Monthly Archives: May 2011

Stars and Stripes Forever


It’s Memorial Day, a day to honor those military service-people who fought and died for us to enjoy freedom as we know it. To the fallen soldiers of the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Reserves, we love you and your sacrifice will never be forgotten. In honor and memory of those brave soldiers and as a part of my 1st Nail Art Challenge/Contest, I completed this American Flag manicure according to Syreeta’s suggestions. The base color on my thumb and index nails is China Glaze Frostbite and they are covered in rhinestones. I used a one coat of OPI Top Coat under the rhinestones then a coat of OPI Top Coat and Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat to affix them. On my middle, ring, and pinky nails, I used Orly Winter Wonderland for the base color and Art Deco Nail Art Striper in Red Glitter for the red stripes.

Right now, Syreeta has the only submission in my 1st Nail Art Challenge/Contest and she’ll be the only to get Orly Bonder and Essie Quick-e Drying Drops unless someone else makes a suggestion soon. 😀

China Glaze Frostbite, Orly Winter Wonderland, Art Deco Nail Art Lacquer Red Glitter

China Glaze Electric Pineapple Signature Manicure


I went out last night for my birthday and did a signature manicure to compliment the gray dress I wore (pictured as the backdrop of these photos). I used China Glaze Electric Pineapple as the base color, then added silver and silver glitter Art Deco Nail Art stripes on one half of each nail. I wore all gray and black so this manicure and my Electric Pineapple toes provided a pop of color. Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you’re enjoying this lovely Memorial Day weekend!




Crocodile Nails (Snakeskin Nails Remix)

imageSooo, it’s my birthday! Woop woop!! But I had a hard time thinking of a good birthday manicure. So a fellow nail polish fan suggested I do something having to do with my birthstone, which happens to be the emerald. So I googled images for ’emerald green’ to get some inspiration. And…

Eek!! There are like 15 different shades for emerald green!! But wait…do you see that picture? All the way to the right? Second one down? What is that?

My God, it’s a clutch. And it. is. gorgeous. This Emerald Green Givenchy Crocodile Embossed Melancholia clutch was featured in an article on Check out the article here for more about this beautiful bag. Welp, that’s all the inspiration I needed. I used the same technique from my Snakeskin Nails post in April, but I used China Glaze Paper Chasing for the medium green and China Glaze Jolly Holly for the darker green. I hope you like it. I certainly do. 😀

Name Change! I’m now The Enamelista…

Hi Folks,

Yesterday, I thought I’d start a twitter account for nail stuff alone and I discovered that someone had snatched my blog name (and the corresponding twitter name, gmail address, etc.) from me. I looooved the name The Nail Buff, but I guess someone else loved it more. They established their blog just about a week after mine. But, I’ve let bygones be bygones and now my new name is The Enamelista. I hope you like it. If you don’t, keep it to yourself for like a week or so while I mourn the loss of my old name.

My coworker sent me this comic from a few days ago though. I just remembered to share it…it makes me smile through my grief. I may change the way my site looks soon too…

The Enamelista’s Signature Manicure


So I was headed to a BBQ Sunday evening but I really needed to redo my nails. I didn’t really have time to research and execute a brand new look so I looked at the bracelet I planned to wear and that was all the inspiration I needed. I quickly painted a design that looked different based on the angle using colors that best matched the bracelet. And with that, I think I’ve found my personal “Signature Manicure”. I love creating the illusion of 2 (or 3) different looks in one design based on the angle at which it is viewed!



So for this look, I used Orly Bailamos for the base color (teal), then Essie Shift Power (gold) on one side of my nail. I sponged Orly Luxe (another shade of gold) on the line separating Bailamos and Shift Power then included a stripe of Art Deco Gold Glitter on the golden side just to add a little pizazz. I think turquoise and gold make a good color combo!

P.S. I’ve been thinking of doing a swatch gallery–to paint my nails with every color I own once and taking pictures to document them all. But the thought of doing 80 or so manicures feels like such a daunting task…I’ll have to keep you guys posted. Below is an example from a loooong time ago, way before this blog was even thought about. The color is OPI A Good Man-darin Is Hard To Find.

Free Zoya Summer Nail Color TODAY ONLY

Great googly moogly! I don’t know why these sites give so little warning, but TODAY ONLY UNTIL 11:59pm, Zoya is giving away one of their summer nail colors FOR FREE, all you have to pay for is shipping and handling! You can choose one from their Summertime, Sunshine, or ModMatte collections.

Quick background about Zoya – While many popular nail polish brands boast that they are “3-Free” (which means their formula is Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde and Toluene), Zoya is actually “4-free” as none of their formulas contain the above 3 nor do they contain camphor. Zoya is also a vegan company! Zoya is quickly gaining popularity and now is a great time to try it for yourself. Click here and you’ll be taken to the Zoya blog page that explains how you can claim your free bottle of polish. But do it today!

If you’re interested in what chemicals actually make up nail polish, check out this article from the Nails Magazine site explaining how nail polish *works* and the whole deal about terms like “3-Free”.

Method and Products for a Long-Lasting Manicure


Alpha and Omega…of a manicure

More so than any other question about my nails, I’m asked what makes a long lasting manicure. If you’re willing to pay extra money at select nail salons, you may want to opt for Soak-Off Gel Polish (the pros and cons are described in detail here on All Lacquered Up). There are several companies that make it but most are familiar with the OPI brand, who makes a line called Axxium Soak-Off Gel Polish. Another option that is growing in popularity is CND (Creative Nail Design) Shellac, which is a hybrid of soak-off gel polish and regular polish (as described here on All Lacquered Up). As both of these methods require the use of UV light to dry the nails and the application techniques require skilled hands, these options are best left to the professionals AND they are much more costly than a traditional manicure. But the advantage is you’ll have a long-lasting, chip-free manicure for 2 (maybe even 3) weeks.

I will admit, I haven’t tried either of these methods because I like to change my nail color every 2-4 days, but I’ve heard only good things about them. However, Soak-Off Gel Polish/Shellac isn’t for everybody…so what’s a do-it-yourself nail diva to do for a long-lasting manicure? In the past year, I have tried several methods and I’ve got it narrowed down to 3 steps if you use the right products…

1. A good base coat. Much like a house needs a strong foundation, you need a good sticky base coat to create the bond between your nail and the nail polish color of your choice. I’ve been using CND Stickey (yep, it’s spelled Stickey) lately just to test it out and it seems to be doing well. But Orly Bonder is my tried and true, go-to base coat and I feel it is the best if you’re looking for longevity from your manicure.

2. A professional-brand nail polish color. There are LOTS of drug store brand polishes out there that are much less expensive than the more popular professional brands (OPI, Orly, China Glaze, Essie and Zoya–if you’re vegan). But drug-store brands just don’t cut it if longevity is your goal. Sure the colors are cute and the price is cheap, but generally the formulas are not made to last. A good professional-level brand really does the trick when applied with 1 thin coat of your color on top of the base coat then once that’s dry, another thicker coat of the color. I picked up the 1 thin, 1 thicker method of nail color application method after observing professional nail techs and I believe it creates a smooth, fast drying, but highly pigmented result. If you’re not a fan of paying up to $8.50 per bottle for nail polish, I would suggest checking out sites like for coupons at stores like Ulta or your local drug store (if it carries professional brands). OR you can check the clearance shelves at Ulta, Sally Beauty, etc for reduced-price, off season or discontinued colors. I just picked up Orly Star of Bombay and Honeymoon In Style at Sally Beauty this past weekend for $1.99 each! Completely random finds, but totally worth it in my humble opinion. 😀

3. A good fast-drying top coat. No one likes sitting around watching paint dry, but I know we all hate the telltale signs that you didn’t wait long enough…smudges, imprints, dents, and the like. As I have yet to perfect the methods for fixing mess-ups, I’m promoting prevention–I suggest Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Seche Vite not only creates a shiny, hard exterior for your manicure but it also dries really hard in about 10 minutes. I’ve even brushed my nails softly by mistake after about 5 minutes with no smudging. It’s really good stuff. If you *really* want to speed up the process add 1-2 drops of Essie Quick-e nail drying drops to each nail and the drying time will be SIGNIFICANTLY cut down. Quick-e nail drying drops may or may not be from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter…I won’t be asking Essie too many questions about the formula…

1 other method/product recommendation you can try: If you’re looking for a long-lasting manicure that won’t get dull over time, use CND Super Shiney Top Coat (yep, Shiney). It is fantastic for that “just left the nail salon” shine but you must apply it every 2 days! I learned this the hard way. :-/ I wouldn’t suggest applying Seche Vite every 2 days because the formula is pretty thick and you don’t want layers upon layers of top coat on your manicure when it comes time to remove it. But CND Super Shiney is purposefully thin and applying Super Shiney every 2 days won’t give you a Super Thickey manicure over time.

*BONUS* If your nails are longer than your nail bed, you can try the method of “Wrapping The Tips” which is to apply the base coat and 1st coat of color as you normally would, then apply the 2nd coat of color and top coat a bit on the underside of your nail. Go ahead and open up a new internet tab and head on over to All Lacquered up again for a detailed description of this method. I’m not adept at this method because I like to keep my nails short. Short nails were required when I played the viola in symphony orchestras and string ensembles from elementary school to the end of high school. As an adult, I just don’t like the feeling of long nails. *shrug*

Now if you follow these steps–and you don’t work in a field where your nails are constantly assaulted–you can get up to a week out of your at-home manicure with no major chipping. That said, if you like to get salon manicures weekly, do not be afraid to take your own products! Whenever I get a salon mani/pedi, I hand the nail tech my Orly Bonder and Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat and they don’t even blink anymore. Sometimes I even bring my own nail color unless I see something in the shop that I like better or have been meaning to buy for myself. I have yet to ask for a discount for bringing my own products though……

SO I’ve only gotten one lonely suggestion for my 1st Nail Art Challenge/Contest post. :`-(! BUT I’m feeling generous because my birthday is this week SO I used the Sally Beauty Club coupon I earned for the month of April to snag an extra bottle of Orly Bonder this past weekend. If you make a suggestion for my contest, you just might win both Orly Bonder (my go-to foundation) and Essie Quick-e (my “I’M IN A RUSH” final step)…THESE ARE THE ALPHA AND OMEGA OF A MANICURE…according to me. 😀 That’s the prize pack as it stands right now so click the link above and enter my contest dag nab it! I’m bribing you! Sheesh!

P.S. I’ve been regularly reading the All Lacquered Up blog for about a year now and the lady who runs it has taught me most of what I know. Definitely bookmark it in addition to my blog of course!

China Glaze Freebie – Expires Today!

Hi Nail Polish fans!

If you’re a Sally Beauty Club member, you can get a free bottle of China Glaze with any $10 purchase. Unfortunately, I just found out about this today and it expires today. You can go here to print the coupon. You have to present your Beauty Club card and print the coupon to get the deal.

Nice way to stock up on some summer nail colors if you can make it to a Sally Beauty store today. 😀

Neon + Shatter + Matte

In fashion, I most admire the designers and stylists that are able to combine more than one trend in a single look while keeping it from looking ridiculous, i.e. mixing floral and stripe patterns or purposeful color clashing. You have to have a keen eye to make sure your clashing looks well-planned/chic and not thrown-together/tacky. As I’ve been studying up on nail trends for the summer, OPI’s Shatter polishes (along with China Glaze’s Crackle, etc.) are holding on to their popularity among nail artists and nail polish fans alike and neons are popular again for Summer 2011, especially those with a very fine micro shimmer or creme finishes. But Zoya’s Mod Matte Summer Collection caught my eye because they’re a matte finish unlike every other major polish brands’ summer collection that I’ve seen. While I love Zoya’s colors (and will probably end up picking them up eventually) I decided to go the cost savings route for this mani.

