Monday, February 27, 2012

Dior Inspired Tile Nails

As if you haven't noticed, I love recreating prints from fashion.  I loved the print of this Dior dress and it made for some interesting nails!

On these nails, I started with a base coat of Venus and then randomly started placing free-handed rounded squares in Sunny Side Up, Coco-a-go-go, White On, and Blue Lagoon in a checkerboard format making sure that Venus peeked through the edges.  For the blue tiles, I first did a base of white to help the color show true.  I didn't stick with the even, square design because its not easy to keep all the tile uniform.  I like how these turned out and had it not been for this print I doubt I would have ever put any of these colors together on my own.  The only thing I wish to do differently is to find some off white yellowish polish to use for the white tiles.  I think it would make the pattern look closer to the one on the dress.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Copper and Aqua Gradient Nails

First, I have to say that the picture below does not do these nails justice.  They are much more striking in natural light but since it was 3am, I worked with what I had.


I applied a coat of Venus and then starting layering on Celestial, concentrating the glitter at the tips of the nails and fading it out towards the middle.  I then used gold glitter as the intermediary and the effect is stunning! 

Updated pic:  Got to work early and took this to you could see it in the sunlight!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Periodic Life Nails

Having taught Science for three years and always a Science enthusiast, I love making some nerdy Science nails.  Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, and Oxygen are four of the top elements needed for life so I added their periodic table squares to my nails.   Lithium (Li) and Iron (Fe) are handy enough to spell out "LiFe."  This throws me back to high school chemistry but I have to share...the way to remember that Iron is Fe is that Iron is very "eff eee" or "heavy."  ;0)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pink Holo Nails

Recently bought some Avon polish and decided the other night to give myself some pink, sparkly nails. 


These were quick.  Two coats of Venus and one coat of Fairy Dust.  Love the sparkle!

Image Plate Organization

I thought I would show you all how I organize my nail art stamping plates.  Many stamping enthusiasts keep their plates arranged by brands but just like polishes (which I arrange by color, not brand) I arrange my plates by types.  Image plates come in three types: full nail stamps, picture stamps, and french tip stamps so I made some tabs dividing the sheets by type.    The sheets I use are 40 cent baseball card sheets from a local hobby shop and hold 8 image plates per sheet.

Should I buy a few more of these large plates I will probably by some heavy duty page protectors or dividers with pockets to keep them in the binder.

Just a quick note about the image plate types.  To me a full nail stamp covers all or most of the nail.  A picture stamp is just that, a tiny picture to place on some part of the nail like a flower or star.  The french tip stamps are those designed to go on the end of the nail.  One last type of image plate that Ive noticed is image plates with lacy or scrolling bar designs.  If I get more of those, I'll probably make new category called bar stamps.

I love organization!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wicked Inspired Corset Mani--Week 8 of the Year of Polish Challenge

One of my favorite musicals of all time is Wicked.  I finally got around to buying Sinful Colors Innocent which is a lovely neon froggy green and I had this Corset Challenge so I married all of these notions and dreamed up these cute nails.

Innocent, I warn you, does not photograph easy.   With flash, pictures of it look very yellow so both pictures here are color boosted in Picnik to show you an accurate color.

This is free-handed completely.  I didn't have the patience to wait until two coats of Innocent fully dried to use my half-moon stickers.  I just winged it.  With a small nail art brush, I made two curving lines that almost intersected to form a half moon at the top of my nails in Ebony Hates Chris.  From those lines I made two straight lines that ended at the edge of my nails, leaving a thin line of Innocent between the two corset parts.   Next, using White On, I dotted corset holes on each side of the corset and used the lovely Flying Dragon for the corset laces. Elphaba would be proud to wear this corset and it probably would make her "popular" without Glinda's help!

Stamped Paisley Nails

I had to try out my new paisley stamps from my Cheeky image plate.  

I love, love, love how well these stamps come out.  Some image plates do not transfer the intricate detail but as you can see, these do! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

50 Follower Giveaway Winner!

I wanted to save everyone the search for the 50 Follower Giveaway post and announce the winner of the Giveaway. 

Congrats to Ashley P.!!!

Ashley has 48 hours to respond to the email I just sent!

Thanks for following and I look forward to more giveaways ;0)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cheeky and Red Angel Image Plates (**Pic Heavy**)

I finally got around to purchasing some more image plates for my growing collection.  With the addition of the 21 Red Angel plates, I now have 96 plates.  I plan to do a post on how I organize them.  

You can buy this Cheeky Image Plate with 84 images here for $11.99 plus shipping. 

You can buy these Red Angel Image plates here for $12.99 plus shipping.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mother & Child Manis

My friend Jaime and I were playing around at her house and her almost 4 year old daughter, Sophia, wanted some pink nails while Jaime was interested in galaxy nails.  Sophia wanted every nail to be decorated so I stamped a white rose on each thumb, black polka dots on the index nails, stripes down the middle nails, silver glitter on the ring nails, and white hearts on the pinky nails. While I painted Sophia's nails, her mother painted her two year old sister, Lily's nails.

