I’m bouncing around a little bit right here at the tail end of the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, tackling the second-to-last hashtag-inspired theme, #mynailsandmybag, before the other two #mynailsand-s. For these Dorothy Gale-esque nails, I drew inspiration from a favourite blue gingham-and-lipstick red handbag of mine from Canadian designer Jeanne Lottie. My aunt insisted on buying it for me over 15 years ago during a mad, “spend all the money on the niece!” shopping trip, and who was I to object? I actually think she got a kick out of purchasing something she would never, ever carry herself; my aunt could be super fun, but she definitely wasn’t a blue, red and white purse-carrying kind of lady. But I am! And I’ve been happily carrying this charming little number ever since. And now I’ve got the mani to match!
Adventure Time is one of those aggravatingly wackadoo television shows that sounds like something I should love, and yet I always feel sort of idiotic after watching an episode, like I’m too dense to truly get the concept. I also feel this way about Napolean Dynamite, a movie I find puzzlingly un-funny. Adventure Time is just a bit too non-linear for me (it’s too non-linear for David Lynch.)
But on paper, Adventure Time sounds like a delight. Food kingdoms, weird supernatural happenings, back-talking kids? That should be television catnip for me! But until such time as I’m finally let in on the joke, I’ll have to confine my Adventure Time adventures to my nail art, where this acid trip of a cartoon can really shine.
Like, did you know that there are 50-some adorable princesses – many of them shaped like food! – in Adventure Time? Truly, there’s a princess for all tastes, from the Lumpy Space Princess, a blobby, shapeless purple puff with a diva attitude and a speech impediment, to the Bounce House Princess, who is quite literally an inflatable bounce house. Wearing a crown.
My favourite Adventure Time princesses, though, are the food princesses, a buffet of edible royalty with asinine backstories to explain why a toaster pastry is any kingdom’s sovereign. But they’re SO cute, and so when day 28’s theme in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge called for a princess, I decided to ditch the Disney for a bit and went with these yummy princesses, plural, from Adventure Time instead. Here I’ve shown, from left to right, starting with my index finger, Princess Bubblegum, the Frozen Yogurt Princess, the Cotton Candy Princess and the Strudel Princess. And on my thumb is my favourite Adventure Time foodie of them all, the Breakfast Princess, who wears a bacon crown on top of her egg white hair (she also wears a pancake skirt, which could be both convenient and exceptionally dangerous.)
These nails, my entry towards day 27’s theme of wings in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, are actually my second attempt at a Tinkerbell manicure. As (nearly) always, I’m not shy in displaying my earlier efforts, although maybe I won’t display them right *here* – if you’re curious to see what my original painted thinking was on the subject of Tinking, you can find those nails here.
And if you’re wondering why I painted Tinkerbell wings as opposed to, say, chicken wings on my nails for this challenge prompt, I’m sort of wondering that myself! But I can’t ever turn down an opportunity to add another entry to my ongoing Disney Girl Challenge, especially one where I always hoped for a second chance to do better.
Like sands through the hourglass, Facebook was kind enough to remind me that today marks my second nail artiversary! Indeed, two years ago, fresh off falling into an hours-long K hole of nutso nail art on Tumblr, I went off to my local beauty supply and purchased all the supplies I might need to create a watermelon manicure, and then I came home and did precisely that. After that, I did a strawberry manicure on my left hand, back when I believed in right hand/left hand equality. And then over the next two years I did about 800 more. But for anyone discouraged by their perceived shortcomings in the world of nail art, I invite you to check out my initial attempts. The rather unlovely truth is that we all have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is often not very pretty straight out of the gates. At best, it’s not particularly well lit.
I toyed around with returning to the fruit well for these anniversary nails before deciding to take a more zen approach to the occasion. No need to bust out all the nail art whoseits and whatsits when I can create an awesome, festive mani using the first indie polish I ever purchased, Candy Lacquer’s Licorice Allsorts, over the pink polish I bought two years ago for my watermelons and strawberries, China Glaze’s Rich & Famous. For me, this is the manicure equivalent of putting my brain on autopilot – just a fun, calming, peaceful activity, which is in large part why I have stuck with it for so long. It feels quite fitting (besides, I have done approximately 8,657 strawberry and watermelon manis; time for a bit of a break.)
And so in honour of the simple (but too-fleeting) peace I feel when it’s just me at one with my polish, an activity I have most enjoyed these past two years, I also thought I’d submit these nails as my entry towards day 26’s theme of peace in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge. Celebration time, with a side of Om.
