Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Hobbit Nail Art | The Shire

In November, my friend Anjali (From L&P to English Tea) and I took part in NaNoWriMo. NaNo's goal is to write a book in a month, and in order to "win" NaNo, you need to reach 50,000 words. That's about 1,650 words a day, which is pretty achievable, but you really don't want to get behind or else it's near-impossible to catch up. I'd been wanting to write a book since I was 16, but have always had an excuse not to. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, and I figured that even if I don't reach the full 50k I'd still get more down than the measly 3,000 words I managed in high school! Anjali and I decided that whoever had the most words by the end of the month would get to choose something for the other person to do on their blog... and the writing began!

I surprised myself! I was pretty dedicated, each day pumping out my allocated word count and getting excited whenever I reached a milestone. Sometimes I was completely over it though, and would write 1,650 words of rubbish. Still, I kept going. Finally I reached 50,000, a few days before the end of the month. Anjali reached it shortly before me, but I still had a few days where I could have gone hard and attempted to beat her... but after 50,000 words, I was done. Time for a break, I decided, and I happily let her take first place, with a difference of about 1,500 words, if I remember correctly. As her reward for winning, Anjali chose a theme for some detailed nail art, and as you can see she chose The Hobbit!

I wanted to make a video tutorial for this, but it's really hard to film detailed designs - you need to move your hand around too much and it gets really frustrating! Instead, I took pictures as I went and combined them into this step-by-step tutorial. It's the first tutorial I've done this way, so let me know what you think of it. It's not going to be a regular thing for normal nail art, but could be an option for getting designs up that otherwise wouldn't make it to YouTube...

I haven't done any Lord Of The Rings or The Hobbit nail art before, and there's a reason for that. I don't like painting my nails with things that I don't completely love, as it feels like I'm selling myself out. And with LOTR, I always fall asleep while watching it. Seriously, does it have to be so long?! I've read The Hobbit, back when I was a pre-teen but as that was at least ten years ago my memory is a little foggy. So, unlike The Hunger Games and various other popular series, LOTR has never made an appearance here - until now. I'm really glad Anjali asked for me to do these nails, because it prompted me to finally watch The Hobbit. I watched the first one about a week after doing these nails, and realised that it encompasses a whole lot more than just the Shire! I'm now planning on making a nail art series on The Hobbit, and it will definitely include more dragons ☺. I really enjoyed the first two Hobbit movies, and all going to plan I'll be watching the third next week. Then, I'll give Lord Of The Rings another try. No promises that'll work out. 
Worst. New Zealander. Ever.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

My Christmas Nails | Snowflakes & Baubles Inspired by MadamLuck

 Merry Christmas! At the time of writing this, it's almost just after 8pm on Christmas Eve - a lot closer to Christmas than some of you in the northern hemisphere, I'm sure! I wasn't intending on sharing these nails with you today, but I was so pleased with both the nail art and the photography that I just needed to get them up. Before I continue, I should say that this is not an original design; I was inspired by the very talented MadamLuck. You can see her original nail design here, and follow her on Instagram @madamluck to see all of her work!

I've done a few different Christmas nail art tutorials on my YouTube channel this year, but as they were all done weeks before the 25th, I had bare nails this morning. I lost some of my nail art mojo a few months ago after suffering a bit of a burn out; which all came as a bit of a shock. It's been a few months now and I've had time to reflect, and I now know the reason it happened. The same as many bloggers; I turned my beloved hobby into a pressure-filled, time-constricted, 50-hours-a-week job. When I do nail art tutorials for YouTube, it's often purely for the viewers. At least 50% of the time, I wipe off the polish just hours after applying it, and it's normally only on one hand. This is for a variety of reasons; to save time, to do another tutorial straight after it, because I have a client coming, or because I have things to do and don't have time to wait for my nails to dry. It can take the enjoyment right out of it!

I've known that painting one hand and removing it has been a problem for a while, but haven't really done much about it; I've focused more on cutting down my reviews, re-organising my YouTube schedule and relieving general blogging pressures. It's been working; I was feeling relatively confident that I could continue this long-term - but there still was a hint of doubt. However, this week I've managed to paint my nails (on both hands, and off camera) twice, and I loved it. Took me back to the old days when I would perch on the edge of my table covered in study notes and paint designs on my digits for hours, forgetting to eat or drink and then having that awful moment of "oh my god, I need to pee!" My passion for nail art is well and truly intact; it never really went, in hindsight. It's silly how much pressure you can put on yourself, when really it's only you doing it. There are obviously external factors that made it a bit tougher, but if I keep this as a hobby, I can stop and start whenever I want, and keep it fun, creative, fresh. My followers are all lovely and I can count the negative comments I've gotten in the last 2 1/2 years on one hand. I just love, love, love the blogging community, the viewers, the readers, everything about this little world. I have no intention of leaving it, so in order to stick around it's time to make my nail art more about what suits me... and I have a feeling it's going to up the quality of my work as well. 

