Nail Art Ideas Linkup (NAIL)- A GREAT READ

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The final week of August’s Nail Art Ideas Linkup (NAIL) challenge is A GREAT READ.  If you’d like to do a manicure for this theme here’s more info and you can submit your design up until Sept. 1st!  Oh, and did you vote for last week’s NAIL Genius yet?  Everyone gets three votes!  Cast yours now!  

Catching-Fire-SymbolTeaserWD-dropA Great Read?  Well, my most recent favorite book is from the Hunger Games trilogy.  It’s book #2 called Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  It usually takes me a few months to finish a book.  But not this one- I whipped right through it (just like with the Hunger Games)!  After I finished book 2 I started book 3, but I stopped. Duh, right?!  I dunno, sometimes I like to wait to read a book ’til RIGHT before I see the movie.  It’s fun to have it fresh in my head when I go to the theater.  But that’s kinda dumb- I should go read Mockingjay like right now!!!!

I started this manicure the night before by preparing DIY nail stickers.  I’ve never made my own decals before- but I’ve been itching to try them and they’re perfect for a night when you wanna play with nail art but don’t wanna do an entire manicure from start to finish!  It turns out that these DIY nail decals were a lot of fun and they applied so much better than I expected!  Here’s how I did it…

diy_nail_stickersI taped a plastic snack baggie to a heavy piece of cardstock so the bag wouldn’t move around too much.  Then I painted some mockingjay emblems on the baggie using a detail brush and cheap black nail polish.  I also tried gold, but that didn’t work well as you can see (there’s wiped-up gold smudges in the above picture).  Anyway, when I was done painting my mockingjay symbols, then I painted over top of them with enough clear topcoat to cover the design and maybe a little extra around the corners.  I let it dry overnight.  The next day I was afraid they’d stick… but instead, my stickers lifted right off the baggy.  They peeled right off without a hitch!  Then I cut them with scissors a little bit ’til they looked like they’d fit my nails well.

Once I had my nails all clean and bare, I was ready to paint them and test out my diy stickers.  I used one coat of Nail Envy and then three coats of L.A. Girl 3D Effects Nail Polish in Electric Coral.  When my thumbs were still tacky I placed my stickers on top of my orange polish.  Because my stickers were big they felt kinda wrinkly when I tried to wrap them around my large curved thumbnails.  But after a couple minutes they seemed smoother somehow.  Go figure?!  Then I covered them with a coat of seche vite and they looked so nice & shiny.  WIN!  For my other 8 nails- I stamped a flame design using Cheeky 52 plate (it only seemed right given the name of the book- Catching Fire).  I think they look wicked.

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I can’t wait to try my own DIY stickers again! Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Check out the other manis for this theme here:

A Great Read- links open ’til Sept 1

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Size Comparison of Top Stamping Plates

I love using stamping plates for nail designs… but there’s a lot of brands out there to choose from.  When I’m on the market for a new plate my main question is how big are their designs? It’s hard to locate sizing information online since most product descriptions do not include dimensions.  So I’ve put together a nice little comparison of four top brands: Konad, Cheeky, Bundle Monster and Mash!stamping_plates_comparison

My nails are relatively long so I’m always looking for plates with long designs.  Some of you may have wide nails and the width of each stamp may be important to you.  So I’ve included the dimensions (in millimeters) on each photo below.   All dimensions are listed as width times length (W x L).  Keep in mind that brands may change their plates over time so I’ve included the specific plate names/model numbers for your reference.  Let’s get to the comparison!

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KONAD↑ To my surprise, Konad has the smallest designs of all four plates- both in width and length!  These stamps generally cover most of my other nails if I position them carefully, but you can see it doesn’t cover much of my thumb!  Something else I noticed about Konad is that their sizing may not be consistent.   Although most of them are sized like the one in my photo, one my other plates has a full-nail design that’s even shorter than this one.  Konad was the first brand of stamping products I used when I first started getting into nail art, but now that I line them up and compare- Konad doesn’t really impress me!

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CHEEKY ↑  Cheeky plates have big designs!   Something to note is that they are shaped with a curve on one end for french manicures or halfmoons.  If you use it for a halfmoon then you’d be able to take advantage of more of its length, which is 20mm.  That’s really long!  But if you want to use it as a full-nail stamp then you’d only have 17mm of length to work with.  But still, that’s really good!  (The photo above was used as a full-nail stamp and it almost covered the length of my thumb.)  I also want to note that Cheeky plates have wider designs than the other three brands.  I heard they make jumbo-sized plates too, but I don’t own any of them.

