Mani Monday: Peek-a-boo [color] I see you!

For this Mani Monday I finally had the opportunity to do the half moon manicure I had been seeing in magazines.  It took me a while to actually get the nerve to try this because I knew it would be a time consuming project- and I didn’t want to spend a ton of time on something I may potentially hate.  I’m not going to lie- I had to try it on my nail color wheel first (which I use to experiment with new colors or combinations) to make sure I could commit to doing it on all my nails. Clearly I commited, so here’s what it took- reinforcement labels (found them at CVS in the office supply aisle), a thicker nude color (Essie Brooch the Subject is a perfect nude), and a contrasting bright color (I went with five colors).

My inspiration and toolsColors used: Essie Playdate, China Glaze Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Essie Short Shorts, Essie Mint Candy Apple, Essie Brazilliant, and Essie Brooch the Subject

Step One: After applying your base coat (always use a base coat!), paint two coats of the color you’d like as your peek-a-boo color at your cuticle.  This paint job doesn’t have to be perfect since the only part that really matters is at your cuticle.  After the two coats, I clean up the messy edges and also take a little polish away from the side so that it doesn’t show when I paint the nude layer.  Finish this with one coat of Essie Good to Go Top Coat.

Step Two:  Once your nails are totally dry (they do have to be fully dry for this step), apply the reinforcement stickers to your nails.  I found it easier to place when I cut them in half (plus it makes the pack last longer).  I placed the inner curve of the circle at the base of the cuticle for each nail so that the size of the half moon was consistent.  I used a cuticle pusher to press down on the sticker-especially on the sides so that I would have a good, clean curve (this is why your nail must be dry- so that you don’t peel off any of the base polish).  Place the reinforcement circles on all of your nails first.

Step Three:  Once you’ve placed the reinforcement circles on both hands- start painting over the bright color with your nude color.  I like Essie Brooch the Subject because it’s a pretty thick nude- and only takes about 2 coats.  Paint carefully when along the sides and the sticker guide.  Once you finish one hand, wait a minute or two and then carefully and slowly pull the sticker off from going from one side to another.  Repeat on the other hand- peeling carefully as to not mess up your other hand.

Step Four: Once you remove the guides, wait a few minutes and then add another top coat.  On the finished product I like to use Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.   And we’re done!  Voila!

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Mani Monday: Ombre Manicure

Happy Mani Monday everyone!  After last week’s St.Paddy’s day mani using Tart Deco- I wasn’t quite ready to give up my corals just yet.  The weather has been so gorgeous and summer-like in Chicago lately that bright and fun colored nails seemed totally appropriate.  After searching pinterest for some inspiration I came across this photo of some beautiful pink ombre nails and immediately decided I had to duplicate this mani with corals.

The good thing about being a nail polish addict was that I have so many colors of polish that I already had most of the colors needed to create perfect ombre effect.  Ps- if you don’t know what ombre is- it is a graduation of color from light to dark.  If you don’t have all of the colors- you can mix your own using your main polish color and white nail polish- which is a little more complicated.  I did the darkest color on my thumbs and the colors got lighter and lighter once I got to my pinky.  Here’s what I used:

From left to right: Essie Ole Caliente, Essie Peach Daiquiri, OPI Mod-ern Girl, Essie Tart Deco, Essie Hi Maintenence

And here’s the manicure:

*Note- I didn’t have the perfect shade for my pinky so I did one thin coat of Essie Tart Deco and then two coats of Essie Hi Maintenance over the top.  In hindsight-I should’ve picked up Essie’s A Crewed Interest (Spring 2012) from the beauty show since it would’ve been the perfect color!  Oh well!

Fortunately I have quite a few different colors I could do this mani with.  I might try green or purple next!

