Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What I've been wearing lately... Vol. II

Hey folks! How are you doing this fine day? Today's post is another installment of "What I've been wearing lately." If you missed the last one, this is a series where I post a mishmash of manicures that I've been wearing lately. I love looking at these types of roundups on other blogs, and hope you will enjoy this one as well!

Sonoma Nail Art - I <3 Chowdie
This polish was a custom that Michelle made me for my birthday. It's inspired by my doggie and I love it so much. Three coats.

Lush Lacquer - Mr. Bubble over Essie - Play Date

Cult Nails - Flushed

Layla - Coffee Love

2 coats of Lac Attack - Weasley's Wizard Wheezes over Illamasqua Noble

Lac Attack - Holidays in Hogsmeade over Essie - Stylenomics
I wore this combo to a Christmas party when the season was still going on... It got a lot of compliments!

Vivid Lacquer - Theoretical Rockstar (new version)

Thanks for reading -- now get to shopping! :)
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2010 Review - 11 Best Tutorials for Learning Inkscape

This list is not necessarily the best Inkscape tutorials per se, but this is a list that will help someone become an expert using Inkscape.  If you are a beginner just starting to use Inkscape, completing these tutorials will help you understand a great variety of the tools that Inkscape has to offer.


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Petite Blossoms - Seche Bright and Bold Nail Art

It's no secret that I am obsessed with Seche Vite topcoat for my nail art. It's thick, glossy, doesn't smear, and dries so fast. So when I heard Seche was coming out with a line of lacquers? My curiosity was more than piqued!

I had the opportunity to play around with the Bright and Bold collection, which includes six lacquers in purples, pinks, and red-oranges. They all look beautiful together and the purples are so up my alley.

I began with a base of Seche Not Easily Swept Away, a lighter lilac shade. The formula was impressive; I achieved full coverage in just two thin coats. I think if you had a heavier hand with your coats, you could even get away with one. That's a big deal for lighter shades like this!

Then, I added small flowers using Seche Wild One (the orange) and Seche Pretty Little Heartbreaker (the pink). To finish off the look, I added dots in the middle of the pink flowers using Seche Scorchin' Hot, a fiery red.

Based on my experience using the shades in my nail art, I would venture to guess that Pretty Little Heartbreaker is similar in formula to Not Easily Swept Away, and Wild One and Scorchin' Hot would only need one coat when worn alone.

I know floral isn't exactly groundbreaking (for spring or otherwise), but I just can't get enough of these little full nail floral patterns. They're easy, take almost no time to do, and look fresh and fun.

Overall, I was really impressed with my first Seche lacquer experience. Of course, I topped the whole manciure off with a generous coat of my bestie -- Seche Vite!

Seche lacquers are available on Ulta.com, though this particular collection isn't on there (yet?). You can also find them on Head2Toe Beauty, and in professional salons and beauty supply stores. Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter for more info.
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My Top 12 Favorite Nail Art Posts of 2012

I wasn't planning on doing any sort of countdown post this year, but seeing everyone else's really made me want to do one! I've decided to do a countdown of my favorite nail art that I did in 2012. You'll see that all of the selections ended up being freehand nail art, I guess freehanding really has my heart! If you click the link next to each of the countdown numbers, you'll find more photos and more information about each of the manicures.

Read on to see my list and find out which manicure got placed at #1!

#12: Neon Starfish (+ Tutorial)
I'm not sure why, but I'm always drawn to this manicure. Perhaps it's the full nail pattern on the neon yellow base? I don't use yellow as often as I'd like and it paired well with the little starfish buddies.

#11: Chalkboard Nails for What I Wore
I did this one alllll the way back in February as a collaboration on the style blog What I Wore. I love the mix of patterns and am still proud of the execution today!

#10: Inspired by a Book: The Missing Piece
This book has a lot of emotional significance for me, and I was pleased with the sketchy style that I was able to achieve with the black striper.

#09: Valentine's Owls
Everyone loves owls, and these little guys are just so friendly! Fun fact: this is my number one most stolen photo on Instagram.

#08: Bulbasaur
What can I say, I love Pokemon!

Not gonna lie, I was pretty proud of the idea to make Ron Swanson out of bacon. I love the way the eggs turned out, too.

The combination of the sandy accent nails, the baby starfish on the pointer, and successfully representing the reflections in the water made this one a winner for me.

This one took forever but it was totally worth it.

I think the color combination in this one really pushed it up the list for me, and you can't go wrong with intricate damask swirls! 

#03: The Eye of Sauron
I am so proud of the way the brushiness contributed to the look of Sauron's flaming eye, and c'mon, it's Lord of the Rings.

