Tag Archives: china glaze

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:

Striped Splatter Manicure: October’s NCC #3

For my 3rd striped look of October, I decided to do another previously untried technique – splatter! It’s always seemed like more work than fun and when I tried a long time ago, I couldn’t get the polish to even splatter from the straw. {Insert juvenile joke about blowing harder here 😉 } Since I’m now an older and wiser nail blogger, I figured it was time to try it again!

Splatter and stripes and texture - oh my!

Splatter and stripes and texture – oh my!

I debated on exactly how to accomplish this end product – throw some decals down and splatter over it or splatter, then stamp stripes. I ended up doing the latter because I thought it would take too much time splattering over the decals, which would make the thinned out polish dry and peel up. But anyways, I’d like to attempt that way as well!

I think this method worked out pretty well nonetheless, and I really like how it came out! I used a very similar color scheme as my last manicure (the dry marble swirl mani) because I think it looks almost like an abstract spring floral design.

Check out my first Pixie Dust!

Check out my first Pixie Dust!

I also got to break out my very first Pixie Dust from Zoya! I had been resisting that purchase because I have never really gotten into textures. But Zoya had such a great sale recently where you could get 3 free polishes and the Remove+, so I thought I’d finally try it out. I have to say – I love them! They’re not too textured that it’ll catch on everything, but they still show off a really cool visual difference between the other glossy nails. I still don’t think I’d wear them as a full mani, but I do like them as an accent!

I do love this look!

I do love this look!

What I used:

  • Splatter nails:
    • Base color: Zoya Purity… this is definitely not my favorite white polish, but I wanted to still give it some love. It’s ok, it’s just not the best.
    • Zoya Hunter… a great dark hunter green
    • China Glaze Rose Among Thorns… a very pretty red/pink-leaning fuchsia
    • Polish My Life Greenwich Street… a very nice pastel kelly green
    • Stamping plate: Bundle Monster BM-411
    • Stamping polish: Rica Whiteout – now THIS is my favorite white polish 🙂
  • Accent nail: Zoya Chita… a gorgeous hunter green textured polish

So what do you think? Do you like the combination of splatter and stripes? Are you a textured polish fan?

Check out the other striped manicures from the NCC ladies:

Dry marble swirl manicure

I saw a post on Instagram recently that featured this amazing dry marble manicure by Sveta Sanders. I had seen quite a few dry marbled manis before, but I really loved her use of 3 different colors. So I decided I wanted to try it out!

My dry marble manicure

My dry marble manicure

I think mine came out alright – definitely not the same as my inspiration, but still pretty cool! My index finger is a bit messy because I slopped on too much white polish, but I really like how my middle finger turned out. I think with more practice, this could be a go-to technique! It was quick and easy, and I really liked the outcome.

Now the colors I chose ended up a bit Christmassy, but I didn’t intend that. I wanted to use another of my Ellagee glitters from the Villianous Holo-ween collection (see Poor Unfortunate Souls here), and I took my color scheme inspiration from the glitter.

Playing around with new hand positions - look at that glitter!!

Playing around with new hand positions – look at that glitter!!

Colors used:

  • Base color: Polish My Life Greenwich Street… this is an interesting green. It’s one of those ugly pretty colors, kind of like a slightly pastel pistachio green. It reminds me of OPI’s Gargantuan Green Grape, but this is a bit more kelly green whereas GGG leans a bit mint. The formula is amaaazing, which is what I’ve found with all Polish My Life cremes!
  • Swirl: Zoya Purity (white) and China Glaze Rose Among Thorns… RAT is such a pretty bright pinkish fuchsia.
  • Glitter: Ellagee Friends on the Other Side… a goooorgeous glitter topper that has fuchsia hexes and green hexes and microglitter. I just need one coat for great glitter payoff – it’s PACKED!

Anyways, what do you think of this manicure? Have you tried dry marbling? If so, do you swirl or do a different technique? Also, what do you think of the hand position for my second pic? I’ve been playing around with different positions (HAND positions you dirty-minded people!).

Mad Hatter Manicure: August NCC #4

My last NCC manicure for the Tea Party theme is here! I’ve been excited to show you guys this one. I was stumped for this 4th look after doing my lace, flowers, and Lilly designs. But then inspiration hit! I thought about tea parties and a little movie worked its way from deep in my memory… Alice in Wonderland and her crazy tea party with the Mad Hatter!

So here is my Mad Hatter-inspired manicure:

mad hatter manicure stamping nail art

Very busy, but so was my inspiration! Thinking of the Mad Hatter, colorful bold patterns come to mind, so I picked some fun colors and stamps and went to town!

mad hatter manicure stamping nail art

I actually really love this manicure. I wouldn’t wear it to work or anything, but I think coordinating patterns and bold colors looks great!

I taped off half my nail, then painted or stamped the exposed portion, top coated it with a quick dry polish, then taped off the already completed half while stamping the other. Whew, that was wordy!

