Needs More Unicorn

Lisa Frank 1

My interpretation of Lisa Frank styles, extra heavy on the neon rainbow animal prints, which I’d just like to proudly point out were totally free-handed.  That’s why I’m not sure if I’ve got a tiger print here or a zebra one.  What I am sure of is that I’m ultra super proud of these nails, even if to truly be Lisa Frank-inspired, they need a heck of a lot more unicorn.  Funnily enough, I DO have a unicorn nail charm, but it’s gigantic – my bitty little nails can’t handle her girth, and besides, I didn’t want to cover up all this neon animal print goodness. 🙂

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Sweet Insta-Inspiration

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Kicking off this sunny summer Monday with the fabulously frosted layer cake manicure I did this weekend, inspired by a recent online rabbit hole I fell into of over-the-top cake decorating accounts on Instagram.  I can bake fairly well (however, pie crust as delicious as my mother’s will forever elude me) but I can’t decorate for shit – just ask the TURQUOISE, hideously malformed, liquid fondant-covered abominations I once optimistically called tea cakes, or the batches upon batches of Christmas cookies I gave up on flooding and just started adding gargantuan green frosted genitalia to.  Happened just about every year like clockwork until I FINALLY figured out that I’m utter crap at the decorating side of baking, and I should just stop.

But I can admire other bakery artists’ incredible work, like manvscakes, COCHOBAKE and brittanymaycakes, whose sweet, striped creations – heavy on the vibrant hues and whimsical, outlandish toppers – were the inspiration for these nails.  I love the more-is-more-is-more approach to the bakery arts, especially all of the brights at play in these fun cakes, a technique (you know, over-the-topness) that transfers pretty darn well to the lacquered arts. 😉  Hoping for sweet weeks for all of you, friends, filled with as much inspiration and colour as these cakes and these nails.

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Stranger Manis: Steve and Robin

Scoops Collage 1

Hey look, it’s everybody’s favourite new pairing of the Stranger Things Universe, co-workers and co-conspirators Steve and Robin!  These two were an utter delight this season, whether it was slangin’ ice cream or busting Russian skulls, and I hope we see more of their adventures next season (with or without the other half of the Scoops Troop, who will be getting their own manis soon so we can round off this unlikely quartet.)

All of the nautical stripes on Steve and Robin’s Scoops Ahoy uniforms were a righteous pain in the butt to paint – Streak City.  But their ice cream parlour duds – particularly those best feature-destroying sailor hats – are the cutest things ever, and I HAD to give them the manicured treatment.

Scoops Collage 2

So I think season 3 proves that Steve Harrington is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the BEST THING EVER, right?  So fantastic, I’ve actually stopped referring to him as Steve’s Hair or the Guy Who Runs Steve’s Hair, and now simply call him Steve.  You know it’s love when I stop making jokes. 😉  Except…it shames me to no end to note that it was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally put it together that Steve’s last name is Harrington, as in a TON of HAIR.  How did I not put that together before now?  Steve’s evolved into such a great character, although I’ll always have a soft spot for douchey season 1 Steve – he really reminded me of a boy I was quite spun for in high school.

Steve 1

And Robin is such an amazing new addition to the cast!  She’s smart and funny and thoughtful and brave, and she’s played with so much charm by Maya Hawke, who is Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman’s daughter, and wow, does she ever sound like her mom, and now that I’ve told you this little bit of trivia, it’s all you’ll ever hear.  Close your eyes and you can almost hear Robin describing the finer plot points of cancelled-after-the-pilot TV series, Fox Force Five (“Fox, because we were a bunch of foxes, Force, because we were a force to be reckoned with, and Five, because there were one, two, three, four, five of us,” and yes, that was a Pulp Fiction reference.  I’m very old.)

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As I mentioned in my last Stranger Manis post, I have a lot more nail art coming that has been inspired by season 3, which itself is an endless font of incredible set design and neon-tinged ’80s nostalgia.  It seems practically tailor made for this kind of fan art, so I’ll be happy to oblige. 😉

Strawberry White Cake

Strawberry White Cake

Because every end-of-the-week should start with cake, should it not?  Even if it’s of the totally inedible and wildly impractical (ugh, those little Fimo berries) lacquered variety.  Also, this is my second cake-inspired manicure in the last five days – think I should add something sweet to my weekend shopping list? 😉

Stranger Manis: Scoops Ahoy!

Scoops Ahoy 1

AHOY, FRIENDS!  Please join me today as we set sail on an ocean of flavour.  My name is Sandra and I’ll be your captain on this delicious journey.  Can I interest you in a USS Butterscotch?

Actually, I am quite interested in a USS Butterscotch, and thanks to a fun collaboration between Baskin-Robbins (31 Flavors for you American peeps) and Netflix, I could pop on down the road and have one (you know, once the store opens in, oh, six or so hours.  Little early for ice cream right now.)  I have tried the Upside Down sundae, though.  Mr. Finger Candy and I shared one some weeks back, before the third season of Stranger Things had even dropped, and it was delicious, but as deadly as its namesake.  One little inverted cup of pecan-studded chocolate ice cream (the nuts, whipped cream and cherry were on the bottom, with the caramel sauce and ice cream layered on top of that; cute) nearly did us both in.  I can’t imagine the pain I’d be in if I actually set sail aboard Scoops Ahoy’s signature dish, the USS Butterscotch.

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I really love that Stranger Things is now enough of a part of the cultural lexicon that these kind of cross-promotional collaborations are downright commonplace – Stranger Things is EVERYWHERE this month.  I won’t complain (okay, I’ll only moderately complain about the awkward – and frequent – New Coke mentions in the third season.  They were shoehorned in all over the place, and a huge, climactic action sequence comes to a literal screeching halt while one character expounds on the goodness of New Coke.  It’s pretty painful.)

Stranger Sundaes Collage

But overall, I’m just totally in love with Stranger Things season 3, particularly the Scoops Troop and the nautical-themed ice cream parlour that serves as their place of employment and base of Russian spy-busting operations.  MANY more Stranger manis to come, please stay tuned.

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Summer Swirl

Summer Swirls Collage

Sounds like a type of ice cream, doesn’t it?  LOOKS like a type of ice cream, maybe one of those lurid, multi-hued, bubblegum-studded monstrosities that goes by the name SuperKiddo or Diabetes in a Cone. 😉

Alas – or perhaps not, depending on your views on Red Food Dye No. 3 – this is a manicure and not ice cream.  Bit of a bummer, that, as I hear it’s supposed to be hotter than the surface of the sun today, and ice cream *could* help.  So could sitting two inches off the air conditioner.

This manicure looks so much more impressive and difficult than it actually was to achieve.  Looks like one of those horrible – and horribly messy – water marble manis that has bested me time and time again, but not!  Because these are little nail decals I made to mimic the look of a water marble, and they were dead easy.  All I did was dab five polishes (turquoise, yellow, magenta, pink and a shimmery, golden green) out onto the back of a Ziploc bag, ran a dotting tool through them to create the swirled design (you could use a toothpick or a hair pin or the head of a sewing needle, should you not have a dotting tool) and then let it dry overnight.

Summer Swirls 4

And I may have let them dry a tad too long, because the most difficult part of this manicure was prizing those little decals-to-be off the plastic bag, a nitpicky job I outsourced to Mr. Finger Candy.  I think I may have made the decals a tad too thin and let them dry too long – the whole removal process would have gone much easier if the decals were a little less brittle and a bit more pliable.  Notes for next time.

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Application itself was likewise easy.  All I did was give my nails one light coat of one of the polishes I used to make the decals, in this case the vibrant magenta.  Then, going nail by nail, I painted on another light coat of the magenta polish before immediately laying one of the decals over top of it.  I pushed the decals down gently with my fingers, making sure to really nestle them into the edges of my nails.  I used the blunt edge of a cuticle pusher to do this, but again, you could use the slanted side of a toothpick or even your thumbnail.  Then I roughly trimmed off the excess by simply – but lightly and carefully! – running the pointed end of my cuticle pusher along the edges of my nails to separate out the waste.  When all of my nails were done, I applied two coats of a diamond hard, high shine topcoat – Seche Vite to the rescue once again – and then cleaned up the raggedy bits along my cuticles with a detail brush dipped in acetone.

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I love these nails!  And this technique is one I will definitely be turning to again; it is soooo much easier and tidier than water marbing, and produces nearly identical results. Plus, check out these amazing macro shots I snapped.  I think the one on the left looks like some sort of insane, alchemy-based fire, and the one on the right looks like bubblegum taffy in the midst of being pulled.

Summer Swirls Macro Collage

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A blogging buddy of mine, altercontroldelight, does a very similar kind of technique, except she really knows what she’s doing – she’s got a whole system that involves making the decals on a silicone mat, which makes SOOOO much more sense than trying to prize the delicate little buggers off the back of a plastic bag, duh!  She’s also a fan of unexpected colour combinations and cool, fluid designs, and I’m a fan of that.  Again, another note for next time. 😉