Saturday, December 31, 2011


I scheduled this post because I'm off in Minnesota visiting my family for Christmas.  I didn't do much in the way of Christmas, or any other holiday, manicures this year but I thought it would be cute to do a red white a green water marble combination for Day 20 of the 31 Day Challenge.

I used two coats of Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Whirlwind White as a base for the marbling, then alternating drops of Zoya Sooki, Zoya Snow White, and Orly Lucky Duck for the swirls.  I used a white base because when I tried dipping naked nails Lucky Duck was very sheer and I had major VNL.  I topped everything with two coats of Wet'n'Wild Wild Shine Kaleidoscope, a color I received earlier this year as part of my Polish-aholics Anonymous Secret Santa (thank you Amanda!).  A final coat of Seche Vite holds everything in place and gives a nice shiny finish.

(If you'd like, you can now follow my blog with Bloglovin since Google has announced the end to Google Friend Connect.)

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Galaxy nails for Day 19 of the 31 Day Challenge is another one I could be less than thrilled about.  I used Cutepolish's Easy Galaxy Nail Art YouTube video to guide me in this process.  When Cutepolish says to stipple the white dots along the stippling ability needs some work.  Large stars!

I used Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Whirlwind WhiteSally Hansen Xtreme Wear Mellow Yellow, China Glaze Fifth Avenue, and Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Glass Slipper.

Can you see the flakes from Glass Slipper?  I had a hard time seeing them while I was wearing it.  Maybe I'll try galaxy nails again.  Maybe.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I'm excited for half-moon day, heh. It's Day 18 of the Longest 31 Day Challenge and I'm very excited to share today's look with you.

I've paired Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Black Out with Butter London's No More Waity Katie.  I originally saw this combination on Pinterest, and that led me back to Okay Joy Now's blog post where she did this same design for her day 18.  I love the way this looks!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ruby Pumps

I've previously confessed that I don't typically wear red colors, or warm colors even, on any sort of a regular basis.  It was on a whim the other day that I picked up China Glaze's Ruby Pumps while I was at Sally's because I've heard so many people raving about the color.  The red looks so dark in bottle I was actually hesitant to try it out.

Ruby Pumps is such a glorious red.  It's like a Macintosh apple red that absolutely glows from within.  The red glitter suspended in a red base reminds me of glowing embers in a campfire.

My only complaint about this polish is that it is so hard to clean up off of flooded cuticles.  You can still see around the edges of some of my nails that I still have polish visible.

Even if red is not your favorite color, China Glaze Ruby Pumps is a must have.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Day 17 of the 31 Day Challenge calls for glitter and this day I went for a very simple glitter: Butter London's Victoriana.  This has been one of my untried polishes since I picked it up in October and I was really irked to find out that there was polish all over the inside of the cap and around the lid of the bottle.  Like someone swatched it in the store.  Seriously guys?  Ugh.  Okay, enough of that, on to the polish!

I love the microglitters suspended in the polish!  Not too much glitter to be in your face but enough to sparkle.  A deep blue, practically teal color that manages to still look very soft.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


It's Day 16 on the 31 Day Challenge.  I wasn't looking forward to this day.  Tribal print, just like animal print, isn't my thing.  Since I've been taking my time with this challenge I've been able to plan more in advance for the designs I'd like to do each day.  So when I pinned this on Pinterest the other day I knew I would be doing a Norwegian setesdalsgens design.  Norwegian tribal print - perfect!  31 Day Challenge meets Christmas.

Only this?

Source: Never Too Much Glitter via Kristen on Pinterest

This is ridiculously hard for me to freehand.  I tried.  Twice.  So I turned to my trusty friend Google and found this YouTube video by So Long Kitty Nail Art.  Now this is more my style!

This is what I wound up with:

I used Zoya Sooki (I've added an 'e' to the end of Sooki every time I've typed it - does anyone else have this problem?) as the based and then stamped Konad Special Polish in White on top using Bundle Monster plate BM-214, and Konad plates m71 and m59.  I think it looks convincingly sweater-ish.  My reindeer looks decidedly...special. Oh poor reindeer.

Despite this being a stamping based manicure, it still took me at least two hours to complete (an episode of Bones and one-and-a-half episodes of Glee).  Quite the time sink.

And here's a shot of Zoya Sooki by itself.

Can you spot my camera in the reflection on my nails?  Sooki is more red than orange in real life, is more sheer than I'd like, but it perfect for stamping over.

Are sweater tribal print nails something you'd try?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Welcome to Day 15, delicate print day, on the 31 Day Challenge.