Jaime and I have both pinned these galaxy nails in Pinterest and I attempted to recreate them for Jaime.  I think they turned great!

What do you think?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Post Valentine's Day Love is All Nails

After swatching Cinderella, I had to add some thing to these nails so I added some red sparkly kisses using Bundle Monster plate BM02 and the words "Love is all!" in free-handed script. The sparkle makes all the difference!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: Knock Out Nails UV Hardening System

I heard about the Knock Out Nails UV Hardening System via another nail art blogger, Phyrra.  I've been searching for something to help my nails grow that was not only effective against breakage and peeling, semi-permanent,  AND looks good,  but also I wanted a product that is reasonably priced and convenient.

My main concern with using this system was that as a nail art enthusiast, I wouldn't be able to do nail art very often but I read that regular nail polish would work on top of the treatment.

Next, I was worried that the process might be time consuming and require meticulous application but reading the directions included in the system, the process seemed very straight forward.

Below you can see a picture of my prepped, filed nails before I began the process.  I can tell you that naturally, my nails tend to peel and are flexible.  My nails never "break" but do tear.

The following pictures show my nails after the treatment and I was suitably impressed with both the ease of application as well as the short amount of time each hand took.  My nails feel stronger and less likely to break and they have a nice, healthy shine like I have on a top coat.

After the honeymoon period of about a couple of days, I had some very large chips off the tips of my nails.   I was pretty disappointed and ended up removing most of the hardener from my nails.  However, I went back and read the directions thoroughly.  I discovered I had read the directions incorrectly the first time around and put bonder on under each layer of hardener.  I have a feeling that this cause all the chipping!  I carefully redid my nails about a week and a half ago and followed the directions. Below are pictures of my nails after my 2nd (and accurate) application of the Knock Out Nails system.

In the above pic the arrows show where my nails have grown and a couple of large chips on the edge of the two middle nails.

The above picture shows a picture of the two minute UV lamp.


The two pictures above show the repair in different lights.  So after my reapplication and repair, I can say that this system exceeded my expectations in ease, nail protection, and appearance, especially after repair.

I do have some pros and cons and tips to share about this system.

  • The system is relatively inexpensive for a year's worth of treatments.
  • My nails were stronger and from the pictures you can see that they grew longer with no tearing or peeling.  The treatment also made me less likely to bite my nails or use them in ways that could cause nail trauma.  Even when long, my finger nails are pliable but with the treatment they hold their shape even with pressure.
  • The Treatment stands up to a LOT of work and stresses such as lots of typing, pulling heavy books and journals from shelves, copying and scanning various items, cleaning/dishes, acetone, and lots of polishes.
  • You can do all parts of process at home.
  • The Treatment hold up to all nail art I've done for the past couple of weeks and I don't feel that the treatment caused my polish to chip any faster than it would without the treatment.  A huge plus for nail artists---we must change our polish often!
  • Without polish, nails can look like natural nails with a clear coat—I like this because I love the look of fake nails but don’t like the aftermath of removing them. 
  • No fancy (read: difficult or troublesome to use) equipment or application process-the bonder and hardener come in polish like bottles with polish wands so if you can paint your nails, you can do this treatment.
  • The refill is not obvious to the casual observer of your nails.  I asked a few people to see if they could tell where the nails had been repaired and they were unable to figure out where.  You might be able to pick out where the treatment was repaired under close scrutiny or if you don't follow the product's directions for repair. 
  • Use of pure acetone (what I use exclusively) does not harm the treatment so you can paint your nails many times over one treatment.  
  • The removal of the nails does not involve any soaking off.  If I have any complaints with Gelish and Shellac treatments, its the soaking process.  The two minute polishes can be removed with regular polish remover.  When I did remove the treatment the first week, I used the Remove file and filled down the treatment until I hit natural nail.  Keep in mind that Knock Out Nails recommends only buffing off the shiny layer and then reapplying bonder and more layers of hardener for repair.  Removal might be a bit time consuming for you if you end up with several layers of hardener.

  •  Polish can lightly stain the treatment, with or without applying a base coat—I was able to file most of the stains out when I did the reapplication the 2nd week.
  •  Application requires practice, no matter your expertise.   My first week with these nails I had a lot of chipping and cracking issues.  Most of it was user error but there is also a fine line between too much hardener and not enough.  (See tips)
  •  Application requires ultra-clean nails.  Any stray cotton fibers, glitter, or lingering bits of polish will plague you so you have to be extra diligent on cleanliness beforehand.
  •  The cost of this product up front is relatively high, especially if you don't know how the product is going to work with your nails, environment, and level of expertise.  I have absolutely no complaints with Knock Out Nails customer service and I would imagine that the company has policies and processes in place to help unsatisfied customers so please contact them if you have problems!

  1. The product suggests 2-4 weeks between applications but once a week was a little more prudent for me.  I experienced some edge chipping after the 5th day of my 2nd (and correct) application and by the 7th the treatment had started to detach from the nail around the cuticle on several nails.  I think that the reason for this is not because the product is defective but because I do so much with my hands at home and work on a daily basis and I rarely protect my nails with gloves.  I will happily pay the $50 to get the refill kit for the system in less than a year if needed because the product is that good.
  2. The product suggests three layers of hardener if you have thin nails.  I also recommend it because the 3rd layer makes all the difference!
  3. I don't recommend using the two minute polishes for base colors in your nail art.  To me, the two minute polish is perfect for days where all you want is a color but when I tried to do nail art on top of the polish after using the UV light, the two minute polish sometimes still bled back into my other polishes being used for nail art, especially the white polishes. 
  4. There is a fine line between hardener layers that are too thin and hardener layers that are too thick.  Too thin and the treatment seems to chip faster but too thick and the treatment can pool around your cuticles and distort the look of your nail.  Also, hardener that is too thick requires a lot more time to remove if you chose to do so.  So just like the instructions say, "don't try to save time by applying thick layers of hardener."  Ultimately, you won't save time.  I suggest you practice to find a happy medium between thin and thick layers so you get the benefits of both.
  5. You might want to use toe nail clippers to trim down your nails each time you are ready to repair.  My regular nail clippers were not as efficient in breaking through the treatment and you really don't want jagged nail edges.   My toe nail clippers gave me a very crisp and straight nail edge that I refined and rounded with my glass nail file.
  6. As with any nail treatment or nail art, make sure you have a lot of light in your workspace.  Bubbles naturally form in the hardener during your application and you have to be able to see them.  They are very easy to miss so also change the position of your nail in the light to catch them!  If and when you do miss them, they will be conspicuous after the UV light exposure and will probably annoy you if you don't immediately put polish over them!  I generally have one or two bubbles that I miss and I wear polish so my nails are rarely bare for any bubbles to bother me.  You could also probably buff out the bubble and follow directions for repair if needed.
  7. In any treatment or polishing of my nails, I paint the free edge.  Jane from Julep says that painting the free edge makes a difference for the professional look and life of a manicure and I agree!  With this treatment its not only important for the edge to be treated for aesthetics sake but like polish, the free edge is probably where your treatment will first start to chip so application to the free edge will help to extend the life of the treatment on your nails.  I paint the free edge first and then apply the hardener to the rest of the nail.
  8. As stated above, I messed up my first application by not following the directions accurately.  If you don't like your first application for any reason, contact customer service at Knock Out Nails and ask for help.  In the very least, give the treatment a couple of applications before you decide its not working for you.  I was so relieved that my 2nd application turned out excellent! 
  9. Please do not try to remove the treatment by peeling it off.  Peeling treatment, polish, or fake nails off your natural nails can cause white spots, weak spots, or peeling of the natural nail and can take a long time to grow out.  It will be tempting with this treatment because you start to see the hardener separate from the nail.  In order to repair you remove any large pieces of hardener but leave the rest and apply more bonder and hardener over it.
Overall Opinion of the Knock Out Nails
I am a believer in this product.  As a polishaholic with flimsy nails that won't grow very long, I have been able to see some extra growth and stability in my nails due to the support of the Knock Out Nails treatment over the past few weeks.  I would recommend this product to anyone, especially those looking for help to keep their nails from breaking, tearing, or peeling or that do a lot of nail art because, the treatment works like a semi-permanent base coat that you can paint over and over again with regular polish.   I feel that I get the benefit of support and shiny appearance of acrylic nails without the damage that I've experienced from the buffing and removal.  Last, this treatment was fine under any nail art I applied...a major bonus.

Next, I will hand over this system to my good friends, Ruby (a busy professional and mother of two teenagers) and Jaime (a home daycare owner and mother of two small children), for their take on this product so be on the look out for their reviews on Knock Out Nails UV Hardening System.  Each lady has their own set of needs for nail care and have vowed to give their honest opinion.

How to get this system:

The Knock Out Nails UV Hardening System is available via the Knock Out Nails website.  Currently the price for the system which provides a year's worth of products is $119.97.  It even comes with three polishes, a topcoat, and cuticle oil as a free gift.  You can split it into three payments of $39.99 or a one-time payment of $119.97 with free shipping on either payment option.   But Wait!

I have GREAT news!  Through the end of February, I can offer you this exclusive promo code for $40 off the Knock Out Nails UV Hardening System!  The Promo code is KONNA.  After March 1st, you can use the same promo code to get $20 off.   Good luck and let me know how this product works for you!

Also, Knock Out Nails is giving away a UV Hardening System to one lucky Facebook fan.  You only need to "Like" their Facebook page to enter!
Disclosure:  I approached Knock Out Nails about information for this system with the intention to buy and mentioned I wanted to do a review for my blog.  After viewing my blog, they sent me a system at no charge.  Since this system was provided at not cost to me, I have already secured a couple of friends to do reviews of this product as well to spread the wealth so to speak & to see how others feel about the system.  Nails, Actually will get a lot of mileage out of the system sent!