Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year! 2014 Nails.

Last night I decided to do an impromptu manicure to celebrate the new year. I don't know about you, but I am quite glad that 2013 is over. Here's to 2014!

Happy Painting!

Friday, December 6, 2013

I'm a bad blogger/fall flowers

Okay, I have no excuse. I did this design quickly a few weeks ago, took pictures 4 days later, and am just now finally posting them. Sorry!
I haven't been doing as much painting lately since I've been busier, plus my new job destroys my fingernails so manis are pretty much out for the foreseeable future (at least, nice looking ones).
Anyway, I did a quick dotting design with some nice fall colors. I was quite pleased with these overall.

Happy Painting!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Leaf inspired pattern

I've seen this pattern floating around the blogosphere and thought it would be fun to try. And it was!

I think these are nice colors for the end of fall. It snowed here yesterday and my heart broke a little. I was not ready to put away my flip flops yet.

Happy Painting!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A quick little color block

Well, now that the challenge is over, I decided to give my nails a break for a bit. I also started playing my ukulele again and realized that my nails were way too long to be able to play well, so I'm experimenting with different lengths that look good but that still allow me to play well.

Anyhow, today I decided to do a quick color block so I could try out my new Sally Hansen Insta Dri mint polish. I didn't take a good picture, so sorry, but you can get the gist.

I like it. It works for fall, I think, since there are some fallish colors. I really like my new polish! Maybe I'll take a better picture of these tomorrow and post them, but otherwise I should be back to posting once or twice a week on a regular basis from now on.

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Liebster Award

Well, this is pretty nifty. After finishing the 30 day challenge Kerry from Painted Fingertips nominated me for the Liebster Award, which recognizes new bloggers.

Here's how it goes:

1) Link back to the blogger who nominated you

2) Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you

3) Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers

4) Go to the blogs you nominated and notify them of your nomination

5) Give your nominees 11 questions to answer.

I've discovered a few smaller blogs during the challenge, and I'm always looking for new blogs to follow, so I really love the idea of this award. And I'm super honored, by the way! Alright, let's get to it!

1) What made you decide to start blogging?

Well, I had been doing nail art for about 6 or 7 years and started to find some cool nail blogs via Pinterest. I didn't realize that there were so many people like me (aka not a pro) out there blogging about their nail art, nor did I realize how popular a trend it was becoming, since I am pretty much the only person in my social circle that rocks nail art on a regular basis. Since I was doing cooler designs and have blogged about other topics in the past, I thought it would be fun to start this blog and document my work, as well as connect with other nail art enthusiasts.

2) What’s your ‘day job’?

Uh, that's actually a bit tricky to answer at the moment. After working for a non-profit doing video production and then operational work for a large conference, I moved back to my hometown and began looking for permanent work, which I have unfortunately not found yet (yay recession!). But, I spent the last few months volunteering and have recently starting babysitting an adorable 3 month old during the week part-time. She really likes looking at the pictures on this blog. I'm hoping to find work using my office assistant skills and eventually work in the arts full time.

3) What is your favourite nail polish brand?

Hmm, I actually haven't tried very many because I'm an incredibly cheap person and can't afford it right now. But, I really love China Glaze. I'm a big fan of the consistency and find that their polish is generally perfect for nail art. I also love Essie because it goes on really smoothly.

4) What is your favourite polish colour? (It can be a single polish or a colour family!)

Definitely blues. About 1/5 of my collection is made up of blues. I think I use my First Mate (navy) most often.

5) Which is your favourite blog to follow?

Another tough one, but I think I'd have to go with Margriet posts a new manicure every day for an entire year! Considering how tiring it was to do this challenge, I give her major props! Plus her work is beautiful and she's incredibly talented.

6) What is your favourite type of nail art?

I don't know if this really counts as a type, but I'd say pop culture nail art. I really like designs that are based off tv shows and movies and memes, etc. I think they're fun and a great way to mix up typical designs and give yourself a challenge.

7) Do you have any other hobbies besides nails/blogging?

A few! I suppose you could call me a singer/songwriter. I write music under the name Laura Lee and a Ukulele, and while I've been on a long songwriting hiatus this past year, I've been working on a few things and hope to get back to posting more regularly. I'm actually terrified of people hearing me sing/play, especially original songs (hard to get more vulnerable with the public than that), but after a lot of encouragement from friends and surprisingly positive responses online, I'm getting more comfortable with sharing my music.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm interesting in working with film, and love to write sketches and parodies and direct and edit. And act! I love acting.

