Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Readers' Nail Art

Hi everyone!  Today we're trying something different, and are going to show you some of our readers' nail art! 

A couple weeks ago our friends Kathy and Stephanie were over for girls' night, and we ended up all doing our nails together.  Kathy and Stephanie are readers of the blog, and decided to try out some of the nail techniques we've showcased before. We then made them take pictures of their nails so we could show them to you!

Here are Kathy's awesome polka dot nails!

The background color for these nails was Color Club London Calling and the dots were done using Essie Fear or Desire (at least, I assume that's what the orange was.  Kathy or Lisl, can you confirm?).

Look at what a great job Kathy did making those uniform dots!  That's not as easy as it looks, folks!

And here are Stephanie's gradient dots, done using the method from this post

The background color was OPI Goldfinger and I believe the red dots were made using Julep Jackie (again, I'm not 100% on that-- can you remember, Stephanie?). 

And now this is where you guys come in.  Have you tried any new nail art recently?  (I know from my Instagram that several of you have!)  If so, snap a picture and send it to us at casadepolish[at]!  We'd love to feature more reader nail art in the future!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gradient Leopard Print Nails

Arden: Hi everyone!  Today I've got this fun twist on leopard print nails!  I promise I saw the idea for these on the internet SOMEWHERE, but of course I forgot to write it down/save it/pin it, so now I can't properly cite my inspiration.  If you happen to see something really similar to these out there, please leave a comment so I can add the original.

I started by painting my nails with two coats of Essie Blanco.  (This isn't my favorite white nail polish ever, but my OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls is running out, so I've been looking to other white polishes in my collection to pick up the slack.)

Then I sponged on a gradient on the tips using the white and a light purple and teal.  For the purple nails I used L'Oreal Royalty Reinvented and for the teal ones I used Zoya Wednesday and then Essie Mint Candy Apple on top of that.  (I originally meant to use the Essie, but had Wednesday sitting on the table next to it and accidentally picked up that and used it before realizing my mistake.)

Then I made some splotches on my nails using Zoya Mira and Zoya Wednesday.  I irregularly outlined those spots using Lisl's black Color Club striper polish.  I tried to make those black outlines in C shapes (so not fully outlining the colored splotch).  In the below picture the purple ones are outlined, the teal ones aren't yet.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tri-Polish Challenge: July Day 2 or 3 or Something

Sup, it's Lisl. Ok, so this is our third manicure for the Tri-Polish Challenge this month!  Since I missed the first few, we'll only do three this month and next both I will be back in action like crazy. 

So this month I chose these three polishes:
Zoya - Liberty
Color Club - London Calling
Nicole by OPI - Khloe had a Little Lam Lam

I wanted to keep playing around with texture, so I thought I'd try to do a "glitter gradient" but with a texture polish instead.  It should be noted that I have never done a successful glitter gradient, and that may have influenced my ability to pull off this manicure.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tri-Polish Challenge + Bonus Color Club Wanderlust Swatch

Lisl: Hey y'all!  So I missed the first two days of the Tri-Polish Challenge this month since I was away and spacey, but I am trying very hard to catch up!  Everything you need to know about the Tri-Polish Challenge is here in case you're curious!

Here are the official three colors:
Zoya - Liberty 
Nicole by OPI - Khloe Had a Little Lam Lam (best name for a polish ever)
Color Club - London Calling

London Calling is part of Color Club's Wanderlust Collection which is available exclusively at Birchbox.  I got it in my monthly box and thought I'd add a swatch into the mix today!

London Calling is a neon-y pastel.  It goes on smoothly with really good coverage.  And it's really neon-y! I'm showing it here with two coats.  I kind of love it.  I am a bit of a sucker for minty greens and this is an excellent addition to the our collection.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

NOTD: Quick, Easy Dotted Nails

Arden: This manicure is one that can definitely be done by anyone in a hurry, because *I* did it in a hurry.  The day my rose nails spectacularly crashed and burned, I needed SOMETHING to put on my nails before I left the house, so I threw this together real fast.  I actually drew my inspiration from a manicure One Nail to Rule Them All did back at Christmastime. 

When I first saw the post on One Nail to Rule Them All, I thought the dots were in a shooting star pattern, which seemed appropriate all year long.  It wasn't until after I finished mine that I realized she'd originally intended them to be a Christmas tree.  Oops!

I created mine by painting on two coats of Zoya Monica and then adding dots of Sally Hansen Celeb City with my smallest dotting tool.  The first day I wore them glossy:

Please ignore how dry my cuticles are in all of these pictures.  I should've moisturized!

But the next I added a coat of Essie Matte About You.  I can't decide which I like better!  I think Monica looks better glossy, but I like the silver dots better in the mattified version.  With a different background color, the matte version could definitely be better.

And that's them!  These were really quick and easy.  If you're ever looking to make your first foray into nail art, I definitely recommend trying out a design with random dots.  Dots aren't that hard to do (especially ones that aren't in a regular pattern) and you get a big bang for your buck!

