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Elie Saab inspired manicure: March’s NCC #4

Hello sweeties! I hope everyone had a good weekend. I didn’t do anything too exciting – there was some overtime at work, bingewatching The Killing (anyone else watch that?!), and some sleep. But hey, you can’t go wrong with a relaxing weekend! Anyways, today I have the last fashion-inspired manicure for March’s Nail Challenge Collaborative theme!

I browsed pictures from the recent New York Fashion Week, and I came across some beautiful dresses in the Elie Saab Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection. It was full with aqua, teal, pops of bright orange in a cool tie-dyed/ marbled pattern.

Dress from the Spring 2015 Elie Saab collection

Dress from the Spring 2015 Elie Saab collection

How gorgeous is that?! I just knew I wanted that on my nails! I had also recently watched a video from Young, Wild, And Polished on YouTube where she did a manicure that ended up with a very similar effect. Despite using saran wrap before, I had never done a mani like that! The way that I usually use saran wrap is by wadding up a little ball and dabbing on the extra colors.

My Elie Saab inspired manicure

My Elie Saab inspired manicure

I think it came out pretty darn similar to the actual dress! I really loved this manicure! It’s not really a day-to-day wearable manicure with the middle finger accent, but I definitely love the marbled/ tie-dye effect!

Marbled/ tie-dye manicure inspired by an Elie Saab dress

Marbled/ tie-dye manicure inspired by an Elie Saab dress

Polishes used/ how I did this:

  • Base color: Essie Mint Candy Apple… a beautiful bright minty baby blue
  • I blobbed on a few dots of 3 polishes and then took a small piece of saran wrap. I pressed the saran wrap to the nail and rubbed it in a small circular motion to create the marbled/ tie-dye effect.
    • Color blobs:
      • Essie Mint Candy Apple
      • Barry M Watermelon… my favorite deep teal polish!
      • Formula X Uber… a gorgeous bright red-leaning orange creme.
  • Middle finger:
    • I freehanded stripes of Rica Whiteout and Rica Blackout in the same pattern of the dress’ neckline.
    • I took a small brush with acetone and removed the polish between the stripes to emulate the skin peeking from the neckline.

I really want to use this technique again – for a full mani or even as an accent nail or two. Maybe you’ll be seeing that on me again soon 🙂

What do you think? Have you used saran wrap or a plastic bag this way? Did you have a more interesting weekend than I did? And do you watch The Killing?! Talk to me if you do 🙂

And here’s your daily dose of David Tennant/ Doctor Who:

Love that grin!

Love that grin!

Check out more fashion-inspired manicures from the NCC ladies:

Oscar de la Renta manicure: March’s NCC #2

Hello and happy Monday my sweeties! Today I’m sharing my second manicure for March’s Nail Challenge Collaborative theme. NY Fashion Week recently happened, so this is definitely the perfect timing to do manis based on fashion!

I was browsing Pinterest and stumbled upon Oscar de la Renta’s 2015 Resort line. It was filled with black and white, florals, and some pops of bright pink and purple.

A few dresses from Oscar de la Renta 2015 Resort collection

A few dresses from Oscar de la Renta 2015 Resort collection

Aren’t those dresses gorgeous?! I don’t know what resort you would wear these to… I’m used to wearing bathing suits and beach wear to resorts. I guess Beyonce could pull off wearing a designer gown at a resort though. So maybe this collection is meant for Beyonce? They’re stunning no matter who you’re designing for or where you’re meant to wear the pieces!

I decided I needed to work on my freehand flowers anyways, so this was a perfect inspiration for a mani. I went with a dark shimmery green instead of black, and I had a perfect pink to match!

My Oscar de la Renta  manicure

My Oscar de la Renta manicure

I tried cutting down the bristles of one of my nail brushes to get really thin lines, but they’re still a bit thicker than I’d prefer. I feel like I needed to cut it down to a single bristle in order to get the type of wispy lines I was going for with this manicure.

