Monday, December 31, 2012

Insert Nail Art Here

I was going to have a winter-themed manicure for you today. I really was. I had my background all set, and was going to do the fancy bits as soon as I got off work. But I seem to have come down with the flu, and while I did leave work two and half hours early, the smell of polish is kind of making me gag at the moment. So later, then. In the mean time, I have a very (VERY!) subtle gradient for you, using Sally Hansen InstaDri "Blue Bye" and Brash "Blue Dream."

Here's hoping that by Friday I'm well enough to finish this one off: 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pinterest Day

There were some awesome holiday manis floating around in the blogosphere this week. Here are a few of my favorites:

Source: via Sophia on Pinterest

I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday, regardless of what you celebrate, or just a nice few days off from work. See you Monday!

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Very Important Issue

Clearly, I need to go shopping. I've discovered I'm missing two very important colors in my polish collection: navy and green. Yes, I have navies and greens, but what I need are non-shimmery versions, and the green needs to be somewhere between true green and forest, whereas all of mine are either spring green or leaning more towards teal. Oh, the problems of polish.

For now, I will just have to suffer through with the shimmery navy blue that I got as a stopgap a few months ago, but is really closer to royal blue, which isn't the same color AT ALL.

Yes, I'm being ridiculous. I know. But the color just isn't right.

Which means, of course, that I simply must make my way to Sally's a some point this week. Oh, woe is me.

At any rate, here is the first of two snow-themed manis I have planned, using the substitute color:

For the designs, I used the dotting tools that my roommate got me for Christmas.
Colors used:
Revlon--I have lost the name of this one, sadly.
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure "Ivory Skull"
Essie "Set in Stones"
Pop Beauty "Metallica"

I was going for a "gently falling snow" look, but I forgot just how densely packed "Set in Stones" is, and I ended up with a blizzard instead! I still like the way it turned out though--it's fun to look at.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Peppermint Sticks

Just another quickie for the holidays.

Colors used:
Pure Ice "Siren"
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure "Ivory Skull"
I just cut up pieces of scotch tape for the stripes. :)

Blessed Yule and Happy Solstice! I hope everyone is enjoying the "end of the world."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

I can't believe I just used that as a post title. They've been playing that song twice an hour at work, and it makes me want to hurt someone now. Still, it's pretty apt for today's manicure:

I can't claim the idea for the Santa hats. Another nail blogger did them last week, and I thought I'd saved the image to Pinterest, but evidently I've been lax in my pinning. I only have one holiday manicure up.

I used Pure Ice "Siren," Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure "Ivory Skull," and a nail art pen for the black details. Since I used a Halloween polish on a Christmas manicure, does that make this the Nightmare before Christmas?

I'm so excited because all of my photos before now were taken in artificial light. But, with our new place we have so many more windows all over the house, and there's even a nice big yard, so I could use natural sunlight for the first time! Now if only our dryer would stop tripping the breaker, everything would be dandy. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Well, that didn't go as planned.

So you might have noticed I missed a couple of posts there. It wasn't intentional. I even had a couple of manicures in the vault so that I could post them even when it wasn't practical for me to be doing nail art. I failed to save the photos onto my computer, however, and in the move my camera ended up in the wrong box. Then the battery died, and the charger was in another, unknown box. And, well, that seems to be the story of this move. We didn't get a fridge until a week and a half after we started sleeping in the house. I say sleeping, because we are still missing at least three large pieces of furniture that have been in storage. Weather and schedules have conspired against us, so we're still mostly living out of boxes. I did, however, find my yarn, my camera, and my nailpolish--those are the most important things, right?

Speaking of things that didn't go as planned, here's the first manicure I did in the new house. This was a case where my topcoat worked against me, turning my careful designs into blurry lumps. (note to self: don't use SV on patterns with small details)

The lighting is dramatic, yes? Well, that's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it. This house actually has much better light than the last place, but I did this late at night (read: missing furniture=limited lamps) and I knew they would get messed up the next day (which they did) so I wanted to get photos taken before they flaked like a ditzy cheerleader at exam time.

This was inspired by the song "My Favorite Things" which for some reason has become a Christmas song. It doesn't say Christmas to me, but there you are. At any rate, I do love the song and used S•X•Y "Dreamy Cocoa" to create brown paper packages, and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri and Pure Ice "Siren" to tie them up with string. On my pinky, I had a smudge, which I covered up with a decorative bow--realizing after the fact that it would be upside down to everyone but me. 

This is why I am not Polish Insomniac. I shouldn't be allowed to do creative things after 10pm. I tend to get a little....too creative.

I have been as active in the nail blogging community lately. It's not that I'm blogfadding or anything, but life has been happening and after a summer filled with nail art, everyone now seems to be focusing on swatches. And swatching primarily the same things. 


So while I may not post as often as some, I do promise that this blog will be swatch free (unless I find something that I'm SUPER excited about, and simply MUST share) and hopefully a little more interesting because of it. 

See you on Monday.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Ghost of Wednesdays Past

Over the past couple of months, I've done a lot of thinking, and I've come to several realizations. Basically what they come down to, is that I will no longer be doing Wednesday posts on this blog.

I love blogging. I love nail art. But nails are just a hobby for me. They're something fun that I do when I need a creative break, and something that brightens my day when I'm at work. I don't do this professionally, and I probably never will.

What I do do professionally, I would like to change. And over the past six months it has become increasingly clear that if I'm every going to get out of my current job, it's going to be by going into business for myself. After five years in retail, no professional experience, and graduate work that is completely useless where I currently life, most potential employers just toss my resume aside as soon as it crosses their desk.

In order to work for myself (i.e. writing and designing full time), I need to be able to dedicate more of my time and energy to that. This means cutting back on several things, but the biggest one is time spent online in a non-professional/promotional/research capacity, since I could easily spend all day playing Threads of Mystery on Facebook or watching videos of kittens caught in hamster balls on YouTube.

This includes nail blogging. Trying to come up with 2-3 really cool nail art ideas and the time to execute them every week is a challenge, and when my nails are wet, I can't knit. I love doing it, but I don't want to have to force myself to do it every week, particularly when I have other things that need done.

In the past two years, I've accomplished a lot of things: I bought my first new car. I got a promotion. I moved out of my parent's house, and for the first time, some paid me for my writing and my patterns.

Over the next two years, I want to do bigger and better things. It is my goal to publish a novel (or two or three) and at least one knitting book. To that end, it is time that I turned my focus in that direction.

I will still be around on Mondays and Fridays, but my posts will probably be much shorter than they were over the summer. I won't be doing swatches, because, really, I don't like looking at post after post of swatches. I started this blog for nail art and bargins, and that is what I'm going to keep here. I may, in the future, have to go down to one post a week. We'll see. But for

Friday, November 23, 2012


I was trying to put this off as long as possible, but I'm going to have to take a short hiatus. I'll be back the first Monday in December. Right now my hands look like crap, since I'm moving and our new place is nowhere near ready--every spare moment is spent over there cleaning, or painting, or something, and when I'm home I'm packing, or making things that we need for the new hours, or, like right now, trying to cram in my daily NaNoWriMo word count. Or some combination of the above.

Anyway, I should be back  in a week or so with some new nail art. See you then!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Plague Dots

Initially, I wasn't even going to show you guys this one, but I figured I should, just in the interest of full disclosure.

I love the look of Brash "Green Machine" and S•X•Y "Dreamy Cocoa" together. This isn't the first time I've used this color combination, but I think in this application, it kind of looks like my nails are diseased.

Better luck next time, I guess.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nail Polish Canada Nail Art Challenge

I got an email about a new challenge being hosted by Nail Polish Canada this week:

Holiday Nail Art Challenge

At Nail Polish Canada we consider ourselves boring people. I mean look at our name, “Nail Polish Canada”, not an ounce of creativity there.  That’s why we want to support your creativity with our first ever Nail Art Challenge! The challenge is all about the holidays, lasts three weeks (one mani per week), and we're giving away nearly $1000 in prizes.

Challenge Themes

We've hidden the three challenge themes far away so nobody gets a head start. We’ll email and post each challenge theme when the week comes around.
Challenge Weeks
Week 1: Nov 19 to Nov 25
Week 2: Nov 26 to Dec 2
Week 3: Dec 3 to Dec 9

For more information about the contest, prizes, or to sign up, check out their website. They're giving away $200 worth of stuff every week, including Zoya Gilty Pleasures, OPI James Bond Minis, plus others by Butter London, Color Club, and many more, with a grand prize worth over $450. So, if you're one of those artistic types, go check it out.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Nano Post for NaNo Nails

Inspired by National Novel Writing Month, which has eaten my soul (and all of my free time):

Colors used:
Pure Ice "Touch Me Here" (black)
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure "Ivory Skull" (white)

I know I've said multiple times that I'm swearing off Sally Hansen, but I found this polish on clearance at Target for $4.88. I've kind of been needing a new white polish, and of the three I've tried, this is my favorite so far. It's a slightly thicker formula than the others, and a little more opaque (I still had to use three coats though). The dry time isn't too bad, either.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to get back to my writing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall Fail

Okay, so I lied. I skipped Monday because some real life stuff happened, so now you get a Wednesday post. You can tell, because I forgot to take a picture of this manicure and wore it for a day or two before I managed to get photos. Note the chipping:

For this manicure, I used Sally Hansen "Vivid" for the base and drew little leaves and swirls on it with Essie "Sequined Sash." I think it came out okay, but not great. I would have preferred to use a stamp, but I don't have any fall stamps.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Costumes Part II

So how did you do on the riddle? Did you figure it out yet?

That's right, I went as a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who. For the uninitiated, here's the Wikipedia rundown on what are probably the scariest villains in the Who-verse.

Here's my take:
Obviously, I had some issues with the makeup. I'd never used greasepaint before, and had a horrible time with it (I guess it's supposed to go on over foundation and powder? Anyway, I could tell just from the patch test that it would have made be break out something awful, so I decided to skip it). In the end, I scraped some grey eyeshadow into a dish and mixed it with my moisturizer. Up close it worked pretty well, but the coverage was uneven. From far away, however, it's barely noticeable. It was more of a tint than actual face paint. Once the moisturizer had dried a bit, I took a powder brush and did a second coat of the dry eyeshadow to help even things out.

The outfit is a combination of things. I wore grey leggins and a grey long sleeve shirt (both storebought). The chiton (that would be the Greek-style dress) is some grey suiting material I bout at Joanns. I sewed little X's at the shoulder to hold them in place, but other than that it was stitch-free. The belt is five strands of grey yarn slip knotted together to make a cord.

I did use silver hairspray to color my hair--liberally. I had to wash it twice to get it all out--but it's rather difficult to get full coverage on the back of your own head, and my pony tail wasn't really having it. 

In the back of the chiton I took pinking shears and cut a slit for the wings. The wings are sewn, with the feathers done on a regular sewing machine. They're filled with quilt batting and have some 20 gauge jewelry wire running through the tops to hold their shape. In the end, I took some small safety pins and pinned the tops to my shoulders to keep them from flopping around. Since I wore this costume to work, I didn't want big giant wings or pieces that would flop around a lot. 

The wings are tied on  seperately, under the chiton. From the center of the wings there are four more of the slip-knot cords, which I tied in an X formation in front. Since the chiton is open on one side, this was pretty easy to do. I just had to pull back the front, tie the cords in place, then drop the front and arange the open side so I wouldn't flash anyone too much thigh and tie on the belt. While I'm reasonably confident that it would have stayed shut on it's own, I did add two more small safety pins there, just to be safe. Which is good since at one point my outfit caught on a rack and would have torn completely open otherwise. 

I did do my nails for this costume, but they're not all that interesting. Just grey, and then they read "Don't Blink" with one character on each nail and a TARDIS on my left thumb. For the life of me, I could not get a good photo or even a decent one that showed the nail art. I was too pressed for time. 

I leave you with a clip from the episode, which features MY doctor. Because no subsequent Doctor can ever really replace your first Doctor: 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Costumes Part I

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Candy, costumes, does it get any better? Unfortunately, I usually flake in the costume department. I never know what to be until two days prior, and then I don't have time to put together the costume that I want.

This year I managed to get ahead of the game by about a week...but I'm not sharing photos until Friday.

What comes from the sky but cannot fly?
Hint: Blink and you'll miss it.

Can you guess what I am?

