ncu - anti-valentine hearts | @bulletnails
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anti valentines hearts

simple broken hearts. meh.

ncu - anti-valentine hearts | @bulletnails

i think my problem sometimes with prompts is that they’re too specific. like maybe someone else will have some clever design for this – but when i’m told anti-valentine hearts, i’m not sure that it leaves enough room for creativity…

 

ncu - red & black | @bulletnails
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ncu – red & black

when i decided to do this playing card mani for the black and red challenge i didn’t realize i would struggle so much with the little stems on the spade and club. tricky little buggars!

ncu - red & black | @bulletnails

i think they ended up looking okay, maybe a little out of proportion, but i can deal with that! i do really like this mani, if for nothing else, because of the combo of matte and shiny. that was unintentional, just the polishes i ended up using. i didn’t do a top coat because i really liked the contrast.

ncu - red & black | @bulletnails

colors used: sinful colors snow me white, style me up! black, wet n wild red red.

26gnai - blue floral | @bulletnails
26gnai - new year | @bulletnails
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26gnai – new year new you

i’m not really in to new year’s resolutions. and “new year new you” doesn’t really speak to me. i’m actually really happy with who i am – and i feel like the resolution thing every year just makes people unhappy with themselves. people are constantly asking what are you going to change about yourself this year. why do we do that? only focusing on what needs to be changed or “fixed” instead of celebrating what is good leads to bad feelings about ourselves and insecurities.

so once again, this new year, there will be no new me. i am going to continue to love who i am. if there is something i think i need to change, i will work on it but i will not dwell on it. (end: new year’s resolution rant!)

26gnai - new year | @bulletnails

on to my nails – i did a new years celebration theme. i think this chunky glitter is so cute and it reminds me of fireworks and bubbles – both which remind me of new years celebrations. as far as the base coat goes, i just think black and gold together are super classy!

26gnai - new year | @bulletnails

colors used: wet n wild black crème, kbshimmer toast-ess with the mostest, essie matte about you.

ncu - holiday movie | @bulletnails
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ncu – holiday movie

i’m a little late with this one because i went home for a week and a half over thanksgiving to see my family. it was a really nice vacation (cold – but i just stayed inside!).

this mani is inspired by i’ll be home for christmas. probably a not-so-famous christmas movie for most people. but i watched this so many times growing up, probably because i had a huge crush on jonathan taylor thomas! but now it’s part of my christmas tradition.

ncu - holiday movie | @bulletnails

i have always loved the scene with the santa 5k. as a kid that was such a wild idea, to see all these different santas running around the city. now that i live in sf, where there is an annual santacon, i miss the idyllic (and sober) version from the movie.

ncu - holiday movie | @bulletnails

since i ran out of time i decided that my nails would just be ten little santa hats – i guess sort of clustered like they are in the movie…

colors used: sally hansen red carpet, sinful colors  snow me white.

26gnai - black base | @bulletnails
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26gnai – black base

i’m going to start by apologizing: i’m sorry but this is not a happy post. feel free to skip to the photo (after that is were i get back to nail business).

but things suck right now. hard. i’m sad, embarrassed, angry, ashamed, confused. what happened tuesday was a failure of the system. people were told to be scared. i guess it’s not surprising that they ended up scared. scared enough to vote for hatred. scared enough to look past all the proven bad behavior and still want to follow.

and now, we’re being bombarded with stories of bullies (on both sides, but mainly directed at minorities). one day after the election and people’s better selves have gone into hibernation. people believe they are now free to treat others in atrocious and disgusting ways.

my only silver lining is that hillary actually won the popular vote. not by much (3-4 hundred thousand, depending on which source you look at), but i have to hold on to the fact that most people didn’t want trump. that does little good for this country, but restores my faith in humanity a bit at least. but who knows, maybe the “electors” will use their legal rights to change their vote and fix this error. i’m not holding my breath though – only 3 electors have changed their vote in the past 30 years (although if we go back further we see many more people with minds of their own: in 1832 32 electors changed their votes, 1836 there were 23 and in 1872 there were 63!). read more about this at fairvote.com and watch the video above to see why this system no longer works.

