Lavenderly Lovely: A Then and Now Post

Lavenderly Lovely HandLast year, for the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, the ladies of N.A.I.L. set lavender as one of the daily themes. Lavender is indeed lovely (gourmand lavender scents, like lavender pound cake, are some of my favourites) so I can’t blame them for coming at it again, this time as week four’s theme in May’s nearly-finished Nail Art Challenge. This is especially great news for me, because it gives me a chance to redo the lavender nails I submitted last time, which were awful. No, really (see below.) I even remember thinking at the time that I had whiffed it, and I could have done so much better.

So I did! This time with the help of some of my holographic friends, including three Enchanted polishes (deep eggplant February 2015, dusky purple Dream On and pale lilac Time to Pretend.) As nail artists and nail polish aficionados, I think we sometimes hoard our holographic polishes for special occasion manis, but with their built-in shading and highlighting, they’re perfect for detail work, like these tiny lavender buds. Ahhh, MUCH better.Late Lavender

Disney Girl Challenge: Ariel (Again)

Ariel‘Round about the time I started this blog, I began a super casual, self-imposed challenge to capture all the ladies of the Disney Universe, be they princess, villain or something else altogether, in tiny, lacquered form. That extremely loose general guideline has led to some fun Disneyfied designs, although I’m now at the stage of my nail art abilities where I’m very critical of my early work, and I think I could do better on just about all of them, including – especially – this Ariel design. I was initially going to post this as a Then and Now post, but I’d rather not highlight that initial half-assed effort (although if you’re tremendously curious, you can find it here.) Like, what are those things? Seashells? Flowers? It was lazy work that barely fit the theme, and I’m glad for the chance at a redo.

These updated Ariel nails are also my entry towards week three’s theme of most expensive polish in May’s N.A.I.L. Challenge. Here I used my priciest lacquer, Enchanted Polish’s Magical Mystery Tour, as well as a couple of close contenders, ILNP’s Supernova and Picture Polish’s O’Hara. I don’t necessarily believe that there’s always a direct correlation between cost and quality, but these polishes make arguing that assertion very difficult, as they’re all phenomenal. O’Hara in particular, the lush red I used for Ariel’s hair, is Scarlett perfection.Ariel Collage

Hello there, cutie! I knew you’d be grateful for the remodel.Ariel Thumb

Dancing Butterflies

Butterflies HandHoly cats, did these nails ever put the “challenge” in “nail art challenge.” I haven’t had to fight for (or against) a manicure this hard in forever! These simple white butterfly silhouettes on a beautiful background of Smitten Polish’s glittery Glacial Springs are actually my third run at week two’s theme of butterflies in the May N.A.I.L. Challenge. I initially started out with a much more complicated design before I realized I’m total crap at drawing butterflies, and wisely returned to the drawing board to hammer out a simpler, more streamlined design. This is so much better than my first two pitchy attempts, even if you wouldn’t be mistaken in confusing those dancing butterflies for floating leaves.Butterflies Fingers

’80s Fashion

80s Fashion NailsI know 1980s-influenced fashion is having a real moment (leggings, how you are the bane of my existence) but speaking as yet another weary OLD who lived through that particular decade’s unflattering sartorial excesses, it is a flirtation that ought to be cut off before it can turn into something more. Seriously, guys, Spandex bike shorts that made the slim look gangly and knock-kneed and anyone carrying even an extra pound like the Michelin Man. These weird plastic combs we called banana clips that gave you a lopsided, limp kind of mohawk and would invariably yank out chunks of your hair. Stirrup pants. Oh, it was an unkind time. Then again, I was a totally fashion-challenged kid in the ’80s; nothing like the mini fashionistas who strut around now, intimidating me with their bitchin’ style at three and a half years old.

I don’t do a whole lot of modern, geographic, ’80s-inspired nail art, so what better way to fill that small blank spot in my portfolio than by tackling week one’s theme of the 1980s in May’s N.A.I.L. Challenge? For this manicure, I went with an every-nail-for-itself approach, highlighting five iconic looks of the not-so-fashionable ’80s, from acid wash jeans and the rainbow heart print sweater every girl wanted, to the aforementioned striped bike shorts and Ralph Lauren men’s button-downs.

Oh, and those things on my index finger? Safety pins. For a blessedly short amount of time in junior high, it was all the rage to squeeze into your already breath-inhibiting jeans and then, cranking whatever inseam actually existed together, pin your pants, one atop another, until you reached your knees or higher, if you dared sacrifice the tender flesh to multiple puncture wounds. In hindsight, with the safety pins and the inherent risk of injury and all, it was actually a pretty punk rock look, but hella impractical!

So with week one over and done, let’s take a look at what else the fine ladies of N.A.I.L. have in store for us this May.480-NAILlinkup-May-2015

Emerald Pretty

Emerald Pretty

Oh, we’re off to see the wizard! Here I attempted to capture the Emerald City of The Wizard of Oz in tiny, glittery form for week 3 of the May N.A.I.L. Challenge for the theme of emerald, which I clearly took quite literally. I love that I was able to make great use of a favourite glittery green polish, KB Shimmer’s Get Clover It, to add a touch of sparkle to the buildings. I think the little gold and turquoise glitters sort of look like lights burning in the windows of Emerald Towers.

999 Happy Haunts

Haunted Mansion

When I was a kid – and okay, maybe even now – I dreamed of living in the Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World.  When my parents and I would visit the Magic Kingdom (a nearly yearly event) we’d ride the Mansion, squished side by side by side in our Doom Buggy, and I’d imagine what it would be like when I lived there by myself (with my husband, if he was lucky and shared my affinity for gloomy and ghost-infested dwellings.)  I wasn’t scared by the thought of sharing my home with a bunch of restless – albeit benign – spooks, and I positively loved the idea of cruising around my palatial, decrepit abode in my own personal Buggy, ending every day with a giant jazz party in the attic graveyard.  I remember one year on one of the day’s multiple go-rounds (no day at the Magic Kingdom was complete without at least a few visits to the Haunted Mansion) the ride stopped directly in front of Madame Leota’s crystal ball long enough for me to start optimistically thinking that maybe it would never start back up again and we’d all be forced to stay there overnight.  But Disney is nothing but a well oiled machine, and when the ride started back up 10 minutes and four repeated séances later, I left my little dream behind…at least until the next ride a couple hours later. 🙂

These nails, which draw inspiration from the gothic, Damask-style wallpaper that lines the halls of the Mansion, have been a long time coming.  Until now, I just didn’t feel like I had the tools, the skill or the time required to pull them off (egads, they took an eternity.)  But thanks to a new set of ultra tiny dotting tools, one rainy afternoon and a recent flurry of experimental nail art that hasn’t turned out half bad, I thought I’d give them a shot.  All in all, not a bad effort befitting my favouritest place on earth. 

These nails also represent my return to the Nail Art Ideas Linkup and my interpretation of May’s week one challenge prompt, travel and tourism. My husband and I have not taken a holiday in forever, and I long to visit Disney World and the Mansion so badly, it’s almost palpable. It very nearly rolls off me in waves, and I’m pretty sure there’s a smell associated with it, too (in case you’re wondering, Disney World smells like various combustible gases, churros and sweet, sweet air conditioning.)

And how’s this for thematically appropriate?  For the black detailing on these nails I used a polish I picked up last Halloween simply because I knew one day I’d find a use for its little tombstone-shaped bottle, Wet N Wild’s Fantasy Makers in Darkest Hour.  And lo, I did indeed find a use for it, in a manicure about all things haunted, appropriately enough!Darkest Hour Outside