treats come only once a year, and I missed it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead."  Now, I take issue with Sally in this film.  She is deeply infatuated with Linus, her sweet Baboo, and agrees to watch for the Great Pumpkin with him.  She is head over heels with Linus and follows him, and then turns on him!  Sally, we all learn the harsh lesson not to use our heads instead of our hearts, that they will waste our time, but show a little compassion!  She is usually not this brutal... For her dress, I used 2 coats of Zoya Skylar and Black Out for the polka dots.

So there is my tribute to the Great Pumpkin and the most sincere pumpkin patch around!  I love these nails and am really sad to see them go.  What are you asking the Great Pumpkin for this Halloween?  If it's this gorgeous polish, you can let him know that her Etsy shop will open tomorrow (10/30) at 5pm Pacific!

31DC: Inspired by a flag

Eeek!  I'm a little late posting today's challenge.  For the record, this was finished and photographed by 11:56 pm.  Just in case you cared...
Today is inspired by a flag.  This is pretty random and doesn't really seem to fit with the other challenges, but so it goes.  I considered trying a pirate theme, but then I decided to try to redeem my abysmal Fourth of July nails.  I have 2 untrieds today (sorry, I've been forgetting to track them!)

*1 coat Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Hardener
*2 coats Julep Kate
*2 coats Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Co-Bolt Blue
*China Glaze Ruby Pumps
*1 coat Julep America
*1 coat Seche Vite

This is much closer to what I had actually planned to paint in July, until my red polish wouldn't open.  I tried a new white for this one--Julep Kate.  While very subtle, this has a soft shimmer to it that helps make the white less harsh and white-out-y.  I think I'll be using it more frequently now that I know how nice it is.  I used 2 coats, which cut down on streaks.  If it wore it alone, with a glitter, I think I might do 3.

Previews of America are really what prompted me to sign up for Julep.  It was so pretty in the swatches I saw that I signed up and got it in my first non-intro box.  I had not used it yet, and was a little disappointed.  The micro red glitter, blue and silver hexes show up well and and were easy to apply.  I did not see any stars, though, as I fished through :( 

It's funny how things show up so differently in photos and in real life.  In these pictures I like America a lot more--it lets Co-Bolt Blue show more.  In real life, it is actually pretty opaque for a layering glitter.  Ruby Pumps looks really thin in these photos, with Kate showing through, but is dark and glittery in person. 
I'm curious to know your thoughts on Julep.  I am getting this month's box, and it's the first I have chosen since the summer.  I have not been over-the-moon stoked with the polishes so far.  Do you subscribe?  Are there colors you love that I need to add on?  I can definitely say that their customer service is amazing, but I'm on the fence about the polish right now.
If you've never tried Julep and want to see what their polish and products are about, you are welcome to use my referral link ( and use "COLOR2012" at checkout to get your intro box for $0.01 (that's right, just a penny!).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31DC: Inspired by art

Like fashion, I am not really knowledgeable about art.  I'm a big believer of the cliche "I don't know art but I know what I like" and, really, "I know it when I see it."  Call me uncultured, that's okay.  I was nervous about this challenge until I remembered the bird and artist I fell in love with when I visited my friend in New Orleans last fall.  The delightful and talented Katie Leese is my inspiration today!  Please, please, please go check out her Etsy shop and take in all the adorable awesomeness!  I was fortunate enough to see her work and meet her as she sold her work at Jackson Square--her little bird is really the only souvenir I took home with me.  No untrieds today.

How cute is that?  "Love is the answer" with a crossword puzzle?  Brilliant!  I could not get enough of these little birds and it was SUCH a hard choice to just pick one! 

This was another polish-heavy art mani, so I'll run them down for each nail as I go.


I was worried that my bird would look nothing like a bird!  In this close up I can see that the eye needed a touch-up, but in real life you can't see that.  I was really happy with how he turned out!  I used 2 coats of Sinful Colors Unicorn for my background.  I outlined the bird with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out and a small paint brush.  The body is China Glaze Four Leaf Clover and the wing and beak are Zoya America.  I used the red and teal because those are the colors of my own little guy.

This is my little crossword puzzle nail.  I used 2 coats of Sinful Colors Snow Me White and Black Out for the squares.


This one is based on another painting that I have fallen in love with!  "I love olive you" is 2 coats of Zoya Yara with America and Black Out for the accent.  This turned out really well!


This, however, did not... I needed a fifth design, and should have done another little bird.  Instead, I tried to make her little signature/logo.  This was not wise.  We'll move on...


I had to get the long legs and little bird feet in!  This is 2 coats of China Glaze Gothic Lolita and Black Out.

So, I'm 85% happy with this.  That ring finger is a mess, so ignore that, and the res isn't too bad.  This macro setting is a bit less forgiving than the naked eye is, but overall I'm glad that I remembered these little bird and this super-cute artist for today!  Do you have any really cool artist finds on Etsy (aside from polish--it's a given that I'm already stalking dozens of those shops!)?  I'd love to find more ways to wast time on there!

Friday, October 26, 2012

31DC: Inspired by a pattern

I'm was very excited about today's design!  Then, I got sloppy and took out a's pretty gruesome.  The pattern that inspired my mani today is: my bed! 

*1 coat Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Hardener
*2 coats Sinful Colors Cream Pink
*2 coats Ulta Smoke Screen
*1 coat OPI Pirouette My Whistle
*Sinful Colors Snow Me White
*1 coat Seche Vite

This is my bedding that inspired my nails.  I love this bed set!  I had my eye on it for a while and then it all clearanced down.  Just to brag about how awesome this is--you see those little pillows?  They retail for $29.99 (I think...maybe $39) and I got them for $3.99!  Awesomeness!