I also was able to use my Mundo de Unas stamping polishes for the first time! Sylvia makes some really opaque stamping polishes, but unfortunately she’s no longer shipping internationally (she’s in Mexico).

mad hatter manicure stamping nail art

Stuff I used:

  • All nails started with a base of Polish My Life Stripped (amazing white creme)
  • Index finger: Zoya Charisma on the top half (bright purple) stamped with MDU Mexican Pink using Cheeky plate, CH10 (designed after the Cheshire Cat!)
    • Bottom half stamped with Konad Black using Gals plate, GA13
  • Middle finger: bottom half painted with China Glaze In The Lime Light (a goooorgeous neon lime green with a bit of shimmer)
    • Top half stamped with Zoya Charisma using Gals plate, GA15
  • Ring finger: bottom half stamped with KBShimmer Low and Be Bold (an amaaazing jellyish vivid cobalt blue) using Cheeky plate, CH6
    • Top half stamped with Konad Black using Gals plate, GA1
  • Pinky: Top half painted with KBShimmer Low and Be Bold
    • Bottom half stamped with MDU Neon Green using Cheeky plate, CH16

So that’s it for the August Nail Challenge Collaborative! How did you like the tea party theme? I really liked it. Which was your favorite look? I loved my neon stripes & flower and this mad hatter mani.

Check out the other manis:

 

PS: Whovians out there – did you see the premiere? Do you like Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor? I am devastated because I can’t see the premiere tonight (I have a great concert to go to) AND I don’t have BBC America. I plan on fixing that ASAP, so hopefully I’ll be able to watch the premiere just a bit late. No spoilers, please 😉

Lilly Pulitzer-inspired Mani for August’s NCC

It’s August already! It seems like July went by so quickly. August ushers in another theme from the Nail Challenge Collaborative – Tea Party! I can’t wait to see what everyone does for this challenge.

One of the first things that came to mind when thinking about tea parties was a fancy lady in pearls and a bright, colorful Lilly Pulitzer dress. Why? I think my time as a sorority girl in Virginia influenced that – every spring/summer meant that all the Lilly dresses came out to play.

So here’s my first manicure for the Tea Party theme inspired by a print by Lilly Pulitzer:

lilly pulitzer monogram nail art freehand manicure teal pink reef madness

 

Lilly, to me, is always bright and colorful. My manicure was inspired by the pattern, Reef Madness. Here’s a pic of it I found on a tumblr account, Pulitzer Prints:

lilly pulitzer reef madness

 

And since I equate Lilly with monograms, I added one of those on my ring finger as an accent. Here’s a pic where you can see the monogram a little better:

lilly pulitzer monogram nail art freehand manicure teal pink reef madness

My freehand is still just ok, but I really like my middle finger (hehe naturally). I think it’s the only one that even slightly resembles a coral reef pattern. And my monogram definitely could use some work!

lilly pulitzer monogram nail art freehand manicure teal pink reef madness

 

Colors used:

  • Base color: Julep Lani, a beautiful bright teal.
  • Coral pattern: China Glaze Purple Panic, a great purple-pink shimmery polish.
  • Monogram: Sephora by OPI A Ha! Moment

What do you guys think? Do you have any tips for doing freehand? Check out the other NCC ladies’ manis here:

 

Neon Ikat Manicure

If you haven’t realized from my last few posts, I’m really into neon nails right now! I love a good, bright manicure that glows in the sun. A bunch of my admired nail bloggers from the Oh Mon Dieu challenge recently did ikat manicures, so I thought I’d try it out too. Let’s see how I did:

neon peach green ikat nail art manicure

Not too bad right? Ikat seems to be one of those designs that lends itself really well to slightly messy technique, which really works out for me! Here’s another pic:

Neon ikat peach green manicure nail art

And one last pic where I adjusted the color a bit to show how the peach looks in different lighting:

neon peach green ikat nail art manicure

Colors used:

  • Base: China Glaze Sun of a Peach (such a gorgeous neon peach)
  • Ikat: Zoya Purity (white), China Glaze Highlight of my Summer (neon mint), and Zoya Raven (black)

I really like this color combination and am overall pretty pleased with how this came out! I think if I do ikat again, I’ll make the triangular shapes more narrow and maybe use a smaller brush to make the black detailing look more “brushy.”

Have you done ikat nails before? What color combos do you like? Are you as obsessed with neons as I am right now?!

Tropical Flower Manicure

Ummm, I’m super excited to show you guys this manicure – I think this is probably my all-time favorite freehand manicure so far! Prepare to feel major nail envy!

Tropical flowers manicure freehand

I mean, right?! How pretty is that? I’m pretty proud of myself, if you couldn’t tell already! Instead of using nail brushes, I ended up using a small dotting tool for the details. I think using something that has such a firm tip (heh, heh, heh… yes, I have a prepubescent boy’s sense of humor) really helped in drawing nice, crisp lines and leaves. I then used a larger dotting tool (cause we all like larger tools, am I right ladies? 😉 ) to add the bright flowers.

