Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ESSC 2014: #inspired by one or more techniques

Hey folks!

Okay, I really hope this isn't cheating, but today I pulled out a design from a month ago I wanted to post but ran out of time for. I've got a lot on my plate right now with college applications and all the crazy stuff of senior year, so I figured this would be a good time to pull out an older design. It still fits the theme, though, because as I did this just as school was really getting into full swing, I thought of it as a goodbye to summer and hello to the rest of the year. 

There's actually a funny story behind this one; it started out as summery flowers, but they completely failed, so in anger I smashed the brush against my fingers. And then I thought... abstract art?

I have seen this kind of design online before as a grunge nail art style, but I thought it was fun to mix it up and make it something very subtle and soft.

My base color is Essie - Navigate Her. I then wiped off the brushes of my other polishes and painted on the remaining color, alternating going horizontally and vertically. The three polishes used for that are Essie - Mojito Madness, China Glaze - Secret Peri-wink-le, and China Glaze - First Mate.

Okay, I'm off! Time to ask some teachers about writing college recommendations. Gotta love senior year, right?

Oh, and this is the last day of ESSC! Aww, who else is sad. I love doing nail art challenges; even if I'm not always happy with what design I made each day, it forces me to step out of my comfort zone a bit and try new things. Thanks soooo much to Fuxia91 and Pedr├Čnails for making this challenge happen! You ladies are the greatest!

Catch you all later!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

ESSC 2014: #Tropical

Hey everyone! It's day 6 of the Endless Summer September Challenge, and the theme for today is Tropical!

Okay, so if you guys hadn't figured this out yet... I really love gradients. So whenever there's an opportunity to do one, you can bet I'm going to take it! For my tropical design, I decided to do a sunset with a palm tree in the foreground. 

(Oh, if anyone's curious, I sort of attempted to do a better, updated version of this very old nail art post). 

Y'all ready for this?

I started out with two coats of China Glaze - Snow to make my gradient pop. 

Wee, it's gradient time! From top to bottom I have Sally Hansen - Perfect Plum, OPI - Cajun Shrimp, and Sally Hansen - Sun Kissed.

Then with my cheap dollar store nail striper, I added the palm tree in black. First I drew the trunk, then the branches coming out of it. I finished up with the leaves and a little island detail on the bottom. I also tried to make the tree extend onto the pinkie nail because I thought it looked kinda funky on its own, but I rather stupidly forgot that the two fingers don't like up right, so... woops.

Time for a top coat!

There ya have it! After this there's only one day left of the challenge.. aww! I'm going to have to do a bit of brainstorming to figure out what I want to do for the last day. Lemme know in the comments if you have any suggestions for that, as well as what you thought of today's design! :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ESSC 2014: #Summer Fruits

Hey folks! It's time for day 5 of the Endless Summer September Challenge! Let's just jump right into it today.

I chose pineapples for the summer fruits prompt because... oh, they're just cute. I also have a fun pineapple pattern tank top that I figured I could use for inspiration, so that made things way easier.

Here I've got Julep - Winona for the base, Sally Hansen - Lightening for the pineapple, and Essie - Mojito Madness for the stem (I used a dollar store nail striper for the black dots).

I had a little trouble getting the pineapples in the right shape, because today I learned that my poor yellow nail polish is really getting pretty old and icky... but hey, pineapples are never perfectly smooth anyway, right?

So... two more prompts left for ESSC! Aw, I'm already getting sad. Until next time... anyone have any other summer fruits they love?  I'm a pretty huge fan of raspberries (we grow a little patch of them and always end up with a ton over the summer), but I figured those wouldn't look as cute translated into a nail art design, hehe. 
See y'all later!

Monday, September 15, 2014

ESSC 2014: #destinationcity

Howdy folks! 

So, a lil side note before we jump into the post! For anyone who follows me on Facebook, you might have seen that this happened over the weekend.

Ten minutes later: 

Sigh. It's always sad when a nail breaks (although it's kinda fun to turn them into stilettos, I gotta admit). This nail break has a pretty entertaining story to it, though, so I thought I'd get into that a bit!

