Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Green Gradient with Golden Shamrock

St Paddys 2014 Nails 3

I’m not Irish and I don’t even like to get sloshed, but I enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day because

1.  My favorite color is Green and Rainbows (yes, that’s the answer I give, don’t judge me)

2.  I LOVE GOLD

3.  I love clovers (today I wore my real 4 leaf clover necklace)

4.  I’ve always secretly wished I was red headed and green eyed

5.  I love me some cabbage and potatoes

6.  I don’t like to get hammered, but I do still love a good beer

7.  Did I mention rainbows?

St Paddys 2014 Nails 2

The real big deal about today’s manicure is that it’s actually the first time I’ve ever attempted a gradient.  I followed the basic process of painting white on all my nails, then painting 3 shades of green onto a cosmetic sponge and dabbing each nail.

I did between 2 and 3 layers per nail with the sponge.  Then I added green glitter on the tips.  For my ring finger I painted a coat of China Glaze Angel Wings over the entire nail, then added a shamrock.

The shamrock is 3 metal studs, which I painted over and then painted on the stem.

And yes, for St. Paddy’s day it should be 3 leaves because St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach about the holy trinity.  Overall I like how it turned out, but I know I can do better.  I have the excuse that I was on a time schedule because I did these right before heading out to a St. Paddy’s party!

To all my Irish friends, I hope you had some luck today, or at least some cabbage.

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Polishes and Supplies Used:

  1. Sally Hansen Double Duty Base and Top Coat
  2. 2 Coats Sally Hansen Xtremewear White On
  3. Cosmetic Sponge for gradient
  4. Nailite Mint Green
  5. Maybelline GoGo Green
  6. Ulta The Jungle Look
  7. Pure Ice I’ll Behave
  8. 1 Coat INM Out The Door Top Coat
  9. Revlon Fall Mood
  10. China Glaze Angel Wings
  11. Studs from BornPrettyStore
  12. Poshe Top Coat

 

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Tribute to my father Fritz – Buddha Nails

Fritz and me on top of Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island

Fritz and me on top of Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island

Life and death happens.  I know this might be a heavy topic for a nail blog, but it’s part of my life and so it’s something I want to talk about.  Warning: it’s kind of a long post because I used this time writing to reflect on many happy memories and expand on my own experiences and some of his beliefs.

My father passed away in November from pancreatic cancer (PSA: smoking is bad).  I am grateful that we got a year to spend with him after his initial diagnosis and I know that although it has been a sad time it also brought me and my siblings closer together.

I’m sure my relationship with my father was different than that of my brother and sisters because we moved away from Canada when I was only 18 months old.  This meant that my brother and two sisters spent more time with him during their formative years, whereas I did not really see him as a toddler and then only briefly every few years as I grew up.  This doesn’t mean I didn’t connect with him, we had a lot of similar interests and ideas about the world and even though there was a physical distance between us it was always clear that he loved me very very much.

My father was a Buddhist for many years of his life, so to celebrate his life I hand painted Gautama Siddhārtha (aka Buddha) on my ring finger and stamped lotuses on the other nails.  I used maroon and gold because maroon and golden yellow are the traditional colors for Tibetan monk’s robes.

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He would often chant om mani padme hum when he passed this statue.

Small Buddha statue that resided outside my father's home

Small Buddha statue that resided outside my father’s home

Lotus floating in a lake on Salt Spring Island where my father lived and swam

Lotus floating in a lake on Salt Spring Island where my father lived and swam. The Pink Lotus is the supreme lotus, generally reserved for the highest deity. Thus naturally it is associated with the Great Buddha himself.

If you’ve ever wondered what is on Buddha’s head in all those statues, it’s snails.  Here’s the story (copy from northcoastgardening.com).

“One day, the Buddha was on a walk and began thinking very deeply. He came to a tree and sat down in its shade to continue his meditation.

Hours passed, and the Buddha became so immersed in thought that he didn’t notice the sun moving across the sky. The sun beat down on his bare head, and still he sat thinking.

A snail was making its way along the ground, and he noticed the Buddha sitting there, thinking important thoughts. Snails are tough creatures, but they are made of moisture, and have to be very careful of drying out, so the snail saw right away that the Buddha’s head was soon going to become a painful distraction to his great thoughts.

