nail art

Inspiration Saturdays: tribal nails

I find inspiration in the oddest of places. Case in point: I’ve seen tons of cool tribal nail art, but I didn’t really get around to doing any myself until I looked down at my Mukluks this morning…

…and realized that I was already wearing a nail polish that matched the blue stripe, setting me up for a perfect piece of tribal nail art.

I’m no nail art pro but it was fun trying to mimic a pattern from a piece of clothing in a nail art design. (And yes, I realized as I was posting this that the orange and copper stripes should have been switched. Oops! Points for originality.)

Inspiration Saturdays: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! I did some quickie nail painting while I was on the computer today. It’s definitely not the most creative but I thought in lieu of something fancy, an Irish flag always works!

And here is the weekend nosh. You see correctly. Those are Rice Krispie treats made with lime marshmallows (weird, but kind of tasty) and liberally dosed with green food coloring.

A pretty low-key celebration on the whole, but for me, it works. How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Or do you skip it? I have a hubby and friends with Irish roots, so ignoring it altogether is kind of impossible! Besides, you kind of have to love a holiday that requires you to wear green, aka my favorite color!

Product review: Kiss Nail Dress

So, I’m slowly but surely getting back on track with blogging, and trying to finish off the last of the reviews from my Influenster Holiday VoxBox. One of the niftiest looking products in the box was the package of Kiss Nail Dress stickers, which I finally got a chance to test out this week. Want to find out if they turned out to be as cool as I hoped? Read on. (Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary of Influenster for testing purposes. However I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.)

The product: Kiss Nail Dress ($6.99); in 21 designs (I sampled “Chemise”)

The claim: On in minutes and off in seconds without remover. No dry time. Built-in topcoat. Fits all nails and lasts up to ten days.

I tried them: Upon opening the package, I noticed a very strong plastic smell. This smell faded in seconds but it was very harsh and unpleasant. (I’m guessing this was the adhesive.) The package contains an instruction booklet, 28 strips to fit a variety of nail sizes, and a small file.

Applying the strips couldn’t be easier; just select the strip that fits your nail, press on and fold over the end of the nail, then use the file to file off the excess. You can do each nail in a matter of seconds. Once the strips are on, you’re done; there’s no need to apply a topcoat. If you move quickly, you can literally have your mani done and be ready to walk out the door in less than five minutes, which was my goal on Wednesday when I decided at the last minute I wanted a mani for movie night. I did choose to file and clean my nails with polish remover ahead of time, which added a minute or two, but even so it’s a quick deal.

The wear with these strips is impressive. I kill, and by kill I mean demolish, my manicures. I’m tearing open packages all night at work, so my manis rarely last more than a day or two. These strips lasted through a solid four days of wear, including three nights at work, with no chipping and almost no tip wear. If you’re not horribly hard on your nails (as I am), I don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect these to last a full week without visible damage.

Honestly, though, I really didn’t care for the design, which is why I took the strips off after only a few days. The 3D blingy black strips and gold fishnet design were just too much for me. I could see wearing these for a girls-only weekend in Vegas, but not for everyday activities. And they’re obviously not work-appropriate! My other gripe was that there were fewer gold strips than black; I wound up doing an accent mani because of the imbalance.
Another thing: I didn’t like the bumpy design. It just weirded me out, and between the bumps and the slightly rough ends of my nails after filing, I felt like I was constantly snagging things: cotton balls, my sweater, etc. I just can’t get behind textured nails! I like my super-smooth nails!
However, design issues aside, things were still cool until I removed the strips. Kiss isn’t lying when they say you can peel the stickers right off without using remover; mine came off just fine. They do leave some adhesive behind which is easily removed with polish remover. Afterward, however…
…my nails are TRASHED. They’re dry, peeling, and splitting–and on my other hand (not shown in the photo), I have two nails that tore off completely at the tips. I know my nails are not at their healthiest in the winter, but they’re not in such bad shape that they should be tearing off and peeling like this. I guess the adhesive was very damaging to the nail beds. I’ve trimmed them all down to nubbins now and applied a thick layer of repairing base coat to try to strengthen them.
My verdict: Meh. I’ll give these strips points for lasting so long, since very rarely do nail products last as long on me as the package might claim. But the damage is a real turn-off and I’m just not enthralled enough with the design to consider repurchasing them.
Check out the Kiss website here or see what other Influensters have to say about this product on the Kiss Influenster product page here.

Nail art idea: gradient glitter with Zoya Feifei and Wet n Wild Fergie Mermaid Curves

I’m really into teal glitter and shimmer right now, though I don’t know why. I was playing around with some polish combos and created this gradient glitter manicure using Zoya Feifei for the base and Wet n Wild Fergie Mermaid Curves for the glitter topper.

It’s really hard to capture Feifei on camera. In the bottle it’s a steel blue with gold microglitter. On the nails, it can look icy blue or it can almost take on a mermaid-esque quality, with the microglitter giving it a blue-green holographic look. It just depends on what light you’re in at the moment! It’s intriguing, that’s for sure, even though I’m not normally a “blue” person.

My Influenster Holiday VoxBox arrived!

I feel like I’ve been waiting for FOREVER for my Influenster Holiday VoxBox to arrive! It’s packed full of goodies, which I’ll be reviewing in detail over the next week or so. But for now, let’s take a look at the goods!

Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary of Influenster for testing purposes. I was not reimbursed for this review however and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Here’s the full box. I’m going to get a proper unboxing video uploaded on my YouTube channel soon, once my lazy self digs out the mic for a voiceover, but for now let’s look at what I got in brief.

First, you’ll notice a card for Sole Society. I hadn’t heard of this site before Influenster, so this is sort of interesting. Through the end of January, you can get $25 off your first purchase through the site with the code “INFLUENSTER25”. ( I am of course a massive shoe addict, so I’ll probably find an excuse to use this code.

Next, there’s a package of Kiss Nail Dress stickers (retail value $6.99). I’ve never tried these before, but I love the design they sent! I’m super-excited about this product and will probably try these out next weekend when the hubby and I have date night.

The Goody QuikStyle brush (retail value $11.99) is going to be interesting. I got a “half-round” brush that’s supposed to give better blowouts and cut drying time thanks to the microfiber bristles, which absorb water from the hair. I hate the time it takes to dry my hair, so this will definitely be reviewed within the week.

The Quaker Real Medleys+ oatmeal ($1.79 per cup) is the wild card item. I know lots of people are not “oatmeal people” but I love it and I always need breakfast items to go. My one gripe with this product: it has a lot of sugar in each cup (22 grams) and I feel like it’s a bit pricey for regular eating. Still, it’s tasty (I already tried it!).

Then there’s the EBoost packet ($28/20 packets or $39/30 packets). I tried one of these in the orange flavor in my last VoxBox; this one is a Pink Lemonade packet. I’m not a fan of these fizzy packets per se but they DO give you an energy boost (essential for nutty multitaskers like me) and they’re not so bad mixed into a smoothie.

The NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine ($2.49) is the only item that disappoints me. Parent company Coty tests on animals and since I can’t get any definitive information on NYC’s testing policies, I have to assume that they test as well.This is a nice neutral shade (“Nude York City”) but I’ll be passing it on.

Finally, I qualified for a bonus item this time around (yay, me!). Montagne Jeunesse makes awesome face masques, and this Fruit Smoothie deep pore cleansing masque ($2) looks perfectly suited to my skin type. Oh, and did I mention that MJ is vegetarian and Leaping Bunny-certified?

How-to: kitty cat manicure

After seeing a really cute kitty cat manicure in the Lulu’s fashion blog, I decided I wanted to recreate this nail art myself! Obviously I love cats, but since it’s October, a black cat manicure is also a cool piece of festive nail art. Here’s your step-by-step how-to:

1. Start with two coats of base color. You can use any color you like; orange would be great for Halloween, but I used bubblegum pink because it’s one of my favorite nail polish colors.

2. Apply black nail polish in a half-circle shape at the tip of each nail. This forms the kitty cat head. You don’t have to use black; white, grey, or brown would be cool, too. Why not use a color to match your own pet kitty cat?

3. Use a dotting tool and a dab of pale pink polish to create the nose. I used an eyeliner brush.

4. Use your dotting tool and gold paint to create two little dots for the eyes. You could use green, blue, or another color of paint; I picked gold because both of my cats have gold eyes.

5. Now that your face is done, move on to ears and a tail. Use your eyeliner brush and the black paint to draw two little triangles above the head; this forms the ears. Then draw a curvy line that floats above the head and down to the side to connect to the body; this forms the tail.

6. Once you’re done, add a couple of coats of top coat to protect your manicure and lock in plenty of glossy shine.

7. Now you’ve got a handful of adorable kitty cats!

Prefer to see this tutorial in video form? No problem–I’ve got a video tutorial on my YouTube page.

Swatch: Butter London Knackered over Julep Toni

I wanted to try swatching my new Butter London Knackered polish over my existing purple-gray manicure of Julep Toni.

One coat of Knackered deposits the subtle holographic purple-green color and finely flecked multi-colored glitter. It really enhances the purple base coat and looks very pretty. From what I’m told Knackered solo is quite sheer, so if you’re looking for an opaque holographic polish, I would really recommend layering it like this. I think it looks quite lovely.

For reference, here’s a pic of the original manicure with Toni (outdoors, daylight):

Here’s Toni + Knackered indoors, with daylight…

And here’s Toni + Knackered indoors with direct sunlight:

The cheapie nail art tools you already own

Sure, you could spend tons of cash on nail art pens and other goodies designed to help you recreate the fancy nail art patterns of your dreams…but chances are, you’ve already got quite a few “tools” at home that can help you create beautiful nail art without breaking the bank. As a bonus, if you have the right tools on hand, there’s no need to buy special nail art pens–you can just use regular polish.

Here are some of the tools I use when I’m creating my nail art designs:

  • Bobby pins, Q-tips, toothpicks, an old pencil (or a Bic pen that’s run out of ink)…all can be used to create dots and fine lines on your nails. You can create dots with a pencil eraser, too!

  • Cheap, disposable makeup sponges can be cut down to size and used to create an ombre effect on your nails.
  • Cheap eyeliner brushes are great for nail art–I love the ones from E.L.F. for $1 to $3.

  • You can buy an artists’ palette from a craft store (they’re pretty cheap), or just save and wash a lid from a yogurt or Cool Whip container and use it as a cheap “palette”. In a pinch, a sheet of wax paper works great, too.

  • Scotch tape is great for sectioning off your nails to create geometric designs, or just for taping off the tips for a modern French manicure.

 What are your favorite tools to use when creating nail art?