26gnai - black base | @bulletnails

so nails… when i originally read this prompt my plan was to do rainbow stripes on top of a black base. i was in a hopeful, optimistic mood. no longer. i am in mourning. my country is in mourning. so my nails reflect that. i did a matte and shiny combo of the american flag (sorry it’s not super accurate, still trying to get better at small details).

i love the matte/shiny look but i had a dickens of a time trying to photograph it! i got the best results using a flash – it lit up the matte part while reflecting off the shiny, hopefully making it clear whats going on. i don’t typically use a flash because it makes everything look so washed out. but i took the photos into photoshop and added a little color back to my skin (i’m not a zombie i swear!)

colors used: style me up black, sally hansen invisible.

40gnai - inspiration (stranger things) | @bulletnails
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Great Nail Art Ideas – inspiration

can you guess what my inspiration was? if you said stranger things – you’re right!

this show is just amazing. and so perfect for the “inspiration” prompt: the show itself was inspired by all sorts of 80’s movies, the show has inspired so much beautiful fan art and that has inspired me :)

screen-shot-2016-08-18-at-7-55-06-pm

the above image was my epiphany moment – i was like, yeah i could do that on my nails!!

i started with an off-white base coat (that just so happened to be the exact same color as the pages of my book). next step was to add the liquid latex (because i knew this was gonna be messy!) and start in on the upper trees. i actually really like it at this point – the streaks going down my nails plus the sponged part at the top looks like trees in fog or something. but i wasn’t done! i added the same grey on the bottom so i had a solid base to work on top of.

40gnai - inspiration (stranger things) | @bulletnails

unfortunately at this point i forgot to take pictures until i was done. but from here it’s simple enough! i re-taped off the top part, then sponged on a gradient of blue and navy over the grey. then following the same lines from the trees above i continued them along the bottom using the navy.

40gnai - inspiration (stranger things) | @bulletnails

i added some glitter to mimic the particles that float through the air in the upside down. again, i could’ve been done here: representing the world that the show exists in. but that’s no challenge ;)

40gnai - inspiration (stranger things) | @bulletnails

so i used my printable temporary tattoo paper and printed tiny little versions of mike, eleven, dustin and lucas on their bikes, and will running away from the demigorgon for the upside down (used the silhouettes from Matt Ferguson’s above image). will and the monster are hard to see – unfortunately i went a little too dark with my background colors. maybe i shouldn’t have done the grey before the blue…

40gnai - inspiration (stranger things) | @bulletnails

i love using the tattoo paper because it allows me to do much more detailed art on my finger canvases than i could otherwise do (i like to think of myself as the type of person who could paint super small details like that – but i seem to have proven otherwise on past endeavors). one problem that i have with the tattoo paper thought is that it is a white piece of paper with sticky on the top. when you’re using it the sticky side goes down, the paper gets wet and eventually comes off to leave the sticky side and image on your nail (or skin if you’re using the paper as intended). well this gets difficult when trying to place really small objects precisely because of the white paper blocking the image. it took me a few tries to get the bikes to look like they’re on the ground and not floating like in E.T. (although that would be fitting, seeing as how it is one of the inspirations for the show).

speaking of the tattoo paper – i originally did a different design for this mani. i really love typography and the intro text is beautiful. once again i struggled trying to paint that onto my nails. i ended up doing the tattoo paper on this one too.

40gnai - inspiration (stranger things) | @bulletnails

i don’t really like that one. i like the concept – one hand being the normal logo and the other representing the upside down. it just wasn’t super readable when not under pretty bright lights. and the curve of my nails made some of the letters disappear :( also the second downside to tattoo paper is that the sticky side is like a super super thin plastic. if you get it on your skin it sticks to it and is kind of hard to cut through. i struggled with that a lot on this one. on pretty much every nail, it got stuck to the nail and my finger, and i had to take an exacto knife and cut through it, without cutting myself or ripping the design.

anyway here’s one more closeup!

40gnai - inspiration (stranger things) | @bulletnails

colors used: sinful colors bubbly, models own everyday grey, sinful colors love nails, sally hansen  deluxe, wet n wild kaleidoscope, essie matte about you.

