July 29, 2012

Floam, Finally!!

I finally got my hands on a couple of bottles of floam :)  I was on the email list at ninja polish to be notified when it was back in stock and purchased 2 bottles immediately after the email notification! I am so excited... and I love it!!

So today I have a simple manicure for you featuring floam & a few swatches of floam layered over various other polishes...

This is Barry M Cyan Blue with Nailventurous Floam layered over on the accent nails..

For this manicure I opted for the accent nail manicure which features my thumb/ring on my left hand and my index/pinky on my right hand.... So, you get to see my rarely-shown right hand...

I don't know why.. but my ring/pinky nails on my right hand grow significantly faster than my index/middle fingers... maybe because I'm right handed? I always struggle with getting them the same length as all my other nails. oh well..

Here you can see my left hand next to my right hand.. I'm quite a fan of this accent nail idea... I first saw it on Chitchatnails.com :)

And here I have for you some swatches of floam layered over various polishes:
From left to right:
3 coats of Floam on it's own
1 coat of Floam over Barry M Cobalt Blue
1 coat of Floam over Barry M Cyan Blue - as is in my manicure, it looks most like it does in the bottle.
1 coat of Floam over Sinful Colors Pistache 

July 27, 2012

Let the 2012 London Olympics begin!

I have been eagerly awaiting the opening ceremonies for the summer olympic games, and they are finally here! I took the opportunity while watching the impressive ceremony on tv earlier this evening to do some olympic themed nail art!! :D

It's been a little while since I did any freehand art because I have been wrapped up in my new BM stamping set.. but this is quite the manicure to come back with if I do say so myself :)

My skin looks quite yellow, these pictures were taken indoors and my camera had a mind of it's own.

I used:
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Whirlwind White as my base
Blue: Barry M Cyan Blue
Yellow: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Lightening
Green: Was a combination of the yellow and blue polishes
Red: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Cherry Red
Union Jack Blue: Barry M Cobalt Blue
Union Jack White: Finger Paints Paper Mache
Black: Finger Paints Black Expressionism

All designs were painted using a nail art brush.

My favorite is the thumb :)
I found the image on google and I like how the 2012 was turned into the L-o-n

I "boosted" the colors for this photo and I really liked how bold they turned out! :) 

I used a couple of google images as inspiration for this manicure. I found them by searching "London Olympic Logo"

I have another Olympic manicure in mind for another day so stay tuned. And Let me just say that the summer olympics are my favorite!! Especially swimming (since I used to swim competitively myself) and I may do a swimming inspired manicure.. who knows..

*Edit: I entered the Julep Olympic Nail Art Challenge on their facebook page. Please click the link below and "like" the photo to vote for me :)


July 24, 2012

Purple Puzzle

I have been all wrapped up in stamping manicures lately. The new Bundle Monster plates are awesome and I haven't even put a small dent in the number of manicures I want to do with them!

When I first laid eyes on the puzzle stamp on BM-319 I squealed! Then... I noticed the heart on BM-321 with the puzzle pieces inside and fell apart!!! (did anyone else notice it?)   So I knew I had to do a manicure featuring both. Last night I hauled out my new Barry M Purple Foil and used Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Plum Luck as my base.

 If I haven't said it enough already. Barry M foil polishes are fantastic for stamping!!! 

Stay tuned... I will be working on a picture tutorial over the next day or so :)

July 22, 2012

"Natural" Blogger Award

I am so thrilled to have received this lovely award from three talented ladies in the last couple of weeks!! :)

First from Lillibit's Nail Art World
Then from Laura of Clothes, Cosmetics, and Chat and Sharra from The Blahg

Thank you all ladies so much for the nomination :)

This blog award is actually in spanish... I was told it means:
"For putting enjoyment before competitiveness. For being natural. THANKS!"

This award was accompanied by a question: What gets you hooked on a blog?

I have to say, for me it's nail art. I follow most blogs through GFC, but the blogs I love most and religiously follow are all on bloglovin' so that I can keep track of any new/exciting nail art trends and individual styles. I am not a huge fan of blogs which only feature swatches. While I like to see new collections I still pay very little attention to swatching. I also like blogs who post new/unique things on a fairly regular basis :) 

I am supposed to tag 10 other bloggers... unfortunately at the moment I am exhausted from running a 10mile race this morning so I will take a rain check on this part. (stay tuned)
*Edit: I have come up with 5 bloggers that I believe deserve more attention and more followers :) 
I would prefer to include one of my favourite manicures by each of them instead of coming up with 10 bloggers that I haven't already given blog awards too (which is a much more time consuming task!)