So there's a little update. To be honest, I didn't need to say all this, but in case you were one of the 300 people who watched my "Shall I Quit YouTube?" video (before I pulled it down), there is a happy ending to the story. There's a lot more happening in the next few months for me too, but I think I'll tell it after-the-fact... things change to easily! Back to the nail art, now ☺.

I used a variety of nail polish for this design, plus some acrylic paint. I find the latter great for the foreground; in this case the baubles. It's a lot more opaque and doesn't require a white coat first, as the paint stands out brightly by itself.

Here's a list of the polishes I used:
China Glaze - Running In Circles
China Glaze - Platinum Silver
Nicole by OPI - Carrie'd Away
Nicole by OPI - Sheer Fun
Nubar - Royal Blue
Sally Hansen - Himalayan Blue
Sally Hansen - Wedding Crasher
Sinful Colors - Snow Me White

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Pinkie Pie Nail Art | My Little Pony Christmas!

With most nail art, I go through phases. For a while I love anything with stripes, or dots, then I move on to chevron, or perhaps leopard print. I incorporate the current favourite into most manicures I do, relishing all the different ways to do it; creeping up the side, covering the whole nail, different colours - the possibilities are endless! After weeks, or sometimes months of this, I get a feeling not dissimilar to the sudden hatred you get when you've listened to your favourite song too many times. I go completely off it; it's boring, it's easy, it's cliché. I refuse for do it for months at a time, until the wheel turns full circle and suddenly it's back in full force.

Today's nail art, however, is not one of those designs. I have a handful of designs that I never seem to tire of, and they are the detailed ones. I always love doing Disney nail art, My Little Pony nail art, Game of Thrones nail art and anything else that requires a lot more patience and creativity. I've previously done Rainbow Dash and a Halloween pony, and after it being requested over and over, I decided to do Pinkie Pie. Since Christmas is only five days away though, I added in some Christmas lights to make it a bit more festive!

Here's the tutorial! Please subscribe to my channel, I generally upload a new video every Friday.

The nail polishes I used in this design were:
China Glaze - Lemon Fizz
Essie - I'm Addicted
Essie - Need A Vacation
Essie - Too Taboo
Essie - Vices Versa
Jordana - Black
Jordana - Mellow Yellow
Jordana - Sweet Orange
Literary Lacquers - Anne With An "E"
Nicole By OPI - City-Pretty Rose
Nicole by OPI - Please Red-Cycle
Revlon - Alluring Amber
Sinful Colors - Snow Me White

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Pastel Owl Nail Art - With Gel Polish

Every now and again I'll give myself a gel polish manicure. It's certainly not a regular thing, as it lasts far too long for me; 2-3 weeks with the same design conflicts rather heavily with blogging! However, if I'm moving house, extremely busy or have a lot of nail art designs lined up ready to post, I'll treat myself. This was one of these occasions, and as you can see, I gave it a pastel theme with a cute little owl as a feature nail!

On the index finger I've done a light pink (or perhaps you could call it lavender?) background and carefully painted horizontal stripes across it in white polish. On the middle nail I pressed silver glitter into the polish; I've got a tutorial on how to do that here. On the ring finger I painted a little owl, one of my favourite designs to do. They're just so cute! And on the thumb and pinky I used a tiffany green background colour (I use EzFlow TruGel, by the way) and painted on white hearts.

If you've seen my post about my attempts at nail art with gel polish, you'll know that it wasn't a smooth journey to get to where I wanted to be. Gel polish is a lot runnier and prone to spreading out than normal nail polish, which means doing detailed designs is tricky. I've had lots of practice now, and have been getting lots of lovely compliments on my ability to get it to behave! I've found it's all about having the right amount of polish on the (thin) brush, and flash-curing the product. Some of my more recent gel polish works can be found here and here.

Here's the other hand - didn't turn out quite as well! I remember getting a bit impatient (it was at the end of a client day) and rushing it with the chest feathers... then laughing at how horrendously bad they turned out in comparison. They were still super cute, fun nails to wear though, so I was happy.

I hit 10,000 subscribers on YouTube yesterday! This is such an amazing thing for me; this year has been filled with many ups and downs, and it's so great to see that despite everything, I still reached my goal. A year ago I made reaching 10k one of my blogging resolutions, but I thought it a bit optimistic, considering I started the year with just 1k. Reaching it two weeks early is fantastic! I can only dream of seeing the same exponential increase next year...

