Thursday, January 31, 2013

8:42 PM

Get Naked Challenge results

     So as some of you may have read, I participated in a 3-day challenge using Pure cuticle oil from Simple Nail Art Tips.  Well, the results are in! But before we get to that, I have a few things you need to read.

     Ana Seidel of and   has created a nut-free cuticle oil that I fell in love with after just a few applications. I have the "crisp" scented one and it is wonderful. Nothing too strong but also no medicine smell like other cuticle treatments I've tried. If you're interested in purchasing some for yourself you can do so here at
The Initial Hydration Treatment was the Challenge that Ana put out for people to try. This is a 3-day treatment that requires you to have naked nails the entire time. These are the instructions that came with my refill order.

"Your nails will absorb the oil like a sponge so you will be reapplying frequently. It is best to use the oil bottle for this treatment. Otherwise, you will use up the pen in one day."
1. Remove all nail polish.
2. Brush oil all over your nail, cuticle, sidewalls and under your free edge of the nail.
3. Periodically through the next hour or two, rub the surface oil into your nails. Each time you do this your nails will feel less oily.
4. When you feel the oil has been absorbed and your nails aren't oily, reapply.
5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 for the first three days. When you get to the point that it takes your nails 4 hours or more to absorb the oil, you can move to the basic daily application.

     I want to remind you of what my nails looked like before I started the treatment.

     As you can see they were in terrible condition. Very dry and screaming for some TLC. The cold Minnesota winter has taken its toll on my hands this year. It would probably help if I wore gloves but I feel clumsy in them, and I'm stubborn.

     I have to tell you that I was a naughty lacquerista and didn't follow the instructions. I really couldn't with the job that I have. I was informed by my boss that since I mix paint and stock food for most of my shift,  he didn't want to run the risk of the oil getting into the paint or touching the food.

*side note* While the oil smells absolutely delicious it does not taste that way.
I may have found this out the hard way..... twice.

     So what I did was an application right away in the morning while I was getting everyone ready for school. On a break at work I would apply a small amount just around the cuticles that I could rub in quickly. About a half an hour before bed I would do another application rub it in slightly and then let it soak in for 30 minutes before crawling into bed.

     Unfortunately I had 2 nails break on Monday so I had to trim my nails down to nubbins during the challenge but the results are still clearly visible. The skin around my nails is softer, and not as ragged. My cuticles look better all around and the dry patches on my nails are gone. Even the natural nail coloring is better. I wish I was able to do the full treatment, I'm sure my nails would be in even better shape than this! My plan right now is to keep up the treatment schedule I have been using for the rest of the week and then resume my normal polishing. I am so grateful that Ana sent me a pen to try before this was available for sale. I really think this is a great product and know that once you try it, you will never want to use another cuticle treatment again.

     And now, just because I can, I'm going to leave you with a comparison picture of day 1 and day 3 so you can really see the difference for yourself.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

7:41 PM

The Lets Get Naked Challenge

     Now-now-now don't let the title fool you, I'm not trying to promote everyone stripping down to their birthday suits and strutting around. What I am doing is having naked nails for 3 days while I use Pure Cuticle oil from Simple Nail Art Tips. This stuff is seriously amazing. I first got a chance to try it last summer when Ana was nice enough to send me a sample before it was available for sale. I would apply it once a night while I caught up on my TV shows and before long I saw a huge difference in my nails and the skin around. What I didn't realize at that time was that I was hardly using any oil at all when I was applying it. That got me thinking.... if it could do such an amazing job the way I was using it, then it must do miracles when applied correctly. And then Ana offered up this challenge which can be found here.
   With the extremely cold weather, we've had here lately and the amount of swatching I've done my nails are in need of some serious TLC so I'm going to do the challenge. Here is a picture of my nails before starting the 3-day hydration treatment.

   As you can see these are in some pretty rough shape. I have peeling on my middle finger and they are very very dry. Even the skin around my nails is beaten up. I can't wait to see what they look like after I'm done with this challenge and I will post a picture of the results for you all to see.

Friday, January 18, 2013

11:03 PM

600 Facebook "Likes" Giveaway!!!! {Closed}

I am just so excited to have reached this milestone. I wanted to give something back to show my appreciation. If I could give each and every one of you a little something I would but sadly that is not a possibility for me. But I can do the next best thing and hold a small giveaway with 2 winners.
The first winner will get their choice of the 2 prizes offered and the 2nd winner will get the other one.
Ready to see the prizes?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10:15 AM

My Polish Diet

   As I sit and admire my polish collection I can't help but feel a little guilty. While it's something that brings me pleasure I have to admit I went more than overboard last year with my purchases. I have over 100 Sinful colors polishes. Granted I got most of them during their $.99 sales but not all of them. But for giggles let's say I only paid $.99 for each of them, that's over $100 in a year! Not to mention all the other polishes I accumulated. I went from having maybe a dozen bottles to over 400.


   As some of you know I am a single mom to 3 children. But what most of you don't know is that I've been living in the basement apt of my parent's house since my divorce almost 3 years ago. Completely rent free I might add. I don't want to get into a big sob story here but the short and sweet version is that my ex-decided one day that he didn't really want to be a father anymore and doesn't really support his kids. Me being stupid and just wanting the whole thing to be over with settled for much less than I should have as far as child support goes. I must admit it was partly out of stubborn pride also. Basically, I didn't want to have to depend on him if he didn't want to be a daddy.

     End sob story...

   Now I'm back to working full time and my goal is to finally get a place of my own and I know I'm going to need to save save save to do it. But I don't want to give up polish completely. I know I have more than enough polish to last a lifetime but there's something thrilling about finding that color you've been looking for or scoring a great deal. My polish obsession is one of the few things that I get to do for myself that brings me some joy. Nail art is a way for me to escape the real world for a little while and help recharge my batteries.

   So my plan of attack to help bring my goal into reality without having to completely give up my hobby is simple. I'm going to try and go this entire year without paying full price for polish or nail accessories. (brushes, decals, tape, etc...) There will probably be a few exceptions to this for limited editions but those are going to be long and thought out purchases. If I have a gift card to use than that won't count as my money being spent so those will be reserved for full price purchases, otherwise it's the clearance racks for me this year.

  Now I have a few things to help me out already. For instance, I use swag bucks. Its a search engine just like Google. If I need to look something up I use this engine and randomly "swag bucks" will be awarded. I used those virtual "swag bucks" to purchase gift cards. It takes a while to earn enough bucks but I'm willing to put in the work for free polish. If you'd like to give swag bucks a try here is my referral link ...

   I do get matching bucks for every one you earn (Up to 500) while searching, I just wanted to put that out there and be honest with you from the get go.

  I'll keep you all updated on how my polish diet is going throughout the year and hopefully be able to share some great polish deals with you along the way. Feel free to ask me how it's going to help keep me motivated.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

6:26 PM

My First Robin Moses inspired design

I know I'm not alone when I say I sit in awe of Robin Moses's work. I see pictures of her nail art and my jaw hits the floor and I think "how?" Well, I sat down the other day and actually watched one of her videos for the first time. It was the one for the Japanese Flower Vase.
The video can be found here if you'd like to check it out.
Well naturally she makes it look so easy I found myself thinking "well even I can do that."
So I set out to see if I really could. First I started with my base coat. So far so good, I can paint plain black onto a nail wheel.  I didn't take a picture of that I'm counting on your imagination for this part.

     Then came time to sponge the gold glitter onto the nail. Ok it's not exactly like Robins but I can work with it..This is good, Ive got the second step done and no major mistakes. Im still on track and this is going to be amazing when it's done!

 Next it was time to make my "stems". Ive mixed my green and white acrylic paint to just the right color. Hmmmm I swear I made the same strokes she did but mine look nothing like hers...not to worry I can still see this looking fabulous when done. Flowers don't grow in straight lines after all right.


      Onward to the leaves still feeling confident in my attempt. I added a bit more green for contrast and placed my leaves along the stems. Well, this isn't looking quite right but I'm on a roll now and just keep on going.

Now you'll have to forgive me here. I was on such a roll at this point that I forgot to take pictures of the next steps but that is where I started to go slightly wrong. Once again placement is my enemy and my finished product ended looking like the first feebled attempt that it is. But I know what I did wrong and how to fix it and that's what's important. I am no Robin Moses but I look forward to trying this design again and am thankful I was able to learn from my mistakes so that next time it can be even better. Are you ready for the finished product? Ladies and Gentleman, I give you.......

What do you think of my first Inspired by Robin Moses Attempt? Is this a design you would try?

4:34 PM

My Obsession with Nail Polish

     Most of us have memories of our mothers painting our nails at a young age or getting our very own bottle of polish for the first time. My mom seemed to only like red nail polish so the few times she would paint my nails my color options were limited. In fact, I grew up thinking nails should really only be painted red or pink and my first few bottles were in fact shades of pink. If you've followed my  Facebook page for any length of time you will notice that my collection still mainly consists of pink polish in some form or other.

     I grew up pretty much a tomboy and only painted my nails on rare occasion. I was proud of the fact that I could hold my own against the boys in a way I still kind of am.   I was also a huge nail biter. If there was a free edge to be found I would bite it off. Not exactly a great canvas for nail polish if you know what I mean. At the age of 18, I decided that the nail-biting had to stop because I wanted nice, long pretty nails. And boy did my nails grow, but I was never good at maintaining them. They would be different lengths, if one broke I left the others. My cuticles were full of hangnails and constantly dry.