#02: Adventure Time
Maybe less impactful if you don't watch the show, but I put a lot of effort into this one and think I did well at capturing their cartoon essences!

#01: Blue and White China Floral
The intricate and delicate pattern plus the simple combination of two contrasting colors really made this one a favorite for me. It's hard to explain why it got the number one spot... I guess it's just a gut thing.

So there you have it! My top 12 favorite nail arts of 2012. Are there any that didn't make my cut that you guys would have chosen?

Best of wishes from Chowder and me to you and your families in 2013! 
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Guest Post at Nails by Kayla Shevonne

Hey you fine folks! Today I have a guest post up on Nails by Kayla Shevonne. Be sure to stop by her blog to learn more about this nail art!

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Nail School Week 3: Things Are Gettin' Fancier

I'm back with another nail school update! While the first two weeks of nail school covered basic services and upgrades to those services, week three brought some slightly more advanced techniques. It was a whirlwind of demos! I really enjoyed trying out some new nail services that I've never had a chance to work with before.

Here's a breakdown of what we learned in week three.

Spa pedicure: Like the spa manicure, this is an upgraded version of our basic pedicure. The spa pedi involves an exfoliating scrub, a protective masque, and a thick, hydrating lotion.

Tip blending: Some of you may be familiar with plastic nail tips -- this week we learned how to attach them to our practice (mannequin) hand using brush on resin adhesive. The tips need to be seamlessly blended to work with the natural nail, so we practiced our application and filing techniques at the area where the tip meets the nail bed.

Fiber wraps: If you've ever done a DIY tea bag repair on a broken nail, you've done a basic fiber wrap! This technique involves using resin and fabric (fiberglass or silk in our case) to add strength to the natural nail. This has only recently been removed from the Arizona State Board exams, as apparently they aren't really done in salons much anymore. Still a great technique to have in the arsenal.

L: fiberglass wraps over blended tips, R: continuing to practice polishing red

Gel polish: Gels are my FAVORITE, so I was really excited to get started on them at school. This week, we learned how to properly prep the nail for soak off gel application and how to apply it perfectly. We also watched a demo on how to remove them quickly and efficiently to save time in a salon environment.

Nail foils: Yes, this week we got a glimpse at some nail art! Our instructor was able to incorporate some nail foils into her gel polish demo (similar to the style I tried here) so it was a two-for-one.

We also began a new chapter in our textbook: chemistry! The chemistry chapter is all about the products that nail techs use and how they react together to form things like acrylic enhancements and gels. Learning the science behind the products allows us to work with them safely without endangering the client or ourselves.

Phew! Besides all these new goodies, we also continued to practice the services that we learned in weeks one and two. Our manicure/pedicure evaluation was at the beginning of week four, so we had to get those skills down PAT! Here's another pedi photo you can check out if you're so inclined.

This week (week four) we've been out on the client floor. I've got lots to talk about in the next update, so I hope to see you there!
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Smoky Holographic Gradient with I Love Nail Polish

While holographic polishes are often popular in jewel tones, there's something delightfully mysterious about neutral holographic shades. The little peek of rainbow sparkle from the smokiness can add the perfect finishing touch to an alluring gray, and I Love Nail Polish has really embraced that idea in the two shades I've used for today's nail art.

This sponged gradient look was created using two I Love Nail Polish holographic polishes.

A.C. Slater is the darker shade here. It was created to be reminiscent of the original bad boy, OPI My Private Jet. I've worn this gorgeous slate grey alone before and it needed two coats for opacity. It's doesn't have the strongest holo effect in the world, but I actually prefer holos like this because I think they look better indoors. Definitely a beautiful shade.

Bottle Service is the lighter shade here. This polish is pretty complex; it has a golden glow hidden inside the grey, which can make this shade look more champagne depending on the lighting. The holographic strength is comparable to A.C. Slater. Applying this polish alone may result in a couple of brushstrokes, but they are minimal. The gold shimmer in the base of Bottle Service took it from "just friends" to "in a relationship," for me.

As I mentioned, the holo effect on these shades is not the most intense I've seen, but that translates to a manicure that looks great, even in indoor lighting. It has a smooth, brushed metal finish that isn't disrupted by the holographic particles.

I recently switched to a new doctor's office and when I was in for an appointment yesterday, the staff loved this gradient manicure. The dark to light contrast is really eye catching, even from a distance. What do you think, do you like smoky holographic shades or do you prefer yours in jewel tones?

I Love Nail Polish products are sold on www.ilnp.com. You can also keep up with the brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Different Dimension - I Only Have Ice For You

Different Dimension's I Only Have Ice For You is a holographic topcoat with metallic silver flakes. Though it is from the Happy Holly Days collection, it is still available for purchase (yay!). I don't often reach for holographic topcoats, but I found this one to be pretty enticing. The flakes are really pretty.

