Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve Nails

Hello Readers!

Instead of doing fireworks for this year's New Year's Eve mani, I decided to go with a black and white them and an emoji to represent the occasion and add some color. While I love how the design worked out, unfortunately I had a little technical difficulty that didn't come out until it was too late to re-do them, so here they are anyway:

I chose the kissy face emoji to represent the midnight kiss for good luck, but I think I overcompensated the fact that I was putting him on a dark background by putting on too much yellow polish and unfortunately... it leaked! Ha ha I don't think I've had this particular problem before, but I can't re-do it now so let's pretend he is so overcome with holiday cheer he just can't contain himself.

Here's a quick look at my color palette for this mani:
I decided to use Konstellation for a bit of a variation on a basic black. I love this satin, micro-shimmery polish! I used a matte topcoat to seal those nails since I wanted to preserve the matte finish of the polish. 

Let's kick off the plate show-and-tell with this *actually* New Year's themed plate from Bundle Monster's Winter Holiday collection. Oh my gosh I love this plate- it so full of cute. I just used it as collage-style full nail images, but these images would also be easy to isolate and a lot of them would be useful for more than just new years- the balloons, clock, party hats, etc. 

I took my numbers for the "17" from this font plate from MoYou London. I used my nail guides to make isolating out the numbers I wanted super easy. 

My kissy face comes from this MoYou London plate from the "geek" collection. I made a decal on my stamper head, and then added color to the little heart after stamping it onto my finger since the heart stamps solid. I haven't really attempted that technique before, but it was surprisingly easy to do. 

I also used this plate from MoYou London's hipster collection, to stamp the bow background behind my emoji. I figured bow ties were a classic New Year's look.

So are you all excited for the New Year? Do you have any big plans for 2017? Any big plans for tonight? I'd love to hear about them! We are having a couple of friends over for board games to ring in the New Year tonight, so I am excited for that and always excited for a fresh start! 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Nail Crazies Unite: Ugly *Harry Potter* Sweater

Hello Readers!

For this week's challenge we are over in the Nail Crazies group with an "ugly sweater" prompt. Originally I was going to use my Bundle Monster Christmas-sweater themed plate to go with a classic ugly sweater look, but then I remembered Harry Potter.

For those not familiar with the story (or those who need a refresher), every year at Christmas-time Mrs. Weasley would knit sweaters for each of her children for Christmas, and also one for Harry. Ron always bemoaned the "ugly" maroon sweater he was inevitably given by his mother, though Harry quite appreciated receiving any Christmas gifts at all.

My design is based off of Harry's first year at Hogwarts, and the sweaters that were received by various characters in the book.

Harry's is the green, Ron's is red, and of course I had to include Fred and George, as it reminds me on one of my favorite jokes in the book:

“You haven't got a letter on yours," George observed. "I suppose she thinks you don't forget your name. But we're not stupid-we know we're called Gred and Forge.”

So for these fingers, I basically started with a nude base and then painted over it in the appropriate color. I left some nude at the top to represent the character's neckline when they are wearing the sweater.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Alice in Wonderland ft. MoYou London

Hello Readers!

Today I am excited to play with my new Alice in Wonderland plates by MoYou London. I just adore the newly released plate that features illustrations from the book, and I wanted to make my nails look like the pages of an aged copy of the literary classic.

I  debated whether I wanted to go with this darker neutral for the base, or a lighter Ivory color like Sinful Colors "Beaches and Cream", but in the end I went with Wet N Wild "Yo Soy" because it seemed like exactly the color of really old book pages. I considered adding a pop of color to this, but in the end I decided to keep it true to what you would see if you opened a real book. I included the stripes originally because they kind of reminded me of books lined up on a shelf, but I am not sure it really is obvious in the mani. I think it looks more like wacky wallpaper, perhaps in the room that Alice is standing in deciding whether or not to drink the bottle.

...which means my polish list is super short! I used this deep brown OPI to stamp with over the nude color. 

My illustration of Alice comes from this lovely plate. The details on this plate are just so amazing! The tiny pen strokes of the illustrations! Amazing.

 And of course, I had to use the coordinating typography plate to mimic the words on a page. Now, the phrases on this plate are mostly really too large to be able to fit the whole thing onto your nail in a way that it is readable. Some of the really small ones you'd be able to fit, but mostly not.

Finally, one of the newer Trend Hunter plates. I really, really wanted to get to play with this!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

HUGE Moyou London Christmas Haul (pic heavy)

Hello Readers!

