Thursday, March 3, 2016

Simple Constellation Nail Art

Constellation Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

I was due for a fresh set of gel polish this week, and have been craving black and white lately. I don't usually gravitate towards dark nail colors, because I feel like they make my nails look small and (sometimes) weird. #truenailconfessions. BUT, I've been seeing black and white nails all over my feed lately, and it had me wanting it on my own fingers.

Constellation Nail Art by @chalkboardnails
Constellation Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

Since I try to ride out these gel polish sets as long as possible, I can't slack on the nail art for my right hand. I figured constellations would be easy enough that I could pull off something passable using my left hand.

I started with two coats of my new favorite black gel polish, Presto #060 Minaccioso. Next, I used Wildflower's Art Paints in Powder to paint on constellations and stars. Then, I used two coats of gel topcoat to seal the paint details in. Easy peasy!

Constellation Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

P.S. They're all based on real constellations! I wanted to do my zodiac sign, but who knew Sagittarius had so many stars in it?!?!?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mid Century Modern Nail Art

Mid century modern nail art by @chalkboardnails

Hello friends! It's been a while since I posted here (thanks to everyone that reached out to make sure I was ok), but I'm back with a couple of snazzy new things to show you! First off, don't miss my new blog header! I wanted something fresh, lighter, and more fun, and so I made it mahself. Second, I'm shooting my photos on a light background! The black background looked too heavy with the blog refresh, so I'm giving this a go.

Now, on to the nail art. This simple look was created by saying "yes, and..." You know that rule of improv where you're supposed to take what your partner says and say "yes, and..."? It accepts what's already put into play and then adds more to the scene. Well in this manicure, I just kept adding pieces! It looked nice at several stages throughout the process, but I decided not to stop and to keep adding elements.

Mid century modern nail art by @chalkboardnails

I used the following polishes for this look:
LVX Militaire (base)
LVX Monarch (gold)
Salon Perfect Oil Slick (black)
Formula X Push the Limits (red-orange)

Can we take a second to marvel at the beauty that is LVX Militaire, by the way? It's such a great gorgeous grey with just a twinge of green, and it covered perfectly in two coats.

After applying the base, I used the polish brush of Monarch to dab some random gold shapes on top of it. Next, I grabbed my new Tati Chou Chou detail brush (splurge!) to add the thin black linework. The last step before topcoat was to apply the red and black dots; use a dotting tool for the smaller ones and a pencil eraser for the large ones.

Mid century modern nail art by @chalkboardnails

I hope you enjoyed this look, and here's crossing my fingers that the next post won't be another month out! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter!

Marshmallow Winter nails by @chalkboardnails

Meet my current holiday nails! I sat down to do a festive set the other night, but wanted to take them in a slightly different direction than the usual seasonal fare. I reached for the pastel versions of red and green and combined them with silver accents for a marshmallow winter set. I'm in love!

Marshmallow Winter nails by @chalkboardnails

I used the following gels for this set:
Gelish Look at You, Pink-achu!
Gelish Do You Harajuku?
Vetro Silver Leaf
Akzentz Gel Play in Platinum Quartz
Akzentz Gel Play in White

Since I am still obsessed with all things Japanese nail art, this set is inspired by that style. I'm still working to master their eye for mix-and-matching, but I think I found a pretty good balance here that I'm happy with.

All of the details are handpainted, from the "PEACE" to the snowflakes! I also opted for a peace sign on my right hand, cause my left hand can't handle lettering (plus, it mixes things up a little more!).

Marshmallow Winter nails by @chalkboardnails

I really love this set and my clients have been enjoying it, too! It's nice to feel festive without the traditional "rich red, deep green, glittering gold" color palette.

Marshmallow Winter nails by @chalkboardnails

Friday, November 20, 2015

My Nail Polish Collection + How I Stay Organized!

This post is sponsored by Color Clutch. All opinions are my own.

One of the questions I'm asked the most is the dreaded, "How many nail polishes do you have?" As a nail art blogger, I have an absurd amount of polish, despite repeated destashes and reorganizations. So, I always fear the reactions I will get when I answer that question.

Thankfully, I know most of you guys will be supportive and understand (right?!). So here goes: I own around 2,500 bottles of nail polish!

