New Way to Follow

...since apparently Google Friend Connect is on its way out! 

You'll also notice some very minor changes to my blog. New font choice and new social media buttons. Play with those a bit and tell me if anything amazing happens when you hover over the icons...

Silky Stamp

This pattern and color combination reminds me of a tapestry I hung on my dorm room ceiling sophomore year in college. It was a bedspread I got from Urban Outfitters, and it's truly stunning. The damask pattern is silver, and the material is a sheer white. I hung it right below a light, so the light dimmed down and spread out throughout my entire room. Man that was a good room.

For the base of this, I used French White Creme (Wet n' Wild) and stamped with Passion (China Glaze). I realize I used that color last night, but the color was so striking I wanted to use it again. (I have a feeling it'll be one of those bottles I'll need 2 of.) The plate is RA-109, from the increasingly popular Red Angel line. I remember when I first bought the set in November, there was one or two reviews. Now there are 109 reviews, and I'd like to think I'm a part of that. I hadn't seen the set used on any of the blogs I followed, so I took a risk at $12.99 and wound up with one of the best sets out there. Have you bought your set yet?

Gilded Leaves

Recently, I won my first giveaway by luck of the draw over at grape fizz nails. The prize was the coveted Whimsical (Revlon) and another beauty, Violetta Sparkle (Avon). That package arrived today from Canada, so I decided to use my prize for tonight's manicure.

I had an impossible time trying to get a good picture of the combination I came up with, so these pictures aren't the best. You get the general idea though.

The plate used is BM-11, which is quickly becoming my favorite plate to stamp with. (I used it a while back during my mini self-challenge and again for Secret Agent Lila.) The polish to stamp with is Passion (China Glaze). They're more fun in person. I couldn't quite get the shine from Seche Vite to show up properly.

Thank you again Anne for the lovely giveaway, and the great prizes!

New Take On Dots Tutorial Available!

Remember my Take On Dots manicure? Well, I've made a tutorial for it. Click below to be taken to the tutorial.

For those of you who are new, or those who forgot, all my tutorials can be viewed at my Tutorials page at the top of my blog. I've reworked the page a bit, to make it more obvious which tutorial you'll be viewing. Simply click on the image of the tutorial you want to learn about, and you'll be taken directly to the post.

Pastelized Housewife

Don't these colors remind you of a kitchen in the 50s? The pastel greens and blues that colored the walls, the peach color for the toaster and rotary phone. The gold represents the ever-beautiful housewife, cleaning and cooking in heels and crinoline.

It also reminded me of a bracelet I hardly ever wear.

Both time consuming and difficult, my patience was wearing thin by the end of this manicure. The cleanup was dreadful, as it required more than a few coats to reach opacity, which means goopy taping messes. Honestly, when I started this, the lines were going to be covered by a stamp, but with the goop, I opted for a more complete coverage using Gold Digger (Color Madric). The two China Glazes, Re-Fresh Mint and Peachy Keen do pair well together though.

Guest Post: Embellished Nails

So today was supposed to be my guest post over at Embellished Nails. She went on a cruise for a while, and asked for some guest posters. So ahead of time, we all sent in our posts for her to set up. Mine went through...mostly. Unfortunately, I don't see the images, which, let's face it, is the best part of nail blogs!

So, if you care about the story behind these nails, head over to Emily's blog for my guest post.

Since the images aren't working over there, I'll put them here. In honor of Emily's cruise, these are my sailor nails!


Thrilled about my new iPhone and a bit too preoccupied with it to post properly, here's a mobile post ft. my new phone, case, and Connect the Dots (Lynderella) and Caribbean (Savina).

You Dotty Girl!

Another lovers' affair, broadcast for my viewers to see. This is truly getting out of hand.

This time, I have a reason though. I'm going to enter one of my nail designs in Sarah's (Chalkboard Nails) nail art contest. She's encouraging her readers to participate in an all-dotting tool themed contest. The winners are chosen by Sarah and her panel of judges, so this isn't a plug for your votes. In fact, I think you all should enter! Entering your designs will inspire other designs for everyone to try out, so in a way, everyone wins a little. Plus, everyone knows how to use a dotting tool, homemade or store-bought. It's a great, fair way to allow nailers of all skill levels to enter and possibly win a $20 gift card to Llarowe.