I'm a big lover of photoshop and like to touch up photos for fun. I've worked on a few senior pictures and engagement photos in the past, but mostly stick to my own photography now.

I'm a nerd in general, so I'm interested in a great many things, but my geek comes out in spades when it comes to tv. I really love television and watch far too many shows. I'm actually thinking of starting a tv blog, since I already review shows for fun on my own and think it would be pretty much a dream to be a well established television blogger.

I have more hobbies, but I'll be surprised if you've read this much (at least of this question), so I'll spare you and move on to the next question.

8) Which is your favourite season?

Easy! Autumn. I love it when it's between 50-70 degrees, and the trees start to change color, and here in Wisconsin those nice, cool, comfortable days last about 4-6 weeks before going back to completely bipolar weather.

9) What is your favourite finish for nail polish?

I'm a simple gloss girl. Matte is cool every now and then, but I prefer to stick with the classic.

10) What are your future blogging goals?

Part of the reason I love blogging is because it helps you connect with a larger community. I hope to become more engaged with the nail art community at large, but also to establish relationships with bloggers where we're able to learn and grow from each other. I always appreciate getting feedback.

11) Which manicure are you most proud of?

Hmm, well, since we're talking about manicures I guess it's a bit easier to choose. For my own nails I think I would pick my Urbana manicure, since they really did look like the logo and I worked with the Urbana conference for almost a year. On someone else's nails, I would pick my pumpkin manicure I did for my roommate. I just really like the detail I was able to achieve.

Okay, if you've made it this far I applaud you. I can be a bit wordy at times, but hey- I'm a blogger. That's sort of the point. Anyhow, let's move on to the bloggers I've nominated for the Liebster Award:

1) Pretty Tough Nails

2) Blingfinger

3) Nail Polish In My Eyes

4) Amey's Nails

5) Nail Polish Sleuth

6) Aisuru Nails

7) Bnasty Nails

8) She Who Does Nails

9) POW Nails

10) Oh No, Not Another Nail Art Blog!

11) Fanning The Fumes

And here are my 11 questions:

1) When and why did you start doing nail art?

2) What inspired you to start your blog?

3) What is your most frequently used polish?

4) What is your favourite polish brand?

5) What technique would you like to master?

6) What is your favorite nail blog to follow?

7) Which design are you most proud of?

8) What are your future blogging goals?

9) Do you have any other hobbies?

10) What are the top 5 polishes on your wishlist?

11) And for fun, if you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Inspired by a Tutorial

We did it! Well, maybe. I'm perplexed. Some people think this is the last day of the challenge and others are going with 31 days. I don't know.

I'm getting this out a day late since I ran out of time after finishing this design yesterday. I was going to do an apple tutorial but then pulled out my China Glaze Peachy Keen and decided I wanted to used it, so I did my own take on this tutorial by Jennifer Marcus.

Kind of cool, right? It's sort of like a tribal print, which I'm generally not too great at, but I like a few of these. It's hard to tell, but the light color is a pink from Sinful Colors.

Because I was going out in public and didn't want to look weird with only one hand painted, I went for a full on manicure. With the exception of my pinky (which was basically a lost cause), I actually think I like how my right hand turned out better than my left.

The lines are far from perfect, but compared to some of the earlier challenges, I think I've come a long way. This challenge has been difficult and tiring, but awesome practice and really fun as well. So, perhaps in a few days I'll throw in the 31st challenge, but until then, I want to thank those of you who have liked my posts and commented. The feedback means so much to me and has been very encouraging. I'm excited to see what everyone comes up with post-challenge!

Happy Painting!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Inspired by the Supernatural

I wasn't really looking forward to today's challenge, but figured that an alien from another planet that has a bunch of crazy powers probably qualifies as supernatural.

Superman is all about primary colors, and I threw in some kryptonite green as an accent nail. Definitely not my best work. Oh well. 

Happy Painting!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Inspired by a Flag

So originally I thought this challenge might be kind of boring. That is, until I remembered that football teams have flags! As a true Wisconsinite, I of course had to honor my beloved Green Bay Packers.

You can see the flag these nails were based off of here.

I know we've had a bit of a rocky start this season, but Packer fans never lose hope. We own our team, we love our team. I mean, how can you not love Aaron Rodgers, or Jordy Nelson, or Clay Matthews?

