Luxury Lush Pud

Unicorn Bath Collage

Brightening up an otherwise overcast and snowy day with this manicure inspired by a Lush bath bomb I used last night, a little baking soda-and-oils-infused creature by the name of a Luxury Lush Pud.  Released as part of Lush’s just-passed winter holiday collection, I swear I purchased this bath bomb simply because of its name – “pud” is a funny word. That it created some pretty cool and colourful bubbles come bath time was just a nice little bonus.  Until I climbed in and disturbed it all with my everything, my bathwater looked like cotton candy!  Did not smell like it, but that’s a discussion for another day, or tomorrow when I post a mini review on the Pud itself.

But for now, let’s enjoy the nails!  I know I am, especially now that I’ve got the dreaded water marble part out of the way.  Wretched bane of my nail art existence, but the best representation of the way the Luxury Lush Pud twirls around your tub, throwing off streaks of rainbow-hued bubbles.

Cleaned Up Pud Fingers and cropped

Cucumber Water (Marble) (31DC2015)

WMHand

Bah-dum *ching*! A little spa humour for you there. But for real, cucumber water (that mint and cucumber-infused water you’re sometimes served at spas or beauty salons) is heaven on earth. Like refreshment plus plus. Also, anything to sex up a boring old glass of water, yes?

Day 20’s theme in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge was the dreaded old water marble, nemesis of just about all but a few gifted nail artists. Cripes, it is a technique that is just BEYOND a pain in the arse, is it not? My MO (which I forget every time I attempt to water marble, resulting in multiple go-rounds) is to work WITH my water marbling limitations, which means confining my designs and colour choices to shimmery, tone-on-tone turquoises and watery, wave-type designs. That way, the uneven designs and bitty little bubbles look like they were on purpose, like water in a bubbling brook, and not just because I totally suck at water marbles!

Then, because I both had to cover up a bit of overzealous clean-up AND because I’ve been sitting on that spa water idea for what feels like forever now, I decided to add a couple of little Fimo mint leaves and a cucumber to my index finger – the perfect refreshing touch for this very imperfect watery (marble) mani.

WMFingers

Shamrock Shake It, Don’t Break It

Shamrock Shake HandSeeing as my water marble manis invariably wind up looking like I just plain old *lost* my marbles, I thought I’d use that bit of wisdom to my advantage and go with the abstract flow, a decision that resulted in these creamy, dreamy, super swirly Shamrock Shake-inspired nails. And because I’m powerless to resist the lure of putting cutesie faces on foodstuffs on my nails, I’ve got a wee little shake on my ring finger getting down with hiz bad self. I particularly like how he’s staring at his own butt – it’s very Cameron Diaz dancing in her super hero undies in Charlie’s Angels.

Rrrrrrooooooooowwwww!!!

Rrow HandWhen the cats take over – and I say this as a cat person with two fat, furry beasts sitting not two feet away from me – we are all SCREWED. I can say this with some certainty, because I have witnessed the dedicated furry fury of one eight pound, 22-year-old domestic long haired with a grudge; can you imagine what they could do if they were organized? Or had thumbs? Or the desire to do anything other than eat, groom and nap for 17 hours a day? So sure, it’s in our best interests as their “masters” – bahahahahahahahahahaha! – to cater to our cats’ every whim, if only to placate them and temporarily delay the upcoming catpocalypse, but when your cat’s whim is to blast sound barrier-shattering merows directly into your eardrum at 4:00 in the morning because there’s breakfast to be had and lazy bones fur parents to be roused from sleep, it gets to be a bit much. Particularly when that cat is old and persistent and not above bellowing hundreds of times in her very loudest outdoor voice for snacks or pets or whatever has her furry bits in a twist this time. I love her, but it’s exhausting. And I mean actually exhausting – she’s awake more than a one-year-old, and her nocturnal misery loves our company, so everybody’s awake.Rrow Thumb

This manicure depicts the mental turmoil that goes along with being blasted into consciousness by a very loud, very persistent cat – kind of like that loud, persistent cat on my thumb! – in the form of yet another every-nail-for-themselves water marble (seriously, the day I can get all five nails to even remotely look alike, I will declare myself the Goddess of Water Marbling and that will be the end of that.) The ultra vivid neon polishes and loopy, bendy swoops of the water marble are a visual representation of the mental state one finds themselves in in the wee hours of the morning when their beloved, but exceptionally aggravating, cat wants pets and snacks and fresh water, not necessarily in that order, and they want it NOW. In those hours before dawn when you’re awake and moving, but not really, it sometimes feels a bit like everything’s gone flashing neon and bendy around the edges. The singing kitty, of course, represents my cat, Porky, who has been my housemate now for nearly 14 of her 22 years, although thankfully the shrieking at the top of her lungs thing is only something she’s started doing in the last couple of years now that she’s old, old, old and has zero shits left to give. Lucky girl, now she can not give a crap that I’ve immortalized her bad behaviour on my nails!Pork Doo

Manatee Mani (31DC2014)

A Manatee ManiThe general consensus on water marbling, the aggravatingly hit-or-miss nail art technique, is that it sucks, so take pity on the poor nail artist in your life who is soldiering away at the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge right now, because today’s theme is water marbling. The hows and whys of its suckage are vast and varied (it’s messy, time consuming, wasteful and fussy) and unless you’re preternaturally gifted at the art of coaxing intricate designs out of nail polish floating on the surface of water, a crazy act in and of itself, nine times out of 10 you’re going to have major difficulty.