I wanted to combine the OPI Shatter Movement (yes movement), the neon summer nail color trend, and the matte finish trend. After A LOT of experimenting on practice nail tips and my own nails, I settled on this half-and-half design. I applied a base coat, then one coat of China Glaze White on White because it’s a good base for neon polishes. Next, I painted half of each nail with China Glaze Shocking Pink and the other half with China Glaze In The Lime Light. It took 2 coats on each side to get the opaque color you see in the picture. Next I applied one coat of OPI Silver Shatter diagonally across one half of each nail then followed with one coat of OPI Black Shatter on the other diagonal half. Interestingly, all 4 of these colors dry with a matte finish, but to add an extra layer of protection, I finished with one coat of Essie Matte About You.

Does it kind of look like a girly graffiti to anyone else? 😀

From what I read, matte finish polishes and top coats don’t last nearly as long as high gloss finishes so I won’t be sad if this starts chipping sooner than I’m used to. For now, I’m loving it.

P.S. After MUCH trial and tribulation, I can say with confidence that OPI Silver Shatter does not apply the same way as OPI Black Shatter. It took a slightly thicker coat than the Black Shatter for the shatter effect to actually take place. I have to wonder if the shimmer within it is an indicator that a different formula was used….has anyone else bought and tried the Silver Shatter yet?

It’s the claaaawww…agaaaaaiiiin…because no one’s given me ideas for a good way of showing all five nails yet…*hint*

1st Nail Art Challenge/Contest

It’s time for my first contest!! I was trying to wait until a certain milestone before announcing my contest but since I bought 1 item for the prize pack I plan to give away, I couldn’t wait any longer.

I’m constantly surfing the internet, looking at art and my surroundings, and observing fashion trends searching for inspiration for nail art. I feel now is the time to challenge myself and take requests from you!

Here’s how it’ll go:

– I will take your suggestions for nail art that I haven’t tried yet. It can be a current or vintage fashion trend, a piece of artwork, or anything you think might be a fun nail art design.  Feel free to send/post links to pictures if it’ll help in describing what you want to see.

– I will execute your vision to the best of my ability and post the pictures of how I interpreted it. When you see your post, if you think I could jazz it up in some way, let me know, I’ll try it and repost!

– I can tell how much people seem like a design by how many site visits it gets, so whoever suggests the design with the most hits will win a prize pack of nail goodies! It’ll be your job to spread the word about the nail art I did based your suggestion. 😀

– As the suggestions die down, I’ll announce an end date for the contest. On that day, I’ll check out which design was viewed the most and announce the winner!

It’s a win for me because I love taking on challenges and it will be a win for you because of the goodies I plan to give away….

Prize #1: Essie’s Quick-E Drying Drops —

I have used these when I was in a serious rush after doing my nails. After applying a top coat, as long as the polish color underneath is fairly dry, these drops can almost instantly create a hard finish to your manicure. Now I wouldn’t wash dishes right after, but if you need to run out of the house, these can help prevent a completely ruined manicure. Someone I know actually does her nails in the car on the way to where she’s going. I won’t say any names, lol. But this would be a good product for ladies who want a finished manicure but don’t have all day to wait for it to dry.

I have more ideas of what to add to the prize pack so when the suggestions start rolling in I’ll announce what else the winner will receive.
Spread the word folks! I’m ready to do the first suggested design TONIGHT!

P.S. Thank to my girl C.A. for sparking the idea on how to run the contest. Luv ya!