Friday, 28 February 2014

The Nail School Diaries | Week One

Hi everyone! This post has been a long time coming. I have been itching to start nail school for a really long time, and finally, it's here!  I'll be doing regular (or semi-regular) updates about my experience, what I've learnt and anything else that seems worth sharing. I've called it the "Nail School Diaries" - just because it sounds cooler than "My Experience Training as a Nail Technician" ☺. First up, I'll give you a little background to how I ended up choosing to train as a nail tech - it wasn't as straight-forward and obvious as it might seem!

As you may know, I started doing nail art just under two years ago, and this blog quickly followed. I've had many different career ambitions in my life; including train driver (!), kindergarten teacher, lawyer, vet and journalist. This indecision led to me doing a Bachelor of Arts degree (yes, I'm a cliché), and in my third year I discovered that I really enjoyed painting tiny pictures on my nails. Like, REALLY enjoyed it, and the social media side of it made it even better. 30,000 followers - whaaat!? I've never been as motivated, passionate and obsessed with anything.

However, I never really considered it as a career until about a year later. At this point I was working as a preschool teacher, untrained but enjoying it. It will always be my second choice, but I was too scared to commit to my first choice; nails. Then I realised that the only reason I was hesitant into going into the nail industry is the stigma that surrounds it. Beauty, nails, hair - to some it's not considered "smart" or "important" work. It's portrayed as "trivial" or "superficial" - all you need to do is read the YouTube comments on beauty guru's videos to see this. I have had to deal with countless people's eyes glaze over, writing me off, when I mention "nail technician," and have had many others try to talk me out of it. What they are implying is something that, at it's roots, is a nice sentiment; you can do better. 
It's so hard not to reply with; Thank you; now shut up.

This has made me think a bit. Why does society count some careers as better than others? Lawyers, doctors, scientists and the like all are seen as successful careers to be in, but why? Is it the money? I read about a nail tech who makes $300,000 US a year. Is it the morals? Um, criminal defence lawyers! Is it their presence in popular culture, the stereotyping shown in movies, is it the amount of exposure they get? Do our cultures simply value science and mathematics over art, over making things beautiful? I still haven't figured it out, and maybe I never will, but either way, I refuse to conform to it.

If I did something else, I would always regret that I settled for second best; I didn't give my greatest passion a chance. So I signed up. This may very well not work out for me. But at least I tried, and I think if you have this level of passion, you will succeed.


My course is six months long. It's three full days a week and covers everything. I didn't want to just learn how to do gels and acrylics, I want to know the science behind it, and all the little details. This was very important to me!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

DIY Light Box | Tutorial, Care & How To Use

I remember when I first started blogging; pictures were a constant problem! I was running around the house trying to get the best lighting, and none of it was good. Too dark, too light, too yellow, too blue. That was until I learned how to make a light box, and bought a decent light. I followed Chalkboard Nails' tutorial, and now that I've made many and worked out all the kinks, I decided to film a tutorial video for it. I also included some tips on how to look after it (feed and water regularly) and how to take photos using it. It honestly makes such a difference to your photos - I've included a couple of comparison examples in the video. Please subscribe to my channel!

Of course, light boxes (or light cubes) aren't just for nail bloggers. They're great for blogging about make-up or other small items, and for taking photos of products to sell online. I personally have a foldable light-tent, now, but I'll still keep this one around. There are pros and cons to both of them, but that's another blog post!

Hope you found this video useful - and if you're a blogger and haven't made one of these yet, do it! You'll be amazed at how much better your photos and whole blog looks because of it.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Bean Boozled Challenge + Meet The Hubby!

Yesterday I was in the Plaza (Palmerston North's mall) and found these Bean Boozled jellybeans at United Sweets. I watched Olivia (xlivlovesmakeup) do this on her YouTube channel awhile ago and thought it was absolutely hilarious! So even though it's completely non-nail-related, I thought I'd make a video about it. My husband Chris was the best choice of sidekick/victim so I begged him to do it with me. We ending up agreeing that if my Facebook status and Instagram post about it got a combined total of 500+ likes, he'd do it. I actually thought we had no chance, but this morning I woke up to 534! Great news for him when he woke up... He legit tried to get out of it but I wouldn't let him ;). We ended up having heaps of fun filming it and he said he'd be keen to do more videos with me, if my viewers were interested. My mouth still tastes disgusting though!