So recognizing my own limitations when it comes to water marbling, I decided to forgo the struggle and make what I knew was going to be a flawed effort work for me. I started off thinking that I’d like my water marble to indeed look quite watery. The free form nature of tides and waves is a perfect fit for my highly imprecise water marbling skills, and the occasional tiny bubble, the result of insufficiently “quiet” water (really), just adds to the underwater effect. Using similarly toned colours in a few different finishes (here I’ve got a turquoise-hued duochrome and a shimmery frost over a sea blue metallic) also made things easier, as the polishes almost bleed into one another, blurring any harsh edges or glaring imperfections. Finally, in keeping with my Disney mani sub-challenge, I chose a favourite water-based Disney attraction, The Living Seas at Epcot, to inspire a bit of nail art in the form of one deranged looking manatee on my ring finger. I also added one well camouflaged hidden Mickey somewhere amongst that watery looking water marble, just to keep things squarely on the right side of my Disneyfied, make-work-for-myself sub-challenge.

A word about The Living Seas, which since the last time I visited has been rebranded as The Seas with Nemo and Friends: It’s awesome, and one of the loveliest, coolest, quietest places in the whole park to unwind as you watch fat, farting manatees for an hour and a half, much like my husband and I did on our honeymoon. Burnt out from a solid week of theme parking and finding ourselves on the wrong side of the safety warnings on Mission to Mars (actually, that was just me; my husband was fine, but I came ever so close to having to use the on-ride vomit bag – a first), we weren’t up for much more than just sitting quietly before the floor-to-ceiling windows that looked into the manatee area, calmly watching one old, heavily scarred manatee and his buddy contentedly toot and float and otherwise act like the most adorable, gentle sweeethearts in the seas. It’s one of my favourite memories from our honeymoon, actually. That and the Night of the Banging Geckos, but that’s a perverted animal story for another time. 🙂

Nermal!

Nermal!

If you grew up in the ’80s or early to mid-’90s, you know in the world of irregularly shaped comic books, Garfield was the shit. First published in 1978, Garfield, a Jim Davis creation, tells the story of a fat orange tabby cat named Garfield who loves lasagna and napping and either outright hates or has a great deal of disdain for, amongst other things, diets, Mondays, his “owner” John and his frenemy and roommate, Odie the dog.

Here, amidst a water marble that could use some serious, serious work (it was easy enough to do, but in the harsh light of iPhotography, it kind of looks like butt!) I paid homage to one of Garfield’s bigger life annoyances, Nermal, the so-called “World’s Cutest Kitten.” And he is! He’s an adorable little grey tabby kitten and everyone loves him, except, of course, for Garfield. And I really can’t say I blame the guy; too much Nermal can start to grate on one’s nerves. Which is why for these nails I’ve confined his aggravating adorableness to my ring finger. Can’t let Garfield get jealous, and I ALWAYS side with the chubby cats. 🙂

Reese’s Pieces

Reese's Pieces

I clearly had a very specific craving in mind when I did these nails, a lacquered nod to num-nummy Reese’s Pieces and my second ever water marble. The “film” the water marble created (not sure why I put that in quotations, as that’s exactly what it is) tore a bit on my index finger, hence the Pieces-esque orange dots to cover the boo boo. Otherwise, I was super pleased with how these nails turned out.

But can we talk about the clean-up on a water marble? It’s horrendous. I did these nails in the days before I discovered 100 percent acetone, and boy howdy, can you tell! Just look at those orange smudges around my knuckles – it looks like I went 10 losing rounds with a crappy bottle of self tanner. Acetone is the answer to all of life’s water marbling problems.

So in conclusion, 100 percent pure acetone makes for a delicious, chocolatey snack and Reese’s Pieces are excellent at removing wayward polish from your fingers’ nooks and crannies. No, wait, I may have gotten that one wrong…

Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

When I first started nail art-ing in earnest, I told my friends they have permission to beat me about the head with pool floaties the day I show up with foot long acrylic talons with unicorn pendants dangling off of them.

I always swore I wasn’t going to be one of those people with crap hanging off her nails, so I may have lied. But only a bit, because these fimo fruit decals don’t hang! 😉

I will say this about fimo decals, however, and other nail art products of their ilk: despite weighing less than the torn-off corner of a piece of paper, I am always ACUTELY aware of their presence. It feels a bit like my nails are carrying a tiny little weight, which…I suppose they are. Geez, who knew my nails were such wussies?

Here, not wanting to commit myself to one single fruit, I tried an every-finger-for-themselves approach to water marbling, and topped it all off with the little fimo decals, which, my weird issues aside, were actually quite delightful to work with.

I Put a Spell on You

I Put a Spell on You

After days of painting my nails deep and dark fall colours, I felt the need to lighten things up with a pastel glitter water marble that wound up being so girly, unicorns who merely glanced at it were later seen heaving in disgust.

So what to do with all that pretty? Why, conjure up an adorable little fairy casting a really big, princessey spell over top of them, of course!

Alice Challenge: Cheshire

Alice Challenge: Cheshire

I did these nails around the same time I discovered that I’m not altogether untalented at water marbling (although we shall not speak of the clean-up involved, as we all know it’s horrendous.)

But I thought water marbling would work for the Cat’s markings, and indeed, it did, along with some very unsettling glow in the dark eyes.