For my delicate print manicure I used Avon Amethyst Shimmer as my base with China Glaze Platinum Silver stamped on top using Bundle Monster plate BM02.  I've had Avon Amethyst Shimmer for at least 15 years now and I'm surprised that the formula has held up so well!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Faye's Plum the Word

I've been loving dark colors lately, especially purples and greens.  This is a gradient/accent nail manicure I did a few weeks back.

For the base I used Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Plum's the Word, then sponged Zoya Faye at the base.  When my ring finger chipped away before I could snag a picture in daylight, I painted the whole nail with Zoya Faye.

Please excuse the cut on my middle finger.  I'm not sure what I did to cause it, but I probably snagged it on a steel tank at work.

What I liked about this manicure was the contrast of colors between Plum's the Word and Faye. What I didn't like about this manicure is that I couldn't see purple tones in Faye after I sponged it on my nails - everything looked gold to me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Warm & Fozzie

I picked up OPI's Warm & Fozzie a couple weekend's back and I am loving how sparkly it is.  A gold base with specks of green and pink glitter.  I used Seche Vite as my top coat and I wound up with shrinkage at the tips, ugh.  At least it's not noticeable from normal nail viewing distance!

Can you see my pink PowerShot reflected on my nails in the photo above?

Earlier in December I replaced my old desk lamp with a sun lamp and I am loving the amount of light this lamp emits compared to my old lamp.  These photos were the first photos I took with my sun lamp and I'm pleased that the color is quite accurate.  I'm thinking of stamping something on top of this color but I haven't decided what yet.  I think Warm & Fozzie will make a great back drop for a holiday manicure.  Presents?  Reindeer?  Holly?  What do you think I should use?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 14: Flowers

Day 14 of the 31 Day Challenge calls for flowers but I needed something more subtle for work.  For this version of subtle I chose to do a simple french manicure with an accent nail flower for this day.  You may be surprised to hear that I've never done a french manicure on my real nails.  It's true!  They've never been long enough for me to want to draw attention to the tips before.

Confession?  The white part of my ring finger and middle finger chipped while I was at work and I tried to "fix it" so it looks a bit funky in this photo.  This being my first attempt at french tips I'm pretty pleased at how it turned out. This is definitely something I'd like to try again in the future!

I used two coats of Essie Petal Pink as the base, SoEasy Stripe Rite in White for the tips, then I stamped Zoya Areej on my ring finger as an accent using Bundle Monster plate BM14.

Friday, December 9, 2011


My favorite shade of blue is sapphire, and this nail polish from Orly is definately what I would call sapphire.  Sapphire foil with with silver that glitters, glimmers, and catches all the light.

Orly's Sweet Peacock is a lovely, lovely color.  The blue and silver here reminds me of chilly winter days, so what better to spice up this manicure with than some snowflakes?  This my first winter-themed manicure of hopefully many.

To create the snowflakes I stamped Konad Special Polish in White on with Bundle Monster plate BM-213.  I love how this looks!  I think it's very pretty and very appropriate for December.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I love how this manicure for Day 13 of the 31 Day Challenge turned out.  I'm not an animal print person.  I have no clothes or accessories that have animal prints on them.  I've just never felt like it's me.  But this?  This I love and I feel it is super cute.  

It's Zoya Marley for the base, then M.A.S.H. plate m57 stamped on top with Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Black Out.  To add some spice I added a few dots of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure I Pink I Can to the center of a few of the spots.  This is much more intense than the last spotted manicure I did and I think it turned out a lot better.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are We There Yet?

I don't usually buy OPI polish.  I'd never owned an OPI color until September when I found one on clearance at a grocery store (a very random find) and to this day it's still an untried.  But when I was researching colors for my Wear to Work series I came across the descriptions for their Fall 2011 Touring America Collection and knew I had to have Are We There Yet?.  Why?  They've based the color on the city where I live - Milwaukee, WI.

The description for Are We There Yet? says:
Leather, lipstick and a touch of elegance... "biker chic" never looked so good.  The next time you're Touring America, make a pit stop at Milwaukee's Oktoberfest (the oldest Oktoberfest in the USA). You've never seen so many babes, bikes (and beer!) in one place.  
It totally makes sense that this is an orange color, not just because the color orange is often-times associated with October, but because Harley-Davidson is an iconic symbol of Milwaukee and its colors are orange and black.  I'm not much of a color-naming person (I would simply call this orange-pink), so I'm going to quote Scrangie when she says that it is "a really light salmony-coral orange with a hint of shiny pink/gold duochrome shimmer."  That sounds so much nicer when she says it!

