piCture pOlish Blog/Insta Fest 2014

I'm beyond excited to be sharing today's post: it's piCture pOlish's Blog/Insta Fest day, and I have the great honor of participating this year!

If you haven't heard of the Blog/Insta Fest before, it's a yearly event sponsored by Australian nail polish brand piCture pOlish where selected bloggers share swatches and nail art featuring the company's amazing products. And, this year, we're all featuring Nail Vinyls, too!

This is a long and picture-heavy post, so all the details are behind the cut. Please read on to see my contributions to this year's fest!

Part One: Swatch

Our first task was to swatch a new piCture pOlish shade. I was sent Pandora, an absolutely stunning berry purple scatter holo.

Nobody does scatter holo polish like piCture pOlish, and this one is no exception! Pandora applied like a dream and looks amazing on—as is often the case with these polishes, I feel like pictures can't even really capture the magic. And when you take this color out in the sun, the holo comes to life even more.

These swatches are two coats with topcoat. I took pictures of the polish both with and without topcoat, since topcoat can sometimes affect the holo finish in some polishes, but there was honestly no difference here that I could detect. You can topcoat to your heart's content with this one!

Part Two: Nail Art

The second half of this year's fest involved creating some nail art with two piCture pOlish shades and one Nail Vinyls shape. piCture pOlish will be retailing a special exclusive four-pack of Nail Vinyls that contains chevrons, mini chevrons, straights, and right angles, but for the fest, we were each sent one shape to feature in our art. I was sent the right-angle vinyls, along with Mad Magenta and Jade:

Right-angle Nail Vinyls are a truly genius creation, in my opinion, because the built-in corner allows you to achieve some nail art looks that you just can't get with straight pieces of striping tape. I created a few designs with these that I really liked, but in the end, I decided to go with the one that I felt best highlighted the utility of the right-angle shape.

Getting a striping tape line to turn two corners like this was something I've wished I could manage ever since I discovered striping tape—and now, thanks to Nail Vinyls, I don't have to wish any more! If you've ever worked with normal tape or even straight nail stickers, you know that you always need to have one end of the tape/sticker extending off the edge of your nail so that you can easily grab onto it to pull the tape off once you've painted over it with your second color. So, completely enclosed lines like the vertical sections of this design were never really possible without a lot of hassle.

The right-angle Nail Vinyls made this look so much easier to achieve, however. It still took some time and patience, like all tape manis, but the steps are pretty straightforward:

Each right-angle sticker needs to be cut once, as shown in step 2 above, and then the cut piece reapplied at a right angle, as shown in step 3. The rest is all making sure you apply the vinyls straight and evenly.

In addition to having a great experience with the Nail Vinyls, Jade and Mad Magenta also treated me very well—just as I've come to expect from piCture pOlish polishes! Both applied perfectly, even over the vinyls. If only all polishes could be so forgiving and easy to work with.

Thanks so much for looking! Don't forget to check out piCture pOlish and Nail Vinyls online, as well as the rest of the Blog/Insta Fest participants' nails!

Find piCture pOlish and Nail Vinyls Online

piCture pOlish:
International Stockists: http://picturepolish.com.au/network

Nail Vinyls:

See the Other Blog/Insta Fest Entries

Purple & Orange Sparkly Striped Nail Art

I guess I need to accept that purple & orange is a color combo I'm really growing to love. I never would have guessed this could happen, given my lifelong aversion to orange, but here we are! I paired purple & orange (and teal) for my braided manicure a while ago, and now I'm back on the purple & orange train again. I just can't get enough!

This quick and easy look uses some of my favorite polishes/brands. I started with a base of Deborah Lippmann Don't Stop Believin' on my thumb, index, and middle finger and piCture pOlish Ultra Violence on the other two. Then, using striping tape and Butter London HRH, I added stripes to my index and middle fingers. Finally, I added a purple stud from the Born Pretty Store (which does not match in the photos as well as it appeared to in real life, sigh) to my thumb. Everything is topped with Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat.

Not too much to add about this one, other than the fact that all these polishes wore really well—these nails lasted a full week! There's definitely a reason why these brands rank highly among my favorites.

I would love to hear what you think! Thanks for looking!

Eggplant Stir Fry

Eggplant Stir Fry 3

Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4):

Brinjal / Egg plant   --   ¼ kg
Green Chillies         --   2
Shallots                     --   3
Turmeric Powder  --   ¼ tsp 
Mustard seeds        --   1 tsp
Curry Leaves          --   1 sprig
Oil                                --   3 tbsp
Salt                              --   as required

Eggplant Stir Fry 2


Clean and cut the eggplant into small pieces.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.Add the curry leaves and saute for few seconds. Then add the finely chopped shallots ,slit green chillies and salt.Saute until the onions are golden brown.

Add the turmeric powder and saute for a minute.Add the chopped eggplant. Mix well and let it cook leaving the pan open.Stir occasionally and make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Cook until done and serve hot with rice.