I layered one coat of this topper over Nicole by OPI This Blue Is So You. Shown first in direct light and second in indirect light (after the jump).

Different Dimension polishes are available at differentdimension.us. You can follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information on sales, new releases, and more.
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Frankenstein French and Simple Stitched Moons

Frankenstein French and Stitched Moons by @chalkboardnails

Happy Halloween! I was still rocking my flannel nail art yesterday, and was going to leave it on today, but I couldn't let the holiday pass without doing some festive nail art. I did this quick manicure last night, and love the simplicity! It's like a deconstructed Frankenstein's monster, and took maybe 10 minutes to do each hand.

Frankenstein French and Stitched Moons by @chalkboardnails

I began by applying base coat to protect my nails. Then I used French tip Nail Vinyls to block off my tips, and painted on two coats of China Glaze But of Corpse.

Then, I used a small nail art brush and black polish to paint on the stitched moons.

I finished the look with topcoat because I had to seal in the stitched art, but it's worth mentioning that But of Corpse dries with a really gorgeous matte finish. The black glitter almost gives it a textured effect!

Frankenstein French and Stitched Moons by @chalkboardnails

I'm also wearing a fun spiderweb cat-eye look today, which you can see on my Instagram! I love Halloween!
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Over the Top Eyeball Nails - Halloween Nail Art

Happy Halloween, fine folks! I was a little stumped as to what I wanted to do on my nails for the actual holiday, but after browsing some of my older Halloween manicures I decided to take some nail art from 2011 and redo it. You may recall my Eyeball Pattern Nails Tutorial if you've been a longtime reader... this year I supercharged it!

I wanted to go kind of bananas with the eyeballs, but I knew it would be a lot of work. I settled in with yesterday's episode of Survivor and prepared for a few hours of eyeball creation! As it turned out, each hand took me about 45 minutes to complete... not too bad honestly.

I chose to go with an orange base this year and be a little more "on the nose" with the Halloween theming. The base I used is OPI In My Back Pocket.

Then I added the white bases of the eyeballs. I used dotting tools and my rhinestone picker (as shown in my punchy dot manicure - you could use a pencil eraser to stamp the large circles) for the different sizes.

Next up was adding the bloodshot veins. I stuck by my original tutorial and reached for OPI Do You Think I'm Tex-y?. The irises were added using OPI Can't Find My Czechbook, OPI Jade Is the New Black, and OPI A-Piers to Be Tan from the new San Francisco Collection.

Finally, I added the pupils and the highlights in black and white.

These look especially awesome at arm's length.

While I love my eyeball manicure from 2011, I definitely prefer this one. Why go subtle when you can go over the top?

Here's my own Halloween eyeball with these eyeball nails!

What are you rocking on your nails today? Would you wear this many eyeballs on your nails?

Have a safe and Happy Halloween! CANDY FOR EVERYONE!
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Making the ultimate exercise equipment on the cheap!

Exercise equipment is great, but can have a lot of drawbacks. To name a few, exercise equipment is a bother to move around, takes up space in the home, and is expensive. I prefer to use dumbbells for weight lifting but at about $1/lb it can get expensive to upgrade my weights. Not only that, but I find that since I move around a lot, lugging the dumbbells around is not very practical.

I have decided to solve this problem by making the ultimate exercise equipment!

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Monday, November 30, 2015

31DC2013 Day 30: Inspired by a Tutorial (Floral "Pond Manicure")

I don't follow a lot of tutorials when I do nail art, but damn I really should! There are so many awesome tutorials out there and I had a lot of fun picking out what I wanted to do today.

This style of nail art is called a "pond manicure!" It doesn't so much reference an actual pond so much as it references the depth and the layers of the design. I followed a tutorial from Jacki at Adventures In Acetone, and she credits Olive View Fashion as the originator of this technique. It's genius and gorgeous and best of all, EASY!

You can see all of the details in the tutorial I linked above, but the basic concept is to place nail art or stamping between layers of a jelly polish and repeat this 3 or 4 times.

The jelly I used is China Glaze You Drive Me Coconuts, a scorching Barbie pink, and the white I used is Essie Blanc. I decided to go with my go-to small flower style (seen here and here and here), and painted them on with a small nail art brush.

Isn't this technique so beautiful! I hope you guys will be trying this soon. Like I said, it's nice and easy but has such a beautiful finished effect. Ohmygoodness. I die.

More 31 Day Challenge
View the final upcoming prompt!
View my inspired by a tutorial nails from 2012!
View my inspired by a tutorial nails from 2011!
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