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BUNDLE MONSTER ↑ Bundle Monster designs are relatively big.  They’re larger than Konad but a tad smaller than Cheeky.  I have however seen BM plates that have smaller designs than this one.  So this brand may not be consistent with sizing either.  Also, I think that perhaps the BM plates aren’t etched very deeply?  Because the stamp in this photo came out kind of faint.  I dunno- they’re not my fave.

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MASH ↑ Mash plates are relatively small.  They’re only one step up from Konad.  This was my first time using a Mash plate and it works ok, not much to say here really!

MY PICK: My top pick is Cheeky!  I do have a bit more cleanup when I use Cheeky plates since their designs are wide, but I like their length.  And it’s cool that they give you the flexibility for frenchies or halfmoons!  I haven’t tried them that way yet since I’m afraid they’ll come out crooked,  but it’s nice to have that option!  Also, the whole metal plate itself is larger than the other three brands.  You can see in my first photo that the Cheeky plate looks giant next to the other ones!  This Cheeky plate was part of a summer 2012 collection, but I hope all of their plates are this big.  When it comes to stamping, bigger is always better, don’t you think?

So what do you think of this comparison and was it helpful for you?  What’s your experience with stamping?

Concert nails!

Hey everybody!  If you’ve seen my blog lately, you may have noticed how busy I’ve been I’ve been with painting my nails every day.  The July nail art challenge that I hosted with Brijit and Eeeek is just wrapping up- and I managed to paint my nails every single day in July!  It was so much work, but so fun!  If you participated in the challenge then you’ll be happy to hear that the giveaway raffle is right around the corner- stay tuned for my next post. 😀

 Amongst all the July frenzy, I still managed to squeeze in time to paint my friend’s nails. My girlfriend Vanessa had a rock concert to attend.. which was the perfect excuse to try some crazy cool nail art!  Here’s what we came up with!

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Haha don’t you love the pink skulls stamps?  So cute!  And the silver flames really stand out over the black!  (We used Cheeky brand stamping plates.)  The stamps, the silver studs, the black & white glitter… I love this whole mani!  And Vanessa’s hands are so lovely with her long rounded nails… so I can’t take all the credit!  Naturally beautiful!

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I’ve also been playing with some new fonts that I found online.  I downloaded one called Katy Berry (hehe) which has special heart characters!  So tonite I updated my header and watermark.  What do you think?

Big Brother 15 Nails! for day 28 of the July Nail Challenge

For any BB15 fans that come across this article- I’m hosting a nail art challenge with Brijit and Eeeek this July!  Today is DAY 28 of our challenge and the theme is INSPIRED BY A TV SHOW.  Since I had to paint my nails with a tv show theme today- I naturally chose my absolute fave tv show of all time- Big Brother US Right now season 15 of BB is full swing!  And my two favorite BB15 cast members are Amanda and McCrae– so this mani is for you guys!  I hope you win!

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I printed a couple pics of these two love birds from the CBS BB15 website and trimmed them with scissors to fit my nails.  Then I put on a healthy coat of Revlon Quick Dry Topcoat and slapped those babies right on my nails.  I had to squish the pics down on my nails for a few seconds to make sure they were secure.  This worked pretty well since the quick dry topcoat dried fast and acted as a glue.  (BTW- I tried the newspaper nails technique using photos printed on printer paper- TOTAL FAIL. So if you ever wondered whether newspaper nails works with printer paper- it doesn’t.)

I painted my other nails in bright colors and added cool stamps to bring Amanda and McCrae some good luck!  My pointer finger is painted with Elephantastic Pink by OPI and I stamped some hearts on top to bring them some good love vibes.  My pinkie finger is painted green with Orly Jealous, Much? and I stamped some dollar signs on top in hopes that they’ll win the big money prize at the end!

Do you watch BB15 ?  And what do you think of my Amanda and McCrae nails?

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It’s not too late to join in on our nail challenge- it will be open til Aug 5th 2013.  More info here!  Check out the other TV show inspired nails below….

28. Inspired by a TV Show :

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Day 23 of OMD Challenge- Equalizer Nails

Day 23 is all about music!  I’m on a bit of a stamping kick lately… but I’ll go ahead and post my 3rd stamp design in a row!  music_equalizer_nails

I’m wearing EQUALIZER NAILS today!  A few other girls in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Challenge had the same equalizer idea.  I guess we were on the same wavelength: check out Vic’s and Seize the Nail’s designs!   I was the only one that ‘cheated’ by using a stamp though! LOL

For my look I started with two coats of Alpine Snow by OPI.  When that was dry I sponged on stripes of four bright neon colors.  Then I topped it off with my CH31 Cheeky stamp and Konad black polish.  That cheeky stamp is very wide!  I had a lot of black polish to clean up off my skin!  Fun times.
Here’s the bright colors that I’m wearing:

RED ♥ Zoya Carmen (looks pink over top of my white base!)