Another pic of my Oscar de la Renta manicure

Another pic of my Oscar de la Renta manicure

Also, the pink photographed a bit more neon pink than it is in real life. In real life, it looks practically identical to the Oscar de la Renta dress above – a slighly purple-leaning bright fuchsia. My camera can be a temperamental little beyotch; it hates blurples, it changes neon pink to orange, it changes oranges to pinks, and it changes fuchsia to neon pink. Silly camera!

Polishes used:

  • Index & middle fingers:
    • Base color: Barry M Racing Green… This is a beautiful dark blackened emerald green with some added shimmer. So beautiful!
    • Flowers: Rica Whiteout… As usual, this is my favorite white for nail art and everything else!
  • Ring finger & pinky:
    • Base color: KBShimmer Beach Please… This is a GORGEOUS fuchsia – bright pink with some purple tones. The formula is perfection!
    • Flower on ring finger: Barry M Racing Green… This was not as pretty in nail art because it came out pretty sheer. Ah well.

What do you think? Do you sometimes want to swear at your poor little camera for screwing up colors? I feel like my camera never went to grade school and therefore never learned colors. Maybe I  should be more lenient with my poor uneducated camera – it didn’t have the advantages I did. 😉

Check out more fashion-inspired manis from the NCC ladies:

Koi Stamping Decal Mani: February’s NCC #4

Hello sweeties! For my last February NCC look, I decided to attempt a stamping decal. I tried it once before and it was only a so-so result. I have some larger stamping images that I’ve always thought would be perfect as a decal, so of course it was high time I tried this technique again!

Koi manicure using a stamped decal

Koi manicure using a stamped decal

So the application came out a little crooked and didn’t line up perfectly across all nails and the face of the Koi fish smeared a little, but I’m really happy with the end result!

Odd finger position trying to line up the stamping decal :)

Odd finger position trying to line up the stamping decal 🙂

Painting the decal was easy enough, but transferring from the stamper to my nail was definitely more difficult. I watched YouTube videos like crazy, but that transfer remained hard!

I also took a closeup to show off the sparkle that Zoya Remy & China Glaze Fairy Dust gives:

Closeup showing off the base colors - Barry M Damson, Zoya Remy, and China Glaze Fairy Dust

Closeup showing off the base colors – Barry M Damson, Zoya Remy, and China Glaze Fairy Dust

And now, time for a mini rant… I used a stamping polish from Mundo de Unas. I purchased a bunch from them awhile back when I first got into stamping and heard amazing things about how they perform in stamping. And that’s right – they stamp better than anything I’ve tried so far. BUT they stink SO bad… like give you a headache/ eyes tearing bad. And this one had a lump of congealed polish at the tip of the brush that wouldn’t go away. Also, I’ve heard time and again about the controversy on MDU not releasing their ingredients based on their agreement with their production team. With all of that, I plan on not using them ever again and trying to get rid of the ones I own. If you know of anyone who is obsessed with MDU and has no sense of smell, let me know 🙂

Products used:

  • Base
    • Base color: Barry M Damson… this is a GORGEOUS bright cornflower blue that has an amazing formula!
    • I dabbed Zoya Remy over Damson with a piece of saran wrap… Now I previously have worn Remy on its own, and I didn’t think it was a bad stainer. But when I dabbed it on with saran wrap, it naturally was messy and got all over my skin. AND my skin was tinted blue until I scrubbed it with some toothpaste! So I recommend being careful with Remy since it’ll stain your skin.
    • Topper: China Glaze Fairy Dust… to give the background an almost shimmery/ sparkly water feel.
  • Stamping plate: Messy Mansion MM29
  • Decal
    • Stamping polish: Mundo de Unas Orange (13)… great color and fantastic to stamp with, but see all the above issues!
    • Koi details:
      • Illamasqua Purity… a beautiful almost flesh-toned light peachy orange.
      • Formula X Uber… a darker red-orange polish. This one was a little thin for detailing, but it ended up alright.
      • Rica Whiteout… my go-to white for nail art
    • Top coat: an old drugstore top coat… I think I used NYC’s top coat.
    • I stamped the image onto two stamper heads, cleaned up excess, and then dabbed on the above polishes for the detailing. I let that dry for awhile, then painted the top coat over. Once that was all dry, I peeled it off the stamper head and placed it on the nail (obviously not perfectly) and generously coated it with more top coat.