40gnai - inspiration | @bulletnails

40gnai - orange + geometric | @bulletnails
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Great Nail Art Ideas – orange + geometric

i wasn’t too excited for this one – but i really like what i ended up with! i think i was intimidated by the “geometric” label – thinking i was going to have to do something super intricate or math…

40gnai - orange + geometric | @bulletnails

luckily neither was necessary :) i did a really simple asymmetrical color block – because squares are part of geometry right?! i love the grey to counteract the orange, the silver to add some sparkle and the matte to make the whole thing more subtle. i sorta lucked into this one!

40gnai - orange + geometric | @bulletnails

in person these contrast a lot more against my skin. i think my lighting setup needs some work – i’m really not that orange skinned!

colors used: pop ablaze, models own everyday grey, kiss spa10 silver glitter.

40gnai - orange + geometric | @bulletnails

40gnai - nude & color + half & half | @bulletnails
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Great Nail Art Ideas – nude & color + 1/2 & 1/2

these two prompts seemed made for each other! the first part is “nude plus color” and the second part is “half & half.” so i did nude on half and (all the) color on the other half :)

40gnai - nude & color + half & half | @bulletnails

40gnai - nude & color + half & half | @bulletnailsthis was a fun mani – i was inspired by this beautiful design by didoline and knew this was going to be my half & half. i didn’t live up to the comparison, but for having done this freehand (versus stamping) i think i did a pretty good job!

as you can see above, i started by drawing a squiggly line on my silicone mat (it’s pink and is normally fine but made the colors on this one seem off) and then placed random swatches of lots of different colors underneath. this was my half color. after letting it dry and peeling it up (besides wanting to wear it) i cut it up into nail sized pieces and stuck them to my nails.

40gnai - nude & color + half & half | @bulletnails

my only regret is not being able to use more of the colored part! (if you notice as i worked my way down my hand the colored part started to take over more and more of my nail – i just couldn’t help myself!)

40gnai - nude & color + half & half | @bulletnails

i ended up putting a matte top coat on because i thought it pronounced the “nude” part of my nail better – with the shiny it looked a little uneven. it did mute the colors a little bit. if i had more time (read: energy) i might have gone over the colorful part again with a glossy topcoat. but i don’t have more time. or energy.

colors used: models own luis lemon, salon perfect fired up fuchsia, essie sunday funday, torrid purple irridecent, sinful colors love nails, heaven power up green, blackheart beauty  green yellow shimmer.

40gnai - nude & color | @bulletnails

40gnai - insects | @bulletnails
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Great Nail Art Ideas – insects

i like this mani – it just doesn’t quite fit the prompt. i’ve done an insect manicure once before for an animal print prompt. it was also a beetle. they’re just so interesting! unfortunately this one ended up not quite so interesting.

there were so many ideas i had in my brain – but most of them i knew i couldn’t pull off. i really wanted to do something with bug eyes. i love how crazy they look. especially macro photos – beautiful. i have no idea how to translate that to my fingernails – maybe someone else in the group will have and i can try to figure out how they did it!

so i looked up some beetles and did a lazy version of these:

i only have one textured polish, which is blue, so i used that as my base – sponging it on to try and concentrate the texture even more. then i added black over the top, sponging again so as not to fill in the texture but to also take out some of the shine.

40gnai - insects | @bulletnails

you can still see some of the blue underneath. i meant to cover it completely, but actually like the added color :) i could have left it like that, but decided it wasn’t buggy enough so i added some lines to mimic the shape of the beetle’s shell.

40gnai - insects | @bulletnails

colors used: essie lots of lux, spoiled visually slimming, essie matte about you.

40gnai - insects | @bulletnails

40gnai - hot pink + mermaid scales | @bulletnails
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Great Nail Art Ideas – hot pink + mermaid scale

since drag race is over but i’m used to doing more than one mani a week, i’ve decided to jump on the second half of the crumpet’s nail tarts challenge: a color prompt plus an assigned style. since i’m not officially on that list i don’t have an assigned style so i’ll probably just pick and choose :)

40gnai - hot pink + mermaid scales | @bulletnails

this week’s prompt was hot pink and i had an idea for mermaid scales a while back that i’ve been wanting to try. everyone seems to use stamping for mermaid scales but i suck at stamping so my big idea was to use my dotting tool and add the scales individually. i really like how it turned out – i think it would have been slightly better with one or two more colors – then the pattern wouldn’t have overlapped as much.