As fast as it could, the snail made its way up the Buddha’s robe to his head, and sat there, with his mucous-y body cooling the Buddha’s smooth, bare skin. Other snails noticed and followed the first one, covering Buddha’s head in a neat cap of spiral shells and cool, damp bodies.

Hours passed, and the snails became parched and dry. When evening fell and Buddha stood, noticing his surroundings once more, he found he was wearing 108 snails, all of whom had given their lives to further Buddha’s path to enlightenment.

These snails are now honored as martyrs and are shown on many statues of the Buddha to remind us of their sacrifice.”
Read more: http://www.northcoastgardening.com/2010/08/buddhist-snail-martyrs/#ixzz2rpmu3wng

The lotus is one of the most poignant representations of Buddhist teaching.

The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

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My father gave me…

  1. An expanded vocabulary of authors and artists – he loved to read, and I’m a science fiction junky just like him.
  2. My strikingly good looks 🙂  Mom always said I looked the most like him between my brother, sister and I.  He was certainly handsome when he was younger and apparently quite the flirt (I think I get that from him as well)!  I always thought I looked more like her, but when I visited him last year he made a devilish smirk that was like looking in a mirror; I finally saw it!
  3. A love for “junking” – exploring yard sales and flee markets to find treasures or just appreciate relics from history…grandma helped with this one too!
  4. My artistic abilities – I can’t say whether this all came from his side of the family, because both sides of the family are creative, but my father was an artist and art lover and all of his children were blessed with creative interests.  I know he and I both loved to draw people…also, naked people.
  5. Curiosity – I know this comes from both sides of the family, but I love that he was always thinking, investigating, pondering and meditating.
  6. My ability to procrastinate…look, they can’t all be positive things, I know I got my spacy put-things-offy side from this man!
  7. A reason to visit the small retreat of Salt Spring Island.  He settled in the area over twenty years ago and it was always such a treat to visit him there.  It always seemed like a haven of simple pleasures, swimming and berry picking in the summer, and somehow great food all around!
  8. See above, blackberry picking with my father is one of the fondest memories I have.  I still try to go every year where I live now to enjoy the fruits of the land.
  9. An education on Buddhism – I don’t consider myself associated with any religious affiliation, but if I had to pick one I’d lean towards Buddhism.  He provided me books that explored Buddhist tenants and stories and tried to live in accordance with his beliefs.  I feel I am for the better because of it and appreciate the focus of compassion, kindness and acceptance in his life.
  10. My smile – well, mom paid for 4 years of braces to get these teeth straight, but after seeing him flash a smile I know I got my smile from him (crooked teeth and all).

I’m grateful for all these gifts and more.

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Basically one of the only photos I have with him as a baby

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He and I both loved this photo after I took it. One of the last books he was reading was Lord of Light, and this photo makes me think of that title. It makes me think of the concept that we are all made of light and the stars.

May your journey continue to be enlightening!  

Boil Boil Toil and Trouble Ultra Purple Witch Nails

Purple Witch Nails 2

I don’t want to type much today.  Here are my purple witch nails.  I put loose glitter on the non-accent nails that make me think of mermaids.  Usually I match my right and left hand, but in this case I only did a witch on my right.  I love the purple color by Ulta, but I was having some trouble with the brush and also this color responds strangely to topcoats.  Enjoy!

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Purple Witch Nails 3 Purple Witch Nails 4

Polishes Used:

  1. Seche Vite Base Coat
  2. Ulta Ultra Violet Femme for the purple background
  3. Sally Hansen Xtremewear Black Out for the black witch’s hat and eye dots
  4. Sally Hansen Xtremewear Perfect Pear-ing for the witch’s face
  5. Sinful Color’s Summer Peach for the witch’s hair
  6. Ulta High Roller for the gold buckle
  7. Sally Hansen Xtremewear Wet Cement for hat accent
  8. Loose glitter that I got from the Dollar Tree, woot!
  9. Poshe Top Coat

I Vant to Suck Your Blooood! Vampire Nails

After a lovely weekend of camping on the California Coast  at Costanoa KOA my nails were tore up (literally I tore a couple nails) so I decided to just chop them all off.  Even though they’re nubbins right now that doesn’t mean they can’t be cute!Vampire NailsI have to say there is something strangely comforting about wearing black and blood red nails.  I think because it harkens back to my childhood days when my sister was goth and Elvira was on late night.  Black nails were in 20 years ago and 20 years ago was a good time for me!