What easy manicures have you been trying out lately?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Green Worm Nails

Arden: Ok, this manicure is going to require some explanation.  You see, today is my boyfriend Biff's birthday.  (Happy birthday, Biff!)  To celebrate, I wanted to paint my nails with something to honor him.  Biff is a geneticist who works with little bitty microscopic worms all day.  Sometimes, he makes them glow green.  This leads to awesome pictures, like these:

I got this one put on a mug for Biff for his birthday last year.
So, to honor Biff's work, today I am rocking green worm nails!  My method for creating them was basically the same as my colorful feathery nails from a couple weeks ago, except with these I tried to make them more wavy so they could better resemble worms.  (You may remember that that manicure was inspired by a post by the Nailasaurus.  She's now posted a tutorial on how to do her striped nails that's really helpful if you're looking to try these out yourself!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ocean Gradient Nails

Arden here!  Today's manicure is in honor of the summer.  My family isn't going to the beach together until October, but I found myself thinking about the beach the other day and decided to try out some ocean gradient nails. 

I started with two coats of Sally Hansen Barracuda (as you can tell from the sticker on it in one of the pictures below, I snapped up this polish when it was recently clearanced at Target).  I then sponged on a 3-color gradient using Barracuda, Nicole by OPI Khloe Had a Little Lam-Lam (guess that one must've been part of some Kardashian collection), and a navy blue from the 3 piece Trendsetter Chic set by Physician's Formula Endless Color (unfortunately each individual polish in this set doesn't have its own name).

I finished by dabbing on some NYC Starry Silver Glitter on the two darker colors (leaving the lighter tips without glitter) and adding a top coat.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nail Art Fail: Rose Nails

Arden: Hi, friends!  After Lisl made rose nail art for the tri-color challenge in May, I decided that I'd like to try them out myself.

Full disclosure: I was SUPER tempted not to blog these nails because they did NOT GO WELL.  But Lisl encouraged me to put them out there so you guys can see what it's like when nail bloggers try something and fail.  So here's to failure!

It started innocently enough.  I decided to use Sally Hansen I Lilac You (which I found in the clearance bin at Target two weeks ago) as my base.  It's the palest lilac purple I own, and I love it!

I then followed the Nailasaurus' tutorial on how to make rose nails.  I painted on splotches in New York & Company Peony Blossom and then added some outlining using Revlon Cherries in the Snow.  I first tried using our smallest nail art brush for this task, then our smallest dotting tool, and ultimately a toothpick.

NOTHING WORKED.  As much as I wanted to paint on nice artsy contour lines, what kept coming out onto my nails were ugly blobs.  I tried to make it better by adding some lighter colored lines using CoverGirl Pink Lady, but that didn't go well either.  This is what I was left with:

As you can tell, this manicure wasn't helped by the fact that Cherries in the Snow bleeds TERRIBLY when you apply a top coat over it.  Both the pointer and ring finger were hit hard by streakage.  

Not that I cared a whole lot, since my poor roses just looked like sad pink blotches.  I don't know, maybe I'll try this design again sometime, when I'm better at using our brushes (or maybe I have a different one?).  But for now, I can attest that this style is not nearly as simple as it looks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Can't Afford That: Zuhair Murad Couture

It's Lisl!  I'm back from my travels and, even though my brain is still somewhere between Greece and California (the Atlantic ocean?), I am painting my nails like I blog about it or something.  I started scrolling through Pinterest at some point when I was sitting on the couch and trying to get my mind right and saw this dress. This one. The one that is above these words. Oh man, guys. Want.

It's Zuhair Murad Couture and since I don't have any Award Shows on my schedule, I am sad to say I will not be purchasing and wearing it any time soon.  And also it is undoubtedly about 1 gajillimillion dollars.  But, I am a lady of action. I will not stand idly by and not recreate this dress on my fingernails.  (Cost < 1 gajillimillion).

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gradient Candy Stripe Nails

Arden: Hi, imaginary friends!  So sorry for our spotty posts last week-- I was out of town on leading my youth mission trip, where I often didn't have cell service, much less Internet access and nail polish supplies.  But I'm back now and excited to share my mission trip nails with you!

Before I left on my trip, I put a lot of thought into what manicure I wanted to sport on my nails for the whole week I was gone.  I ultimately decided on this gradient candy stripes design I found on Pack a Punch Polish

I started by painting my nails white using OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls.  I decided that instead of doing my usual base coat + two coats of white, I'd follow these directions Julep published recently.  So, I painted a base coat, one coat of white, a matte top coat, and then another coat of white.  Not gonna lie, didn't really see a huge difference in how evenly my white coat looked.  Sorry, Julep, don't think I'll be using your method again.

Then I applied striping tape in diagonal lines across my nails (three pieces per nail).  Following the instructions on Pack a Punch Polish, I then sponged on brightly colored gradients doing each color individually on the sponge.  In retrospect, I think my colors would've blended a lot better if I'd followed my usual gradient method of applying several colors on the sponge at once.   If you try these out, let me know which way you think works best!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Nails Were in Athens!