40gnai - hot pink + mermaid scales | @bulletnails

 

i also decided to show how i touch up my photos. i try to never mess with the actual manicure, but i just can’t seem to get all the polish off of my cuticles or to keep them from being dry and gross. so i touch them up. nobody wants to see dry cuticles. and i don’t want anyone focusing on my bad clean up job when i work so hard on the art.

i wonder how much or if anyone else touches up their photos. sometimes i see people’s photos and can’t believe their hands are so perfect! well, now you know mine aren’t ;)

40gnai - hot pink + mermaid scales | @bulletnails

colors used: salon perfect fired up fuchsia, kbshimmer pt young thing, sally hansen wedding glitters.

40gnai - hot pink | @bulletnails

rupaul's drag race S08 winner | bob the drag queen inspired mani
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RuPolished – Winner!!

i know i said that i would have been happy if any of the top three won rupaul’s drag race (and i would have!) but i am so happy it’s bob. she’s been a front-runner in my mind (and the race) since day one. she deserves that crown!

rupaul's drag race S08 winner | bob the drag queen inspired mani

i started this mani because of a joke that bob had made when i met her at dragcon. so i went up to her to get a picture (!!) and it wasn’t super crazy busy around so i told her that i paint my nails and i did one of her and could i show it to her. she said sure so i got out my phone and opened up instagram. the first thing that popped up was my feed, and on it was someone else’s nails. painted plain black. not missing a beat bob says “they look just like me!”

rupaul's drag race S08 winner | bob the drag queen inspired mani

so perfect! i went on to show her my top4 mani and she said she already knew them! yay :)

rupaul's drag race S08 winner | bob the drag queen inspired mani

thus, a black polish based mani as my final tribute! i added some gold embellishments to represent her finale dress and one shiny gem for her new crown.

rupaul's drag race S08 winner | bob the drag queen inspired mani

i had a little trouble photographing this – i used a matte black polish with a shiny clear coat on part. this last photo looks the best in my opinion because it shows off that shiny/matte effect i was going for.

pink fishtail | @bulletnails
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neon fishtail

my first time doing a fishtail! i really like the way this turned out :) the pink and purple are both new – from, torrid, a really great clothing store for curvy girls – and of course i wanted to do something with them right away.

salmon fishtailthe colors look really nice together and the pink even makes me look tan (even though i am the exact opposite of that!). the only trouble i ran in to was that the colors aren’t quite opaque enough for the fishtail to work properly. because of this i had two options (neither ideal): 1 –  paint on a thin to normal coat of each color and just deal with being able to see the color underneath or 2 – paint thick or double layers of each, doubling the drying time and taking up my entire evening. as you can see, i went with more of option #1.

salmon fishtail

colors used: torrid purple irridecent [sic], torrid neopink, and kbshimmer pt. young thing.

purple fishtailafter wearing this mani for a few days all the pink nails started to chip. the fishtails were fine though so instead of redoing the whole thing i repainted the pink to purple. i’m really happy with being able to keep these a few extra days – they’re cute and like a whole new design (but way easy!).

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dia de los muertos

my second favorite holiday of the year comes just two days after my first. dia de los muertos is such a rich, spiritual, fun holiday. there’s parties, face painting and booze, but also remembrance, honor and respect.

muertos

as if all that weren’t enough, this is also the origin of the sugar skull – one of my favorite things (my house is full of them!). i typically attend the festivities, and usually paint my face. this year my nails are also in the spirit (haha get it – spirit – because of the spirits).

muertos

this year i have a skull half mask that i’m probably going to wear to the parade because i have to work and won’t have time to paint my face. :( my friend and her hubby and baby will be going with me though – so i’m excited to see if they paint their faces – especially the little one. he’s just old enough that he might sit still for it.

muertos

colors used: spoiled visually slimming, wet n wild french white crème, pop ablaze, spoiled plenty of fish in the sea, spoiled kickin’ the habit, maybelline pink shock, and spoiled distant memory.