Llarowe sells some of the coveted international polish lines like Glitter Gal and HITS to United States customers who can't get these polishes elsewhere. Good news...Llarowe ships just about everywhere else as well!

With that awesome prize and an additional two mystery prizes valued at $10 up for grabs, I had to enter.

I've done lots of dotting designs, so I had several to go on, but I wanted to enter something new. Hopefully I made the right choice with this design.

The base for this design is Skull and Glossbones (OPI). The various dots were done using my reliable dotting tools and Grape Pop (China Glaze), Planks A Lot (OPI), and White On (Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear) (in order of darkest to lightest). I chose to go with a purple theme to match the dotting tools themselves. Dang those little guys are inspiring!

Update: Ending New Follower Gift

Just a quick update to let you all know I'll be taking down my offer to make new followers graphics. There's a few reasons why I've decided to do this:
  1. I've only gotten 6 requests since I began offering them. It doesn't seem to be something many people are interested in.
  2. While some girls have been really grateful and utilized the gifts I made for them, others didn't even acknowledge that they received the gift. Several of them took lots of time to make, and to receive no thank you, or see them utilized as I was told they would be utilized is a disappointment.
I'll finish up the request I got the other day and that'll be the last of them.

If you're interested in some graphic work, you can email me and maybe we can work something out.

Thanks for understanding!

Take On Dots

The love affair I'm having with dotting tools is hot and heavy, but they've got some fierce competition now.

Color Club polishes are scooting their way into my easy heart. I used one tonight as the base of my manicure, Rebel Spirit. This deeply dark brown is super pigmented and only takes two coats to reach its pure magic. I was sort of shocked to be honest since most of my Color Clubs came from Ross for a whopping $7.99.

I was truly tickled when it came time to clean up my clumsy right hand. Dark colors are absolutely dreadful to clean up, and usually require a few coats of cleanup before your skin looks clean. This dark brown, stuck on my cuticle area, came right off once I started cleaning up. So if you haven't already picked up some of the darker colors from Color Club, give them a shot.

Like I said already though, I have a serious love affair going with dotting tools, as expressed here.

In addition to Rebel Spirit, I used Unicorn (Sinful Colors), Sugar High (China Glaze), and Pelican Gray (China Glaze).

UPDATE 2/26/12

This manicure got great praise from you guys! I made a tutorial so you can recreate it yourself. The color combinations are endless! 

Darker Valentine

Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and today will probably be the last of my mini series of Valentine's Day manicures. Andy and I have plans to make some homemade ravioli (with spinach, ricotta, and Italian sausage inside) which probably won't leave much time for my hands to be painted. Toxic nail polish in delicious homemade food doesn't sound too appetizing.

Today I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Cinna-Snap as the base. Holy cow is that color sexy. It's such a deep, dark, almost bronzed red. Definitely a one-coater, and a hell of a job to clean up in the cuticle area. I then layered on some Chunky Holo Scarlet. Topping it all off is Synergy from L.A. Girl's Glitter Addict collection. I had plans to do some stamping, but I'm really pleased with all these glittering combinations lately.

Valentine's Day Manicure: Day 3

Yesterday was awesome. The mountains we ski at got a few inches (5 the night before we came) of snow, so we went up to Breck to get some runs in. It was a great day, and powder is so much better than slippery, icy slopes. I even hit some jumps.

Then we went out to Denver for the bars.

Needless to say, I'm exhausted today. After thinking about what I wanted to do for my nails literally all day, I finally mustered up the energy to create my third Valentine's Day manicure.

I used the awesome franken polish Leslie gave me here over Something Sweet (China Glaze). I really love the way the glitter is sandwiched between the two colors, making it feel more smooth. It was really stunning on its own, but I couldn't help myself. I added black pinstripes to half of my nail using Time Off (Sinful Colors) and still wasn't totally happy, so I striped in the pink lines using Am-Ore (Color Madric). I added a heart on my index finger as well using the same colors, and finally tipped each nail with a very thin black french manicure. I think it all came together quite nicely.