Hey friends! I'm in the Houston airport on my way back to the Bay Area (finally!) after a wonderful trip to Greece and then New Orleans.  Up top is a shot from my nails' final afternoon in Rhodes, in front of the ruins of a temple to Aphrodite!  The Incoco nail appliqués are still holding up pretty well here. (In fact now, more than a week after initial application they are doing pretty good though my nails have grown out quite a bit).

After Rhodes my nails and I took a 16 hour (!!!) ferry to Athens where we saw so many old things! The Acropolis, so many temples to Athena, the ancient Agora.  Here are my nails in front of the Parthenon, which is currently under restoration (if you can't tell from the scaffolding and crane).  If you are wondering how weird I looked taking pictures of my fingernails in front of great wonders of the world, the answer is "a lot weird".  Anyway, it was an amazing trip!  I haven't even mentioned the new friends and amazing food, but those things happened too.  Now, I am very much looking forward to snuggling into my own bed and then waking up and getting back to work (on my nails as well as my science)!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bridal Nails

Arden here!  As promised last week, here are a couple of bride-specific wedding nail designs I've come up with.

For Design #1, we have this awesome silver cross-hatch pattern:

I started by painting each nail but my ring finger with two coats of OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls and then two coats of OPI Don't Touch My Tutu to give it a creamier, less white-white look.  On my ring finger I painted two coats of Sally Hansen Celeb City.  I painted a top coat of Seche Vite to help it dry faster.

Then I added striping tape in a cross-hatch pattern on all my nails:

And then I painted Celeb City on each nail (except my ring finger) and immediately removed the tape.  On my ring finger I painted a coat of My Boyfriend Scales Walls and Don't Touch My Tutu before removing the tape.

For Design #2, I was looking to go more sparkly, and incorporate some gold as well as silver.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Colorful Feathery Striped Nails

Arden: When I saw The Nailasaurus' striped manicure technique last Friday, I instantly knew I wanted to try it out!  I initially was just going to use a couple of colors (greens, blues, and purples), but before I knew it I'd ended up using nearly every shade of the rainbow, and I loved it!  Though I wasn't thinking about it going in, the end result really reminded me of some kind of multicolored furry creature that might be in a Dr. Seuss book.  What do you think?

I started by painting my nails with two coats of L'Oreal Creme Puffs.

I thought that looked a little too yellow for the neutral base color I was going for, so I ended up adding two coats of OPI Don't Touch My Tutu and it worked perfectly to transform the color into a little creme shade:

Next, I started adding color!  Using one of the striping brushes from our MASH nail art brush set, I striped on lines of each color.  I tried to alternate between long brush strokes and shorter ones, as well as between darker colors and lighter ones.  I didn't want all of the darker colors to get covered up by the lighter colors, or vice versa.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Pink & Black Bridesmaid Nails

Arden here!  Recently, I've been not-so-subtly trying to convince all of my engaged friends to let me play around with their wedding colors and create some possible bridal/bridesmaid nails for them.  (My boss says I should start my own business after I get ordained called "Nails & Nuptials" where I not only provide wedding nail art, but also officiate the wedding.  I secretly think this would be an AWESOME career decision.)

The first person to actually take me up on it was my friend Krystal.  Full disclosure: Krystal didn't actually tell me her colors so I could come up w/ nail designs.  Her fiance mentioned their wedding colors while we were playing trivia one night, and I ran with it.  But I told Krystal what I was up to, so I'm not tooooo much of a stalker.

Krystal's colors are pink and black (plus a little bit of silver as an accent), which are super fun colors to create nail designs with.  I had a bunch of ideas, so I ended up doing something different on every nail.

Excuse this iPhone pic.  It was the only one I had where you could clearly see all 5 nails!

Colors used:
Pink: China Glaze Make an Entrance
Black: Sally Hansen Black Out
Silver: Sally Hansen Celeb City
Glittery Black: Zoya Storm

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flag Nails: Happy Birthday, America!

Arden: Happy July 4th, everyone!  Here are the patriotic nails I'm rocking today.

I started by painting my nails with two coats of OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls.  Then I added the red stripes using our Color Club red striper polish.  Next, I painted on Butter London Blagger using one of the flat brushes from our MASH nail art brush set.  And finally I added the white dots using a dotting tool.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Quilted Nails

Arden: I've been googling "quilted nails" for a couple weeks now, but have just never really found any manicures I wanted to emulate.  Until now!  I was actually just searching for "nail designs" when I came across a manicure made up of larger dots connected by little bitty diagonal rows of dots and thought they reminded me of a quilted pattern.  (Unfortunately, I now cannot find the picture that inspired me, but if I do, I will definitely update this post.)

I started by painting my nails with two coats of Essie Mint Candy Apple.

Here are the tools I used to make my dots: two different sized dotting tools.  But I promise you can get similar results using whatever tapered utensils you have at home: nails, paper clips, toothpicks, etc.

I then made a uniform pattern of dots using OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls and the larger dotting tool.