Hopefully the video works - it's only just uploaded, and sometimes when it's that new it doesn't display the visual (just the audio) for the first hour or so. I freaked out and almost re-uploaded the first time it did that but now I'm used to it ☺.

Who else has tried these jellybeans?


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I Got My Nails Did!

I've only had someone else do my nails three times. First, it was for my wedding. I very painfully grew my nails for six weeks (I hated long nails at the time) and got them painted with a plain french tip at a local nail bar. This was two years ago and didn't know nail art existed yet. The next time was in November 2013, when I met Leah Light and she did my nails (you can read about this here). And the third and most recent time, was in the weekend! I had the pleasure of meeting and getting my nails done by the talented Leanna from Dolls House Nails & Beauty!

I actually approached her a little while ago about any possible job openings, not knowing that she worked from home (at least at the moment!). I ended up getting a job at another salon (still finalising stuff for that, I'll announce it properly soon) but Leanna and I were still keen to meet each other. So I went over for nails on Saturday!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Disney Nail Art #5 - Frozen!

I've been waiting for SO long to show you these! Introducing my Frozen nails - as a guest post on Kelsie's Nail Files. These are part five of my Disney nail art series, the others being Cinderella, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast.

I've always been quite a fan-girl of Kelsie's work, so wanted to do something special for my guest post! Considering these took half a day to do, I think they count :). Hope you like them! I LOVE Olaf, he's one of my favourite Disney characters of all time!

Check out my guest post for these on Kelsie's Nail Files - there are more pictures and information about these ☺. Oh, and I did a tutorial too! This will be good for those who want to see how I do my more detailed designs. Please subscribe to my channel!

Hope you like today's nail art!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Flower Sunset Nail Art | Daisy Mae Glass Necklace by Glam-Madam

For a while now I've considered branching out in what I review. I'd like to review other things - clothes, jewellery, phone covers -  and post them alongside nail art that has been inspired by it. This will always be a nail art blog, but I think it's really cool to see the inspiration next to the nails - and not just an image, but something solid and real. It also means that I can get the occasional pretty thing while helping out a company I like. As reviewing things take time and effort, I will be limiting reviews to only the things I think are quality and worth promoting (both the company and the product); I think that makes for a good and honest blog. As usual, you can find my contact details under the "contact me" tab.

When PK from Glam-Madam approached me I was very keen to review an item from her Etsy Store! PK is a fellow New Zealander and sells a variety of jewellery - all hand-painted to a high standard.

Here's the "Daisy Mae Glass Necklace" I got, next to the nails that were inspired by it.

The necklace also came with a lovely note giving details about the necklace and how it was made - here are some excerpts.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

♥ Valentines Cat Lady | Anti-Valentine's Day Nail Art ♥

I wanted to do some anti-Valentines nail art (and a tutorial to go with it) but it was surprisingly hard to find a theme I liked. I considered broken hearts, hearts with a big red cross on it, black hearts, and other rather depressing and stereotypical depictions. But that didn't seem quite right - being single on Valentine's Day doesn't mean that you hate love, or have never loved, it just means that this commercialised holiday falls at a time that doesn't really work for you. I also thought of making my anti-Valentines nails something completely irrelevant, such as parsnips or umbrellas or turtles... but that was just weird. Then, after three days of it running through my head and knowing I was running out of time, I saw this picture pop up on my Facebook news feed.

I literally laughed (or snorted, to be exact) out loud. It was perfect! Anti-Valentines Cat Lady nails, here I come! 

I didn't have a boyfriend in high school, and my best friend at the time was also in this (oh-so-tragic) position. While growing friendships, finding ourselves and building our social skills, we bemoaned our lack of social acceptability and laughed about how were were going to end up being "crazy old cat ladies." Which didn't actually sound too bad; cats in general are cute, don't argue back, clean themselves immaculately and are great at cuddling. However, a few months out of high school I met my now-husband, so now I count myself as a "cat lady with a +1."

So, when I say cat ladies I don't mean it as a bad thing; it's just this hilarious generalisation that's taken a firm grip in modern culture. And the picture/these nails visualised it so well.

Here's the tutorial! I was about to film the little intro bit at the beginning when my friend came over. We went for a big walk and by the time I got back I was sticky, gross and definitely not camera-ready. Naturally I filmed it anyway. So that's why I look a bit not-put-together. I fail at being a lady ☺.
Please subscribe!