Now if you'll excuse me I've got a date with the couch and a fluffy pillow.

Stitched Together

I'm sure there exists somewhere a Hallmark card about stitching two things together that somehow relates to hearts and Valentine's Day, so use your imagination to connect that to my second Valentine's Day manicure while I dose off to get ready for skiing in the a.m.

This manicure took painfully long to complete, and I blame it on my impatience to let things dry before taping them off. I had to take off and redo my left index finger 4 times before I finally got it right. Darn Pointer!

The lighter pink is Soul Mate (appropriate for this holiday) and the darker is Feeling Great, both from Sinful Colors. The white stitches are French White Creme (Wet n' Wild). The pinks were done with the tape, and the stitches were a tiny striping brush. I'm growing more fond of the brushes I have, but I'm not sure I'll ever use the longest brush. It seems so unwieldy, but maybe I just haven't found its use yet.


A Bit of Glit

February 14th is just around the corner ladies, so it's time to start gearing up with some festive manicures.

Valentine's Day is probably the easiest holiday to prepare manicures for for several reasons. A) I can't think of a single girl who owns nail polish that doesn't have a pink, red, or purple in her collection. B) Hearts are the easiest thing to create, besides dots. They're basically just three dots, strategically placed. C) Cute is easy to do.

My first act in this series of pinks and cutes is a simple stamp over some girly glitter.

I started this off with Heavenly (Savina), and then added one thinnish layer of Candy Cane (Color Club). After sorting out the stamping plates that would go well with the colors and theme, I finally landed on one I was almost sure I'd never use, but actually quite like. Bundle Monster's BM09 plate has this sort of tattered "LOVE" stamp, so if any imperfections arose as a result of the transfer, no one's the wiser. It also grits up this glittering manicure a bit. Black on Black (Sinful Colors) stamps lovely though, so I imagine there aren't too many issues.I should have stamped it facing the other way for photographic purposes, but the unusual post-production rotation will have to suffice.

Snaky Subtlety

I've missed stamping! Today's manicure used a stamp (BM-220), and I forgot how much I love using those things. With the setup I have, it's so easy, and I can do it without thinking about anything. (Would anyone be interested in seeing how I set up before and after stamping?) This was particularly helpful last night, when I was thinking about what the nonsense and laughter that came out during "Wild Women Wednesdays" (name pending). Thanks Chloe & Bree!

The base for this stamp is Color Club's Nomadic Nude. I can't remember if I've used this before, but dang is it pretty. The stamp is Poetic (China Glaze).

There's not a whole lot else to say about this manicure, but I think it could pull as a work or interview appropriate manicure. Maybe the details are too much, but the color combination is enticing. I think an interviewer would notice it enough to think "Ok, good, this person takes good care of their looks", but not be distracted by it as you delivered your carefully thought out answers.

For my first interview, I honestly have no idea what I did with my nails. I know that I cleaned them (I had made sure to write that down on my hand as a reminder, which ultimately, was stupid, because then I spent a good 5 minutes scrubbing my hand to get the ink off), but I don't know if they were polished. This was back in high school, so forgive my forgetfulness. I do however remember one of the answers I gave. As my "worst work quality", I said I was sometimes too detailed. Sneaky answer, but coupled with my other answers and personality, it got me the job on the spot. I started working at Hollywood Video (may it rest in peace) that week.

Pyramid Flaked

An unusually frustrating feeling occurs when you have so many ideas flurrying about in your head, and can't decide which one to pick and ultimately apply to your nails. It's like walking into a candy store and being told you can only have one piece of one flavor. The decisions weigh so heavily on you that you eventually cave under the pressure, and pick up the first piece that you can grab. In the end, you're not thrilled with it, but the sweet taste is too distracting to care.