So on Saturday I ran the Crazy K, a local 5k run. The fun thing about this one is that it's not just a 5k... it's also got a ton of obstacles, most of which involved copious amounts of mud (see the picture below of me sliding into a mud pit), 

Wee, that's me in the brown shirt. 
 We also had to climb over, under, and through random stuff, as seen here:

I may have taken the longest shower of my life after getting home from this.
So, all these obstacles are pretty fun, but sadly, my nails didn't enjoy them as much as I did. One broke on my left hand, and two cracked on my left. I'd already been planning to file them into points for October (wee, fun scary Halloween nail art), so I figured I might as well just cut them down a wee bit early! Hooray! ... Aanndd, that's the story behind my new nail shape, folks. 

I guess I should move onto today's challenge, which I'm not as excited about:

Okay, it's okay to have those days where we're just not feeling the nail art, right?
I tried three different designs, and all failed pretty badly, but I really don't feel like a fourth attempt (failing over and over again starts to get old pretty fast), sooo here's my destination city nail art nail fail. Sigh!

Y'all know I visited Italy over the summer (eee, so beautiful), so I decided to do something I saw there for my destination city design. Attempt one was some Roman-themed columns... nope. Terrible. And then I figured I could paint nail polish on tape and cut out some wavey shapes (for Venice's water... because it was pretty, ya know...) with a pair of one of those cool craft scissors, but they couldn't cut through the tape properly, so there went that idea too. I then decided to attempt to replicate this picture I took while I was there:

Yeahhh... it's at least sort of similar, right?

K, that's all for now. I'm hoping I'll have an easier time with the summer fruits theme (I'm thinking pineapples!), so... see you all then!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ESSC 2014: #flowers

Hey folks! Okay, this is going to be a quicky post because I have had one crazy busy day, got home at 8:30, and now what I most want is to flop ungracefully into my bed and sleep for forever. Here we gooo!

Yay, flower time! I tried to do some vintage-style flowers here, and other than the mistakes that happened as a result of me rushing everything (I'm looking at you, smudgy topcoat...), I think they turned out pretty well! I don't have a step-by-step of how I did these because honestly, you just make some random dots on your nails and they end up looking kind of like flowers. Easy peasy.

Oh, if you're wondering, the background is Essie - Navigate Her, the leaves are Essie - Mojito Madness, the dark pink is OPI - Sparrow Me the Drama, and the light pink is OPI - Steady as She Rose.

Apologies for the paper cuts on a few of my fingers! I don't think my school textbooks like me very much this year (although I guess that's fair, because the feelings are completely mutual).

Okeedoke, I'll be back... whenever. Hope you all enjoyed these! Even though nail art doesn't feel as fun when you're rushing to get it done at 9:00 at night, I still like the vintage feel of these, and I love any chance to use Mojito Madness in a mani (seriously, favorite green EVER).

Later, everyone!

Friday, September 5, 2014

ESSC 2014: #Nauticalstyle

Howdy y'all! 
Here's day 2 of the Endless Summer September Challenge:

Okay, so I've got to admit, as a Central Illinois native who's only been to an ocean once in her life, I know pretty much nothing about nautical style. I mean, there are anchors and stuff, right?

Anyway, I asked around for ideas and one of my friends suggested a rope pattern. It was actually a pretty awesome idea, but when I tried it I screwed up. Really badly. I mean, really REALLY badly. It looked like I had paintings of a tapeworm on my nails. Yeahhh, no thank you. So it was back to the drawing board, where I was kind of panicking because I had no other ideas.

I finally settled on using some striping tape and some textured nail polish, because it would be quick and easy (it was getting pretty late in the day at this point and I had school stuff to do and I was stressing out big time).

I started out with two coats of OPI - Honey Ryder on my accent nails. I've never been a huge fan of liquid sand and I know its fad phase has kind of passed by now, but it reminded me of sparkling sand, so there you have it. On my other nails I've got one coat (yayy, one coaters!) of China Glaze - First Mate, which is not only a gorgeous blue, but I thought the name was perfect for the nautical theme.