Monday, 10 February 2014

I Support Marriage Equality ♥ Valentines Nail Art Tutorial

I never really know how much of myself to reveal in my blog. After all, it's a nail art blog; not based on politics, human rights or even my own life. I feel I need to apologise if I deviate too far from what's expected, especially in my YouTube videos. However, not for this. I am proud to support marriage equality and I will rant about it as much as I like!

Like far too many people, growing up I was told that being gay is unnatural and wrong. Fortunately, I have a habit of asking "why" and quickly figured out that love is love, no matter what the gender. I balled my eyes out when gay marriage was legalised in New Zealand. I watched it all unfold on Parliament TV and loved all the speeches - well, expect Winston Peter's one and one or two haters. It ended up being a landslide victory and I have never been prouder of my country! 

I was thinking about Scotland's legalisation (or is it decriminalisation?) of same-sex marriage while doing these nails and it led to me giving them a rainbow theme. I've seen gay rights nails, I've seen rainbow nails and we all have seen quite enough Valentines nails... but I haven't ever seen any Valentines nails celebrating homosexual love! So here's my tutorial for these nails - and don't forget to hit that "subscribe" button if you haven't already!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Guide To Nail Art Brushes | How To Use Them & Thin Them

Hi everyone! I thought I'd quickly blog about this video I uploaded a few days ago. It's all about nail art brushes - what they're used for and how to cut them down. I've got a blog post all about this here, too.


Update - I have my own nail art brush line now! No thinning required, they're the perfect size for nail art. You can buy them here, and I ship internationally.


Hope you find it useful, and please subscribe to my channel ☺.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Prepared For Travelling - Right Down To The Fingertips!

A good friend of mine left for Europe a couple of months ago - a huge adventure for her and I'm SO proud! Before she left, though, we felt it necessary to give her some travel-themed nail art - it gets the excitement going! One set was for her goodbye party and I did the other set just before she left.

In case you're wondering what's on her ring finger, it's a painting of the place she's working. Kind of. For privacy reasons I won't show you a comparison photo of the building, but suffice to say it's green ☺.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Valentine's Day Nail Art Tutorial | Pastel Hearts

 I've been a bit slow in doing Valentine's Day nail art tutorials (unless you count these Hunger Hearts nails) so I'm finally doing one! It was actually very well-timed for me; it's my husband and I's second wedding anniversary on the fourth so I'll be able to celebrate with nails in theme ☺.

These cute little Valentines hearts are so cute and pretty easy to do! Here's the tutorial, and please subscribe!

You'll notice that I have a whole new intro piece and a couple of fancy end-of-video (outtro?) pictures. Pretty proud of these - I wanted to get them done before I start nail school later in the month and I actually did! Speaking of which, I'm getting very excited about my course. I am slightly worried about the bitchiness though - a bunch of girls shoved in a classroom together is never a good idea. I read a bit about it on Nailed It, plus a few nail techs I know have warned me. I'm going to try so hard to stay out of it all, and choose good friends - fingers crossed!

Here's the right hand. I always experiment on it first before filming the left hand, so as usual it turned out slightly worse. The hearts look better when they're bigger, I discovered.

The polishes I used were:
China Glaze - Lemon Fizz
China Glaze - Aquadelic
Maybelline Color Show - Chiffon Chic
Maybelline Color Show - Iced Queen
Ozotic - Mr Big in White
Jordana Pop Art - Black Mark

Hope you like these! Who's got plans for Valentine's Day? I don't; to be honest I think it's a bit of a silly holiday; but a good excuse for cute nails! I love that Valentines is so close to our anniversary; we celebrate what really matters to us at a time when all the shops are also in full "love" swing. Perfect!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Katy Perry Nail Art | Roar

I'm quite a fan of Katy Perry, especially the song "Roar." It's just so inspiring!

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

So when I got these tiger water decals to review from Born Pretty Store, I knew I had to turn them into "Roar" nails. And here they are!

Special mention to the tiger that's so fiercely burping sparkles. Minty fresh tiger breath?

Here's the packet the water decals came in. As you can see, I only used one tiger in this manicure but I think it added quite a lot to it; gives the impression of more detail than there is.

If you don't know what water decals are or how to apply them, check out my last post about them here.