*If anyone has a problem with me posting a photo from their blog let me know and I will remove it immediately*

So I give you the 5 bloggers that I give the "natural" blogger award to (in no particular order):

Veronica from The Gorgeois
You may recognize this blogger from her guest post on my blog a little while ago. This girl is one talented freehand nail artist! She's fairly new to blogging and deserves way more followers!! :D So head over to her blog and check out her unreal nail art! My favorite mani from her blog is her entry for Concrete & Polish nail art contest back in June: Click the photo to go directly to her post...

Jess was one of the lovely bloggers who joined me for the 31 Day Challenge! She's a massage therapist so she keeps her nails short but her nail art is so cute! :)  This adorable penguin manicure is one of my favourites by her, click the photo to see the original post...

Nicole from Nearly Nailed
This girl is VERY new to nail blogging! But she has some awesome freehand skills and plans to do some different stamping manicures in the future. I love the leopard print nails she did, they are so bold and daring, and I adore animal print. I'm also super jealous of anyone that can do a decent freehand leopard print (which I have yet to accomplish). Click the photo below to see her post...

Caroline from Ideias de Caroline
Another new blogger who tugs at my heart strings with a flawless freehand leopard print... This girl has completed the 31 day challenge, and it was a task selecting one of my favourite manicures from the list! So head over to her blog and check out this gorgeous gold animal print mani among so many other unreal manicures! :) 

Anonymous from The Polish Squirrel
This Disney's Up! manicure is fantastic!! :) It's also one of my favourite movies. Another blogger with short but super cute nails!! And look at the freehand skills on that house! 
Click the photo to go straight to the post...

July 20, 2012

Bundle Monster and Barry M

I'm so excited, I just got my new Barry M polishes in the mail last week.. I will include them in a haul post at the end of this month. They are fantastic!! The formula is awesome and the price wasn't too bad especially coming from europe. I did get quite a few of them so they will be featured in a few manicures to come.

For today's manicure I started with my base of Barry M Raspberry from my nail care tutorial and stamped with my new Bundle Monster plate #315 and Barry M Gold Foil.

I know a few bloggers have mentioned having issues with one or two of their plates from the new Bundle Monster set. I have had an issue with one or two designs but this one is definitely not one of them! :) This paisley print is surprisingly one of my favorites in the new set! I would have never thought such a delicate print would interest me.... but look at the details! I love it!

To make things better again, Barry M Gold Foil is unreal for stamping! The formula is amazing. I noticed that Sammy from The Nailasaurus used Barry M foil polishes and other Barry M polishes for stamping, but I did not realize how easy they were to use. This will not be the last you see of Barry M on my nails! :)

I also purchased all three chameleon color changing effects polishes from Barry M... 
I can't wait to start playing with them! :) 

July 19, 2012

Guest post at Chameleon Stampede

Head over to the Chameleon Stampede nail blog to check out my guest post for Mandy :)

My nails are chameleon inspired!! :D

Click the photo to go straight to the post

July 18, 2012

My Nail Care

Here you go folks.. my first tutorial (sort of)! :)

I have been racking my brain to come up with nail art tutorials, and I have made a small list of ones I will be doing soon.. and I hope that more ideas will come to me. To start, I wanted to run through my nail care routine.

Before I get started I want to state VERY clearly, I am NOT a professional. I have never taken any nail technician courses whatsoever. So.. anything I state here is based on my own personal google searching and tips/tricks that I have read on other blogs. If the information came from somewhere else I have indicated with an asterix (*). The sources are listed at the bottom of this post.

Supplies: (These are my preferred tools)
   180-grit nail file (the lowest grit to be safely used on natural nails!)
   glass nail file (from Cult Nails)
   3-way buffer
   metal cuticle pusher (an orange stick would work fine too)
   cuticle remover (top right corner)
   cuticle oil
   cuticle butter (or any hand cream would do)

So, the other day I managed to chip my index finger so my nails were all different lengths. Perfect timing to do a full nail care post including cutting/filing (which I typically do once every 3 weeks).
In this photo you can see the uneven nails & dry sad cuticles... I did not touch up any photos in this post so you can really see the difference in proper nail care. 