If you have any suggestions on how to make the stamping decal work easier, let me know!! Have you tried it before? What are your thoughts on Mundo de Unas?

Check out more animal manis from the NCC ladies:

Jungle wallpaper manicure: January NCC #2

When I was trying to brainstorm manicures based on wallpaper, the first thing that came to mind was the guest bathroom in a relative’s home in Staten Island. Whenever I’d visit as I was growing up, I was impressed with the 80s/90s-era chic jungle wallpaper in that little bathroom – slightly tacky, but a fun and playful choice for a bathroom lol. And what better place to recreate that than on my nails?!

My Jungle-Chic Wallpaper Manicure

My Jungle-Chic Wallpaper Manicure

I actually think my manicure looks very similar to the wallpaper I remember! It was a dark green background with different shades of green leaves and flowers all over. So my manicure was designed to represent that.

Another pic of my manicure

Another pic of my manicure

I double stamped different tropical images, which ended up being my first successful double stamped mani! I previously did one (see it here) that was double stamped with plaid images, and it just looked too busy. But I really like this version – I think stamping in different shades of the same color really makes it blend better!

It is a little difficult to see the bottom stamped image because it’s a bit darker, but it does peek through the tips of the nails a bit.

Anyways, I really like how this came out! It certainly looks better on my nails than it did as a wallpaper! Oh and can I say that I’m still loving the crap out of using liquid latex as a cleaning product?! It makes the end clean-up SO much easier after stamping!!

Here’s what I used:

  • Base color: Zoya Hunter
  • Stamping plates: MoYou London Tropical collection 03 and 04
  • Bottom stamping polish: Barry M Kiwi
  • Top stamping polish: Rica Summer Mint

Check out what the other NCC ladies are doing for wallpaper-themed nails:

Cat’s Cradle Manicure: November’s NCC #1

Happy November! It feels like it was just summer, and now it’s dangerously close to Christmas – craziness! This month, the Nail Challenge Collaborative theme is “Manicures Inspired by Books.” For my first look, I’ve chosen as inspiration one of my all-time favorite books by my favorite author, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.

If you aren’t familiar with the book or Vonnegut in general, he writes satirical science fiction as a vessel for social and political criticism of the late 1900s. I adore all his books, and Cat’s Cradle is easily in my top three. It’s loosely about a mad scientist’s creation, “ice-nine,” which is capable of freezing the world and ending it all. But it really is so much more than that, so I highly recommend reading it!

But anyways you’re here to see manicures not hear me geek out over my favorite author, so here it is:

My Cat's Cradle-inspired manicure

My Cat’s Cradle-inspired manicure

My ring finger was inspired by the book cover, and the other nails are modeled after the frozen look of ice-nine.

Here’s what the book cover looks like:

Book cover

Book cover

How I did this manicure:

  • Ring finger:
    • Base color: Polish My Life Pink Sandals… a perfect pastel baby pink creme
    • Taped off the V and used A England Saint George… an amazing almost forest green holo
    • Freehanded the horizontal stripes with Julep Cleopatra… a matte/satin black (PS – it’s difficult using matte polishes in nail art. If it’s not perfect on the first swipe, going over it looks messy!)
  • Other nails:
    • Base color: Sephora Formula X White Matter… a decent white polish but far from my favorite. I feel like I need to keep all my white polishes in rotation though, so I used it 🙂
    • Used saran wrap to dab on:
      • Barry M Damson… a goooorgeous cornflower blue creme
      • Barry M Blueberry… a pretty pastel blue creme that’s very similar in color to Essie Bikini So Teeny without the shimmer but with a formula that’s a million times better!
    • A light layer of China Glaze Fairy Dust

So what do you think of this mani? I actually really like the geometric look of my ring finger. Maybe I’ll do that using different colors sometime! Have you read Cat’s Cradle or other Vonnegut books?

