Monday, April 21, 2014

It's spring! And I've been craving some gorgeous spring colors on my nails, but I haven't really been inspired to wear "spring" nails - like flowers and bunnies and all that jazz. I knew I wanted to use Seafoam and Sweet Morning Dew, then I decided I wanted to use my seashell studs, and from there mermaid nails were born.
Gelish Spring Mermaid Nails
I'm in love with these nails. IN LOVE. I don't even have them on anymore and I'm still in love with them. If my nails hadn't been freakishly long (for my tastes) I would've kept them on for a third week. I loved the colors and the studs (gurl, I went STUD CRAZY) and OMG THE FOIL NAIL. Right now I'm like:
No joke. I also used the Gelish VitaGel Nourishing as the base coat for this mani. I've been hesitant to pick up a VitaGel because I read horrible reviews when they first came out. But my nails are just... guys, they're tore up. Not even gonna lie. It's because I use too many coats of Top It Off combined with Structure and studs and... it makes removal really, really hard on my nails.

But I'm happy to report I'm writing this up a day after removal with the VitaGel basecoat and... removal was fantastic!! I thought it'd be a particularly hard removal sesh, as the studs + the Structure make it difficult for the acetone to break down the polish, but the Vitagel came off super smooth and in solid pieces. I used it exactly as I would've used regular Foundation, dry brush and all, and I had absolutely no problems with wear. No peeling or lifting, removal was great, and my nails looked substantially less tore up once I got the polish off. I think I might switch exclusively over to VitaGel for my manis here on out!

Oh, and I'm stoopid for not taking before/after pics for the VitaGel. Lots of fail right there.

For the above manicure I did the following:

Thumb Nail:
  1. • 2 coats Sweet Morning Dew, cure all coats
  2. • Dabbed Gelish Structure onto the polish and pressed the studs in, cure
  3. • Finished with 2 coats of TIO, cure all coats

Index Nail:
  1. • 3 coats Seafoam, cure all coats
  2. • 1 coat Candy Shop, cure
  3. • Dabbed Gelish Structure onto the polish and pressed the studs in, cure
  4. • Finished with 2 coats of TIO, cure all coats

Middle Nail:
  1. • 1 coat Oocha Coocha, cure
  2. • 1 coat Are You Feeling It?, cure
  3. • 1 coat Oocha Coocha, cure
  4. • 1 coat of TIO, cure
  5. • Wipe tacky layer. Stamp image using Konad White and MoYou Suki 01 plate. Let dry completely.
  6. • Finished with 1 coat of TIO, cure

Ring Nail:
  1. • 2 coats Sweet Morning Dew, cure all coats
  2. • Dabbed Gelish Structure onto the polish and pressed the studs in, cure
  3. • Finished with 2 coats of TIO, cure all coats

Pinky Nail:
  1. • 3 coats Seafoam, cure all coats
  2. • Press gold foil into the tacky layer until desired look is achieved
  3. • Finished with 1 coat of TIO, cure

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A simple one today! My coworker came in to get her nails done and told me, "I want spring-y nails!" However, with her style and attitude I could NOT shake myself of my tendancy to use black on her. So I went with a slightly punk-ish variation on a spring nail.
Gelish MoYou Punk Spring Nails
I used Black Shadow, Go Girl, and Garden Teal Party. I had been really wanting to try using MoYou stamping as a kind of... negative-space accent, which I tried out on her thumb with Pro plate 06 (also used this plate on her pinky). I really like that look!

I hand-painted the flower on her ring finger and loaded studs on to her middle finger.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Well, hello there!

So, you may have noticed I've been rather quiet for the last few weeks. Basically, Life Got Hard.
My job position changed dramatically, I've been training a new hire, my fiancée and I have been busy doing Wedding Stuffs, and basically I've been coming home every day and that last thing I've wanted to do was write a blog post. But! I'm settling in and trying to regain my balance, and nails are 100% a part of that balance. ;)
One of the ways I've been unwinding over the past couple of weeks is by watching a Japanese game. But, it's like an anime. But you read it. It's like reading a manga, but with voice actors, and on your TV. It's called Dramatical Murder (and if you google it... just be warned that it's, well, rated 18+) and it's silly, and quite dramatical, but we're totally hooked on it. And after we started watching it we found out an actual anime based on the game is being released this summer!

This is gonna be such a great summer for anime. The new Sailor Moon, Iwatobi Swim Club, Dramatical Murder, and a couple others.

It's a good time to be a nerd.

And there's totally a point to all this anime talk... Dramatical Murder-themed nails!

