Category Archives: nailart

sew psyched

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I’m really digging olive-hued nails for fall.

Last night, I slapped on a couple coats of Essie’s Sew Psyched — a “soft cashmere sage pewter-grey” — while I watched The Big Bang Theory reruns in bed. I sealed it with a swipe of Good to Go quick-drying topcoat, and dozed off for a luxuriously interrupted 8 hours.

I woke up this morning to a perfect mani; not a smudge, bubble, or sheet mark. Have you tried Essie’s Good to Go yet? Doooo it.

manicure monday: my fall favorites

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I love funky nail art as much as the next girl, but I usually don’t have the time or patience to do it myself. These days I’m all about an easy at-home manicure, and with fall officially upon us I’m on the hunt for new colors and textures to add to my nail kit. It’s time to trade in the hot pinks and corals of summer, and transition to inky blacks, jewel tones, neutral mattes, and richer nudes.

What’s your favorite polish this time of year?

manic{ure} monday: 9 cute summer mani ideas to start your week

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I could spend hours browsing through nail art on Pinterest. In fact, this afternoon, I did. {Don’t tell my boss.} This summer, I’m loving bright nails with clean designs; like a natural base with a bold tip, geometric pastels, nudes paired with neon, and simple all-white manis.

My kit is stocked, and my nails are in desperate need of some TLC. Now the only question is, which one should I try first?

manicure monday: sleek sticks

Essie is one of my favorite beauty brands. Even before their pretty polishes started showing up on my drugstore’s shelves, I searched the sale bins for marked down bottles at specialty stores. I love their highly pigmented colors, and I can make an all-Essie manicure last at least a week.

So when I spotted a glossy ad for Essie Sleek Sticks in a magazine a few months ago, my heart pitter-pattered. I didn’t know where to find them, so I filed it away in my mental wish list and went about my business.

Essie Sleek Sticks

{seriously, how’s a girl supposed to choose?!}

Late last week, while cruising Walgreens for toothpaste and deodorant for the mister, I breezed down the beauty aisle and there they were!! I wanted. them. all. I stood, mouth agape, for a good five minutes trying to decide which pattern to buy. As if it was a permanent and unalterable choice. Weirdo.

One agonizing decision and about $11 later, I was on my way. Like other polish strips, application was easy breezy and took about five minutes start-to-finish {and no dry time, FTW!}.

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{ Essie Sleek Sticks in “Glam it On” }

manic[ure] monday: falling stars

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Ever since I saw Emily’s pretty sparkly mani on Cupcakes and Cashmere, I’ve been drawn to glittery nails like a magpie to a shiny sequined handbag (that one’s for you, Lisa). I’ve seen lots of bloggers’ takes on how to do them yourself, and the easiest I found was using glitter polish and a small sponge — like an eyeshadow sponge or makeup triangle — to apply the glitter in an ombre pattern; sparsely on the nail and more concentrated toward the tip. I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Beige Blast as a base with an inexpensive glitter polish from the drugstore. I’d recommend a good top coat when everything dries, otherwise the glitter will snag on everything {speaks from experience}.

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manic[ure] monday: gradient effect

I fell in love with gradient manis last year, when photos of Lauren Conrad sporting them started popping up all over the style interwebs. The good news: you don’t need five different bottles of polish to pull this look off. Keep reading for a simple how-to!

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You’ll need:

– one nail polish in the color of your choice (I used O.P.I.’s Malaga Wine)

– white nail polish (I picked up a little bottle of nail art polish for $1.99 at the drugstore)

– a good base/top coat

– nail polish remover

– a clean polish brush (use one from an old bottle of polish or a sample, and clean with nail polish remover)

– a small orange stick or toothpick

– parchment paper

Step 1: Start with clean nails, and a thin coat of base. When the base is dry, paint both of your thumb nails with the original color.

Step 2: Drop a few large drops of the original color onto parchment paper…

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… And slowly add drops of white polish until you reach your desired gradient effect. The first color you make will be the color for your pointer fingers. For a more subtle gradient, use less white; for a more drastic gradient, add more white.

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Step 3: Using a small orange stick or toothpick, carefully mix the white into the original color. Do this gently, or you’ll get a lot of air bubbles in the polish.

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Step 4: Using a clean polish brush (I used one from an old sample bottle of O.P.I. top coat, and cleaned it with nail polish remover before I got started) apply the new color to both of your pointer fingers. While they dry, soak the polish brush in a capful of nail polish remover to remove the color and get it clean and ready for the next finger.