Check out more manis inspired by books by the NCC ladies:

My first Waterfall Mani: October’s NCC #2

My inspiration for this month’s Nail Challenge Collaborative theme of stripes is sorely lacking. I really wanted to get creative, but I’m finding it difficult! For my second look, I decided to venture into a design I haven’t done before – a waterfall manicure.

I saw the waterfall mani way back when on The Nailasaurus’ site, and I’ve always liked it but never tried. I gotta say – it’s a lot harder than it looks! Picking all the colors that are different enough yet still complementary, then making those perfect stripes that taper at the end… it’s definitely a challenge!

My attempt at the Waterfall Manicure

My attempt at the Waterfall Manicure

I’m not 100% thrilled with how it turned out. I trimmed my striping brush, but I think the stripes are still a bit wider than I’d like. But I personally like the colors I chose. I love a good peach-purple combo.

My less-than-perfect waterfall

My less-than-perfect waterfall

I think that if I were to redo this, I’d probably do another shade of purple instead of the red-orange color. Of course that’s in addition to drawing the stripes thinner and neater! But this is a first attempt, so I’m not going to beat myself up too much!

Colors used:

  • Base color: Barry M Papaya… this totally freaked my camera out! It’s a really pretty bright peach and is very similar to Essie’s Tart Deco
  • Stripes:
    • OPI Black Cherry Chutney… a goooorgeous deep eggplant purple/ almost black shimmer
    • Orly Cotton Candy… a beautiful light pink-purple
    • OPI Cajun Shrimp… a bright vivid red-orange creme
    • Colors by Llarowe Nice Melons… a coral peach holo

Have you done a waterfall manicure before? Any tips for this newbie?

Check out the other striped manicures from my NCC ladies:

Negative Space Chevron Manicure: September NCC #4

Did y’all check out manicures from NYFW? I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to them, but one sort of caught my eye. OPI did a simple negative space mani for Dion Lee. So I figured I’d like to try something similar for my last NCC geometric look!

Here’s OPI’s look:

OPI Dion Lee mani

Simple metallic vertical stripe on a naked nail

And here’s mine:

negative space manicure i love nail polish ilnp champagne blush barry m berry cosmo nail vinyls chevron

My take on the Dion Lee mani

I was going to just do the vertical chevrons, but the whites of my nails are tinged a bit yellow at the moment and I didn’t like how that looked! So I did a berry french manicure with the vertical chevron.

negative space manicure i love nail polish ilnp champagne blush barry m berry cosmo nail vinyls chevron

A bit different lighting to show off the holo

I used Barry M Berry Cosmo for the french tips, ILNP Champagne Blush for the vertical chevrons, and some trusty chevron nail vinyls from KBShimmer!

The Barry M line is just continuing to make me fall deeper in love! Every polish I try from them is creamy perfection and Berry Cosmo is no exception.

I was super excited to break out this ILNP from the new Fall collection – it’s definitely a unique shade for a holographic polish. The formula for the new holos in that line seems to be slightly thinner than I’m used to with ILNP’s holo polish. I have to go back and check the others I have, but yeah… it was pretty sheer on the first coat, and then it built up easily with a thicker second coat.

What do you think? Are you a fan of negative space manicures? That trend certainly doesn’t seem to fading at all!