Eggplant Stir Fry 1

Teal Butterfly Wing Nail Art

I see butterfly wing nail art everywhere and always admire it, so one day recently when I was in the mood to spend a good chunk of time on a design, I finally gave it a try. This is by no means breaking new ground here, but I did at least attempt to go with a color palette I personally hadn't seen before!

There are lots of great butterfly wing tutorials out there, but this one by m_a_tom on Instagram really stuck with me when I saw it a couple months ago. She illustrates each step really well and I found it very easy to follow.

I started with a base of Glitter Gal White Pointer and then sponged on a gradient of Butter London Slapper, China Glaze Too Yacht to Handle, and Butter London Fiver. Then, before starting in with the black & white acrylic paints for the wing details, I added a coat of China Glaze Fairy Dust for some sparkle. Everything is topped with Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat.

While I loved wearing this design a lot, this was definitely one of those manicures that made me curse myself for always being compelled to do my designs on both hands. Painting the black areas for the wings with my non-dominant hand was incredibly challenging!

What do you think of butterfly wing nails—overdone, or still pretty and worth wearing?

Thanks for looking!

Garnished Galaxy

I really, desperately wanted to do some Guardians of the Galaxy nails before seeing the movie over the weekend. (It's amazing, by the way! Go see it!) I racked my brain for ages trying to come up with a concept that would be both a recognizable representation of the movie/characters AND doable for my skill level, but I couldn't come up with anything. I love the Guardians to bits, but they just don't have super iconic (and nail-art-friendly) logos or costumes like the Avengers & other superheroes. In the end, I went with some embellished galaxies and called it a day—I had a movie to go see, after all!

I love doing galaxy nails. Even when you don't have much of a plan, they usually turn out great. My "plan" for this one was "um, blue, I guess?" so I grabbed some blue polishes that looked promising and went to town. As usual, I used tweezers and little bits of makeup sponge to apply everything except the base color.

Base: Chanel Blue Satin
Galaxy: Super Black Hello, Officer; Nails Inc. Mercer Street; China Glaze Secret Peri-wink-le; Serum No. 5 A Cup of Teal; China Glaze Fairy Dust; Serum No. 5 Sky Lights

Once my galaxy was complete and accented with a few dots of white acrylic paint, I made a some stamped decals using one of my MoYou London Sci Fi stamping plates. I'm a terrible slacker & didn't write down what polishes I used for the colors, but I know I stamped them with Essie Licorice, because it's a great stamping polish. I chose the rocket with Rocket Racoon in mind, but the planet was just a random selection!

Thanks for looking!

Mod is the New Black

A handful of weeks ago, I entered a giveaway on Instagram to win one of Shine & Sheen's awesome nail art kits. There were tons of entries, but amazingly, I won! (Thank you, Shine & Sheen and Life is Better Polished, for holding such a great giveaway!) I couldn't believe my luck—but even amid all the excitement of winning, I knew right away which kit I wanted to try when they contacted me: the Mad for Mod kit.

I've been really into black & white and color blocking lately, and I've even learned to really love orange, so going with the Mad for Mod kit was an easy choice for me. Before I started any painting, I spent some time online looking up mod styles and designs and doodling out a bunch of ideas on nail art practice templates. I actually came up with about a half-dozen ideas that I really loved, so expect to see more mod stuff from me down the road!

Before I get into how I created this particular look, I have some brief thoughts on the kit itself. I wasn't sure what to expect, since these are a fairly new product, but I'm happy to report that I was super impressed by everything. From the packaging to the tools & products included, every piece of the kit is very nice quality and works really well. I'd happily recommend the Shine & Sheen kits to anyone and will probably even pick up a couple to give as gifts to some folks I know who are curious about nail art.

On to the art! I challenged myself to use only the materials included in the kit to create this look, and with the exception of my base and top coats (I have to stick to my tried and true favorites there, sorry!), I had no trouble meeting that challenge. They really did include everything I needed!

  • I started with a base of the white polish (White Night) on all nails. As you probably know, white polishes can be extremely fussy, but this was honestly the best white polish I've ever used: not chalky or streaky at all, and I got full coverage with two easy coats. So great! I wish I could buy it in bulk.
  • Next, after some top coat, I used the black striper (Skinny Black Striper) to divide each nail into four sections. Once that was dry, I started filling in the quadrants: for the orange and black, I used the orange and black polishes (Orange London Pop and Fake Eyelashes, respectively) and just applied them with the brushes from the bottles. If you have small nails, this might be easier with a nail art brush (which you'll have to provide yourself), but the bottle brushes aren't huge, so it worked pretty well for me. 
  • Finally, after letting all the polish dry, I grabbed the checkerboard nail wraps included with the kit and started cutting out small pieces to fit the fourth quadrant of each nail. This was easily the most time-consuming part of the whole thing! I was cursing myself and my bright ideas about halfway through, but I'm really pleased with the final effect. And it only took two wraps to do both hands, so I still have lots left to play with for other manicures!

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with my Shine & Sheen nail art kit experience. If you've been thinking about picking one of these up, I'd definitely recommend doing so!

Thanks for reading, and also for your kind patience with my relative lack of posting lately. I think my life is settling down some now, so I hope to be back to my more normal posting pace very soon!
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