Woo, striping tape placement time! A.K.A. the time where I get super stressed out when the tape refuses to go on perfectly and I have to resist the urge to punch something.

Then I cut off the extra tape on the sides, because that's just not pretty!

Hellooo, topcoat! Well, topcoat on the non-accent nails. Putting a topcoat over liquid sand seems to be defeating the purpose a bit.

(Also, like the watermark font? I tried
to do something... nautical-y)
Okay, I'll see you all Wednesday! Or maybe even earlier, if I have a chance to edit some photos I've had on my camera for a couple weeks. We'll have to see how intense the schoolwork is! Gotta love the craziness of senior year, am I right? 

Later, everyone!

Monday, September 1, 2014

ESSC 2014: #Summer!

Howdy, folks! Guess who's finally back on the blog! I might have not been writing for the past few weeks, but I've been doing a ton of nail art, so whenever I can find it in me to get off my lazy butt and pull together a blog post, I'll be here. 

Anywayy, this month I'll be doing the Endless Summer September nail art challenge - the idea is about making summer last as long as possible. I'm actually a fall person, myself, but I loveeeee bright summer colors, so I'm super excited for this challenge! There are six different prompts for the month (one every five days), and I'm just going to post the picture instead of listing them all: 

Woo, sounds like a fun month, am I right? Today's theme is summer, and although I think this design doesn't scream "summer" when you see it, it reminds me of all summer used to be about when I was a little kid, which was staying outside out late, running through the grass in bare feet, and staring at the stars (oh, and side story: I originally got my inspiration for these nails while listening to this song, which somehow really brought back all these fuzzy nostalgic thoughts... something about the whole "night sky" line). Here I've got stars in the background, with blades of grass (or ya know, it could be a cornfield... there was plenty of that from my childhood in Illinois, too) in the front.

And of course my nail art posts wouldn't be complete without a breakdown of how I did it! 

I started out with two solid coats of white polish to really make the ombre pop. This is China Glaze - Snow Globe... or is it White on White? I honestly don't know why I own both, but I'm still 99% sure they're the exact same polish. 

Now it's ombre time, woot woot! Grab three different shades of blue polish, a dark, medium, and light. From left to right I have Julep - Michelle, China Glaze - First Mate, and China Glaze - Secret Peri-wink-le.

Whip out a makeup sponge, and... well, you all know the drill at this point!
If you're new to the blog, or gradients, it's super easy. Just brush all the colors onto the sponge like I did below (it helps to have them each overlap a bit) and then dab the sponge on your nail, moving both up and down, and side to side.

I'd recommend going over each nail with the gradient twice, just to get everything as blue as possible.

After finishing the gradient, slap on a quick topcoat ASAP to smooth everything down. Then, it's time for the stars! Grab a tiny dotting tool (or pencil, or toothpick, or whatever floats your boat) and the white polish you used for the initial white layers and dot on some little circles. Make them random. Put them in different places and make them all different sizes. Whatever you want to do will work! I chose to make one star on each nail larger than the rest, to stand out. I also didn't put stars on the lower third of my nail, since it will be covered up later anyway.

Now choose two stars on each nail to add some fanciness to. Draw vertical and horizontal lines spreading from the stars you chose (oh, I don't actually know how to explain this... just check out the picture). This gives them that shiny realistic star look.

Grass time! Use a black striper to draw thin little lines of different heights starting about a third of the way up the nail and going down to the bottom.

Then it's just time for cleanup, a topcoat, and then photos!

Ta-da, that's it! You can check out the #EndlessSummerNailChallenge and #essc2014 tags on Facebook and Twitter (and Instagram, maybe? I've never gotten into Instagram so I've got no idea on that one). I still have that one last bottle of polish I got from Italy to post a swatch of, and then I'll also be back in five days with a nautical style design. Hm, I'm going to have to get thinking on this one...
I'll see you all then! Here are some questions in the meantime:
- Does anyone else use music to inspire them when painting nails?
- What do you think of when you look back on childhood summers?
- Why in the world do brands make multiple, most likely identical, white nail polishes? Grr!