31 Day Challenge, Day 24-Inspired by a book

Today’s challenge was another tough one to decide a theme for, because there are so many books that I’ve read and loved throughout my life.  I thought about the big ones–Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings–but it came down to either a childhood favorite or what I’m currently reading.  But as much fun as an archaeology themed mani would be, I went with the childhood favorite: The Black Stallion by Walter Farley.  Well, more specifically, The Black Stallion and Satan.

This book was one of my favorites in the Black Stallion series because it finally brought together The Black and his first colt, Satan, in a race to see which was the fastest race horse in the world (because even as a kid I knew none of the other horses would win).  A plot twist in the form of an illness causes all of the horses to be quarantined, but a fire starts in the stable where the horses are being kept.  In order to save them all, Alec Ramsey (the protagonist of the series) released the horses to run from the fire on their own, so the much-anticipated race still happened.  I remember being so excited when it turned out that The Black was faster than Satan, even with the handicap of having a rider!  It was one of my favorite moments in the entire Black Stallion series, which is really saying something because I loved all of those books.  Still do, actually.

And with that lengthy summary of my inspiration out of the way, here is my attempt at the fire-induced race.


The colors used here are Pure Ice Hot Tamale, Revlon Parfumerie Sunlit Grass, Revlon Parfumerie Italian Leather, and Kleancolor Black.

I will admit, I didn’t put much effort into these.  Not exaggerating, I think I put more effort into remembering details for that summary than into this nail art.  I sat down, threw on the background, and painted the horses in ten minutes (tops).  Even so, this look is not too bad.  I possibly should have chosen another book (series) though.  Because even though I’m capable of drawing horses relatively well, that didn’t translate so well to painting on my nails, even as silhouettes.  I like the overall effect though.  The fiery forest turned out well, I think.

I do, however, like them better when they have just The Black and Alec.  Not so much confusion because of multiple silhouettes.




So today was a good day.  There are certainly issues with this mani, but I am mostly happy with it.  I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge though.  It’s inspired by fashion, and I am going to go outside the box.  I’m excited to see how my idea pans out!

31 Day Challenge, Day 23-Inspired by a movie

Going into today’s challenge, I had no clue what movie I was going to use.  I thought about a few across different genres–Boondock Saints, Howl’s Moving Castle, Lion King–but I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of them.  I finally settled on Anastasia, but I really wish that I had kept thinking about it.  Because after I started these almost-disasters, I thought of a few good ones (The Croods, The Princess and the Frog, Avengers).  I may revisit those ideas in the future, but in the mean time, I’m stuck with these Anastasia-inspired nails for today.

I chose Revlon Parfumerie Italian Leather and LynBDesigns Battle Dress as the background colors based on the ‘dark vs. light’ concept and because I didn’t want to go black vs. white.  Italian Leather turned out to be a good choice, but despite the fact that Battle Dress is a beautiful polish, it doesn’t contrast the gold of the nail art well enough.  Oh well.  Lots of colors used today, so aside from the base colors, I’ll list them individually.

Index: Sally Hansen I ❤ Nail Art white striper, Essie In Stitches, Kleancolor Pastel Pink, Zoya Carey, and Kleancolor Black.

Middle: Covergirl Constant Caribbean, Candie’s Dinner Party, and a Pure Ice gold (which, after finally doing research, I discovered might be called Jaguar, so I’m going with that)

Ring: Pure Ice Jaguar, Candie’s Dinner Party, China Glaze Four Leaf Clover, Revlon Parfumerie Italian Leather, Sally Hansen I ❤ Nail Art white striper

Pinky: Bourjois Paris So Lacque Lime Catwalk, Sinful Colors Exotic Green, Kleancolor Black

31DC-Day-23-Anastasia-nails-1(Direct sunlight)

31DC-Day-23-Anastasia-nails-2(Indoor shot to reduce the shine a bit)

I don’t like them.  Plain and simple.  They probably aren’t as awful as I think they are, but I just cannot make myself like them.  My Bartok looks like he either had a bad face lift or took some really nasty drugs.  The other three (the ‘Together in Paris’ necklace, the music box, and Rasputin’s reliquary) just don’t appeal either and I don’t even really know why.  They’re not bad though, I will at least say that.

And as with any of my bad nail art attempts, I tried to make it better with a matte coat.



That strategy was only mildly successful in this case.  I like that it sort of helped Bartok not look so bad, but the dullness that comes with a matte coat is not such a great thing here, since two of the movie items that are featured are made of gold and jewels, and the other glows.  Shine was my friend in this rare case.

I know this post probably comes off a little negative, but I am not the type to claim to love something when I honestly don’t.  And I am a firm believer in posting my mistakes (as should be obvious by this point).  But, I at least got something done for the day’s challenge, and even if I don’t like them, I am still proud that I took a risk for the challenge.

Now, looking to tomorrow.  The challenge is going to be ‘inspired by a book,’ and I’ve picked a difficult one.  So tomorrow may be a bit disappointing too, but the suspense is half the fun!

31 Day Challenge, Day 22-Inspired by a song

I think I might have a good one today!  The challenge today was supposed to be inspired by a song, but I couldn’t pick one myself.  So, I opened up my iTunes, set it on shuffle and got extraordinarily lucky!  The first song to come up was the Transformers Theme (the one by Mute Math, from the first live action movie).  I could definitely work with that.

I ended up keeping things simple though, and only did the Autobot and Decepticon emblems.  Base color of Kleancolor Silver Spark, and the emblems themselves in Kleancolor Red and Love Affair.




These turned out surprisingly well, especially the Decepticon one!  I had a few issues with the Autobot one, particularly with the eyes, but I still think that it looks pretty good.  I am glad I went with a foil base color instead of black.  It adds a bit of metal to the Transformers theme, which is appropriate for ‘robots in disguise.’

Tomorrow’s mani will be inspired by a movie, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do yet.  Should be fun, right?

31 Day Challenge, Day 21-Inspired by a color

Wow, not only did  my original plans for today get massively derailed, I almost forgot to do a blog post!  Still managed to get it in on time though! 😀

I fully intended to go a little geeky and use the precious gems tutorial on Chalkboard nails to make green rupees from Legend of Zelda, but my family decided to drag me outside for a family pool day.  So in order to appease both my family and my challenge, I gathered up some supplies and did a simpler design while in the pool (which was still not easy!).

In the spirit of summer and laying out by the pool, I settled on doing nail art inspired by the classic green margarita.  I mixed China Glaze Gaga for Green and Bourjois Paris So Lacque Lime Catwalk to make a nice non-neon lime green, then stamped limes on my middle and pinky fingers with Essie Stylenomics.  And since margarita glasses are rimmed with salt, I added salt to the tips of my index and ring nails.  Yep, that’s actually salt.




Not bad for nail art done hanging over the side of the pool.  My stamps didn’t transfer so well, but I find myself not really caring all that much.  I think this mani is cute.  It looks much nicer than my lobster-red sunburn at least.  Less painful too.

Speaking of pain, tomorrow’s challenge is inspired by a song.  I already set my iTunes on shuffle to choose the song, and wow did it choose a good one!  Difficult, but good.

31 Day Challenge, Day 20-Watermarbled nails

Why do watermarbled nails have to look so pretty but be such a pain?  They can be so easy to do and turn out great, but the clean up makes it almost not worth it in the end.  Even using glue or tape is still annoying.  I would probably experiment a little more with this technique if it weren’t for that little issue.

Regardless, it was somewhat fun to try out today’s idea.  I thought about doing really bright nails for a summer look, but the polishes I picked out originally didn’t spread so well in the water.  So I switched tactics, went with a color combination that I love, and went for marbled tips instead.  I used Essie Blanc as a base white, and then my marbling colors were Sally Hansen Pacific Blue and China Glaze Four Leaf Clover.




With all the trouble I normally have with watermarbled nails, these were unexpected (to say the least).  I managed to get just enough of a design in the small space, and the colors stand out from each other well enough.  My only issue is the areas where my base white is clearly showing on the arch.  I tried to get rid of it, but each swipe of my brush just caused more to appear.  It still looks good, but I know for next time not to use a white base color.  I did try to cover the white with a blue line though, to neaten things up a bit.



Honestly, I think I like the original version better.  Live and learn, right?

Tomorrow starts the final third of the challenge, and it is being kicked off with a mani inspired by a color.


Double post! SIMPLES week 8-dots within dots, and 31 Day Challenge, Day 19-Galaxy nails

This week’s SIMPLES lesson (here) was on doing dots within dots to create a sort of ringed effect.  This is one type of dotting that I have never really been a fan of.  It has to be done just right in order to look good, and I just generally don’t like it.  My own attempt did not improve my feeling toward doing dots within dots.  I used ellagee On Wednesdays We Wear Pink and Dollish Polish Totes Magotes for this.





I think my original dot placement was not so great, and that might be the main reason that I dislike this nail art.  My ‘rings’ are actually pretty good though, which I’m pleased about.  There is one thing that I absolutely love about this mani though: On Wednesdays We Wear Pink.  I recently won this polish (along with the rest of the I Have ESPN Box (Boo, You Whore! and That’s So Fetch)) in a giveaway hosted by I Feel Polished.  I hope to use Boo, You Whore! soon enough, and That’s So Fetch is actually used in my challenge mani today.  But for now, look at the shine on this polish!  This holo is amazing.