I start with clipping my nails down not quite as short as I want them. The filing will take a little more off the length after. From what I have read, you should never use a file to shorten your nails. 

*Second I use my 180-grit file to file the nail square (my preferred nail shape), always going in the same direction to avoid chipping and/or peeling of my nail. 
For some reason this photo turned all yellow on me :S

My glass file is used to fine-tune my nail shape. I round the edges just slightly so they don't hook in clothes and things... and then I use the file for beveling.

*Beveling is a method used to remove excess nail shavings and smooth the edge of the nail. You want to hold the file at a 45 degree angle and file very gently upwards.

Next is cuticle care! I love love love Blue Cross Cuticle Remover. This stuff loosens up all the dead/rough cuticle like a champ! I have been using this massive bottle once or twice a week since january and there is barely a thing gone out of it and it only cost me about $5 at Sally's. Worth every penny! 
**When purchasing a cuticle remover you want one with potassium hydroxide (a.k.a castic potash).
Many cuticle "removers" that do not have this as one of their main ingredients will not actually slough away the dead skin but just soften up the cuticles. 

I pour a small amount of cuticle remover into a dappen dish for ease of use. Then I use a Q-tip and flood my cuticles and the under side of my nail with it.

I let the remover sit for about 15-30seconds and then begin to VERY GENTLY push them back with my cuticle pusher. You have to be very careful, this remover can soften the nail bed, and if you push too hard you could damage your nail plate and peel away layers of your nail. 
Wipe away any excess remover/skin (ew!) and then wash your hands thoroughly. Any excess remover may irritate your skin (especially if you're sensitive)

*Some people choose to cut their cuticles, but this can leave them open to bacteria. The soft live skin you see around my nails is there to moisturize and protect newly forming nail. It is called the eponychium. Cuticle removers are meant to remove the pterygium, the "true" cuticle. It is the dead, flakey skin that builds up at the base of the nail and around the edges. It should be removed regularly to prevent build up.

Once the cuticle is removed and washed off, then you're ready to polish your nails! The below photo was taken immediately after I did all of this and has one coat of O.P.I Original Nail Envy on. (again, I did not retouch any of these photos)

The other products listed above were a cuticle oil (which I use before bed every night),
and Burt's Bees lemon cuticle butter which I use throughout the day, especially after a shower.
I use various cuticle oils (no particular brand) and many different hand creams thrown around my house/work/purse etc. The main thing is to constantly keep your hands/cuticles moisturized! 

Next I have my nail polish application/clean up: (quick and simple) 

I painted my nails using my new Barry M Raspberry polish, and as you can see I was not careful with the application... 

I use a small angled brush to clean up around my nails after painting them:
I dip the brush in pure acetone.

And.. voila! I'm usually more careful with polish application, but for the purpose of "clean up" I wasn't. Keep in mind it's best to do a neat job the first time around and spend less time cleaning up the mani.. especially with polishes that may stain the skin - this polish stained my cuticles slightly.

And finally, for your viewing/reading pleasure I give you a couple swatches of this gorgeous polish:

Indirect Sunlight - looks a little too "red"

Indoor lighting: more color accurate.
This was two coats of Barry M Raspberry with no top coat. It's a gorgeous color and a fantastic formula. I had a few Barry M polishes come in the mail last week and I can't wait to try the others :)

I hope you enjoyed my first ever tutorial! :) If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask and I will edit the post as needed.

*I learned a lot about shaping/filing my nails and a lot about the nail anatomy from Kayla Shevonne's Manicuring 101 series... check it out!!

**My knowledge of cuticle removers came from Medscape: Nail Cosmetics

July 17, 2012

Pin it button!

As per a request from one of my lovely followers, I have added a pin it button from Pinterest to my blog posts. It will be found at the bottom of each post from now on and will link directly back to that specific post :)    

As you can see this pin it button was already added to my Salmon Fest post from yesterday

The button may take a few extra minutes to load when you click on the post but if anyone has any major problems with it, please let me know right away. There won't be a button added to this post or haul posts because I just assume that readers would prefer to pin my nail art only.