Mani Monday: Luck of the Irish…

Since St. Patrick’s day fell on a Saturday this year- there was even more reason to celebrate.  Everyone and their mother, literally, came to the city of Chicago to watch the Chicago river turn neon green and get their drink on.  In order to prepare, a few of the girls from work came over on Thursday for sushi, beer, nail painting, and college basketball.  It was quite the sight to see- four girls just as worried about how their brackets were doing as they were to what Irish theme they were going to paint their nails.  The problem was…we had too many options we couldn’t decide what to do!  It’s my fault.  Instead of just green- I had many shades of green, orange, glitter, stamps, etc that you can see in the photos below.  Decisions were finally made after a bit of ‘testing’ of the endless combinations and the end result on each girl ended up being just as unique and fabulous as they are!  I can’t wait for the next party!Colors used were: Green-Essie Going Incognito and Navigate her, OPI Jade is the new black.  Orange- Essie Orange it’s Obvious, and Tart Deco.  Sparkles-Sephora by OPI Traffic Stopper Copper and Flurry Up.  Tools used: Sephora Dotting Tool and Konad Plate M60.

 

 

Mani Monday: Flower Power!

Today’s mani was inspired by the one day of spring-like weather we had last week and the spring-like weather Chicago is supposed to have this week! My nails started painted ‘She’s Picture Perfect’ from Essie’s Resort 2012 collection that I picked up at the beauty show.  When I first saw the color I thought it was pretty similar to Lilacism or Nice is Nice, and even Play Date.  However when you compare them side by side- She’s Picture Perfect has almost a periwinkle tint to it, with the surprise of iridescent pink shimmer. The shimmer is very subtle- almost unnoticeable except for when light reflects on the bottle and hardly has any reflection when painted on the nail.

So for this mani, the hardest part was deciding on what colors to add.   I had all these new colors from the beauty show that I was just dying to use but obvi had to narrow it down.  Once I touched up my base mani, I used Konad plate m57 and started placing the flower stamp randomly on each of the accent nails.  I began with the lighter colors first and layered the darker colors on top.  The colors I used (in order) are  China Glaze Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Essie Sure Shot, Essie Go Overboard, and Essie No More Film.  Sure Shot and No More Film are also from Essie’s Resort 2012 Collection.  I placed a fleck of glitter in the center of each flower using my dotting tool and Essie Set in Stone and topped it all off with a little Seche Vite Dry Fast top Coat.

Here’s a comparison of similar Essie colors-From left to right: Lilacism, Nice is Nice, She’s Picture Perfect, and Play Date

I tried to get a pic of the iridescent pink shimmer in She’s Picture Perfect- which was surprisingly hard to capture.  Here’s the best shot-

And without further ado- the Flower Power Mani!

Is it spring yet?

Mani Monday: Beauty Show Booty!

Wow, what a weekend!  My younger sis came to town for our 3rd annual America’s Beauty Show field trip.  Considering that it is our 3rd time going, we’d like to consider ourselves veterans of the show.  We research the vendors that have booths at the show, plot out our plan of attack using the location map, visit only the booths with the best samples, and get out of there before it becomes too crazy busy.  Our first stop is always the Essie booth.  For both of us, this usually where we spend the most money.  How could you not with nail polish and nail treatments at 6 for $20 (or buy 5 get one free at the other Essie booth).  I spent $70 total at Essie this year.  Yes, I may have a problem, but let me justify it for you- I got a combination of 21 polishes and treatments.  If I would’ve bought those at Ulta, I would’ve spent at least 3 times that (not to mention all the other crap I would’ve bought while at Ulta).  After Essie, we head to a few other booths- Moroccan Oil, OPI, Pureology (sadly they weren’t there this year), TIGI, and Moroccan Oil again :).  There’s usually some random nail tool supply booth in the back of the convention center that we always try to find with super cheap nail tools such as files, buffers, brushes, cuticle nippers, etc.  This is the booth where I scored a value pack of 50 nail buffers for only $8!  New to the show this year was Ardell Eyelashes.  I picked up 6 pairs of false lashes for only $15 (sure beats the $5 each at Walgreens!).  I also scored some new makeup brushes from Crown Brush for about $2-$3 a piece.