Thanks heaps to everyone who's supported me since Nailed It NZ started. I'm in the progress of organising a massive giveaway to say thank you - can't wait to start it. Keep an eye out for it on my YouTube channel, all going to plan it should be up within a week or two.

P.S - I updated my tutorial page - it isn't ten miles long now!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Snowman and Snowflake Nails | Christmas Tutorial

Back in October I did these Halloween nails, and loved how the skeleton crossed over two nails. It's such a unique look, plus it means you have twice the space to paint on - perfect! I was thinking of a new Christmas nail art design to film, and realised I haven't done snowmen yet - so here we are.

I really love this cute little guy, and it was nice to finally do some snowflakes on myself again. 
Here's the tutorial, and please subscribe to my channel ☺.

It's definitely time to do something more challenging though, and all going to plan my next detailed nail art will be based on The Hobbit. I'm in two minds about whether to film it or not - I always do better work when there's not a camera in the way. Perhaps step-by-step photos instead?

Apologies for the irregular colouring and photo quality; I took these photos outside on a horrible, cold, windy day (hurray for Kiwi Summers) and didn't realise till I went to edit that they weren't the best.

The nail polishes I used for these nails were:
Essie - Bikini So Teeny
Jordana - Black
Mode - VIP
Nicole by OPI - Party Bus
Nicole by OPI - Please Red-Cycle
OPI - Greenwich Village
Revlon - Alluring Amber
Sinful Colors - Snow Me White

Hope you like these! 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas Minions | Nail Art Inspired by Despicable Me

Several months ago I was browsing Instagram and found these cute little breast cancer awareness minions by NailStorming (Gianna's got some amazing designs!). I thought they were such a good idea, and made a note to make a Christmas version when December rolled around. Sure enough, here they are - my first Christmas nail design of 2014.

The tutorial for these went live on Wednesday (a bonus video for this week) and since then I've been desperately wanting to watch Despicable Me. I haven't managed to find it yet in the DVD collection of the place we're house-sitting, but it still could be in there somewhere... fingers crossed!

Please subscribe to my channel ☺.

I used quite a few polishes in this design, they were:

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Taylor Swift - Blank Space | Nail Art Tutorial

 Today I've got some crazy nails to show you - very much for a true Swiftie! I've loved Taylor Swift ever since I heard "Love Story" back in high school, and was so excited for 1989 to come out. I've now got an embarrassingly high play count of that album on my itunes (triple digits...), it's just so good! I've previously done Shake It Off nails, when her first single from 1989 came out, and you can see them here. I watched the music video to Blank Space recently and though it was hilarious and very clever, so decided I'd have to recreate it on my nails. Here's a collage of the nails I did - you'll see that one hand is "Loved Up Taylor" and the other hand is "Psycho Taylor."

It was really tricky to decide what to do for this tutorial, and in hindsight I probably wouldn't have filmed it, and instead gone into more detail. I had to re-do about 4 nails because I changed my mind on the design, so it got really frustrating! I was pretty happy with what I came up with in the end, though, and I particularly like the dress and tuxedo on the "Loved Up" hand. Here's the tutorial for it. I'm so close to 10,000 subscribers now!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

How To Remove Nail Polish Stains | YouTube Video

Hey everyone! 

I thought I'd make a quick blog post about my latest video, which is all about how I removed my nail polish stains. In case you've never had a problem with this, nails get stained when you constantly wear nail polish for an extended period of time. I noticed my nails first started getting stained once I had worn nail polish for a month straight, and it just got worse from there. As I do so much nail art, I also had multiple layers and various other glitters, etc, on top of the base colour, making it thicker and adding to the stain. Naturally, I wanted to cover up the embarrassing yellow nails with more polish, (they can be stained other colours too, but it generally fades to yellow) but that just perpetuated the problem. After a year of gross, stained nails, I finally figured out how to make it go away - and it was simple!

Here are a couple of pictures showing my nails before and after.

Pretty dramatic improvement, right?

I should say, if you're looking for a quick fix, don't bother watching. Seriously. There is no quick fix for badly stained nails that won't damage your natural nail - at least not one I've found, and I have researched this a LOT. I've found that a lot of the websites that tell you they've got a miracle cure don't actually have any proof it works, they're just hoping to get a viral post. These copy-paste articles drive me insane! If lemon juice and baking soda works for you, that's great, but they sure didn't for me. I hope this helps some of you who's nails are in a similar state to what mine used to be!

Please subscribe ☺.

I've also got a post on my blog all about this, which you can find here.