     In 2001 I got a job working at Target and had to help out at the jewelry case. I thought having nice nails would help sell the jewelry so I started a brief stint with acrylics. And by brief I men brief. I had them for maybe a month because I soon realized that my job mainly consisted of changing watch batteries and bands. the thickness of the acrylics made it really hard to work with those teeny tiny screws, especially when it came to removing links in the bands. I decided to go back to my naturally long, uneven nails. Still only wearing polish on occasion.

   It was a little over a year ago that The Girlie Tomboy  (who I grew up with) first posted a stamped manicure to her personal page, and I knew I wanted to try it myself. At that time I had maybe a dozen pink and lavender polishes in my collection and had no idea what a stamping plate was.
The image that started it all

   And so my adventure began.....

   I set out looking at image plates to figure out which ones I wanted to start with and picked up a black nail polish. The next thing I knew I had over 400 polishes in my collection in every color from orange to brown and even a few glitters. A lot of people thought I was crazy. After all, I'm the girl whose wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts and my hair is usually in a ponytail. I know very little about fashion and feel more comfortable on a sports field than shopping for clothes. People are surprised to see my nails let alone find out that I did them myself. I'm proud of my nail art attempts even the failed ones and I like showing them off. I was so proud of my first water marble I found myself sticking my hands in front of co-workers just to make sure they saw them, and the obsession began.

     I've enjoyed the process of looking at nail art, breaking it down into easy steps for recreation. It's amazing how some simple lines can look stunning and that you can paint flowers using only dots. Once I started to figure this out I loved nail art even more and I wanted to share my creations. Like many of you, my real life friends didn't really get it and started asking why I was sharing so many pictures of manicures. That was disheartening, to say the least. Here I had found something that I was passionate about and enjoyed doing and I felt really unsupported. Obviously I didn't give up, but I stopped sharing with my friends and family and found the nail polish community. But that's a story for another blog post.

   Did I jump into the world of nail art with full gusto? You bet I did! Did I go a bit overboard...absolutely? But I love it. I have met some absolutely wonderful ladies and a few gents over the last year and love the nail polish community. I still feel more comfortable on a sports field or out fishing with my hair in a ponytail but now I do these things with decorated tips.

Friday, January 11, 2013

10:42 PM

Experimenting with acrylic paint for nail art

      I wanted to share with you my experience with nail art using acrylic paint instead of polish. I've been following quite a few nail pages for about a year now and have been utterly impressed with some of the designs you talented folks come up with. I've made a few attempts at recreating looks and trying techniques, some successful and some not. One of my frustrations has been with how to get the polish design to really stand out from the base color. Especially when doing the one stroke flower technique.
    You can see my first attempt at the one stroke flower using nail polish only here.

    I'd make my petal and it would be barely visible so I'd go over it again. Carefully loading the polish onto my brush, slowly lowering the brush down onto the nail and,  of course, my second stroke wouldn't line up with the first. Id get frustrated and the whole design would go downhill from there. I know quite a few people do their nail art with acrylic paint and have read several times that it was easier to work with than regular polish. So I sat down and watched video after video on youtube and decided to give it a try myself.

   Now I have to tell you that I planned this whole thing out the night before while I should have been sleeping....please tell me I'm not the only one who does this. I didn't mean to. My brain just sort of refused to stop thinking about it. It started out with picturing myself trying to make a specific petal stroke. The colors I wanted to use suddenly were there. It was the easiest time I've had choosing colors for a manicure in my life! Then I started to picture how I would make leaves behind the flower and finally the base color started to form. Basically, I thought up the entire thing backwards. The next day at work felt like 3 while I waited for the hours to pass so I could attempt this miraculous piece of art Id spent hours thinking up the night before. In my head, I had a masterpiece and was convinced Id pictured each and every stroke so many times there was no way it would turn out differently. Ha Ha, the joke is on me.

Image from head on

Image from the side

     After looking through all my polish for the perfect one to match the base color I had pictured in my head, sorting through the crate of acrylic paint for just the right colors, mixing a few together to get the right shade I think I'm all set. Polish is applied to my nail wheel top coated and fully dry. And what is the next thing I do? My very first stroke with the acrylic is at the wrong angle. *cringe* But I'm so  excited to get this idea onto a nail that I just keep going and don't realize it until I'm all done and admiring my work.

   I do actually like the way this turned out, even if its not the masterpiece I had imagined. I would highly recommend trying nail art with acrylic paint. It really was much easier to work with than just polish alone. I'm already thinking up my next attempt.

   Have you done nail art with acrylic paint?

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