After I answer that question, the next question is predictably, "But how do you store all of it??" Today I'll be taking you on a tour through how I store my polish as well as giving you some organization tips and tricks that have helped me.

My nail polish army
Firstly, the bulk of my collection is stored in IKEA Helmers. They're small, inexpensive metal drawer units that come in four colors. I alternate between red and grey, and currently use four units. They're decorated with stickers because stickers are awesome.

The thing I like about Helmers is that the drawers are super shallow, and the perfect height for a bottle of polish, so there's no wasted space! If you use this route, however, be sure to pick up some drawer liner. Otherwise, your polish will slide around when you open the drawers and that is not good for organization.

Within the Helmers, I have my polishes organized by brand and that's it. Some people will further sort by color or by collection, but I find it too hard to maintain.

Polishes on display 
I use the Color Clutch 18-bottle storage case to store some of my most treasured, expensive, and favorite polishes. The foam slots can fit almost every bottle shape and style, so I am able to include babies like:
  • Clarins 230, AKA Unicorn Pee, which was a gift from my fiance and the only polish he has ever bought me
  • Cirque Au, my favorite gold leaf topper
  • MAC Bad Fairy (you collectors know where I'm coming from here)
  • OPI DS Glamour 
  • Sally Hansen Pacific Blue (pour one out for my homie)
  • Lynnderella Connect the Dots,  the polish that started my addiction to indie polishes
  • A Chowder themed custom from my friend Michelle at Sonoma Nail Art
I keep it as a display piece on top of my Helmers, which don't usually receive much indirect light. But since they are all in the Color Clutch storage case together, if I need to move them, it's no problem.

Plus, if I had to leave my house in a hurry, I could just grab the case and go!

Have polish, will travel
I also have a nail emoji backpack that I use to transport things back and forth from my personal stash to my job as a nail technician.

I use the Color Clutch 8-bottle storage case to store a stash of seasonal colors to supplement the selection we have at work. It holds the bottles in places and zips them in securely so I can toss the case in my bag without worrying about breaking bottles or messy spills. Right now I've got some fall/winter shades loaded up from Essie, LVX, China Glaze, and more.

In addition to the seasonal colors, I always travel with my box of sanitized implements (nippers, clippers, pushers, and a rasp) and my box of tools (nail art brushes, silicone brushes, dotting tools, French brush, and a Crystal Katana). I also make sure I always have my Gel Play paints and Art Paints on hand. I keep the gel paints in a Lego bento box that I've repurposed for storage!

Odds and ends
My manicuring supplies at home are organized in an acrylic makeup organizer, which I keep stored on top of my Helmers. I filled the back compartment with rice so it would keep my nail art brushes upright, and have found the perfect slots for everything else (that acetone bottle fits like a glove!).

I also keep a three-drawer plastic organizer for all my miscellany: flocking powder, stamping plates, mini gel lamps, backup files and buffers, etc.

And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my magnetic nail art organizer on the wall, which I made from scratch (and wrote a tutorial for)!

So that's it, now you've seen inside the madness! Are there any ideas here that you'd like to incorporate into your own storage system? Do you have any suggestions for me of things that have worked well for you? What polishes of your own would you store securely in a Color Clutch? Share in the comments below!

This post has been sponsored by Color Clutch. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Chalkboard Nails! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tie dye your tips with this nail art tutorial and sneak peek from "Pretty Hands and Sweet Feet"!

Tie dye nail art tutorial by @chalkboardnails

Hey friends! Today I have a sneak peek into one of the tutorials that I contributed to our new nail art book, Pretty Hands and Sweet Feet. This design, as well as 20+ additional designs, can be found within its beautiful, full color pages.

I first tackled tie-dye nails WAY back in 2013 with my Rodarte-inspired design, but figured it was time to do a classic rainbow version, too.

I suggest using neon polishes for this look (I used the China Glaze Electric Nights collection) because they usually have a semi-sheer consistency that helps blend all of the colors together nicely. Plus, who doesn't love a good neon?