Here’s a pic showing my mani at a better angle:

Tropical flowers manicure freehand neon

Colors used:

  • Base color: Essie Mochacino, a gorgeous darker nude brown with some subtle silver shimmer
  • Base leaves: China Glaze Four Leaf Clover
  • Top leaves: Models Own Flip Flop – one of my first Models Own! Part of the Polish for Tans collection, it’s a GORGEOUS neon yellow-green lime color! And it’s really opaque, so it doesn’t need a base of white to make it pop!
  • Flowers: OPI Koala Bear-y (the darker pink) and Models Own Shades – also in the Polish for Tans collection… such a pretty neon coral pink

So what do y’all think? Do you like it as much as I do? Do you find using dotting tools for nail art is easier? And is your sense of humor as dirty and prepubescent as mine? 🙂

Recreating my first gradient manicure: July NCC #3

One of my favorite first posts was my first attempt at a gradient manicure. I called it an ombre mani, but I was almost a year younger and nail naive at that time. I’m older and wiser and know more in the world of nails at this point 🙂

This time, I switched up the colors and made it super bright and neon for summer:

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Mmm I love neon! I could wear it year-round; it just makes me stare at my nails all the time! Plus, when you wear neon polish in the NICU, it GLOWS near phototherapy! Phototherapy is a treatment we do for jaundice where we put blue lights around the baby to make the jaundice go away, and it acts similar to UV lights so the neons GLOW.

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I used 3 colors in this gradient: China Glaze Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Models Own Flip Flop, and Formula X Radioactive (Oh, and I also used Rica Whiteout for my white undies). I then decided I need to spice things up since the last 2 recreations i’ve done were basically identical to the previous manis.

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Spice it up – put a bird on it! (Any Portandia fans out there?!) I used one of my favorite MoYou London image plates, Suki 08, and stamped the bird design using Zoya Sailor (a nice navy blue creme).

Another pic:

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And here’s a comparison to my old mani:

1-Neon Yellow & Green Gradient, Bird Stamp

I really liked my old mani, but I think my gradients have gotten so much smoother and better-blended. And I really like the stamping over it too! What do you think? How else do you spice up a gradient mani?

And check out some other recreations:

 

Flower Manicure/ Born Pretty Review

I was recently sent a few items to review from the Born Pretty store, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. If not, it’s a great site where there are tons of items ranging from nail art (obviously my favorite section) to tech accessories or other beauty supplies. I picked up a few things that will be reviewed in some upcoming posts.

You can use my code, CXB10, for 10% off on the site!

First off is a set of 3 nail art brushes that I used to do this simple flower and leaf manicure:

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And here are the 3 brushes:

Image

 

They’re fairly short in brush length and a bit thick, which I found easy to use for thicker lines. For this mani, I just used the middle one for the leaf vines. It was easy to work with – nice and flexible, pretty much you would expect from a good brush! If you don’t have nail art brushes, I’d recommend these if you don’t want to go for a larger or more expensive set (these are $1.99).

Here are some more pics of my flower manicure:

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Base color: Polish My Life Muscat Martini (an absolutely gorgeous pastel purple with a great formula – I’m really in love with this brand now!)

Flowers: China Glaze Pool Party

Leaf Vines: Zoya Hunter

Random “free leaves:” Essie Naughty Nautical

And as a reminder, use my code to take 10% off! There’s free shipping worldwide:

CXB10

Grey and yellow skittlette: May NCC #3

Whaaaat? Posting daily for 3 days in a row?! This is a total record for me – here’s hoping the more frequent posting sticks around.

Here comes another skittlette for the Nail Challenge Collaborative. Another favorite color combo of mine is white, grey, and yellow. I’ve seen it used in other nail artists’ manicures, baby room color palettes, clothes, etc. and I think the yellow is such a great accent color that stands out.

So here it is!

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My stamping could have been better – the top part of the design didn’t come out… soooo I just dotted all over it. The stamp is from the Pueen 2014 Buffet Stamping set – the set that has full plate images (a la MoYou London). I actually haven’t had much luck with getting good image stamping quality from this set – none of the ones I’ve tried have picked up very well. Maybe it’s just my set because I haven’t seen any bad reviews of it at all. So I’ll keep trying 🙂

Index: China Glaze Elephant Walk… a beautiful dark cement grey with slight shimmer, with a dot of Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow

Middle Finger: CG Elephant Walk, stamp – Pueen 51, Stamping color – Konad white, dots with SH Mellow Yellow

Ring and Thumb: SH Mellow Yellow

Pinky: Color Club Harp On It

Here’s a gorgeous macro of Harp On It:

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Ugh, I love that silver holo. Color Club has such amazing holos!

So that’s my 3rd skittlette mani! Check out some others: