Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pixel Love for Sammy

Today is my bestie Sammy's birthday (remember Cuter Cuticles? That's her!) so I decided to organize a collab with a bunch of nailistas in celebration. I suck at coming up with themes, so I decided to go with the same idea I used for her custom mug I made, which is her pixelated heart tattoo. A ton of girls accepted the challenge (I know there were more that would have been happy to participate, but I was having trouble remembering everyone to ask!) and we came up with a ton of gorgeous manis to say happy birthday. 

Here's the collage.  Lots of girls who have never done nail art stepped up- well done! 

Products Used
Daily Hues Nail Lacquer Julie
Pure Ice Siren
Wet n' Wild Black Creme
Ciate Snow Virgin
essie Good to Go
Born Pretty Store Hex Glitter

I attempted to make a decal but it wasn't really working out for me, so I freehanded the heart. This was my first glitter placement as well. I'm happy with how it turned out!

Happy Birthday Sammy!
xo Shawna

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Negative Space Chevrons

I feel like life has just been insane after getting back home from vacation last week. Hence the blog radio silence and some slacking on IG as well! To top it off, I got a new cell phone yesterday and I jumped ship from iPhone to get a Samsung galaxy s6.... so I'm learning a completely new device and feel like an idiot. More time playing with the features than instagramming sadly! I needed something simple and quick, but still interesting. So I finally did my own negative space chevron mani! 

Products Used
Color Club Angel Kiss
Sally Hansen Coral Reef
Chevron Vinyls (get some in my shop!) 
essie Good to Go

I'm not 100% I love the colour combo I chose, but it's growing on me. What do you think?

Are you an iPhone, android or neither?
xo Shawna

Friday, May 29, 2015

Ocean Nimbus for TGIF

I was struggling to think of an idea for the final week of May's TGIF challenge, so when in doubt, Nimbus! I've done a few variations on this mani before in various colours. I whipped this one out super fast, so it's not exactly my best nimbus! I love the colour palette however.

Products Used
Daily Hues Nail Lacquer Amelie (base)
Sally Hansen Babe Blue
Sally Hansen Pacific Blue
Funky Fingers Bezerk Turq
essie Good to Go Topcoat

Only a few days left of vacation! I'm writing this post ahead of time, but its extremely likely I'm nursing a post-wedding bash hangover when this goes live. 

What's your go-to nail art?
xo Shawna

Friday, May 22, 2015

fireworks for TGIF

So I have issues with looking at this thing, called a calendar. When I made the May #TGIFnailartchallenge prompts, I just assumed the May long weekend would be closer to the 24th so today's prompt is "Fireworks" despite the Canadian holiday actually being last Monday. Duh. 

Anyways, this was pretty quick to do, although its one of those "looked better in my head" manicures. 

Products Used
China Glaze Up All Night
Sally Hansen Hi-Ho Silver
OPI Sheer Tints Be Magentale With Me
OPI Sheer Tints Don't Violet Me Down
OPI Sheer Tints I Can Teal You Like Me
essie Good to Go TC

I did however love the use of sheer tints over the silver hand painted fireworks, changing up the colour of 3/4 of the nails for a varied look. 

Happy belated Victoria Day and happy Memorial Day to my American readers!

xo Shawna

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vintage Floral Stripes

I've always had mani envy when I see pretty, vintage inspired floral manis in my feed. I decided to rectify that and use my straight vinyls (two birds one stone!) with soft pastel stripes and pops of neon pink for the flowers.

Barry M Coconut
Kicks Mint Gelato
Color Club Neon Pink (unnamed mini)
OPI Mod About You
China Glaze Be More Pacific
essie Good to Go Topcoat
My Nails Did Straight Vinyl

This cute little mint polish was brought back for me from Sweden. Adorbs! I only wish I had skipped the leaves detailing on the striped nails, it looks like I just slipped while painting the lines. 

xo Shawna

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mermaid Scale Mani

I created a few new designs last week and needed to do some testing! Today I tried out the mermaid scale stencils, which resulted in some tweaking and here is the final product. I have a long weekend flash sale on currently, you can save 24% (for May 2-4!) until Monday the 18th at 10pm EST. I got my very canuck swap package yesterday and was absolutely spoiled. I got my very first picture polish shade, Cyan, and it's a stunner! I just had to use it ASAP. 

Products Used
Picture Polish Cyan
Echoes Polish Exterminate
My Nails Did Vinyls Mermaid Scale Stencils 
(use code FLASHMAY for 24% off!)

I love this sparkly, simple look! I'm always amazed at how easy vinyl manicures are, they're super quick and yield great results. You should check out the instagram contest on my account, @mynailsdid, to win a bunch of vinyls for yourself! 

Happy Victoria Day!
xo Shawna

Friday, May 15, 2015

Go Gens Go! TGIF Ruffian Mani

Happy Friday! I'm always proud of myself when I'm punctual with a challenge. That is kinda of sad as it speaks to my punctuality in general. Oops! Today's theme is "Ruffian".

I'm so excited for today's nail art, because it's in support of my favourite hockey team, the Oshawa Generals! I grew up in Oshawa and have been a longtime fan of the junior (OHL) team. Tonight they head into game 5 of the finals with a 3-1 series lead. Can they take Connor McDavid down? I am not sure but i will BE THERE to cheer them on, sporting my festive mani!

Products Used
Daily Hues Nail Lacquer Willa
China Glaze Up All Night
White Acrylic Paint
INM Out the Door Topcoat

This was my first time using acrylic paint in a mani. It was pretty easy to work with and I love that if you mess up you can wash it off with water before you seal it all in with topcoat. I also found the white paint really pops over the dark base in a way that can take many layers of polish to achieve. I'll be doing that again!

Do you use acrylic in your nail art?
xo Shawna

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cherry Blossoms for TGIF & My Engagement Shoot Mani

I'm late! That seems to be a theme in my posts lately - life is definitely crazy this spring!
Friday's theme for the TGIF nail art challenge was "Cherry Blossoms". I actually spent Friday playing with cherry blossoms at our engagement shoot in High Park. We had to move the shoot up an entire week at the last minute, because the blossoms happened much earlier this year compared to the last few springs! So, I wore a classy and timeless mani for the shoot and my challenge mani was put on hold. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the engagement shoot mani!

Products Used
Ciate Chinchilla
Nicole by OPI Hard-Kourt Kardashian
OPI Mod About You
Ciate Snow Virgin
essie Good to Go Topcoat

I freehanded the branches and dotted on the blossoms. I am absolutely in love with the look and it was fairly simple! 

Here's the mani for my engagement shoot. Mod About You base with a China Glaze Fairy Dust glitter tipped gradient, and a simple red holo heart with Daily Hues Nail Lacquer in Willa, made with a dotting tool. 

Check out this gorgeous shot our photographer Jacqueline from Injoy Imagery snapped for my instagram. 

Stunning! Are you in love with cherry blossoms like I am?
Happy Mother's Day!

xo Shawna

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Quatrefoil Vinyls Mani

I love quatrefoil. Like, a lot. But I find doing it by hand with a dotting tool (which I've done a few times) just never looks as nice as I want it to, and it's also tedious as hell! So one of the very first stencils I designed was quatrefoil, of course. (I even made two different designs!). 

When I first designed the stencils, the lines were a little thin and tore pretty easily - I made them thicker and had to test them out! So I can say my vinyls are new AND improved, which I always laughed at as a marketing gimmick before. But it's totally true! They're a week old and already improved! And wow, am I in love. 

Products Used
Finger Paints Night Lights
OPI Love Angel Music Baby
My Nails Did Vinyls Quatrefoil 02 Stencils
essie Good To Go Top Coat
(code OPENING for 15% off and free decals with min. 2 sheet purchase - until the end of the week!)

I sponged the gold overtop my completely dry base. Shhh, I was able to use each stencil 2-3 times and my whole mani took only 4 stencils! Talk about value. Is it narcissistic to say I freakin love my own product? Hope you love it too!

xo Shawna

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Neon Skittle Swirls

Last night I got creative making new Vortex Swirl Stencils  which are available now in my shop! I wanted to showcase their awesomeness so I layered a graphite coloured holo over a skittles rainbow of neon. 

China Glaze Japanese Koi
China Glaze Pool Party 
China Glaze I'm With the Lifeguard 
China Glaze Shocking Pink
Color Club Unnamed Mini (neon purple)
Daily Hues Nail Lacquer New Beginnings 2015
My Nails Did Vinyls Vortex Swirl Stencils

How amazing does this look? So simple and definitely a knockout mani. Don't forget code "OPENING" saves you 15% and if you purchase a minimum of two sheets you'll get a free sheet of decals (TBD). 

xo Shawna

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Braided Mani for TGIF

Oh hey guys! So my shop is open. Link is overhead or you can click right here--> My Nails Did Vinyls.  Use code "OPENING" to save 15% off your entire order, and if you order 2 sheets or more you'll get a free sheet of decals (TBD)! Prices are Canadian, so if you're from the States or international, the exchange is probably in your favour ;)

Today's nail art was literally done in a car. I didn't feel like joining my dad inside the chaos that is Costco, so I sat in the car with the windows down, enjoying the sunshine and painting my nails like the crazy nail lady that I truly am. The theme for week one of May's #TGIFnailartchallenge was Braid, which I've seen done so many times but never done myself! I decided on a pink monochromatic look.

Products Used
Finger Paints What a Night
OPI Suzi Shops & Island Hops
Color Club Miss Bliss
INM Out the Door Topcoat

I love this look! It's pretty simple to create but packs a lot of punch. 

Go check out the shop!

xo Shawna

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Holo Zebra

I've been so busy preparing my shop for opening I have barely been getting my nails polished! I was testing out my new zebra vinyls yesterday and I loved the look, so I decided to get my butt in gear and do a proper mani with them. In holo of course! Channeling Lisa Frank, I used a bright neon base and some black holo for the stripes.

Products Used
China Glaze Pool Party
Mad Scientist Lacquer Unicorn Blood
Color Club Beyond
INM Out The Door Top Coat
My Nails Did Zebra Stripe Stencils

Here's a pic with direct light to better show the holo gorgeousness!

This is so fun, a little crazy for my usual tastes but I'm totally digging it. AND, my shop will be officially launching this weekend so keep your eyes open for a special discount!

Hope you enjoy!
xo Shawna

Friday, April 24, 2015

Seaside Stamped Gradient

I'm glad I photographed this mani ASAP because I proceeded to dent all the tips when I left the house before the fairy dust properly dried! Oops. This is my mani for week four of the April TGIF nail art challenge- stamped gradient. I wanted a light base colour that would allow my stamping shades to pop, so I dug deep into my drawer and pulled out Panda-Monium Pink, which I'm pretty sure is the first OPI colour I ever fell in love with. I finally used my last untied MoYou London plate, which I ordered back on Christmas! Baby steps, right? I find the longer I do nail art, the less i reach for stamping plates - but they're definitely nice for a quick, pretty mani. 

Products Used
OPI Panda-Monium Pink
Sally Hansen Pacific Blue
Konad Princess Polish Deep Jungle
China Glaze Fairy Dust
INM Out the Door Top Coat

These two stamping colours blended together beautifully. It's too bad this mani got ruined, but I am going to pick up my cutting machine from FedEx tonight (an aside: I hate FedEx!) so I'm not too upset because I'm going to be all about testing the nail vinyls soon! Watch for the shop opening announcement and specials!

xo Shawna

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Highlight of my Summer

I bought CG's Highlight of my Summer a few weeks ago at the BOGO sale at Sally. This colour is seriously hyped in the nail world! I used it as an accent in my Easter Egg nails but I wanted to try out the awesomeness on it's own. I was in the mood to stamp, but sadly I'm considering this set a stamping fail! Also quick note on the formula - it's definitely a 3 coater and drags and gets bald spots with any less. Gorgeous shade, but you have to work for it! 

Products Used 
China Glaze Highlight of my Summer
Wet n Wild Black Creme
INM Out the Door Topcoat
Bundle Monster 507 & 508

I think part of the reason I'm not digging this one is my new nail shape. I've envied many squoval nails so I decided to try it out. Ugh. I haven't had anything resembling square for a while (like, more than a year and probably closer to two) and it is really, really weird to me. Why do I keep doing this?!  Also the images didn't stamp as cleanly as I would have liked and got a little smudged when I top coated too soon. Live and learn, it's an excuse to re-do my nails tomorrow! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Matte Coral & Gold

I wanted something simple since I spent a good chunk of my polishing time tonight painting 150 thumb tacks to make my own dragon egg. (Try explaining whah a dragon egg is to the cashier to michaels- not easy!) I settled on a simple slanted french tip using nail vinyl guides. (I'm launching my very own vinyl shop soon so stay tuned!). I actually hated it at first (the colours) so I tested my new nyc matte top coat and voila- love!

Products Used
essie tarte deco
Loreal Because I'm Worth It
NYC Matte You Crazy
Straight Vinyls 

So simple and classy. This matte TC is way better than the China glaze which was previously using!

Are you a matte fan?
Xo Shawna 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Nail Art Basics: Top Coat

At the nail girl meet up, Bree had the brilliant suggestion of blogging about top coats for those new to the nail art (or nail polish world, in general) about the difference between clear nail polish and actual top coat. I loved the idea so much I decided to start a mini-series of posts on nail art basics for beginners!

There are a ton of brands so I'll review some of the big names as well! There are many more I haven't tried, so I will stick to the ones I've personally used. 

So - top coat. Why should you invest in a proper top coat instead of using whatever clear coat you happen to have kicking around? Well, your choice of top coat can make or break your mani! "Clear coat" (a regular nail polish formula without any pigment) takes just as long to dry as your nail colour. So, while it might add some gloss to your manicure, it can take forever to thoroughly dry, and often you will bump your nails before the clear coat has properly set- resulting in annoying chips, smudges and sometimes bed sheet marks while you sleep!

However, by choosing a good fast dry top coat, you can pretty much eliminate these annoyances from occurring! The faster drying of the bunch are dry to the touch within a few minutes, and rock hard and ready to roll way sooner than regular polish. You can even slick a layer on over still tacky polish and it will save you from smudges! 

Fast dry top coats are especially great for detailed nail art. If your manicure has layer of polish that needs to be dry before you move onto the next step (think, stamping or striping tape), a fast-dry coat can literally save you hours of dry time! If you're a night owl like me, you can do your nails right before bed and know you'll be ok in the morning! 

There is a technique for applying top coat to nail art, as well. You want to "float" the polish onto the nail - basically, to avoid having the brush actually touch the polish so it doesn't drag. If your brush is too dry, or you're using too much pressure, the brush will drag the polish underneath and cause those unsightly smears of your nail art. If you plan to use a mattifying or scented top coat, I would recommend using the fast dry TC first and then slicking those over top. 

I think that about covers it. If it doesn't convince you, I don't know what will ;) Onto some reviews!

When searching for a good top coat, nail artists usually are looking for 3 main qualities: quick dry time, gloss, and lasting power. It can sometimes be hard to find one that has all three! I will admit I always get tip wear and nail polish doesn't last all that long on me since I'm in gloves all the time at work, so I won't comment too much as to the length of wear. 

Essie (good to go) and China Glaze (fast forward) are both pretty accessible (I've scored them both from Winners at a discounted price) and boast pretty decent scores in all 3 categories. The dry time is relatively quick and decent gloss! At Winners, they're about $6-7 and closer to $10 elsewhere. 

HK girl top coat is hugely popular in the nail art world. It's sold at in Canada ($9.75 CDN)  or directly from the stockist, Glisten and Glow. I've tried this one and can definitely attest to it's rapid drying time and super glossiness. Also, no shrinkage! This is probably my #1 choice of all the TCs in this post, however I usually go for the convenience of being able to purchase my topcoats in a bricks and mortar store which is why I didn't re-buy!

Seche Vite is also really popular and a little easier to find in retail stores (as opposed to just online). It retails about $10 a bottle, but Sally's often has sales. You can pick it up at Sally's Beauty Supply (P.S. - get yourself a Sally Card!). I personally don't love Seche, I notice the shrinkage (it makes the polish lift at the sides of my nails) and I find it gets thick in the bottle quite quickly. However, it is SUPER shiny and fast-drying. Some people absolutely rave about it, so I think it's one you'd need to test it out for yourself to decide!

INM Out the Door is my newest addition. (I purchased it at Sally's in the states for $5). This is probably the slowest drying in the bunch, however still much faster than a non-fast dry top coat. It's not as glossy as the others, which isn't always a bad thing (especially if you plan to mattify your mani). I did like the lasting power of this top coat though - I rocked my Sand and Stilettos glitter nails for 5 days (which is practically a record for me, I think) and there was nothing beyond minimal tip wear. I have to admit I was impressed! 

So - everything you ever wanted (or maybe didn't want to) know about top coats! I hope this was informative. Let me know in the comments if there are any other topics you would like me to cover that you think would be helpful for nail art newbies!

xo Shawna

Images by Freepik