There’s definitely more to the show if you’re in the industry.  There are demos on everything from flat-ironing, curling, updos, coloring, extensions, and spray tanning!  There are also booths selling everything from products, styling tools, salon furniture, brushes, hair styling books, publications, and the list goes on!

I most enjoyed checking out all the different nail booths.  There was way more of them this year than last. Newer (or at least with a larger presence) was the Shellac or Gel Manicures.  There were also more booths with the nail art stickers that cover your nail.  Also new for us was an actual OPI booth.  Like I mentioned last Mani Monday, OPI’s presence has been with 3rd party distributor in the past.  There was also a China Glaze booth and Orly.  A lot of distraction for someone like me.

Here are some Instagram highlights from the show:Top Row: Models at the P&G Salon Professionals show and some guy with crazy cheetah hair.  Second Row: DJ spinning some great tunes at one of the booths and half dressed female models on stilts and shirtless, buff male models.  Third Row:  The NYX cosmetic booth- what amazing colors and great deals! Last Row:  Yep, that’s Nick Arrojo (from earlier seasons of What Not to Wear )and one of the many nail art booths.

In case you were wondering how I could spend $70 so easily at Essie- take a look at the pics below.  Rows and rows and ROWS of just about every Essie Color you could imagine all organized in alphabetical order so it’s that much easier to find the color you’re looking for!As you can see from the pics above, my sis and I made out pretty well.  Stay tuned for some new manicures using my new colors (the colors I got are on the left, my sister’s are on the right).  Here’s what I picked up:  Pinks-Tour de Finance*, Jamaica me Crazy, and Sure Shot.  Oranges/Corals-Tart Deco, Orange, It’s Obvious*, and Ole Caliente*.  Purples/Greys-Over the Top, Play Date, No More Film, She’s Picture Perfect.  Greens-Mint Candy Apple (hot spring color) and Navigate Her*, and Go Overboard.  Treatments included First Base Base Coat, Good to Go Top Coat, Apricot Cuticle Oil Treatment, and Ridge Filling Base Coat- all from Essie of course!

*All part of Essie’s Spring 2012 Collection

Mani Monday: Spring 2012 Collections

This Saturday I will be attending America’s Beauty Show at the McCormick Place with my sis and we cannot wait!  Considering this will be our third time attending the show- we’ve come up with a game plan on the booths that we must visit.  Essie is usually the first booth we hit up so that we can get the latest colors.  OPI is the second booth- but since it’s usually a 3rd party wholesaler, they don’t always have the new colors- or the greatest selection.  Regardless- things could get pretty out of control (how not with 5 for $20 Essie??) so I had to do some research on what colors I truly need.  Come back next Monday to see what I picked up!

Here’s the new Essie Spring 2012 collection:

The collection is pretty on point with the Spring 2012 Fashion Color Trends from Pantone.  I think I’ll definitely be picking up Navigate Her, Tour de Finance, Ole Caliente, and Orange, it’s Obvious.  I can’t wait to start wearing brights again!

Here is the OPI Holland Collection for spring 2012:

The collection is pretty random and doesn’t exactly scream Spring! to me, however, there are a few colors I might pick up.  I think if I get any it would be Dutch Ya Just Love OPI?, Kiss Me on My Tulips, Red Lights Ahead…Where?, and  A Roll in the Hague.  Tulips, Red Lights and Roll in the Hague look very similar to the Essie colors Ole Caliente and Orange, It’s Obvious, so I’ll probably get whichever look better in person- or the formula I like most- which is usually Essie.

What colors do you like?

Mani Monday: Chevr-on it!

The chevron pattern seems to be everywhere these days.  One quick search on pinterest leads to endless images of this bold graphic print adorning everything from clothing to home decor.  I was recently inspired by this wonderful trend and decided to test it out by doing a subtle chevron on my nails.  Yep, chevron nails.  I used Essie School of Hard Rocks for the base color and then stamped it with Essie Steel-ing The Scene using my Bundle Monster 201 plate.  The look was finished using the SV Dry Fast Top Coat (duh!). I think the result turned out pretty well- and I can’t wait to try it using some bolder colors.  What do you think?