Today I am bringing you a post that is *not* nail art for a change, because I kinda feel like talking about what I got for Christmas. Now, my husband and I have a kind of agreement when it comes to birthdays/Christmas. Both of us tend to have specific interests and it doesn't work well for us to try to buy things for each other based on those very specific interests, so we each get a budget and we buy our own Christmas and birthday presents. Everybody's happy!

So, anyway, to get right into it, here's what I bought-and wrapped- and put under the tree for myself to open. Ha ha it may seem that it's not much of a surprise that way, but I actually was surprised by a few of the things I had bought myself a month or so before Christmas. I had forgotten about a couple of them!

Let's start things off with a couple of plates from the "Alice in Wonderland" collection. I am a lover of all things Alice, so I already own a couple of plates from this collection  (see here and here,) but I decided to pick up a couple more. I don't own any of MoYou London's typography type plates, so I thought it would be fun to try one of them out. Text often comes in handy and the phrases on this plate are really fun.

I also picked up this brand new Alice in Wonderland plate, because I thought that it was absolutely gorgeous. They are based off of the classic Alice in Wonderland illustrations by John Tenniel. Most of them are basically exact copies of those original pictures. I just love them!

(I'm adding a break in here because this post is long- click through if you want to see more)

Carousel mani ft. MoYou London Circus Collection

Hello Readers!

It's that time of year again when we are all enjoying out Christmas nail goodies and I get to play with some brand new stamping plates that "Santa" brought me! So today I am excited to get to try out the new MoYou London Circus collection plates. When I first saw these, I just couldn't handle the cute, especially of the carousel plate.

Those tiny carousel horses! I also got to try out my new "workhorse" plate, or at least what I feel is going to become a go-to in my collection, the basic "frenchy 09" by MoYou.

So for this mani, I started with a couple coats of the "taupe" polish. I wasn't crazy about the opacity of this polish, but I do have a hard time finding good nude polishes. Next, I used the frency plate to stamp stripes over my nails in the other colors pictured above.

This plate has a lot of wide, open spaces and for the most part this step went pretty easily. I find that as long as I scrape the shape from side to side (not top to bottom) and at a 90 degree angle I don't have any problems. 

So, then to the fun new circus plates! My favorite plate in the collection has to be this plate:

I find that frames often come in handy for a variety of themes, but also all of the images on this plate are just so lovely! Most of my mani is found on this plate, except for the "fun fun fun" image, which comes from the other plate in this collection that I got for Christmas:

Acrobats, clowns, a hot air balloon, a Ferris wheel... I love the detailed images on this plate. I know a lot of people aren't too crazy about clowns, ha ha, but there are actually only two clown images here so there's a good mix of other things.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Simple Sunday Christmas 2016- ft. MoYou London Explorer

Hello Readers!

Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, I have to squeeze in one more Christmas mani to wear to church today! Because it's a family tradition to open a gift on Christmas Eve, I opened some new stamping goodies last night and decided to play with one of my new MoYou London plates from the explorer collection, which I felt would mesh well with a simple but elegant Christmas theme:

I started here with OPI "Red my Fortune Cookie", which I picked up recently at a discount store for $3. I did two coats of that, and then added some gold stamping from the MoYou London plate.

I love all the elegant images on this plate, and I though the Olympic torch would be cool for when the Olympics roll around. I also love the empty wreath image, because it would make a great frame!

I also used a Bundle Monster plate from the winter holiday collection to stamp my tree on my ring finger:

...and I finished it off with a tiny little star accent from a nail wheel I bought off of aliexpress. The wheel has lots of tiny stars in different colors. 

Challenge Your Nail Art: Christmas- "Peace on Earth"

Hello Readers!

Today's prompt is the final prompt for the December challenge for the Challenge Your Nail Art group on Facebook. So, appropriately, we are doing Christmas nails! My inspiration for this mani comes from a dupe of a MoYou London plate, which is ironically part of the Greek Mythology collection, but to me it seemed perfect for a Christmas design.

For this mani, I started with a base of 2 coats of Essie "Saltwater Happy." Then I stamped over that with "Mercury Baseline" and a music note pattern to give myself a little bit of a background to work with. I thought the music notes would go nicely with the image of the angel playing the trumpet.

My music notes come from this MoYou London plate from the Rockstar collection. I love all the different music patterns on this plate! I was drawn to the plate because I am a musician, but I find myself using the music images in more nail art than just straight music themed manis. (This one, for example.)

So, as I mentioned, the mani images for this mani are from a MoYou London dupe that I got off of Aliexpress. The original plate is from the Greek Mythology collection. 