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Repeat steps 2-4 three more times for each set of fingers (left and right), adding more white each time to make lighter and lighter shades. Seal the entire manicure with a good top coat.

manic[ure] monday: “something borrowed”

Last night I suffered through watched Something Borrowed on DVD. I heard all the terrible reviews, but being the big Kate Hudson fan I am, I thought I needed to see it for myself. Unfortunately, I can’t get those two hours back, but I did spot a cute mani on Kate in one scene. It was a modern french manicure with a beige base, black tips, and a little bit of gold.

Cue the lineup!

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Essie all-in-one base | Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish in Beige Blast | Essie polish in Devils Advocate | Sinful Colors nail art polish

Start with clean nails and a thin coat of base.

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Next, apply two coats of beige polish to the entire nail. I used a fast-drying formula to try to save a little time. Letting the polish dry completely is crucial. When you think the beige is dry, give it 15 more minutes, just to be sure. Trust me on this one.

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After the beige polish is bone dry, apply french manicure strips to each nail. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers use scotch tape, and I’m sure that works, too! I just like the shape of these strips — a little more rounded than straight across. Then carefully apply the black  to the tips above each strip.

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More drying time! Give your pinkies lots of time to dry completely, otherwise your tips won’t be straight when you remove the strip. And then all that time you spent letting the first two coats dry will all be in vain. When the dark polish is no longer tacky, oh-so-carefully remove each strip. Don’t panic if some of your beige base comes off with the strip — just touch it up.

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Adding the gold line is the trickiest part. My hands shake like a leaf when I try to do any kind of close detail work, and the perfectionist in me had a tough time accepting that an immaculate hairline gold detail just wasn’t in the cards. Instead, I used the old liquid eyeliner trick: Make small dashes across the nail right underneath the black tip, then connect all of the dashes together to make a smooth line. Voila!

I sealed everything up with two good coats of the all-in-one base (which actually helped mask some of the imperfections). In all, this manicure took almost as long as sitting through the movie. But unlike the latter, I had something to show for it when I was finished!

manic[ure] monday: kitty, kitty

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Are you impressed with my nail art skillz?!

Don’t be. This was the quickest, most simple manicure ever. My first foray into those fancy new nail polish strips, actually. I’m mildly obsessed with animal print for the fall, so when I spotted these Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips in Kitty, Kitty at the drugstore, I had to give them a go. Application was easy-peasy, and there was no dry time. As if that weren’t enough, at $9.99, these polish strips are a fraction of the cost of a similar Minx mani, which can run you up to $40. The packaging says it can last up to 10 days, but I’ll have to keep you posted on that one.

If you’re not ready to commit to full-on leopard paws, maybe try a neutral color on all of your nails and save the leopard for your ring finger!

manic[ure] monday: plum polka dots

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As if I needed another distraction from all the work I should be doing, my newest fixation pastime is cruising Pinterest for cute nail art ideas. In my dreams, I always have perfectly polished pinkies adorned with pretty little flowers and maybe even some ambitious pattern mixing. In real life, they’re usually splashed with a couple of coats of Essie polish in a vain attempt to cover up the flower stains.

My newsprint mani tutorial is far and away the most popular post I’ve written. Ever. Which leads me to believe that you ladies really dig inspiration for fun and easy DIY nail techniques. I aim to please, so let’s get this nail party started with the first edition of the {hopefully weekly, but we’re not making any promises} Manic[ure] Monday series!

Last night, I sat on my bed with my Caboodle full of polishes and went.to.town. I painted and repainted my nails for hours {my room still smells like acetone} and finished with this plummy polka dot creation. I started with a coat of Essie First Base, followed by two coats of Devil’s Advocate. Then, using the flat end of a toothpick — the fancy kind you stick in pigs-in-blankets and other classy hor d’oeuvres — I dotted on some cute polka dots using Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Gilty Pleasure. I sealed it all up with another coat of First Base, and voila!

What are your favorite nail trends for fall? Are there any techniques you just can’t wrap your head around and would like to see a step-by-step?

>How-To: Newsprint Manicure

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I saw this newsprint manicure over on The Daily Nail and thought it was adorable (especially for bookworms and word lovers like myself). I did a little Google detective work to see how to recreate it, and was surprised at how easy it is! All of the tutorials I found called for vodka or other clear distilled spirits, but we were fresh out. I used isopropyl alcohol instead, and it seemed to get the job done. I tried a quick and dirty version this afternoon to share it with you:
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