It’s pretty funny that I’ve chosen to depict some traditional elements of a beach vacation on my nails for day 21’s theme of travel in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, as what I’ve shown here is pretty much my version of vacation hell. For one, I am INCREDIBLY fair skinned. Nothing a little SPF 65 can’t (hardly) handle. Secondly, and perhaps flowing from number one, I actively dislike the sensation of sunshine on my skin. Sitting out in the sun, I am always acutely aware that I’m roasting my delicate, pink pig skin, just without the benefit of being ringed in carrots, potatoes and various aromatics. Thirdly, although I’m a very strong swimmer, I’m really, REALLY scared of being touched or nibbled upon by just about every bit of flora and fauna under the sea. I also loathe getting sand up my swimsuit. So no to the actual beach vacation, but yes to these beachy nails – definitely my kind of travel.
No, you’re not imagining things – this really is the second time I’ve done this exact design in as many days.
Perfectionist types, no matter the creative medium they dabble in, may be familiar with that nagging feeling to DO BETTER that accompanies perceived mis-steps, like crappy nail art that you really wish you hadn’t published to your blog before embarking on a serious do-over. Because the first Simpsons manicure that I did just two days ago has been DRIVING ME BANANAS, and I’ve been plotting its re-boot ever since I hit the “Publish” button. So when a bit of poor weather-related downtime presented itself this weekend, I decided to do precisely that, and I’m so much happier with the results! Behold, Flaming Moe’s 2.0!
So what was driving me so first world nail polish bonkers about my first attempt? For starters, and probably most vexing of all, I painted the first version quite late at night and took my photos in my insufficiently lit bathroom. Every other manicure I’ve done for the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge – indeed, every manicure I’ve done for months, period – has had its photos taken outdoors, which when it comes to nail art photography at least is very nearly always preferable to an artificial light source. Painting my nails in the dim evening light also presented its own set of problems, namely that I didn’t notice any until it was far too late to do anything about them, because I couldn’t clearly see my own work. And to that end, I found the gradient I attempted (which was supposed to look like a multi-layered Flaming Moe) muddy, washed out and ill defined.
I also didn’t care for the way I went about the lettering in “Flaming Moe’s” the first time around. For Moe’s V. 1.0, I painted on the yellow lettering and then outlined each letter in orange, which went about as well as you can imagine. Things got quite messy and I basically wound up painting over the yellow lettering with the orange and then filling it back in with the yellow. Very counter-intuitive and a big waste of time and materials.
So for Version 2.0, I went with a completely different approach, starting with a lighter, simpler gradient in basic creme polishes and ending with the easier lettering technique I eventually adopted during my first go-round. MUCH better, and proof positive that with nail art – and so, so many other things in life – you really can learn from your mistakes, even if it’s a couple of days later. 🙂
Weather is today’s theme in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge (stop to marvel for a moment at the fact that I’m posting a mani on the same day as its actual prompt) and so I thought I’d take one lacquered tree through all four weather-laden seasons we experience around my province, with a special thumbnail nod to the weather we seemingly experience the most, crapass, icy cold precipitation.
Under the sea, you say? Well, what about on top of the sea? Does that count? I certainly hope so, as these super glitzy seaweed nails are my entry towards day 23’s theme of under the sea in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge.
I adore the base polish I used here as my sea, Smitten Polish’s Glacial Springs. It has acted as the gorgeous, glittering stand-in for water in more of my designs than I can count, and it works for nearly every type of water at that, from tropical lagoons to the iced turquoise waters of the Arctic. Here I topped Glacial Springs with some very random tangles of lacquered seaweed in a couple of different shades of grass green and gold before topping it off with one coat of shine-enhancing Seche Vite. Quite ritzy for a slimy water plant we all prefer to sidestep (or possibly eat, but in an entirely different context!)
Day 22’s theme in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge was star signs. As I’m an Aries, that clearly called for a manicure depicting…floating rams in space? Okay, sure, we’ll go with that! I also added my sign’s corresponding star cluster to my thumbnail. Cute? All (star) signs point to yes!
“If you liked it then you should have drawn a ring on it!” That’s totally how that song goes, right?
I LOVE this manicure, way more than I thought I was going to when I set out to create an entry for day 20’s theme of jewels in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge. A while back I purchased a number of gemstone-type nail embellishments, including these oval opals, that I had yet to use; it suddenly seemed like the right time to put a ring on it, or at least paint one on my actual ring finger as an accent nail.
For this manicure, I painted my nails with three coats of Daydream, a minty-turquoise holographic lacquer from Enchanted Polish. That it’s the highly covetable robin’s egg blue of a Tiffany jewelry box is actually something of a happy coincidence – I actually chose it because it’s a recent addition to my collection and I had yet to swatch it. Once dry, I sealed in my Daydream-y base with one coat of Seche Vite. Then, with the topcoat on my ring finger still slightly tacky, I lightly dropped one of the opal gems onto the surface of my nail, gently nudging it into place with a toothpick. After allowing that to dry for 10 or so minutes, I then dotted on a gemstone-encircling frame and two horizontal bands with OPI’s My Signature is “DC”. Annnndddddd that’s pretty much it! Really easy, but amazingly effective, thematically appropriate and beyond pretty. And if that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. 😉