We don't play this week, but I think I'll have to do these nails again next week for the game. Gotta support my team any way I can! Green and Gold forever! Now, where's my cheesehead...

Happy Painting!

Friday, September 27, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Inspired By Art

I LOVED this challenge! It was so fun to paint paint again, and I found beautiful inspiration in this painting by Pol Ledent:

About 2 hours and a ton of polishes later, here was the result of my inspiration:

I used some sponging and a paint brush technique to replicate the style, and tried to break up different parts of the painting onto each nail.

I'm quite happy with the result. I think it was a pretty great interpretation, but I'm a bit biased. I did a lot of mixing of my polishes in order to get the right smoky colors, which is part of the reason this took so long. Also, I just really had fun painting like this, so I took my time to try to get everything as close to the original as I could. I really wish you could see these in person, as they look so awesome!

Thankfully I already did tomorrow's challenge earlier today, so I can keep these guys on over the weekend.

Alright, ready to see the ridiculous amount of polishes I used for this one?

Polishes used:
NYC In a Minute Sidewalkers
Essie Blue Rhapsody
China Glaze Bahemian Escape
Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Blue Me Away
China Glaze First Mate
NYC French White Tip
China Glaze Kalahari Kiss
China Glaze Lemon Fizz
China Glaze Sun Worshipper
NYC Times Square Tangerine
China Glaze Peachy Keen
Sinful Colors Easy Going
Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Cherry Red
China Glaze Street Chic
Bon Bons Black
My Golden Yellow Nail Art Pen
Seche Vite (top coat)

Happy Painting!

30 Day Challenge: Inspired by a Pattern

I've always enjoyed brick walls. I'm often doodling them or have them as the background on my laptop, so I figured this would be a great day to paint my nails like bricks.

It's a little hard to see, but I went in and sponged over the red with a deep reddish brown color to give it some more texture, which looks really cool in person.

Wobbly lines aside, I think this is a pretty fun design. I would definitely do more with the sponging next time.

Happy Painting!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Inspired By Fashion

You guys, I was really looking forward to this challenge and feel like I bombed. I tried using sharpies over a base coat of polish because I thought I could get straighter lines and more details and it kind of backfired. On the plus side, that means that I'm getting better at painting straight lines. Silver linings, people, silver linings.

I dig the graphics and colors in this dress, and thought it could translate well as a nail design.

Yeah, not the greatest. Project Runway is on tonight, and all I'll be thinking is how disappointed Tim Gunn would be in these nails. It's okay though, he'd be disappointed in a very supportive way, because he's awesome like that.

...they look better from a distance, I guess.

Happy Painting!

31 Day Challenge: Inspired By a Book

Okay, so I'm catching up again. I had a rough day, so the two designs I did today (especially the fashion one) are not up to par. Oh well. This one is pretty cute.
I'm more of an article girl than a book girl, and I wanted to do something fun, so I went with Dr. Seuss.

Not too bad, I suppose. I used glue as my base today so pretty much five minutes after I took these pictures I peeled these guys off and went on to the next challenge. I already put away my polishes and don't really feel like getting them out again so no polish list tonight.

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Inspired By a Song

Well, we're going back to the 90's for this challenge. Remember that catchy song "Blue" from Eiffel 65? Well, let me remind you of some of the lyrics:

Yo listen up here's a story
About a little guy that lives in a blue world
And all day and all night and everything he sees
Is just blue like him inside and outside

Blue is his house with a blue little window
And a blue corvette
And everything is blue for him and himself
And everybody around
'cause he ain't got nobody to listen
I have a blue house with a blue window.
Blue is the colour of all that I wear.
Blue are the streets and all the trees are too.
I have a girlfriend and she is so blue.

Have fun trying to get that song out of your head!

Happy Painting!

30 Day Challenge: Inspired By a (wibbly wobbly) Color

Okay, I'm backtracking to catch up from the weekend, so hopefully I'll be able to post two of these challenges today.

When I saw the prompt for a color, of course my first thought was Tardis Blue. Doctor Who nails have been done before, but I thought I'd take my own little stab at them.

I could only fit "Police" and not "Box" but you get the idea. Aww, a cute little Tardis. Not too shabby for my first try. It doesn't look amazing when you see it this far up close, but trust me, from far away it looks pretty cool. But I'm really proud of how the rest of my DW inspired nails turned out:

Starting from left to right we have the BBC Doctor Who logo, the Silence, a Dalek, and a Bowtie, because bowties are cool.