This is going to be my last Wednesday post until December. I'm doing National Novel Writing Month this year, and I need to free up a little bit of space in my schedule. I'll still be here on Mondays and Fridays, though, so don't go too far!

See you on Friday!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jack O'Lanterns

Just a quickie I did this weekend:

Brash "On Fire" with details done with a nail art pen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Polish & Skully

I've got another Halloween manicure for you today:

Colors used:
Black--Pure Ice "Touch Me Here"
White--Maybelline Color Show "Porcelain Party"
Details--Claire's nail art pen in black
Topcoat--Seche Vite

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A New Kind of Inspiration

It's been a few months since I did an "Inspiration Shots" post, hasn't it? I started doing those as a way of sharing and remembering awesome nail art that I'd seen while perusing the interwebs, but then I discovered Pinterest and have been saving everything over there. I've got boards for knitting and crochet, home decor, and even food I have no intentions of ever making, since I don't cook (don't ask). And of course, nail art.

Here are a couple of favorites I've found recently:

What are some neat manis you've found lately?

(P.S. You can follow all of my boards here.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mystery Green

The other day at Target I found this mystery E.L.F. polish for $2, and decided to give it a go. I loved the color in the bottle, even though I'm normally not a green fan.

It went on pretty nice. What you see here is only one coat. Two would probably be better for coverage, but you could certainly get away with one in a pinch.

Sadly, as soon as the polish touched my nail, I could tell it wasn't going to work out. The color looks awful on me. It's much more olive than the emerald it appeared in the bottle, so I handed it over to my roommate since olive is her favorite color.

 Target had a whole collection of these, so I might try another color. My only complaint was that the brush length to cap diameter ratio was rather disproportionate, and it made it a little difficult to apply with any accuracy, since the big clunky cap kept blocking my view of the brush. The polish itself, however, is really nice and well worth the $2.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm melllting....

It's time for the first Halloween manicure of the season:

For this I used Brash "Green Machine," and freehanded the conical hats with a Claire's nail art pen.

I love the way it turned out, and Green Machine is the perfect Oz-y witch color.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Little Bit of Lace

I'm a geek. We've established this. Specifically, I'm a textile geek that nerds out of things like thread count and microns.

So it should come as no surprise that all three of the Salon Effects kits I picked up last week involve textiles in some way. 

First up, Fingerlace Gloves:
I've never used these before. It took me about 20 minutes to apply them, including time spent removing my old polish. I imagine I'll get faster next time. 

As most of you know by now, these are real strips of nail polish that you apply like a decal, and like it says on the box, they were quite easy to apply. The hardest part for me was getting a neat edge after filling off the excess, but I managed. I did some of my clean up with the orange stick that came in the box. 

My nails are short enough right now that I was able to get an entire manicure out of one packet (each box has two). 

According to all of the advertising, these are supposed to last up to ten days. I could tell as soon as I put them on that I would need a topcoat, so even though it doesn't say to in the instructions, I put some Seche Vite on top. 


For the most part, it had the desired effect, but the problem with SV is that it shrinks terribly, and pulled up the edges of some of the nail polish strips. Not a big deal, since once they were dry I could trim off the curled bits. 

After three days, however, I can say that there is a little tip wear, and because I'm slightly neurotic I did start picking at the polish--will remove the rest of it later tonight or tomorrow. Overall, though, they did seem to hold up better than regular nail polish--with the addition of the topcoat. Without it, they were very soft and in places didn't want to stick (mostly jsut tiny, unnoticible places, but the kind of places where a small problem was likely to turn into a larger one, like on the edge of the nail.)

Each kit contains two packets of strips (I believe there are 8 in each packet), a mini nail file, and an orange stick along with the instructions. My nails are about 1/2-3/4 of an inch long from cuticle to tip, and since my left hand is half a size smaller than my right, I could apply the narrow end of each strip on my left hand, then use the wider, leftover end on my right. Viola, I now have 2 manis per box instead of one, so if you don't have talons, these are an excellent value, especially when you factor in that I bought them for $3.99 at Marshalls.

I like the lace pattern, and I think I'm going to use the second set for Halloween, since it perfectly matches my masquerade mask. I would like to try combining these with other techniques--like adding rhinestones or stamping subtle patterns over top. I also want to try them with a base coat, even though the instructions say to apply to bare nails.