I have come to really like Cream Pink.  It has a pretty, subtle shimmer to it and covers well with 2 coats.  I used Snow Me White and a dotting tool to make the button lines on the pink.  While my lines were a little crooked on a couple of nails, I love how this looked!  I think I'll have to work with this design again soon!

But those little dots were the death of me.  As I was focusing on my pinkie (the dots are really straight there!) I hit my ring finger with my other hand.  The polish was thick and tacky, so a big glob pulled up.  It was late, so I tried to hide it.  This is not my specialty. 


This is the first time I used Pirouette My Whistle.  I had been after it for a while and thanks to a coupon and a fully-stocked new Ulta, this beauty is now mine!  I was dying to try it and and I decided I'd use it instead of trying to dot on flowers like my duvet. Clearly I kind of regret that.  C'est la vie!


Aren't those little dots cute on the cream pink?  I sort of forgot that my pillows had 3 rows, but I think that 2 worked better for a space as small as my nails.  Do you have any tricks for painting disasters, besides starting again?  I'd LOVE to hear how you fix them!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31DC: Inspired by fashion

"Fashion" is hard for me because I'm not really into clothes.  I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl.  It's rare to see in anything but flip flops.  I like to look at pretty outfits on Pinterest, but I really don't know much about fashion at all.  So, I had to get a little creative again...

*1 coat Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Hardener
*1 coat Sinful Colors Snow Me White
*1 coat Zoya Ginessa
*Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Purple Pizzazz
*Sinful Colors Purple Diamond
*Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out

I decided to give argyle nails a go.  I had not used either of these two purples before, and I thought that they looked so pretty together in the bottle.  I really should have tested their opacity.  The colors are really pretty.  Purple Pizzazz is a deep purple with red shimmer throughout.  Purple Diamond is a light lavendar with shimmer too.

The two were very sheer.  I taped off the quarters and painted them, but then needed to try to dab color on again.  It made for a little messiness.  Purple diamond is also pretty hard to see.  I used Black Out to add stitches.  The design isn't bad, but the colors weren't wise.  So I tried a fall-inspired one with darker colors:


*China Glaze Harvest Moon
*China Glaze Riveting
*China Glaze Mahogany Magic

These colors were much more opaque and made for a clearer pattern.  I think I'll have to try this again very soon with colors more like these or some good creams.  Side note: isn't the shimmer in these colors a-mazing!  I love them!  This is what is really cool about this challenge.  I am doing so many styles and designs so quickly, but I'm learning a lot with each about colors and techniques.  I'm excited to have time to try some new things when this is all done and use what I have picked up!
Have you done argyle nails before?  What color combos did you use?  Any cute fall ideas?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Go Pink Wednesday: girly

Today my Go Pink Wednesday manicure is pretty simple.  You'll have to forgive the tip-wear--I forgot to take pictures before I went to work this morning and my job is pretty tough on my nails.  I saw a French manicure with two shades of light pink on Pinterest that I thought I'd like to try.  I don't have these colors, but I used what I had.

*1 coat Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Hardener
*3 coats OPI Pedal Faster Suzi
*Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Prest Pink
*1 coat Seche Vite

Pedal Faster Suzi is such a pretty, soft pink shade!  I love this one a lot.  I used 3 coats to get it opaque because it is pretty sheer, but the coats build well and quickly.  I added Presto Pink on the tips.  I have been struggling so much with French tips lately!  This week, even though I waited about a half hour after painting, I was still getting pulling on my base when I used tape, so I was a little too cautious and tapped it a lot to get most of the sticky off.  This made for messy lines.  Oh well--there's a new mani tomorrow!

(check out that amazing shimmer!)
In addition to being pretty simple, and a really cute inspiration, I like how girly this is.  I am just about ready to cut my hair and donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths for the third time.  It takes me about 2 years, but donating my hair is something simple I can do.  I donated to Locks of Love in college, and I love that foundation, but I was struck by something as I cut my hair a few years ago.  While I love children, I was struck by how hard it was to cut off a foot of hair.  I was nervous and sad to see it go.  I worried about how I would look and what I would be able to do with my hair.  In a panicked moment, I had clarity. 
It's just hair.  It grows.  It will grow again.  And I was scared.  Imagine how worried I was just cutting my hair.  How must it feel to know that, in addition to fighting for your life, in addition to losing your health, you are robbed of your hair too?  As women, our hair and nails help define our beauty, our femininity, our selves.  On top of everything else a woman with cancer faces, all of the fears and pain, this public thing that defines her as a woman is gone.  As hard as it is for me to cut my hair each time, I can't imagine how much harder it is to lose that piece of yourself.  That makes it so much easier to cut it off, knowing that someone else will be able to feel a little more like herself at an impossible time. 
I realize that that was a big tangent, but really it's not.  These little things make us feel like women, make us feel like individuals.  Our nails, our hair, and our breasts are not all that we are, but they are intimately tied to our sense of self and femininity.  This girly manicure makes me think about these little things, that are really huge things, that can make us feel like ourselves.  If it's time for a change of style, I challenge you to think about hair donation.  I know that that is not the point of these posts, but it's on my mind and short-long-term to-do list.  What better time and way to show support for women battling breast and other cancers?  We love our nails and hair, but they grow back.  The feeling of knowing that you've comforted someone in the fight for their life is with you forever.