Sadly my photos make this color appear very orange, when it reality it is much more coral and pink.  I love corals and this color is no exception.  I should also remark on the formula; it's exquisite.  I can totally understand why there are so many OPI fans out there!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Welcome back to the longest 31 Day Challenge in the history of all 31 Day Challenges! Ha. My apologies for not getting back on this challenge faster.  Day 12 of the challenge is stripes and for this design I went for a straight-forward solid color of polish plus stripe stamp.

I used Zoya Pasha as my base color, then stamped Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Black Out on top using Konad plate m60.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Looking Back

Two years ago I made the decision that I didn't want to have ugly, bitten nails for the rest of my life.  That was when I started trying not to bite my nails.

Last year I'd gotten to a point where I could go a few weeks between biting.  The nails would grow out a bit but I was not able to maintain the growth.  One year ago my nails looked like this:

Today my nails look like this:

Right Hand
Left Hand
My left hand pointer finger nail bed may look a tinge weird, but only because I'm using Orly Nail Rescue to stop a break at the free edge from breaking my heart.

A then and now comparison shot:

It's been two months, five days since I last bit my nails and I couldn't be more proud of myself.  This is the longest my nails have ever been in my whole life.  The nail extends past the tip of my finger on almost all my nails (except my ring fingers, they don't seem to grow?).  I can hardly believe it - and they're my own nails!

Oh, and I'll be back to posting more of the 31 Day Challenge soon, just haven't had time to paint my nails as much this past week.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


It's time for polka dots, Halloween-themed on Day 11 of the 31 Day Challenge.

I used two coats of Zoya Snow White for the base and alternating rows of dots of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Mellow YellowSally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Black Out, and Zoya Jancyn.  Very simple for Halloween.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 10: GRADIENT nails

I've known what I wanted to do for Day 10, gradient nails, of the 31 Day Challenge since I visited my parents earlier in October and picked up a couple of Butter London polishes.  A gradient with Rosie Lee :)

I used three coats of China Glaze Innocence as a base then sponged Butter London Rosie Lee on top.  I love this.  I've never done a design like this before and am head over heels with how it looks.  My fingers feel so sparkly I love waving them around, hehe.

For some reason it's really hard for me to see pale polish near my cuticles until after I take photos and enlarge the image so please excuse the mess.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 9: RAINBOW nails

Day 9 of the 31 Day Challenge and today it is rainbows!

I was inspired from this photo I saw on Pinterest:

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest
but I failed to visit the blog of the photo to see how they'd achieved this look.  I just assumed the lovely rainbow gradient was done through sponging.  I broke out my best rainbow colors and sponged away, two colors for each nail and approximately two coats of each color.  It was my first time sponging but it was really easy to do!

The colors I used were Zoya America, Zoya Jancyn, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Mellow Yellow, Zoya Shawn, Zoya Robyn, and Zoya Mira.  Can you tell I have a lot of Zoya polishes?

I'm thinking the two polish colors too harsh of a look and I should have gone with three colors for each nail.  It turns out the look on the photo I saw was achieved by a brush so once this challenge is over I'd like to go back and try to recreate her design.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 8: METALLIC nails

So...I've missed a few days for the 31 Day Challenge, but the rules say "if you miss one, pick it up the next day."

I left off with black and white nails making today metallic nail day.  My original idea was to try a newspaper manicure but with the periodic table of elements.  I was hoping I could print off a copy of the periodic table, use the newspaper technique, and it would work magically.  It didn't.

Is it that the paper to ink ratio is different for home printers versus newspaper?  Could I just be inept at the whole newspaper technique?  Has anyone tried printing off an image and transferring it to your nails before?

My Day 8 design wound up being very simple, just a swatch of China Glaze Platinum Silver.

I usually use this color for stamping but had never solely painted my nails with it.  I'm not loving the streakiness of this formula - definitely meant to be a stamping or accent polish.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 7: BLACK AND WHITE nails

Day 7 is black and white nails day for the 31 Day Challenge and since Halloween is fast approaching, black and white to me screams ghosts.  It's also apparently monster day for the Polish-aholics Anonymous group on facebook and ghosts are considered monsters right? Eh, it's close.  :D

For this I used three coats of Zoya Snow White for the base, three coats of China Glaze Ghoulish Glow top coat (I'd heard thicker resulted in better glow...) and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Black Out for the eyes and mouth of my ghosties.

They are quite plain in the daylight:

Perhaps the scariest item here is the fact that my cuticles are in desperate need of moisturizer! ...and maybe the dents you see in the white polish.  But since the focus here is supposed to be their ability to glow in the dark the dents and dings don't really matter when the lights are out.