Something funny I've noticed about the dupes is they are a heck of a lot easier to photograph than the real deal. My guess is it's because real MoYou plates are more deeply etched so the etched part doesn't show up as brightly? Or maybe the coloring on them is just different? Anyway, this particular dupe has some major differences when it comes to the nitty gritty details, especially the muses faces. The real deal has beautifully detailed eyes, and the eyes don't quite make it up to that standard on the dupe.

I mostly bought the dupe for the globe and swan images, but I realized that the muses and their musical instruments would make great angels for a Christmas look. I decided to use the trumputer to represent the Angels singing in the classic nativity scene, and the globe to represent "joy to the world- and peace on earth".

I think my favorite part of the whole manicure is the thumb. I love that girl with the globe! I decided to leave this image on my stamper head while I was making the decal instead of making it on my silicone mat as I do with most decals, because I've noticed that images that have large areas to fill in are prone to warping when you peel them off the silicone mat, especially if you are just a little impatient- as I am- and try to peel them off -just- a little bit too early.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Challenge Your Nail Art: Reindeer

Hello Readers!

For today's Challenge Your Nail Art prompt, I have a reindeer-inspired mani. I thought it would be fun to pair my reindeer with a color-blocked look today.

My main green polish is Revlon "Posh", which is a lovely green that only required a single coat and went on like a dream. I also used Essie's "Jump in my Jumpsuit" (burgundy), Sinful Colors "Unicorn" (beige), and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel "Tan-acious" (tan). 

My cute little reindeer image comes from this Bundle Monster plate from the "Fuzzy and Ferocious" collection:
I recently used the penguin on this plate for a wintry manicure, but I've been looking forward to using the reindeer too! I love this plate for its sweet animals and the awesome backgrounds they come with. 

For my middle finger, I used a plate from Bundle Monster's "winter holiday" collection:

I was excited that the Christmas sweater design included reindeer, because I thought it would be perfect to pair with the other deer on my fingers and reinforce the theme. 

For the color-blocked nails, I broke out my trusty MoYou London Holy Shapes plate. 

If I could only own one plate... this might be the one. Maybe. I'd have a hard time choosing. But suffice it to say, this plate saves me so much time, effort, and frustration and it's a favorite of mine. 

After today, there's just one final Challenge Your Nail Art prompt! I can't believe Christmas is so close!

26 Great Nail Art Ideas: Pastel Christmas

Hello Readers!

It's time for another prompt for 26 Great Nail Art Ideas, and this time around we are working with "Pastel Christmas" nails. I decided to go with a simple, elegant design and pair some geometrics with a Christmas tree image this time around.

I started off with a coat of Sinful Colors "Snow Me White" to go under the Revlon "Powder Puff" so I wouldn't have to put on 5 million coats. This shimmery pink is seriously sheer! (Say that 5 times fast.) I still had to put 2 coats of the pink polish on, because it was a bit patchy otherwise.

For my stamping plates, I used a Born Pretty Store plate with lots of floral/nature inspired designs for my Christmas trees, and my favorite MoYou London plate from the "Holy Shapes" collection for my geometrics- the triangles and horizontal stripes. I used just the top part of the upper left-hand corner image to create a smaller triangle for my pointer/pinky fingers. 

Be sure to check out the other pastel Christmas ideas in the link-up below!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday cheer mani ft. Born Pretty emoji plate

Hello Readers!

Today's manicure is to celebrate the excitement that I- and my children- are feeling right now with Christmas just around the corner! My kids had their last day of school before the break yesterday, so the excitement is in full swing over here.

I feel like the starry-eyed smiley sums it up nicely. 

My base color for this mani is a new polish from the Kandee Johnson line that I picked up at Walgreens. It is called "mint chip" and has a lovely satin finish that I am not showing in this mani because I did use a glossy topcoat. I was also trying out a new stamping polish today, just the Born Pretty store black. I love how pigmented it is! Unfortunately it did smudge even though it was completely dry when I added topcoat. ;( Also, I noticed that because it is so pigmented it is harder to remove from my skin. I could make this easier by using liquid latex so maybe next time I'll have to break that out. 

So my stamping plate for this mani is from Born Pretty Store, and has lots of super fun emoji images on it:

I was excited to see this plate on the Born Pretty website, because I have been eyeing the emoticon plates from MoYou London's geek line, but I kind of felt like I maybe didn't need quite so many different emojis. Their plates have an entire plate of single emojis that are all the same size, and another plate with the smaller emojis in the full nail image. I like this plate because it mixes full nail images of smaller emojis with the larger images, if that makes sense. So I only have to buy one plate and I'm all set!