Isn't the Dalek super cute?? And I think the blue I used for these nails is actually pretty close to the Tardis Blue, but maybe a smidge darker.

Polishes Used:

Pure Ice French Kiss
Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Blue Me Away
Wet n Wild Metallica
China Glaze Concrete Catwalk
NYC Sidewalkers
Wet n Wild Red Red
Black and White Stripers

Happy Painting!

Monday, September 23, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Inspired By a Movie

I'm back! I know I missed two days, but I was so excited about today's prompt that I decided I'll go back and do color and song later this week. Although this design is inspired by my favorite song in my favorite feel good movie, Mary Poppins.

Sometimes when I'm feeling blue I'll watch this clip. It always makes me so very happy! Mary Poppins actually had a pretty profound impact on my life. It was the movie that inspired me to strive to be a filmmaker as an adult. It's a movie I only let myself watch once a year so that it never loses its magic and charm.

"What did I tell ya? There's the whole world at your feet. And who gets to see it but the birds, the stars, and the chimney sweeps."

I must confess, to this day I have a bit of a crush on Bert. And chimney sweeps. And this still shot in general: 

So I tried to recreate this shot, but it was SUPER hard. I mean, for my first attempt to do something with this much tiny detail, I really can't complain. I don't know how some of you can get tiny details so perfect. Anyway, here's what I came up with:

The pictures today aren't really showing the colors well. There's actually a very nice purple/blue gradient for the background. So yeah, not my best work, but I had a really good time painting these.

Ever since I was a kid I would get really sad when the song Step In Time ends, and I think I'll feel similarly sad when I have to take this manicure off. 

Oh, and in fun news: I got a pedicure with my sister this weekend, and my pedicurist asked where I got my manicure done, so that was a really fun compliment to get :)

Polished used:
NYC Cashmere Creme
China Glaze First Mate
NYC In a Minute Battery Park Purple
Bon Bons Purple
Kiss Nail Art Striper Black

Happy Painting!

Friday, September 20, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Water Marbling

Ah, the dreaded water marble challenge. I've tried twice to do a water marble and both times failed epicly and gave up after one finger, so today was a huge success in comparison.

I'm calling this a half win half fail, since 5 turned out pretty well and 5 look pretty sad. But really, for my first real try where I didn't quit after 5 minutes, I'm pretty happy with how these look. Also, I'm really short on time today so I didn't fix my cuticles in post like I would have normally, so bear with me.

I like my middle finger and my pinky is pretty cool.

My thumb is definitely my favorite.

Close up of the three (oh, I guess 6 are good on second thought) that turned out well on this hand.

So there you go. I'm moderately happy with the end result. 

I'm about to leave in like 2 minutes to go visit my sister, so no list of polishes today, but I can put them up later if anyone wants to know what I used. I also probably won't be posting over the weekend, but hope to catch up quickly when I get back on Sunday.

Happy Painting!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Galaxy Nails

This was my first time ever doing galaxy nails, so I went with the traditional sponged look. It was really fun! As you'll see at the bottom of this post, I ended up using a TON of polishes. I'm pretty sure I didn't need that many, as it ended being about a fourth of what I own, but I pretty much went crazy with every shimmer polish I have.

Not bad for my first attempt. I really like how the orange/yellow one turned out. I certainly didn't need to use as many polishes as I did, but now I have a better idea of what looks best for whenever I try these again. I'll also be able to get through them a bit faster.

The glue protector took off the edges of my index and middle fingers, but otherwise I'm finally starting to get better at painting inside the lines. If anyone has tips for not flooding your cuticles other than, well, be careful, please let me know. I always appreciate advice.

Tomorrow is water marbling, which might be awful. The two times I've tried it have not been successful in the slightest. This could be interesting. But I do think I'm improving by doing these challenges, so perhaps it won't be as bad as I'm expecting. We shall see!

Polishes used:

NYC In a Minute Quick Dry (base)
Bon Bons Black
China Glaze First Mate
Petites French White
Bon Bons Yellow Shimmer
Bon Bons Pink Shimmer
Bon Bons Purple Shimmer
NYC Broadway Burgundy Frost
Essie Nothing Else Metals
OPI Dutch Ya Just Love OPI
Pure Ice Hot Tamale
Pure Ice Magic
CQ Rustic
NYC Cashmere Creme
Essie Blue Rhapsody
Pure Ice Calypso
China Glaze Shower Together
NYC Big Money Frost
Kiss Nail Art Striper Silver Glitter
Seche Vite (top coat)

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Half Moons

Okay, so a small disclaimer: I cheated for today's challenge. I only have two technical half moons as accent nails and I suppose they're a bit too large to actually be considered half moons, but awww look at the pumpkins!