First off, my fiancée got nails themed after the protaganist, Aoba. I freakin' love Aoba.
For the Aoba set the colors used were Up In The Blue, Ocean Wave, Arctic White, It's A Lily, Jet Set, Need A Tan, and Don't Be Such A Sourpuss. I hand painted everything :)
Gelish Dramatical Murder Aoba Anime Nails
Then, she got nails themed after one of the other characters, Noiz (I know, the names are like, wut? But it's anime, so it makes sense). I didn't like Noiz at first, then after they dug in to his backstory he's really grown on me.
For Noiz I used Sometimes A Girl's Gotta Glow and Is It An Illusion? I used Gella 'Lily' for the yellow bits and used black acrylic paint for the black accents. That black paint really helped the nails pop, so I'm really happy with this set :)
Gelish Dramatical Murder Noiz Anime Nails

Sunday, March 9, 2014

So, a couple weeks ago, my nail broke. And not the chip-on-the-corner or rip-that-you-can-mend broke. I'm talking full-on ripped-off-nearly-to-the-quick broke.
I couldn't get over how... different my finger looked with the short, stubby nail. My nails have been relatively long for maybe a good six months, so it was like looking at a stranger's hand. I honestly can't remember what my nails looked like or what condition they were in before I started doing Gelish.

It was also frustrating as HELL because my nails are so long! There was no way I was gonna cut them all off just because one nail broke! So, I decided it was time to visit Sallys and I picked up an IBD Hard Gel kit. *gasp!* Not Gelish, I know! But it was an emergency situation! I couldn't wait for Gelish hard gel to be shipped to me - I had to deal with this weird alien finger that was now attached to my hand! I also picked up nail forms - idek, building a nail seems so much more elegant than gluing on a tip. Plus the tips seem to require so much more prep! Fitting the tip, filing the tip down, gluing it on, blending it to the nail bed... nah.

I went with the white builder gel because I figured it'd make it easier to differentiate between nail pate, gel overlay, and gel polish when I go to file off my gel polish. I was actually surprised at how easy the white builder gel was to apply. It's much thicker than the structure... the consistency kinda reminded me of tacky craft glue. I don't think I built the apex well, but all and all I was happy with how the nail turned out!
Upon doing my research and deciding on this gel, I had decided it was okay that it wasn't a soak-off gel; my plan was to build the fake nail and let the hard gel grow out while doing my fills with Structure, that way I woudn't have to worry about filing off the hard gel and potentially damaging my nail plate like the noob I am. Well, I'm writing this after 2 weeks of wear and... I have lifting near the cuticle. I'm just gonna go in there nail files a-blazin' and see if I can salvage the gel overlay.

For my actual mani this week, I went with fashion inspiration! I tried on a dress (that I didn't end up buying, cuz money) that I really loved, and it kinda got in my head that it'd serve as great nailspiration.
I actually took a picture of the top in the store - the online image really washed out the colors. Here's what I came up with:
I went with a dark grey rather than black just because I thought it'd look nicer. Creating the "watercolor" flowers was super easy with gel polish. Since the polish isn't too opaque it was easy to get the look! I definitely need more practice painting, but I think I'm getting somewhere!

For the above manicure I did the following:

Thumb, Index, and Pinky Nails:
  1. • 2 coats Jet Set, cure all coats
  2. • 1 coat Matte TIO, cure
  3. • Wipe tacky layer. Using a nail art brush, paint half moons using 1 coat of regular TIO, cure

Middle Nail:
  1. • 3 coats Arctic Freeze, cure all coats
  2. • Wipe tacky layer. Using a nail art brush, paint flowers using Go Girl and 'Lily' in ENP Gella, flash curing as needed. Add leaf and branch accents with Jet Set. Cure for full time when complete.
  3. • Finished with 1 coat of TIO, cure

Ring Nail:
  1. • 3 coats Arctic Freeze, allowing for negative space half moon. cure all coats
  2. • Wipe tacky layer. Using a nail art brush, paint flowers using Go Girl and 'Lily' in ENP Gella, flash curing as needed. Add leaf, branch, and half moon border accents with Jet Set. Cure for full time when complete.
  3. • Finished with 1 coat of TIO, cure

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A couple weeks ago I had a 15% off coupon for Sallys that doubled to 30% off on the 22nd only, so you can bet I was at a Sallys store bright and early on Saturday, the 22nd. I did as I always do and went straight to the red tagged Gelish bin and, much to my HUGE surprise, The Snow Escape collection was sitting there, discounted down to $5.95 a bottle!!
Gelish Snow Escape Collection
I only had one color from Snow Escape, so I bought what they had, then went to another Sallys to find the last color I needed, I Heart My Instructor. I LUCKED OUT and the second Sallys I went to had one left. I completed my Snow Escape collection for under $23!!

We went home and decided that we definitely had to use two of the colors from that collection on my financée's next mani.
Gelish Snow Escape Boarding School Nails
I'm in love with this mani. She's had it on for a week and a half and I still keep grabbing her hands to look at it. It kinda reminds us of a British school uniform.

I used I Heart My Instructor, Let's Hit The Bunny Slopes, and 'Lily' by ENP Gella. I hand-painted the dandelion-type flower with some yellow Folk Art acrylic paint and covered that nail with two coats of Gelish Matte Top It Off. On the index finger I used my new Nail Vinyls. I stuck the vinyls on, flash cured 1 coat of I Heart My Instructor, then took the vinyls off. I did it this way to try to avoid having fully cured polish peel up when removing the vinyls, like I've experienced with nail tape. It worked well! I used a small brush to paint on an extra coat of Instructor - super easy since the "guidelines" were essentially already there. :) That nail got Matte TIO , too. Everything else was hand painted - still practicing hand-painting straight lines!