Check out the other NCC geometric manis:


Blue Mosaic Color Blocking: September NCC #2

For my second geometric manicure for the September NCC, I played with striping tape and ended up with what looks like an abstract R2D2. I find striping tape so annoying to work with sometimes – this manicure was certainly one of those times!

blue mosaic nail art striping tape manicure barry m damson chaos and crocodiles sleeper cell opi my vampire is buff colors by llarowe blonde ambition

My abstract R2D2 mani

I really do love the end product though. This took foreeeever (does anyone else get flashbacks to The Sandlot here? Fooor-ev-eeer… loved that movie as a kid!). All that hassle with striping tape resulted in a really pretty manicure! I used a bunch of new polishes I recently picked up, including my very first Chaos & Crocodiles polish!

blue mosaic nail art striping tape manicure barry m damson chaos and crocodiles sleeper cell opi my vampire is buff colors by llarowe blonde ambition

Sparkly striping tape mani

Ugh, that C&C holo is digustingly beautiful! C&C put out a Secret Agent collection, filled with a rainbow of gorgeous holos. I picked up 3 – the blue you see in this manicure (Sleeper Cell), a lavender called Decoy, and a red called Security Breach. They are all just soooo stunning. Oh! And I saw that people who bought the whole collection got a really amazing package with Secret Agent-themed items. I kind of wish I bought the whole collection now… Hey, there are always restocks right?!

blue mosaic nail art striping tape manicure barry m damson chaos and crocodiles sleeper cell opi my vampire is buff colors by llarowe blonde ambition

Look at that Blonde Ambition in my hands! So pretty!

Anyways, I just love this manicure!

Colors used:

  • Base: OPI My Vampire Is Buff… I can’t believe I didn’t own this before now! I love this super-smooth creamy nude!
  • Barry M Damson… a stuuuunning cornflower vibrant blue! Love this so much!
  • Chaos & Crocodiles Sleeper Cell… very strong blue holo with some hues of teal. Love love love!
  • Colors by Llarowe Blonde Ambition… a gorgeous golden nude with a very strong linear holo. Someone posted in a polish-themed facebook group that this is almost identical to Color Club Cherubic, so you need to own one of them! I haven’t swatched them next to one another yet, so I can’t say for sure if they’re dupes (& which one you need). BUT the color and holo is to die for, so you have to have one!

So yeah, I love it! Do you see what I mean about an abstract R2D2 though? Do you have Chaos & Crocodiles polish – if so, what others are must-buys? Also, any suggestions on making striping tape less annoying?

Check out more geometric manicures:

Watermelon stamping: September’s NCC #1

September… it’s September already – that’s just plain crazy! For September, the Nail Challenge Collaborative theme is Geometric Manicures. This should be a fun one! My first manicure is a simple stamping one using a few new polishes I picked up.

barry m watermelon rica pinky promise nail art stamping geometric manicure

I’ve been hearing sooo many amazing things about the Barry M brand that I finally gave in and bought a few from Llarowe. I have to say, I’ve tried 2 already and I get the hype – the formula is great and the colors are so vivid!

barry m watermelon rica pinky promise nail art stamping geometric manicure

Sort of geometric I guess? Overlapping rounded squares = geometry, right? I guess this is a slow intro to the theme. But I have some good ideas for my other manis, so don’t you worry!

What I used:

  • Base color: Barry M Watermelon… a stunning teal-leaning hunter green with a perfect formula and opaque in 2 coats. Doesn’t even stain!
  • Stamping plate: Cheeky CH14
  • Stamping polish: Rica Pinky Promise… a beautiful bright pink! Love this polish on its own, but it didn’t pick up as perfectly as I would have liked for a stamping polish. You can barely tell in the pic, but there are some small patchy bits. Also, it does look a little purple over the Watermelon base in some areas.

A pic in direct lighting for you:

barry m watermelon rica pinky promise nail art stamping geometric manicure


Do you have any Barry M? Do you love it as much as I now do? I bought 4 as a starter – any suggestions for other must-haves from their collections?

Time to check out the other NCC geometric manis: