29 May 2013

Wayback Nails: Three-Colour Gradient

Where the frilly heck did May go?!

When I realized Did My Nails' first anniversary was coming up, I got an idea for a monthly feature where I'd jump into the Wayback Machine and revisit a manicure from the previous year. I even knew just which one I wanted to start with, just as soon as the blogaversary was past...and now all of a sudden it's nearly June! Yikes. I really need to start keeping a nail schedule so I can plan better...

This month's Wayback Nails revisit May 2012, a simpler time when the world was still caught in the grips of "Call Me Maybe" and I was lining up for my eight jillionth viewing of The Avengers. Oh, yeah, and I was just starting my nail blog! My nail shape was definitely still a work in progress (I still don't know if I do it "right" or not...), and my cuticle gap was much more robust. And I was so excited to have figured out gradient nails that I charged headlong into a three-colour gradient, just to see if I could do it.

three colour gradient nails with Fairy Dust

As before, I started with a base of Essie Navigate Her, followed by China Glaze Aquadelic and OPI Fly. And this time, you can actually see that third colour! Whee! Also as before, I topped the gradient with China Glaze Fairy Dust, which I swear has a slight whiff of bubblegum. That darker application of Fly really adds a lot, but I stand by my decision last time to quit while I was ahead, especially since gradient nails were still such a new thing for me.

gradient manicure

I need to remember more often how much I enjoy gradient manicures! The clean-up isn't necessarily super fun, but I really do love the result. Somewhere on my list of "to do" nails, I have a four-colour gradient lurking, with the colours picked out and everything, and I wouldn't be surprised if I added Fairy Dust to that too because Fairy Dust. Also on my "to do" list, Wayback Nails for June before June is almost gone!

28 May 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Spring to Summer

This week's TT theme is transitional shades from spring to summer, and for some reason, themes like this often end up being the hardest ones for me. I know there are such things as seasonal colours and polishes, and sometimes I even know what they are! But short of knowing when I can finally put the Christmas lights back up, actually paying attention to seasonal trends only ever really happens to me by accident. So, picking a specific shade that's not only seasonally appropriate but bridges the seasons? I pretty much stared at my Helmer and drew a blank.

I did have one quick, awesome choice, but it's a light, pretty teal...and that's my go-to shade for everything. So I gave it a little longer, mulled, spent way too long angsting over this simple question until almost in desperation, I reached blindly into my Big Box o' Untrieds and came out with...mint!

Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet swatch

This is three coats of the crisp, creamy, beautiful Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Mint Sorbet (which would be a ridiculously long moniker for royalty, let alone nail polish). Along with my long-time fave China Glaze Re-fresh Mint--which I totally would have spotted earlier if it weren't banished to my "only for nail art now because it's all gloopy and nearly gone" drawer--these bright, minty shades are a great choice for spring and summer! At least, as far as I know. But the softness of the pastel seems to have spring written all over it, and with a little bit of summer sun, I think it'd look amazing with a tan. Not that I can speak from any personal experience there, as the closest I ever get to "tan" is knocking out some of the blue... >_<

Why is it that the simple assignments always seem to flummox me? Do a crazy fish or a poison frog? I'll jump right in and give that a shot. Take things that don't match and make 'em work? I'll give it my best! But just picking a seasonally appropriate polish, for the time it actually is right now, gave me fits until I came up with Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet!

Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet swatch

Wow, I really hope this theme came easier for my other Twinsies. I'm looking forward to seeing what they picked!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Katherine at Haul of Fame
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

27 May 2013

Orange Roses on Skinfood BE002

Skinfood doesn't seem to update its polish selection very often, but that's fine with me--I'm still working my way through both the Vita and Milk Creamy lines and loving them! Today's nails started with Skinfood BE002 Coconut, and I'm guessing the "BE-" prefix stands for beige. It's a light cream creme, similar to OPI My Vampire is Buff but with a slight peach tint to it. Intrigued by that tint, I decided to lean into it, see if I couldn't play up the peach with some orange/tangerine rose nail art.

orange rose nail art on Skinfood BE002

This is three coats of Skinfood BE002 Coconut, which applied about as well as all of the Milk Creamy Nail shades I've tried before. Only "about" as well because there was some pulling on my second coat when I didn't let the first dry quite enough, but there's something about the brush and the consistency of Skinfood's polishes--we really do seem to get along with a minimum of fuss.

I actually felt like using polish for the roses this time, but since I don't have a lot of orange/peach shades, I went acrylic paints again.

orange rose nail art on Skinfood BE002

I reallyreally hope y'all aren't getting sick of floral nails because I'm not even close to tired of doing them!

26 May 2013

OPI My Very First Knockwurst

OHAI! I wandered away from my computer for a few days there and completely forgot to schedule posts for this week! I don't know what sort of maintenance my building's been doing lately, but this week it included bouts of no water, no elevators, and no lighting in the corridors, so we hit a nearby hotel. Honestly, I wouldn't hate it if there were some more maintenance on top because that place was awesome.

Anyway, careening back on course today with swatches of OPI My Very First Knockwurst!

OPI My Very First Knockwurst swatch

From the fall 2012 OPI Germany Collection, My Very First Knockwurst is a light, rosy pink with subtle, lilac undertones. It's very close to a nude on me and an easily work-appropriate shade, but those undertones and hint of dusty mauve also give it an intriguing bit of depth that keeps this pale pastel from becoming at all chalky or flat.

The formula was awesomely OPI. Three coats (+ SV) without patchiness or pulling. It's got a good beat, easy to dance to...I mean, good thickness, easy to control...and a lovely creme finish.

OPI My Very First Knockwurst swatch

OPI My Very First Knockwurst is not a typical shade for me, but while I bought it as a base for nail art and glitter, I wore it as a full manicure on its own for a day and a half without even wanting to put anything on top of it. This may have been an autumn shade, but it's a beautiful one for spring and summer!

One last thought I hesitated to mention, but then I remembered that I'm me...Seriously, OPI, the name? Ick. I know you're all about finding the most painful puns and awkward cultural references you possibly can, but this colour is much too pretty to be named after ground up meat. >_<

21 May 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Themes Revisited

For today's Twinsie Tuesday we're hitting the rewind button, revisiting any theme we particularly enjoyed. I tried to get Husband in on the action again, but I think he felt he'd already spent his artistic genius on The Bee. I was so tempted to do the floral nails theme again, but I do flowers all the time, so..."animal inspired" it is! Last August I had a blast trying to recreate the poisonous dart frog. This week I decided to go tropical fish. Specifically, this little dude.

source
The result was...interesting? I didn't recreate it very accurately, so my tropical fish kinda wandered into Van Gogh The Starry Night territory...

tropical fish nail art

...not that I'd have the first clue where to start if I'd meant to do something remotely Van Gogh on purpose! I'll take it, though. And it's still animal inspired, even if it didn't wind up in quite the same place it started.

tropical fish nail art

The base for these is China Glaze Splish Splash, which in addition to being brightly neon also has an amazing shimmer to it, which I tried to carry over to the acrylic paints, mixing in some silver and gold. Aaaand that's just about all I can think of to say about these because I'm still not quite sure what to make of them! They were a blast to do, though, and it was good to try something so different again. I really do enjoy getting outside my comfort zone once in a while!

Can't wait to see what themes everyone else decided to revisit this week!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Katherine at Haul of Fame
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

20 May 2013

Color Club Beyond

I think I've mentioned a time or five that the Color Club Halo Hues are fabulous? Well, Beyond is no exception. Charcoal grey-black, it's easily the darkest of the Halo Hues and doesn't throw off quite the dazzling, holographic rainbow flare of the others in this collection, but that's such a relative comparison--we're still talking Halo Hues, and from my experience, that means we're still talking about a base level of awesomeness that other linear holo collections are hard-pressed to match.

Color Club Beyond swatch

This is three coats of Color Club Beyond, but two was totally sufficient. Again, this is simply my regular lightbox setup, since sunlight has been a rare commodity in Hongkers for the past couple of months, and this is pretty much indicative of how Beyond looks in regular room lighting. Not as intensely rainbow-hued as the others in this collection, but given its smoky, grey-black colour, that's not a huge surprise.

Color Club Halo Hues Beyond swatch

One of the things I've particularly appreciated about the Halo Hues is that unlike a lot of other linear holographic polishes, you don't need any special base coat to bring out their colourful flare, and top coat doesn't diminish the holo in a significant way. Actually, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri did just a bit, when I experimented with a few, but the coverage on these is so great that even if you do get some fading when you top coat, you can just pop another swipe of the holo over it to get right back to peak fabulousness.

Color Club Beyond swatch

I may swatch Beyond again once the sun quits playing coy, just to see the difference in full sunlight, but I kinda like the more subtle rainbow this one gives off. Honestly it's still as strong as, or stronger than, any non-Halo Hue holo I've tried so far, but with the darker base colour, the shades it gives off are more like primary colours, and against the greyish-black, they look pretty dang swell.

18 May 2013

Color Club New Bohemian

When I first picked up Color Club New Bohemian on my last shopping trip, I had a brief moment where I thought, "Don't I already have a lot of similar polishes?" but that nonsense was quickly squashed. Of course I have some similar polishes. Because I love them. And there is always room for more.

Color Club New Bohemian swatch

This is three coats of Color Club New Bohemian, from the autumn 2011 Back to Boho Collection (and thanks very much to my dyslexia, which twice had me just type that as "Back to Hobo"). With an even first coat, you could easily get away with two for daily wear, but since some of my first was a bit streaky--as first coats often are--I did a good three before I was ready to top coat and take pics. New Bohemian also dries to a semi-matte finish, but SV popped the creamy shine right up.

Color Club New Bohemian swatch

Similar to my favourite shades like China Glaze For Audrey and Skinfood Green Bean Milk, New Bohemian skews just a bit more green, with a slightly dusty, vintage feel. It's like antique jade and teal had a gorgeous baby, and I want to paint flowers all over its little face.

(Note to self: wear this again, and paint flowers all over its face.)

Am I ever going to have enough turquoises and minty teals? No. No, I am not.  And I'm okay with that.

16 May 2013

White Flowers on Zoya Minka

Technically they're "mostly white with some cream mixed in to make them sort of vanilla," but that's a bit long for a post title... Anyway, after spending a day with Zoya Minka, I decided it was time to dress up this warm neutral with some floral nail art, taking this tutorial by Robin Moses as inspiration.

floral nail art on Zoya Minka

So many miles away from Robin's beautiful original, but I absolutely loved these! From arm's length, any little flaws or hiccups just melted away, and they looked like a sort of delicate wallpaper design, maybe something you'd see from Laura Ashley. Robin calls them wedding nails, and with the soft, shimmery base she used for hers, I can totally see it.

white flower nail art on Zoya Minka

I really need to do a whole Robin Moses week soon. I have so many of her tutorials saved in my "Ooh, do this!" folder and bookmarked all over the place. She makes it all look so easy, and even when her designs are still totally beyond me, I feel like I pick up so much about nail art just from watching.

By the way, yes, I did this on my other hand too, and no, they weren't as good. But they were much better than I thought they'd be! Lefty still has a lot of catching up to do, but the practice is actually starting to pay off, and that really makes me feel good.

14 May 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Oldest Untried

This week's Twinsie Tuesday theme is our oldest untried polish, and for me that was OPI Extra-Va-Vaganza!. At least, I'm pretty sure it was. My collection only goes back a couple of years at most, and I definitely remember this being an early addition...

OPI Extra-Va-Vaganza! swatch

Extra-Va-Vaganza! is from the OPI Burlesque Collection, from late 2010. I didn't buy it until sometime in the spring of 2011. It came in a little Christmas-printed mesh bag along with Glow Up Already! and Sparkle-icious, both of which I've worn before, but this brassy-copper orange mix just hadn't quite grabbed me yet.

In all honesty, I probably wouldn't have bought this one on its own, but I spotted this threesome while my polish addiction was still all fancy and new and pretty much went, "ZOMG, sparkly!" I have to say, though, that I was really pleased with how much I liked this one. Much more even than these pictures show, the shimmering sparkle is just fantastic.

OPI Extra-Va-Vaganza! swatch

Three coats gave great, full coverage, and it wasn't until I had this one on and looking closely that I really noticed just how many colours are actually in there--in addition to the rusty orange, there's also silver, yellow, pink, green, and blue. And it's worth repeating that this is one of those polishes that looks much better in real life than in pictures. It may not have captivated me in the bottle, but there's a warm, dazzling glow to Extra-Va-Vaganza! that is definitely going to see this on my nails again come autumn.

Looking forward to seeing what blasts from the past the other Twinsies have in store for today!


Amanda at Amandalandish
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Katherine at Haul of Fame
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

11 May 2013

Guest Post at Peace, Love and Polish

Today I'm very excited to be a guest at Peace, Love and Polish!

spring flower nail art

Heather is truly one of my favourite bloggers, and I'm so happy to be able to help pitch in while she adjusts to life with her beautiful new baby boy. Congratulations, Heather, and all the best! ♥

10 May 2013

Color Club Miss Bliss

What can I say about Color Club Miss Bliss that I haven't said about all of the Halo Hues polishes? Honestly, this entire line has been fabulous. The weather here has continued dreary for weeks on end, but that didn't stop me from wearing another one of these gorgeous holos because I remembered my lesson from Kismet--bright sunlight is always a plus, but these Halo Hues don't need it to look fantastic.

Color Club Miss Bliss swatch

This is two coats of Miss Bliss, and sure enough, it shines like a boss, even indoors. And this isn't even direct light or camera flash--the linear holo just that freaking awesome. If memory serves, Miss Bliss is the third pink Color Club has released among the Halo Hues. Where Halo-Graphic is the darker of the first two pinks, Miss Bliss is even more so. And instead of being softly, dusty pink like Halo-Graphic, Miss Bliss is brightly pigmented with a vibrant, cool tone. So yes, I absolutely need them both.

Color Club Miss Bliss swatch

One of the things I'm absolutely loving about this collection is that while the colours are still softer than the ones I usually wear, the combination of these colours with the incredible linear holographic flare is so appealing! Then again, I'd love this kind of holo-kablam with just about any colour out there, so pretty much, as long as Color Club keeps making these, I'm going to keep buying them because I'm officially hooked. Well played, Color Club!

Color Club Miss Bliss swatch

For this last picture I folded back my high-tech light-diffusing pillowcase, and while you can see a little bit of a difference, I'm afraid the true extent of the rainbow fire was just too much for my camera to handle. Everything it couldn't fathom it turned a bright, periwinkle blue, and then it went to have a nice lie-down in a dark, quiet room. Fortunately it's feeling much better now because I still have a couple more of these Halo Hues left to try!

08 May 2013

Ikat Nails on China Glaze For Audrey

ELLE Magazine was apparently already talking about how popular ikat was in 2010. I don't really keep up with trends (except for Hansel. He's so hot right now.), but it wasn't long ago that this textile technique made the leap to nail art. I've seen several fantastic examples, and I love how versatile this particular pattern is. Deep and dramatic or bright and cheerful, it's a really fun look, and this tutorial by Kayla Shevonne made it quick and easy to do!

ikat nails on China Glaze For Audrey

I started with a base of my favourite polish ever, China Glaze For Audrey. Per the tutorial, once that was dry, I added some triangular patches of white with a striper polish (Sinful Colors Bad Chick), and then I used a small art brush to add smaller, diamond-ish patches of China Glaze Pink Plumeria. My Orly Jet Black striper finished out the centers and edges, and that was pretty much it!

ikat nails on China Glaze For Audrey

Next time I think I'll go even bolder with the colours. I'd forgotten that Pink Plumeria, a bright, neon coral, can fade to a more subtle pink over white if you don't use it "full strength," so the combination isn't quite as striking as I'd originally intended. I still think these colours look great together, though, so that's not really a complaint. I'm just already looking forward to next time because they were really fun. And they're not too tricky for my non-dominant hand either, which is always a plus. Thanks for a great tutorial, Kayla Shevonne!

07 May 2013

Twinsie Tuesday: Fishtail

For this week's Twinsie Tuesday we're doing fishtail nails! I expect we'll probably see some different designs, since "fishtail" means different things to different people, but to me it's a manicure with curved chevron tips, a shape that looks a bit like an actual fish's tail.

This is the first time I've done a fishtail manicure...unless you count the two I did right before this one that turned out just tragically...so I guess it's better to say these are the first fishtail nails that I didn't immediately nuke before the polish could dry. This time went much better after I watched Sarah's tutorial at Chalkboard Nails.

fishtail nails

Since my first tries were ridiculously thick by the time I hit the tips, I chose these colours based on knowing that Skinfood BL514 is a good one-coater and worked backwards from there. The base is OPI Did It On 'Em, from the 2012 Nicki Minaj collection, and the lighter teal is Essie Where's My Chauffeur? (which, I don't like it when polish names end in punctuation because then it looks weird when I add a full-stop afterwards...but now that I've rambled about it in parentheses, it's not really an issue anymore, so take that, grammar!).

I'm sorry, grammar, you know I love you. Let's never fight again.

fishtail manicure

I need a lot more practice to get this technique down, given how hard it is for me to do things like eyeball the middle of my nail and make even lines (they're only slightly less difficult for me than open-heart surgery while climbing Mt. Everest). Still, it's definitely one I'll try again!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else did for their fishtail nails--including our three new Twinsies I'm so excited to welcome! Kelly from Tuxarina, Lakeisha from Refined & Polished, and Traci from DrinkCitra!



Amanda at Amandalandish
Anna at Going to the Showing
Anne at Grape Fizz Nails
Brandi at The Beaulieu Review
Chelsea at Nailed Blog
ChiChi at I'm Just Me...ChiChi
Cordia at Seriously Swatched
Elizabeth at Did My Nails
Jamie at Polish, Please!
Katherine at Haul of Fame
Kelly at Tuxarina
Lakeisha at Refined & Polished
Maribeth at Obsessive Cosmetic Hoarders Unite
Marisa at Polish Obsession
Meredith at Polish and Charms
Nory at Fierce Makeup and Nails
Rachel at Top Coat It
Sarah at See Sarah Swatch
Traci at DrinkCitra

06 May 2013

Lacquerhead Polish Confetti Cake

Lacquerhead Polish Confetti Cake makes me happy. I wanted to come up with some witty, erudite intro to start things off, but that's pretty much the bottom line. This adorable nail polish just plain makes me happy. It also makes me want Bruster's Birthday Cake ice cream, but I'm glad to report that I was able to refrain--if only just barely--from tasting my nails because nail polish is not a delicious treat. But back to the happy...!

Lacquerhead Polish Confetti Cake swatch

Lacquerhead Polish Confetti Cake is a white crelly polish infused with tiny, multi-coloured glitter. I started with a base of white, but it really wasn't necessary. Three coats of Confetti Cake was enough to build to a nice opacity and layer up these sweet little rainbow dots. And the formula was great as well! Thick enough to control but thin enough to flow evenly, and the glitter spread naturally without any need to corral it into place. The glitter also settled well without sinking into the base, and just one coat of SV made it nice and smooth.

Lacquerhead Polish Confetti Cake swatch

Close-up it absolutely looks like confetti-sprinkled cake (or cookies or cupcakes or that ice cream and yeah, pretty much hungry all over again now), but it's also really cute at a distance as well. The white is bright but not garish, and the little dots give it a nice bit of colour and texture. This is the first Lacquerhead Polish I've tried, and it won't be my last!

Lacquerhead Polish can be found on Etsy.

05 May 2013

Dress Up 38 Suede

A little while back, during my Purple Week, I tried a polish from Dress Up, a brand I'd never heard of before. 27 Suede was an impulse buy, but I was so smitten that I had to go back and grab a couple more...and then they promptly got lost in the vast wilderness that is my Big Box o' Untrieds. I finally unearthed the first of them this week, though, and once again, it's love.

Dress Up 38 Suede gold

Continuing this brand's poetic naming scheme, this is Dress Up 38 Suede (or Suede 38, really no idea), a matte golden polish with an insane silver/platinum shimmer. Just like 27, the bright, grape purple, 38 applied like butter and had a velvet-smooth finish. Unfortunately the brush was curled under and bent, making application something of a challenge, but it wasn't too bad since 38's foil-like, particulate formula was easy to control.

Dress Up 38 Suede gold

This is three coats of Dress Up 38 Suede. Perhaps I could have done just two with a better brush, but three was easy enough to manage and quick enough to dry, and it was well worth it to make sure that the coverage of this soft, neutral gold was nice and even. With all these particles ranging from platinum white to nearly copper, it makes me wonder what OPI Designer...de Better! might look like as a suede. And on the subject of the particles, macro shot!


I wore it all matte and velvet-y soft and loved it to bits, but before I took it off, I hit it with some top coat, just to see...turned out I wasn't ready to take it off yet after all.

Dress Up 38 Suede gold

I limited myself to just two of these on my second trip because I didn't want to go too crazy with them, but I'm thinking a little more crazy just might be in order.

02 May 2013

Vintage Flower Nails with Lace

I can't even believe it, but Did My Nails is a year old today! I wanted to do something fun to celebrate, something related to the cherry blossom nails I did for my very first post. I already revisited that design a few months ago, so I wanted today's nails to be a little different... And then I remembered a picture I'd stashed away in my "Ooh, do this thing!" folder.

source

This vintage 1928 poster/calendar is for Kwong Sang Hong Ltd., parent company of Hong Kong cosmetics brand Two Girls. Every now and then I'll look at something and immediately think, "Ooh, I gotta put that on my nails!" I so wanted to include the gazebo and the mountains the rocks, but I figured I'd be better off sticking with the bits I can actually, y'know, do. Anyway, here's what I came up with!

vintage flower and lace nail art

The soft, minty base is Essie Mint Candy Apple, which always surprises me by being just a bit bluer than I expect it to, but I just love this shade. I was a little stumped at first by what to use for the slightly reflective, dark grey but also kind of hinting at brownish fabric, but then I spotted Chanel Graphite just sitting on top of my Helmer, looking all sort of patiently smug at me like it knew I'd be needing it. (Does your polish smirk at you too, or is that something I need to be worried about?)

vintage flower and lace nail art

Everything else is acrylic paint I mixed up to (hopefully) match. This was most definitely some of the smallest detailing I've done. Might've over-stylized the larger flowers and didn't quite stick the squiggly lines that way I wanted to, but I was uber-excited about how the lace "overlay" came out...to which Husband can attest, given the number of times I walked up to him and shouted, "Lookit, lookit! Scrolley bits!"

I'm such a grown-up, y'all.

vintage flower and lace nail art

Before I sign off, I want to say thank you so, so much to every single person who's visited Did My Nails and helped make this an amazing year! To my fabulous Tuesday Twinsies; to the wonderful bloggers I've had the chance to meet; to everyone who's dropped by, left a comment and maybe even decided to follow Did My Nails. Thank you, all of you, so very much!
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