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halloween part 1

halloween is my favorite holiday. when i was little my mom always made my sister and my costumes. there were some good ones in there. there were some that went all the way through my nieces and if my mom has her way will probably go to my grand-niece too! our costumes were always so cute and wholesome. i’ve been raggedy anne, a clown. one year i was catwoman. that one was awesome – i had really long press on nails / claws and i was all in black with a mask. nevermind that the all black outfit was probably a sweatsuit and the stitching on it was done in fabric marker. i felt awesome.

now as an adult i try to continue in the tradition of hand-made costumes. both for nostalgia (and my wallet)’s sake as well as the fact that all (most) of the pre-packaged costumes for ladies are disgusting. examples: sexy nurse, sexy dorothy, sexy toto (okay i don’t know if that’s a real thing but scooby doo is), sexy pig, sexy shark attack victimsexy squirrel, and sexy pizza rat.

anyway, there will be more halloween posts so i’ll continue my rants later on – let’s get to the nails!

mummies

for my first halloween manicure of the season i decided to try one of the new techniques i learned during the year. sugar spun nails are fun and quirky and fairly easy. this manicure in my head was a little different than it turned out on my nails. i was hoping to get the strings thicker to look more like gauze wrapping but i got a lot of really thin strings. i still think it turned out okay – i just ended up going over my nails more times to make up for it.

mummiescolors used: spoiled visually slimming, wet n wild french white crème, revlon matte top coat, pop ablaze, and wet n wild glo’ money, glo’ problems.

the problem with thick sugar spun polish is that it takes for-eh-ver to dry. and you end up with the photo below…

mummies

i had to repaint these two nails because when i hopped in the shower a few hours after doing my mummies the paint just smeared all over. heading for bed and working in the morning, i didn’t have much choice other than to clean off the polish and just do two accent nails (but only on one hand!).

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yellow glitter chevrons

no challenge prompt today. i decided the other day that i really wanted to paint my nails yellow and grey. it’s just such a good color combination! one is so neutral while the other is so bright and vibrant.

yellow chevrons

i also knew i didn’t just want plain colors. my original thought was to do chevrons in matte and gloss so it would be really subtle. i love that look but as i started cutting the chevrons out of painters tape (with pinking shears) i realized that i didn’t want to cut out enough for all my nails!

yellow chevronsit’s amazing how a little laziness can dictate the entirety of something! so instead i did pretty glitter chevrons on my accent nail and left the rest matte grey. i really like matte nails – i think i need to get a better matte topcoat though. these are pretty but i would call them satin. for the glitter i used a sponge to apply so i would get better coverage. and boy did i! i love the macro shot of these. the glitter is so dense. yaaasss!

colors used: sally hansen gunmetal, sally hansen mellow yellow, pop gold glitz, and revlon matte top coat.

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31dc: day thirty: inspired by a tutorial

i accidentally mixed up my last two days. so while the calendar may say today is the 29th, my nails say it is the 30th. that means tomorrow i will go back in time. did i just invent time travel?

31dc tutoriali may not have invented time travel but i did manage to do a pretty cute manicure. a while back my niece posted this sugar spun tutorial on my facebook page. and i thought today was a great day to try it for myself.

31dc tutoriali started out using sally hansen gunmetal as a base with kbshimmer shade shifter and nicole by opi iceberg lotus as the sugar on top. i really like the way it looks – subtle and a nice texture (that i couldn’t stop touching all day).

31dc tutorial

before i took it off for the night i wanted to try a little bit more just as practice. so i added some strands of kbshimmer pt young thing and spoiled plastic flamingo. i got some big blobby bits with the pink but i actually kinda like that. overall this was definitely a success – i will do this technique again – i already have some ideas for it!

31dc

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31dc: day 9: rainbow

for my rainbow prompt i really wanted to do the balloons from up. i’d seen this manicure a few times before (here are some examples). i should have re-looked at these before doing mine. i went way overboard with the balloons. and the strings. eh.

31dc rainbow

i do really like the base color i used though (essie saltwater happy). to be honest i cheated with that color – i don’t have any / many blues in my collection. this one i painted the base coat while at walgreens today. i’m too cheap for this habit!! i love essie polishes but $8.50 a bottle is killing me! who knows though – i like this one enough i may go buy it anyway.

31dc