I also used this Christmas typography plate to stamp behind the decal on my middle finger, though it's kind of hard to see, because I wanted to add a little bit of Christmas to the design:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Simple holiday party nails featuring MoYou London Trend Hunter

Hello Readers!

Today I have some simple and elegant nails that I painted to wear to my husband's work party. I am going to be dressing up so I figured my nails should me more formal too.

I started off with one of my favorite purples, Sinful Colors "Sleigh Me", which is part of their Christmas display this year. Originally I was going to create a decal with the MoYou London Trend Hunter image, but it turned out ugly, probably because I tried to do it with gold stamping and pastel colors to fill it in, and it just didn't work. So I simply stamped the image plain to go for a more subtle look.

I think these images really benefit from being filled in, because it's kind of hard to tell whtat the image is supposed to be here. 
I also used a Bundle Monster plate from the winter holiday collection:

I used the snowflakes in the upper right corner and stamped them over my other nails. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Challenge Your Nail Art: Penguins ft. Bundle Monster Fuzzy and Ferocious

Hello Readers!

Today's prompt for Challenge Your Nail Art is "penguins", and I am excited to see some cute little birds today! Bundle Monster's "Arctic Cuties" plate from the Fuzzy and Ferocious line was an obvious choice for this mani:

I decided to go for a dark background this time, so I started with Sinful Colors "konstellation" from the Kylie Jenner line- this is a gorgeous satin finish polish. I decided to use a matte topcoat to honor the original intention of the polish, but it turns out the ORLY matte topcoat is crap. Still, I did what  I could.

The penguin was a little tricky to make a decal with since penguins are black and white and I had a dark background. Here is the plate he lives on:
(You may be seeing more of this plate very soon- I have plans for the bottom middle reindeer image.) In the end, I made the decal with white polish and then went over and stamped select parts of the decal with black polish (the penguins feet, beak, and scarf) so they would show up better. I also had to add his eyes on. I could have stamped them on too, but I added them before I decided to go back and re-stamp some of the areas.

For the "ice" on the other nails, I used a plate from Bundle Monster's Time Machine Collection:

Finally, I felt like it needed a little something so I added the bow to finish it off.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Simple Sunday 12/18 ft. Bundle Monster Holiday Collection

Hello Readers!

Today I have a fun Christmas-y Simple Sunday with a new textured pink polish I picked up at Walgreen's this weekend! This is part of a new celebrity line, this time Kandee Johnson. This is a BEAUTIFUL line guys, full of candy colors, satin finishes, and some of these "sugar" finishes. I really wish I'd snapped a pic of the display while I was there now.

So this mani is fairly straightforward. I put a gold metallic polish (Sinful Colors "The Royal Me") on my middle two and the Kandee Johnson Sinful Colors "Pink Velvet" on my thumb/pointer/pinky. Then I created a decal from this Bundle Monster plate from the older holiday collection:

I just adore this ornament image. The lines are so dainty, it looks great as a decal or just stamped plain over the nail. To fill in my decal, I used NYC's Fuschia Shock Creme because it closely matched the textured polish in texture and I didn't want to try to fill it in with a textured polish! I also used the NYC polish to stamp the image from this plate onto my middle:

Now, this is a dupe plate from Aliexpress. The maker, UR Beautiful, usually does an excellent job on their plates but this plate is unfortunately an exception and I can't really recommend it. It's really hard to get a good pick-up. I tried several images several times with different scraping techniques and each image had terrible bald spots. Since I was only stamping half the image I remedied this by turning the image so the bald spots were off the nail. It's a shame, because I love the plate. Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and buy the real thing from MoYou London next time I do an order. I'm saving up my spending money right now to get some of the new animal line that just came out- because it is adorable! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Challenge Your Nail Art: Winter

Hello Readers!

Today's mani is based on a Challenge Your Nail Art prompt, which is the broad category of "Winter" this time around.

I have been wanting to do a "Christmas Village" type manicure for a while, so I thought the "winter" prompt would be the perfect opportunity to do one!

This mani was fairly uncomplicated to do, though it did require some decal work. I started with two coats of Sinful Colors "Cool Cadet" for a gray winter sky, and then painted the tips of my nails with Sinful Colors "Snow Me White" to create a snowy ground for my houses.

Next, I created decals from this plate, which is a cheap dupe from Aliexpress. It's a dupe of a MoYou London plate from the "Mother Nature" collection:

...and that pretty much sums it up. Since I didn't feel like creating a million decals, I went for a simpler design on my other hand. Here's Cindy: