Blog Archives

Humble Bragging

So there’s a term that someone I know on Twitter mentioned called “humble bragging” — the act of bragging on yourself but making it sound like you’re humble for whatever awesomeness you’re bragging about. An example might be, “I’m so grateful to be able to watch the sun rise from the penthouse floor of Trump Towers. It really is beautiful.” You see what I mean? So allow me to humble brag. If it wasn’t for the support of my friends and the interest this blog has gained on the internet, I would not have been able to provide you with this list of humble bragging examples. To everyone who has EVER viewed my blog, it REALLY means a lot to me. I’ve taken a hobby, and in a few short months, turned it into a blog that people seem to really like. I appreciate every comment, page view, suggestion, RT, FB post…EVERYTHING. You guys are friggin’ awesome!!! SO, on to the humble bragging.

1. My blog has surpassed 10,000 views.

Whaaaaaaaaaaa??? 10,000 page views?! In 4.5 months?! FOR MY AMATEUR NAIL ART?! Yeah that’s amazing. This is crazy to me.

2. The Optimus Prime manicure post has driven more traffic to my site than any other post and has almost 5,500 views!

okok, so I did time this post so that I put it up around the time that Transformers 3 came out. No secrets here. But this many views??! People are google searching ‘Optimus Prime’, seeing a link to an Optimus Prime manicure and they’re STILL clicking on it?! Craziness….awesome insanity…

3. 2 features on Nails Magazine’s website as a part of their ‘365 Days of Nail Art’ series and the year isn’t even done yet?!

Alright, so Nails Magazine is a professional nail artist/technician magazine and when I found out that they were posting 1 picture per day of nail art from folks all across the country (and probably the world), I decided to send in some pictures to the editor of the magazine…you know, just to give it a whirl. Check out my art on Day 166 (Snakeskin Manicure) AND Day 229 (Feather Manicure). SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! Click on the pictures to go straight to the Nails Magazine site and check out the other folks that they’ve featured!

4. Last but certainly not least, my Nail Art Challenge/Contest winner, Stephanie!

So a while ago, I started a Nail Art/Challenge Contest. O_0. I got REALLY busy and I haven’t been able to announce this but Stephanie is the winner! 2 folks suggested manicures as a challenge to me and the Essence Music Festival Double Moon manicure got the most page views! I will be giving her the prize of a bottle of Orly Bonder and a bottle of Essie quick-e nail drying drops, which was added on as a prize a bit later, this weekend! Woop woop!

Well, that’s all the humble bragging I can do at this time. It’s hard for me to believe I started this whole “show everyone my hobby” thing on April 1st, 2011 with a blog post with only a roughly-hewn vision statement. But here we are a few months later and look at all I have to humble brag about! Because of you! YES YOU…READING THIS POST RIGHT NOW! Thanks for everything….I’m definitely gonna keep this party going. 😀


China Glaze Crackle vs OPI Shatter

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Alright folks, after trying OPI Shatter in Black and Silver I really didn’t have a strong desire to buy any of the first line of China Glaze Crackle Polishes. Then the China Glaze Crackle Metals came out…and I thought the Tarnished Gold Crackle deserved a place in my nail polish collection. So on a trip to Sally Beauty a few weeks ago, I picked it up…and forgot about it. But last night I remember it again! And I wanted to pit it against OPI Shatter in the same nail design. For this design, I wanted a bright summery base so I chose Sinful Colors Neon Melon, a color I thought was a fluorescent yellow when I bought it but really has some green undertones that reminds me a lot of China Glaze Electric Pineapple. I think I would best describe the color as that of a tennis ball. I then painted a single white line down the middle of each nail using my white Art Deco Nail Art Striper. Last, I painted China Glaze Crackle in Tarnished Gold on the left and OPI Silver Shatter on the right.

Now lets talk about smoothness of application…I did not find it easy with China Glaze at all. It was quite clumpy. Because of the thickness, it didn’t spread on the nail easily and it takes a much longer time for the crackling to get crackin’. OPI Shatter begins shattering moments after application but with the China Glaze, I left it on for severak minutes to allow the crackling to take place before applying a top coat. I wasn’t really a fan of that.

I think OPI Shatter wins the battle this time. I may try a couple drops of nail polish thinner in the China Glaze Crackle before using it for another manicure. :-/ Did any other nail divas struggle with China Glaze Crackle Metals?

P.S. Check out that morning light streaming into that top picture! Manicures look so much better in natural light.

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Bellatrix Lestrange-Inspired Stiletto Nails (Harry Potter Nails)

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I have been a huge fan of the Harry Potter book and movie series for years and in honor of the release of the final movie :`-(, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I had to do a manicure. My inspiration for the manicure wasn’t Harry, Hermione, Ron or Hogwarts. I’ve seen so many manicures dedicated to the good guys. I really wanted a manicure that reflected the dark side, so my inspiration was Bellatrix Lestrange. In brainstorming, ideas for design I knew that Bellatrix would definitely have stiletto nails. I’ve done a Less Extreme Stiletto Manicure but Bellatrix’ nails would be true stilettos.

Check out this artist’s interpretation…

For this manicure, I filed artificial nails down to stilettos then applied 2 coats of Wet n Wild Fast Dry Ebony Hates Chris, a black creme polish. On the thumbs I painted the sign of the Deathly Hallows in white. Last, I painted on the kicker…what really makes this manicure pop..two coats of Glow In The dark polish from Sally Beauty’s Halloween line last year. I was shooting for a faint eery glow…I think Bellatrix would rock my look. 😀

I updated this pic to show the green glow more clearly.

And I’m not one to leave any surface unpainted so I painted the undersides of my nails using Wet n Wild Fast Dry Grey’s Anatomy, a color-change shimmer that looks purple, gray, or green depending on which way the light catches it. Very much a part of the Wizarding World I believe…

Playing with Layering – Shimmer and Glitter

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As an nail artist (or artiste as I like to call myself) I try to stay abreast of the nail trends professional nail techs are buzzing about. One such trend is the concept of layering nail colors to create custom colors for customers. The idea of layers is not a new one for me…you need only scroll through my previous posts to see that I’ve been layering colors to create fading effects before I knew it was a trend. Fun Fact: I actually took serious art classes for years as a kid with a group called Young Artists & Co.—charcoal, pencil, oil paint, watercolor, and acrylic paint, and a little bit of mixed media/sculpture. When I got into nail art last year, I learned that nail polish can behave like an oil paint in that you can use a palette to mix colors then apply the combination to the nail but nail polish also behaves like watercolor in that you can layer colors on top of each other to create something completely new.

Among professional nail artists/techs, it seems some clients are no longer looking for the new hot line of colors from their favorite professional nail polish brands…clients are looking for custom colors, created on the spot just for them. In comes layering. Now the professionals are layering Minx, gel, acrylic and all sorts of other nail materials. Me? I’ve got polish…and jelly polishes work well for layering because the formulation is often less pigmented. For this look I’ll be giving you the step by step for how I created this oh-so-sparkly-glittery design. While the pros are using layering to offer custom colors to their clients, I believe layering can stretch the at-home nail diva’s collection infinitely. Imagine the possibilities!

I started out with 2 coats of Wet n Wild Fast Dry in Ocean Grotto, a fun yellow-green shimmer jelly polish. You may notice a bit of Visible Nail Line (a term I’ve often seen used by the editor/owner of All Lacquered Up) with these 2 coats. If I was going to wear this color alone, I’d definitely add a 3rd coat, but I’m not…there are more layers to add!

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For the next layer, I covered my entire nail in a thin layer of Orly Tiara, a jelly-based silver glitter polish. I had to keep that layer thin because it is CHOCK FULL of glitter. Seriously, Orly has some of the most dense glitter polishes in existence. I’m really looking forward to removing it…NOT. At least there’s a relatively quick trick for removing glitter polish. Click the link for the method I use.

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Next I added a layer of Wet n Wild Fast Dry in Blue Wants To Be A Millionaire, a light blue shimmer jelly polish, to the bottom half of each nail, closest to the free edge.

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Last I added a layer of Wet n Wild Fast Dry Party Of Five Glitters, a jelly-based glitter polish with 5 different glitters of varying colors, sizes, and shapes, along the tip of my nail, much like I would have done a white tip in a French manicure.

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Voila! A custom color, packed with glitter and shimmer :-D.

Just to give you a peek into the thought process that goes into my nail art. The fake nail on the right was what I decided on for this manicure but my runner up was the nail on the left. I tried several other colors for the contrasting color (I knew I wanted Ocean Grotto for the base) but most of my polishes are very pigmented professional brands. As it turned out, this drug store brand polish had enough pigment to *pop* but not so much that I couldn’t do the layering technique. I used Wet n Wild Fast Dry Teal of Fortune in the nail on the left.

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I hope you enjoyed!

Optimus Prime-Inspired Manicure

Transformers is huge right now with the recent release of the 3rd movie installment ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. I still remember the Optimus Prime of old, though…when he looked like this.

I guess the creators of this millennium’s Transformers series thought ol’ Optimus needed an updated paint job because now he looks like this.

Well I love makeovers and I’m a fan of the red-blue flame look. The following picture (a real life rendering of Optimus Prime in his ‘disguise’) gave me inspiration for this manicure.

For this manicure I used the following colors:

Base color: China Glaze Jitterbug (gunmetal)

Red/Orange: Wet n Wild Fast Dry 9.0.2.1.Orange, Wet n Wild Fast Dry Everybody Loves Redmond, Essie Forever Young, China Glaze Phat Santa [I used 9.0.2.1.Orange as the base color the sponged on the other 3 colors one after the other in order to create that fade from orange to dark red]

Blue Flames: Wet n Wild Fast Dry Saved by the Blue

Aaaaaand it’s an Enamelista Signature mani so it looks different dependent upon the angle you view my hands. I hope I did Optimus Prime proud. Transformers was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. 😀

Essence Music Festival – Double Moon Manicure

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Well folks, this is the 2nd of 3 suggestions for my Nail Art Challenge Contest. Stephanie suggested that I do a manicure for this weekend’s Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. As soon as she said New Orleans, I immediately thought of Mardi Gras colors…yellow, green, and purple. I thought of Bourbon St., rich with vibrant colors and sounds…alive with history and culture.

With so much inspiration to pull from, it took me quite a while to figure out what I wanted to do. And I really wanted to incorporate an existing nail trend into this manicure. I actually tried another design Tuesday night, wore it on Wednesday but I really didn’t like it. Last night, I decided upon the “moon manicure” which is also known as the “reverse-French manicure”. In a moon manicure, the moon—that lighter crescent  at the base of each nail—is either left unpainted or it is painted a contrasting color to the rest of the nail. Check out this Google Image Search for examples. The moon manicure has been around for a few years though, and I didn’t really have a desire to do it…until  now. I needed a way to paint my nails 3 colors without using a striping technique (which I think I do too much of as it is…). So for this manicure, I painted on a base color:  2 coats of Wet n Wild Fast Dry The Wonder Yellow. Next I carefully created a crescent shape at the base of each nail with Wet n Wild Fast Dry Sage In The City. Then, I used Wet n Wild Fast Dry Buffy the Violet Slayer to paint the majority of my nail, being careful to create a 2nd crescent of green. I wanted it to appear like the yellow was transitioning into green which then transitions into purple. Last I painted a pair of eighth notes on my ring finger using The Wonder Yellow.

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There you have it…my Essence Music Festival Double Moon Manicure. I hope Stephanie likes it!!

Versace Mens Look Inspired Nails

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Here are 2 looks from a Versace Mens show in Milan on 6/20/2011 (from style.mtv.com)

I saw the pattern in the look on the right and literally exclaimed “WHOA!!”. I don’t know many men who would actually wear those pants…maybe the shirt but that’s a stretch. Anyways, I thought it was great inspiration for  my weekend manicure. For this look, I used China Glaze Happy Go Lucky as the base color and my handy dandy Art Deco Nail Art Stripers in White and Black. Welp, this post is short and sweet. I feel like those loud, fancy, fabulous pants say it all. Happy Friday, good people. 😀

Superman Ice Cream (Water Marbling Method – Trials and Tribulations)

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Superman Ice Cream!! Woooo!!!

Let me start this post by saying, WHAT THE HECK? WHY DO ALL THE TUTORIAL VIDEOS FOR WATER MARBLING LOOK SO EASY WHEN THIS IS THE HARDEST, MESSIEST NAIL ART PROJECT I’VE EVER DONE! AAAAHHHH! Ok, now that’s out of the way, I can say the trials and tribulations were totally worth it. And I went through MANY trials and tribulations…

First, I would recommend going on YouTube and watching videos on water marbling first before trying it for yourself but I’ll tell you about how I was able to do this successfully.

Now a list of the mistakes I learned the hard way:

1. What those YouTubers don’t tell you is that not every nail polish works well for water marbling. The ones with a gel base were way too thin once they spread out on the water and it made for a very light marbling effect, not bold like I’d imagined. And some polish formulas (I’m looking at you bright neon China Glaze polishes!) had polish drops so dense they bypassed the surface of the water and sank right to the bottom of the cup. *cue The Price Is Right Losing Horn sound* :-/ You may have to do several tests on the surface of your water before you find out which polishes in your collection will work for the water marbling method.

2. Create an area for your art should things get messy. All the YouTubers have done this (I noticed in retrospect) but no one explicitly says, “hey this is the messiest thing you’ve done since making paper maché masks in kindergarten!”

3. Because you’re constantly dipping the nail polish brush into the bottle to get drops, you might be tempted to not tighten the cap after every drop. I can see how you might do that. Just remember to tighten the cap when you’re all done. I did not. I picked up a bottle of Orly Blue Collar by the cap, which was not tightened, and it held for a split second then fell…onto me, my couch, a side table, and the wall…coming to rest on its side on my carpeted floor. Yep. After a short expletive-filled outburst, I cleaned up the mess with nail polish remover and created a semi-permanent nail art station on my dining room table.