As I mentioned previously, I told my roommate Ashley that I would give her a pumpkin manicure sometime this week. It was my first time ever painting pumpkins, but thankfully Ashley has such large, lovely nails that I had plenty of space to work with and was able to put in some nice detail.

Just to give you an idea of what great nails she has, the pumpkins are about the same size as one of my full fingernails. Crazy!

Fun fact: I won first place at the regional elementary school art contest in 3rd grade for a chalk pumpkin drawing I made. When I was younger I was an avid drawer and my grandfather, who is an incredible artist, was teaching me how to paint. I was actually quite good at both but for some reason stopped practicing freehand arts in high school, so I've lost a lot of my technique. I think that's why I enjoy nail art so much-it's helping me recover my natural love of paint.

Pictured: my incredibly oversized half moon pumpkin

I actually come from a long line of artists. As I mentioned, my grandfather is a painter, as well as two of my great uncles on both sides of my family, and my dad makes and paints model airplanes and he's amazing at it. The amount of detail and precision he has makes my nail art look like a toddler's drawing.

Still, I'm very happy with how these turned out. I had to mix two of my polishes to get the right orange, which actually gives it some natural shading which I really like.

So yes, I kind of cheated for today, but it was worth it. I love these nails, even though it took almost 3 hours to do prep, paint, and clean up (the glue as a cuticle protector did not work so well on Ashley's skin. It was a pain to try to get it off). Now that I've done them, I think I'll be able to cut the time in half whenever I do these next (and I will, because you cannot deny that these are cute and worth repeating).

Polishes used:
Sally Hansen Double Duty (base)
Sinful Colors Snow Me White
China Glaze Lemon Fizz
China Glaze Sun Worshiper
NYC Times Square Tangerine Cream
Double Art yellow striping/dotting pen
Sinful Colors Exotic Green
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Lickety-Split Lime
China Glaze Street Chic
Seche Vite (top coat)

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Glitter

Okay, so you guys know I wasn't looking forward to today's challenge. I don't think I've worn glitter polish since I was in Junior High. I'm just not a glitter girl. And I decided to only paint one hand because of that. However, I was really pleasantly surprised with how much I liked today's design.

I also tried using glue today to prep my cuticles since I'm so sloppy and pretty much always flood my cuticles. It worked like a charm! My cuticles are in really bad shape, though, so they still don't look great, but once they're healthy again and I figure out a quicker way to apply the glue, I think I'm really going to cut down my clean up time. 

It's kind of hard to tell from the photo due to the mixed source lighting, but I used a very nice soft pink as the base. I've had this polish for a while but haven't actually used it until now. It looks kind of preppy with the other colors and the design, which I'm actually totally digging. It helps that the glitter polish I used is really dense and a single color. I may even use it again. Okay glitter fans, you've won me over this time.

Polishes used:
Sinful Colors Easy Going
Kiss Nail Art Paint Silver Glitter
Kiss Nail Art Paint Black
Finger Paints White

Happy Painting!

Monday, September 16, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Tribal

My roommate Ashley has been wanting me to paint her nails for a while, so last night I asked her if she wanted a tribal print. She said she though that would look cool on her feet, so I let her pick out the colors she liked, and this is what I came up with:

This was my second time ever trying out the tribal print. It's a lot harder than you'd think to try to get so many details on little toes. Actually, Ashley has really nice toes to work with.

I'll have to practice the tribal print more when the challenge is finished since I really like the designs I've seen for them so far. 

I'm starting to run out of both my regular polish remover and my pure acetone, so I'm trying to use as little of it as possible since I really can't afford more at the moment, which means I may fall behind a bit on the rest of the challenge. But, I did promise Ashley I'd give her a pumpkin manicure sometime soon, so I'm thinking that may end up being what I do for the half moons challenge.

Tomorrow is supposed to be glitter, and that makes me very sad. I don't want to waste a pedicure on glitter. Can someone please convince me that glitter designs can be something other than gaudy and girly?

Polishes used:
NYC Quick Dry Sidewalkers
Finger Paints White Striper
China Glaze Holly-Day

Happy Painting!