To show you just how amazing, here are a few matte nails.  I was curious to see if the holographic effect would show through a matte coat, and since I had this one my nails already I thought I would satisfy my curiosity.  The matte coat is on the pinky and middle fingers, and even though it obviously dulls the polish, the holo is still surprisingly strong.  I am very impressed.  I don’t know if all holos retain that beautiful rainbow through a matte coat, but I am curious to find out.  Just look at how pretty it still is!  I never thought I would get so excited over a pink nail polish.  By the way, I had to do a second because I smashed two of the nails, but this polish would have been suitably opaque in one coat, in my opinion.



But enough raving about my new amazing polish.  I still have to show off my challenge mani for the day.  So here are my galaxy nails!






Lovely, nerdy goodness!  Ignoring the scale issues of these ships, we have here the Doctor’s TARDIS, the Millenium Falcon, and the USS Enterprise.  I was originally going to include the Serenity as well, but even a silhouette of that ship is difficult (plus I received my ellagee polishes and wanted to use That’s So Fetch).  I am ridiculously pleased with this mani.  Last time I tried galaxy nails, they didn’t really look like galaxy nails.  I don’t particularly like my use of silver glitter as stars (it’s too dense), but the paint job underneath and the TARDIS, Millenium Falcon, and Enterprise more than make up for it.

I used a lot of polishes to make the galaxies, even if most aren’t clearly visible.  I started with Essie Midnight Cami as a base blue, the sponged on a Sally Hansen Lustre Shine called Firefly (to make up for the lack of Serenity!), China Glaze Gothic Lolita, China Glaze Gaga for Green, Essie Fiesta, and Pure Ice Hot Tamale.  Then if I didn’t like how it looked, I added more Firefly or Gothic Lolita.  I’m really happy about the decision to use Firefly, because it is a duochrome that adds a nice bit of shine.  The stars are Kleancolor Silver Glitter.

But now let us talk about ellagee That’s So Fetch.  I have to say up front that I dislike polishes with weird shapes in them.  This polish has stars and large circles and squares, and I was fully prepared to hate it.

Really though, what is with these ellagee polishes taking sucker punches?  That’s So Fetch turned out to be really pretty, and it is in fact the stars and lavender squares that turned out to be my favorites of the glitters packed into this polish (which also included small and large holo circles and some small hexes, as far as I can tell).  In my last photo there, it’s shown in one coat over Essie Midnight Cami, and in the other photos it’s two coats. The pictures really don’t do it justice though.

And I am going to stop myself here before I start fangirling and speaking in broken sentences.  Tomorrow’s challenge is watermarbling and I am praying I come out of the experience without stained skin.

[EDIT 8/16/2014  The full I Have ESPN collection was recently released, and On Wednesdays We Wear Pink was changed to a lighter pink.  My version of the color is in fact also called Hear Me Roar and pre-existed the I Have ESPN collection, which is why On Wednesdays We Wear Pink was changed.  My glitter polish also came with the label ‘That’s So Fetch,’ but the polish was officially released as So Fetch.  Just FYI if anyone was wondering why my color/info is different from other swatches and reviews.]

31 Day Challenge, Day 18-Half moons

I had two ideas for today, but finally decided to just pick one instead of making this overly complicated with two (yet again).  Plus my second idea was to turn my half moons into planets, which is a little too close to tomorrow’s theme.  So, I went with my original idea and turned my half moons into suns!  I got the idea from the way I used to draw when I was a kid, where the sun always had orange triangular ‘rays,’ the clouds were always puff balls, and the flowers always had round petals.

I used Maybelline Color Show Electric Yellow for the half moons, then added Kleancolor Beach Blue for the sky and Kleancolor Tangerine Burst for the rays.  The grass was made with China Glaze Gaga for Green and Sinful Colors Exotic Green, the flowers with Kleancolor Barbie Pink, and the clouds with Essie Blanc.




I really like this nail art.  Not in a ‘wow, that’s some serious artwork’ sort of way, but in a ‘what a cute throwback to my childhood’ way.  I think that’s why I liked my 4th of July fireworks nails too.  I like incorporating memories into my nail art.  It’s fun.  The two cloud nails are my favorite though, because I didn’t even like how my kiddie flowers looked when I was little. 😛

I did notice that some spots looked a little bumpy with the shiny top coat, so I matte coated it too.  But even though the matte evened things out a bit, it did dull the colors.  Normally I am perfectly happy with that effect, but this is one of those rare occasions where I prefer the shiny.  Kiddie drawings should be bright!



Tune in tomorrow for galaxy nails!  Plus this week’s SIMPLES mani (I’m cutting it a little close this week)!