I used a fine paint brush and my homemade dotting tools to accomplish the designs and I think this design has a lot of versatility; you could just do the face and paint the rest of your nails black or red for a simpler version.

Polishes Used:

  1. Seche Vite Base Coat
  2. Sally Hansen Xtremewear Black Out for the black base
  3. Sally Hansen Xtremewear White On for the spider web stamping
  4. LA Colors Blood Red for the red pinky and blood drips
  5. Poshe Top Coat

Spooky Spiders and Wicked Webs – Halloween Nails

Spider and Webs

All weekend I was thinking about doing some kind of witch theme on my nails, but come Sunday evening I flip-flopped into designing a black widow spider and webs.

The spider is hand painted – first I made two dots to form the body and head, then used a fine paintbrush to do the legs and the distinctive red mark.  The web design is from my stamping Cheeky Jumbo Plate A – it was initially a pattern  I didn’t think I would use, but it is actually one that I gravitate towards the most and it was perfect to give the spider web vibe.  I think a cute alternative to doing webs on each nail would be to do black and white stripes; still very Halloweeny.

This was my first time using a mint Nailite polish that I got on clearance for a whopping 42 cents (directly from their website).  It took two coats to be opaque, and although it seemed a little streaky when applying, the color became even after drying.  The brush is pretty thin so you can’t cover your whole nail in one swipe, but nonetheless it turned out well.

Now all I need is a Spider WOman costume :).

Polishes Used:

  1. Seche Vite Base Coat
  2. Sally Hansen Xtremewear Black Out for the black base
  3. Nailite Polish Mint Green for the accent finger green base
  4. Sally Hansen Xtremewear White On for the spider web stamping
  5. Sinful Colors Under 18 for the red marking on the spider
  6. China Glaze Fairy Dust over spider web nails
  7. Poshe Top Coat

Welcome October! Early Halloween Inspiration Black and Orange Mani

Jacko and Black Crackle

I couldn’t wait!  October 1st and I had to usher in Autumn and the month of Halloween with a neon orange and black crackle mani.  I just wish the photo could show how neon the orange is, my fingers are almost glowing.

I decorated my desk at work last week and my coworkers started asking if Halloween was my favorite holiday.  It’s hard not to scream say YES!  It’s a holiday where you get FREE candy, you get to dress up and not be considered crazy, and you get to worship Satan all in one…okay maybe not that last part.

Anyway, this set didn’t actually take that long to do.  The orange Sinful Colors Summer Peach color dries very fast and is actually a matte polish.  I put a fast dry top coat on the orange before applying the crackle; I don’t know if it allows the crackle spread better, but my theory is that it helps.  The crackle coat also dries super quick and is in between glossy and matte.  I did not apply a topcoat over the crackle.

On the accent finger I just used a small paint brush to apply the design.  Yes, the face is inspired by one of my favorite movie protagonists, Jack Skellington (even though it’s on orange and not white).  It is a cross between a jack-o-lantern and Jack Skellington and I’m quite pleased.  I can’t wait to do more themed nails this month!!

JackSkellington

Polishes Used:

  1. Seche Vite Base Coat
  2. 2 coats Sinful Colors Summer Peach 
  3. 1 coat Poshe Top Coat (on orange, before the crackle coat)
  4. 1ish coat Nicole By OPI Black Texture crackle
  5. Face detail in Sally Hansen Black Out

Beach Bum Thumb

Beach Bum

Beach Bum

I live in Sunny California, but sadly Northern Sunny California does not have the warm sandy beaches of my childhood in Los Angeles and San Diego.  Northern Sunny California has foggy, rocky, icy cold, windy, overcast beaches for the majority of the year; so even though I live about half an hour away from the beach, it’s not really a bikini kind of trip.  I’ve painted a Beach Bum (pun intended) in honor of the hot summer days we’ve been experiencing where I’m dreaming of warm sand!

This design is done with polish for the background beach colors of yellow and blue and acrylic craft paint for the actual body.  I tried the Orly topcoat first, but it was so-so…so I added another thick layer of Seche Vite (which I think is still in the lead right now).  Both coats had some micro bubbles in them.  I’m not quite sure how long she took me since I got in “the zone”, but it wasn’t a quick 5 minute job.  Hopefully she’ll keep me entertained while I’m working hard preparing for a meeting I have this weekend.  A girl can dream.

What’s your favorite beach you’ve been to?

Mine is on the shores of the Grand Cayman Islands!