Once you turn out the lights they go wild:

Sorry I couldn't capture a better photo.  I took several and this was the best that I had.  I'll take any suggestions you have for capturing a better glow-in-the-dark photo with my Canon PowerShot.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 6: VIOLET nails

Another simple design for violet nail day on the 31 Day Nail Challenge.  For this day I used Butter London's HRH, a glorious royal purple with a red base and a hint of metallic shimmer.  I think this is my favorite purple and a great color for fall.

Sadly this polish is really thin on me and it shows every bump and ridge I have.  :(

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 5: BLUE nails

I wish I could wear this color for more than just a day.  It took me four tries to get to a point where I was satisfied with how this was looking.  I wanted to try Wet and Wild ColorIcon Believe Me It's Real but every time I applied it to my nails I didn't like how it turned out.  This nail polish is really think and it was difficult for me to control the application amount.  Thick as it is I could still see visible nail line and my stained nail bed peaking through - it didn't look pretty.

I finally took everything off and used two coats of Zoya Dove for the base.  With two coats of Believe Me It's Real on top I'd finally achieved a look I was happy with.

My left hand had a thinner coat of Believe Me It's Real:

And my right hand had a thicker coat:

Believe Me It's Real is such a nice glitter polish.  It has small diameter blue glitter suspended in a clear base with larger hexagonal purple glitter thrown in.

Macro shot:

I don't want blue day to end!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 4: GREEN nails

It's alive!

I mentioned last week that I'd picked up a China Glaze Haunting set from Sally's that included the color It's Alive and now is a great day to use it since it's green day on the 31 Day Challenge.

For this design I used two coats of It's Alive.  I love the way this glitters in the light - so pretty!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Day Challenge

I realized that while I've started the 31 Day Challenge, I never posted the rules anywhere.  So without further ado, the rules:

NOTE: don’t want a new look every day? Go at your own pace! The big goal is to get through all 31 manicures… and notice how your skills grow!

Day 3: YELLOW nails

Before last night I only had one yellow in my collection - Finger Paints Art Nouv-Yellow which I hated.  It stained my nail bed every time I used it, sometimes through layers of polish.  There was no stopping this color from nail bed destruction!  Now I have two yellows: the Finger Paints yellow and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Mellow Yellow.  Hopefully I'll have better luck with the Sally Hansen color than Finger Paints.

The weather in Milwaukee was absolutely terrible yesterday.  High winds, rain, freezing temperatures...all sorts of yuck in general.  I'm glad I have these warm colors to wear to try and lessen up the gloom that Mother Nature is throwing down.

My inspiration for this design for yellow nails comes from two things: the bumblebee that made it way into my apartment on Tuesday and this video from Cute Polish.  The bumblebee survived my cat and I set it free outside, though it may not have survived the weather from this past day.

For this design I used Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow as the base, Sally Hansen Black Out for the bee's trail and body, and Zoya Snow White for the bee's wings.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 2: ORANGE nails

It's Day Two of the challenge which calls for orange nails.  I was going to do a pumpkin on my accent nail but decided just to go for lots of orange glitter instead.

My apologies for the funky looking polish job on my middle fingernail.  The nail is ripped at the side but I don't have long enough nails where I could just file it down.  I was trying to save the nail by using tissue paper glued onto the nail bed in order to keep the nail from looking obviously ripped but it didn't work :(

Anyway, on to the colors!

For this design I used Zoya Jancyn on all my nails, then on my accent nail I layered Fantasy Makers Creepy Pumpkin.  Simple and sweet (unlike the weather which is absolutely horrible today in Milwaukee).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 1: RED nails

I'm biting the bullet and starting the 31 Day Nail Challenge.  I've put it off for two months now and it would probably keep putting it off until absolutely no one was still participating.  I know there are still a few stragglers making their way through the challenge still so I'm not alone :)

Day One is red nails and when I see red I think of apples.  For my manicure I used Zoya America as my primary color red.  For the apple accents I used Sinful Colors Nirvana for the stem, Zoya Shawn for the leaf, and Zoya Snow White as the apple's "shine."

I think it's pretty cute, what do you think?

Monday, October 17, 2011


The Monday theme for the Polish-aholics Anonymous group on Facebook was Green for Depression Awareness. I did another single color, no nail art today. I got home late last night after driving for six hours, looked up what the theme was and took the easy route.

I have three green polishes and of those I picked Zoya Shawn to decorate my nails with. I don't like the formula on this one. It was very streaky and hard for me to get close to near-even coverage.

I love this color in the sun; it's a bright vivid green that reminds me of trees.  Indoors it is possible to mistake Shawn for black.

The camera I use is a pink Canon PowerShot...and I couldn't get a photo without getting the reflection of my camera on my nails!  This was the best photo with minimal pink camera reflection.


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