Faced with such a dilemma last night, I wound up with this cluster of colors. I chose the black base (Black Platinum from Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure) because I didn't want to use the solid black you see paired with flakies on almost every Googled image of "flakies". (I wish I had used a solid though.) The pyramid shape filled with Twisted (Finger Paints) is something I've been envisioning for the past few days, but it was only while I was applying my base coat that I decided to use flakies instead of my original idea. I won't say what that idea was yet, because I'm sure in the next few days I'll use that still. Ultimately, this is what I came up with, indecision be damned!

Collar-ful Argyle

It's a well known fact that dogs provide more than just companionship to their human counterparts, including a calming sensation and happiness when they're around. I bet you didn't know they also provide nail art inspiration?

She was staring at the treat Andy was holding above her head for me. Awesome pose!

Riley is our dog, and her collar was my inspiration for this argyle print. I used Steady as She Rose (OPI) for the base, and Time Off and Bad Chick for the pattern.

Riley's a mutt, we're not sure what she is. We're thinking she may be an Australian Kelpie mix, because that's really the only breed that fits her size and coloring. Originally, the humane society we adopted her from said she was a German Shepard mix of some sort, but weighing in at 35 lbs. now, there's no way she could be. We love her no matter what she is though!

New Tutorial Available: Such a Pansy

Ready for another tutorial? Your request is my command!

Enjoy the tutorial for my pansy nails in Such a Pansy.

Head on over here for the tutorial!

Date Night - Found Orchids!

Remember yesterday's post? Remember me saying I didn't have any orchids to take pictures of my orchid nails with?

Well, last night, while celebrating 4 years together, Andy and I went out to a nice restaurant, and lo and behold, the bathroom had orchids, just like my nails! Here's a shot for your floral pleasure. (iPhone quality picture unfortunately.)

In other news, it snowed over a foot here over night. Getting out of the driveway this morning was hilarious. I'm sure all the apartment windows around us thought it was pure comedy to see two kids trying to push their car up the driveway, slipping and falling into the snow, all to no avail. We eventually found a new way to leave, and upon our celebrated success, found out that our supervisors expected us to work from home anyway. Pure. Comedy.

Opulent Orchids

Yesterday I tried my hand at striping tools; not the striping nail polishes with the brush built in, but the brush that you can use on any color you like, and the results were less than awesome. Maybe it was the polish choice, but I'm not ready to talk about it. I'm a little ashamed of it, and not ready to share it with the world.

Instead, I'll share with you a manicure I created using dotting tools, again. They've made me so beyond happy, and I can't stop writing down ideas in my teeny little notebook that would feature them. I highly recommend grabbing a set. It's worth the $10 you'll end up spending.

After my pansies caught so much attention and flattery (I found them featured on a French blog), I decided to keep with the flora theme. The stunning, fractal patterns created by most plant life lends itself quite well to the nail world. This time, my flower of choice was an orchid. These beauties have an interesting story behind them, involving the Greek myth of Orchis. According to Wikipedia:

Orchis, the son of a nymph and a satyr, came upon a festival of Dionysios (Bacchus) in the forest. He drank too much, and attempted to rape a priestess of Dionysios. For his insult, he was torn apart by the Bacchanalians. His father prayed for him to be restored, but the gods instead changed him into a flower.

Ouch. Sorry dude. But thanks for the inspiration!

I have no real, gorgeous orchids to pose with, but I do have a vase with the silhouette of an orchid painted on it.

I used Essie Turquoise & Caicos for the base color, the stems are from Color Madric Green, the white petals are French White Creme (Wet n' Wild), the purple petals are Plum Truffle (CND) and the yellow centers are Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Lightening. I had a lot of fun with this one, and my patience paid off. Even my right hand looks good. To top everything off, I used Matte Magic (China Glaze), based on the idea someone gave me when I posted my pansies. They thought I had made them matte, but that was just a photographic illusion. This time, I intentionally matted them, and it gives them a much softer, delicate feel, just like the plant.

Photo courtesy of

Maybe if I work up enough strength, I'll post what I consider to be a failed manicure another day, but for today, that's all folks.