4. If you’re going to do this on your own fingers, protect your finger skin with Scotch tape. There are videos on YouTube of folks doing this, but I thought “whatever, I’ll just wipe off the excess with nail polish remover”. WRONG! Nail polish can stain! After I stained my right middle finger light blue, I decided to do this entire project on fake nails. Why? A) I knew that once I got this first attempt right, I would not want to see all my hard work end up on a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover in a few days and B) I really didn’t feel like encasing my fingers in Scotch tape for this first look.

5. Use room temperature water. I don’t know the chemical properties of polish but it only spreads out into that polish puddle if the the polish and water are the same temp…room temp.

With that said, who loves Superman Ice Cream??! I do! And I wanted to dedicate a nail post to it. So here it is…

For some reason, none of my yellow polishes were working well for this method, so my first step was 2 coats of China Glaze Happy Go Lucky (bright yellow) on the fake nails.

Once I chose and tested the colors I wanted to marble on the nails, I took a plastic cup of room temperature water and allowed 1 drop of polish to hit the surface…it automatically spread out. I kept dropping drops of the other colors in the center of my first nail polish puddle, until it looked like this…

note the successfully dipped pre-made nail on the right…

Then I took a toothpick and lightly disturbed the surface of my polish puddle making a pattern of swirls.

Note the closeup of the toothpick in the foreground of the pic…

Then I dipped my nail into the puddle, straight down into the water and used the toothpick to collect the remaining polish off of the surface of the water before bringing my nail out. This prevents your nail from catching more unintended polish on the way out.

Then I let the nails dry on the toothpicks, added a couple coats of top coat and voila! Superman Ice Cream-themed nails! I finished this project laaaaaaaate last night so I didn’t have enough energy to apply them. But I wanted to get this post up for all to see. I’ll post an update tonight or tomorrow of what they look like on my nails in the sun!

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A pic of the colors I used—

For the marbling: Orly Blue Collar, Ole, Lemonade

For the base coat on the nails: China Glaze Happy Go Lucky

Like the look and want it for yourself? Check out the Custom Nails by The Enamelista page

Coral and Diamond

Hello all! As I’ve become more interested in nail polish and art in the past year, I’ve also become very aware of other women’s nails. The choice of colors and designs are limitless and it is fascinating to see how we show our individuality using our nails. It’s the main reason why I started this blog…to show my creativity and individuality using these tiny canvases called finger (and sometimes toe) nails. Last week, I went to the movies and I spotted an incredibly cool nail design on the young lady at the ticket counter. I was so impressed that I struck up a conversation with her and asked if I could take a picture of her nails and she said yes! So this is my first ‘Nails In The Wild’ picture and post…

Much like my Neon + Shatter + Matte post, this young lady’s nail artist combined several nail trends in one design—multi-colored nails, mixed media in the form of tiny rhinestones, some kind of shatter/crackle polish, and more typical abstract nail art—all within a shades-of-blue color scheme. I was impressed by this artist’s design and since imitation is the highest form of flattery I really wanted to mimic this design but with a different color scheme. It’s summertime, I chose coral as my base color. 😀

The main color I used was Orly Ole. I used Art Deco Nail Art Stripers in black, white, and silver glitter on my ring finger and China Glaze Peachy Keen for the dots. I affixed rhinestones using OPI Top Coat on my index finger. On my middle finger I used one coat of OPI Silver Shatter on top of Orly Ole. Let me tell you, this was an exercise in patience as well as good practice as this 1 design required me to use nearly all of my current nail art expertise…

That said, I’m ready for more fun nail art challenges! I feel it’s time to wrap up my 1st Nail Art Contest/Challenge so my deadline for suggestions is now Saturday June 18th! I’ve only gotten 1 response so speak up before it’s too late and you may get a prize pack!

Look at that shine!!

P.S. I don’t normally take sunlit pictures, primarily because I started this blog in April and it was cloudy/rainy for like 6 weeks straight. But as long as it’s sunny, I will from now on because only sunlight can truly capture the brilliance of these nail polish colors.

Detroit Tigers Baseball Manicure

Hello all! Today I went to the Detroit Tigers vs Seattle Mariners game at Comerica Park and to help root-root-root for the home team, I did this Detroit Tigers-baseball-theme manicure. On my thumb, index and middle fingers I painted 2 coats of OPI A Good Mandarin Is Hard To Find then painted the black tiger stripes with the Art Deco Nail Art Striper in black. On the ring finger, I painted 2 coats of OPI Dating A Royal then painted the classic Old English ‘D’ (found on Detroit Tigers’ uniforms, hats, etc) using the Art Deco Nail Art Striper in white. On my pinky, I painted 2 coats of China Glaze White on White then drew the baseball stitching with the Art Deco Nail Art Striper in red glitter. Sadly my beloved Tigers lost :-(, but I enjoyed the game! I hope you enjoyed your Sunday too. 😀