ORANGE ♥ China Glaze Sun Worshiper (so bright!)

YELLOW ♥ China Glaze Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (highlighter yellow)

GREEN ♥ Cynthia Rowley Neon Green (un-named)

equalizer_neon_nails

This mani was fun!  Easy to do on both hands too.  The funny thing is, I had a nail break on my dominant right hand last week, so I recently shortened all my nails, especially on that hand.  Turns out, it was so much easier to stamp on those shorter nails.  I kinda feel like going even shorter now!  I’ve noticed that my nail length has fluctuated a bit since I’ve started blogging.  They have been super long (here) and kinda short (here)… but I haven’t really settled on my signature length yet.  Not sure if I ever will!  I’m not habitual or predictable and I guess I change my mind a lot.  I’m the type of person that manages to do the same thing different every time!  So right now I want short nails.  In a week I’ll probably want them long again.  Who knows!

Check out the remaining themes for July↓  They get verrry interestingggg….. better put my creativity cap on!

omd_challenge_july_2013

23. Music Themed :

Day 21 of OMD Challenge- Green Ombre Leaves

Day 21 of the nail art challenge is STAMPING!  I love stamping- I first started stamping a little over two years ago when I bought a Konad Starter Kit a the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas.  There was a vendor there selling all kinds of konad stuff and she would demo it for anyone who walked by with fingernails.  I was already thinking of buying some konad online (even before my Vegas trip)  so when I saw her booth I was like, ‘OK, lady- show me what you got!’  The starter kit had some really puny small designs like tiny flowers and stuff and I really wanted some full-nail designs- so the lady kept trying to get me to combine my order with some stranger standing next to me so I’d get free items or something.  Uh, no thank you.  Just gimme my starter kit and I’m outta here!  I think the kit was about $40 and when I got home I realized I could’ve bought the individual items way cheaper online- but oh well!  After that I kept buying individual Konad plates on amazon for $7 a pop… which got kinda pricey!  Plus, as my nails got longer I needed plates with larger designs.  I did some research and found out about Cheeky Plates.  Cheeky is said to have some of the biggest designs on the market.  So I purchased this awesome Summer Collection Bundle with 20 plates in it!  It was $20 on amazon which basically means each plate is one US dollar- so I was sold!  Plus, the designs come in this cool storage box which is very handy!  Check it out:

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Enough yammering about my stamping history- let’s see my design for day 21!

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I started by painting my nails in OMBRE using mostly green Orlys.  I used these 5 colors:

Alpine Snow by OPI (thumb)

Jealous Much? by Orly (pointer)

Gumdrop by Orly (middle)

Green with Envy by Orly (ring)

Lucky Duck by Orly (pinkie)

Then I stamped on top with Konad special polish and Cheeky plate 33 (CH33).  Then I topped it off with some MASH Matte Top Coat.

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21. Stamping :

What brand stamping plates do you use? 

Day 6 of OMD Challenge- BAM Neon Cloud Mani!

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Welcome to day 6 of the OMD Challenge!  I’m psyched that today is NEON DAY since I have always been a huge fan of neon polishes.  The brighter, the better!  I love wearing nails that are eye catching.  I spend a lot of time on my nails- so I guess I want people to see them?  Hehehe.  Do you feel the same way?

I have the perfect polish for today’s theme!  It’s a bright green from Funky Fingers called Limelight.  I went with a ‘cloud mani’ for this design.  Have you ever tried it?  If not, you gotta!  It’s so simple and no special tools required!  Here’s an excellent photo tutorial on Nailside blog.

For this design I’m wearing:

Funky Fingers ♥ Limelight (2 easy coats)

NYC ♥ Black Lace Creme

NYC ♥ French White Tip

Cheeky CH47 Plate ♥ BAM stamp applied with Konad black polish

BAM!  It’s so bright and in your face!  Here’s a swatch of Limelight since it’s just so pretty- I couldn’t resist photographing it before I started my nail art.↓  I actually won this green from In The Gray Area’s awesome giveaway!  I feel like I could do a whole month’s worth of posts using all the cool polishes that J sent me.  15 in total!  So, if you’re out there and you haven’t won a giveaway yet- keep trying!  YOUR DAY WILL COME!  Maybe you will enter the OMD challenge and win the giveaway at the end?  Ya never know!  😀

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You can see the other designs here:
6. Neon :

And here’s the themes for the upcoming days:

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