Tie dye nail art tutorial by @chalkboardnails

Start with a white base, and then use a medium length striper brush to add dashes of color spiraling out from the center of your nail. I began with my yellow shade, and then continued to build out the colors on either side of it (sticking with rainbow order, of course!). Don't forget a layer of topcoat to smooth out and protect your design.

This look is pretty simple to achieve, and the less precise you are, the more tie dyed it will look! So just have fun with it!

If you want to pick up PH&SF for a nail art lover or young adult DIY-er in your life, it is available for purchase now wherever books are sold. Here are links to some of the places that you can nab it:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Contrary Polish Wintry Weather Collection

Contrary Polish Wintry Weather Collection via @chalkboardnails

These swatches are long overdue, but as we're headed back into winter anyway, I figured now would be a great time to share this seasonally-themed collection with you! The polishes are still available for purchase, so thankfully my tardiness has not affected their availability.

Meet the Contrary Polish Wintry Weather collection, a group of three chilly shades with shimmer and icy flakes!

Frozen Sky is a grey shade with silver shimmer and flakes. I used three coats for the coverage below.

Contrary Polish Frozen Sky via @chalkboardnails

Snowy Night is a rich, deep navy with white shimmer and flakes. I used two coats for my swatch.

Contrary Polish Snowy Night via @chalkboardnails

Winter Sun is a squishy, marshmallow-white with gold shimmer and flakes. I used three coats for the coverage shown, and found this one to be a little streaky when applying, so be sure to wait between coats for your previous coat to set.

Contrary Polish Winter Sun via @chalkboardnails

If you're feelin' these shades, head on over to Contrary Polish where they are available as minis for $5 and as full size bottles for $10. Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We wrote a book! Plus, enter to win it!

Huge news, guys... I coauthored a book! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen this news teased already, but now I'm here to give you the full scoop. This project has been in the works for the past year and a half and it's so amazing to see it come to fruition. Meet Pretty Hands and Sweet Feet, a step-by-step nail art tutorial book perfect for the DIY nail art enthusiast.

I couldn't ask for a better group of coauthors to join me in this project: Sammy from The Nailasaurus, Lindsey from Wondrously Polished, and Katy from Nailed It. We also had the help of Penelope Yee who translated our designs into pedicure art.

In addition to the 25 full color, step-by-step tutorials, there are also sections dedicated to nail art tools, techniques, and inspiration. Not only is this a great book for nail art enthusiasts, but it's perfect for beginners, too. And um, just saying, the holidays are coming up shortly...

Plus... my hand is on the cover! HOW COOL IS THAT?!

The book is set to release on November 9th, wherever books are sold. If you want to get a jump on it, you can preorder from the following retailers:

And the good news continues... I've got 10 copies of the book to give away! You can enter using the widget below - entries close at midnight on November 12th, and it's open internationally. Good luck!

Pretty Hands and Sweet Feet

Thursday, October 22, 2015

31 Day Challenge 2015 Finisher Badges

I'm a bit late with the badges, but want to take the opportunity to congratulate those of you that finished the 31 Day Challenge this year! It's a huge accomplishment and you deserve to celebrate your success.

This year's badges are a modification of last year's, originally created by Ling Yeung. Grab one and display it on your blog with pride! I've included the HTML code below each badge, or you can save the image to your computer and upload it that way.

Click on the following links for higher-res versions of the badges that you can post to your feed.
Pink (White, Black) | Teal (WhiteBlack) | Purple (White, Black)

Like last year, if you haven't finished the challenge yet, feel free to bookmark this page and come back to it to grab one when you're done.

Congrats to all of you finishers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wrought Iron Scrolls with the China Glaze Great Outdoors Collection

Wrought iron scrolls by @chalkboardnails

I've always thought that wrought iron scrolls and leaves in gates were so pretty. Putting together one of those gates seems like so much work, no? I went for the same look in this nail art, but with significantly less effort and expertise required.

Wrought iron scrolls by @chalkboardnails

I used China Glaze - Check Out the Silver Fox as the silver base. It went on beautifully and covered fully at two coats. I love these kind of "gritty" metallics that don't have a totally smooth finish; they tend to sparkle more in the light.

Then, I added the leaves and scrolls using China Glaze - Take a Hike. It's a really nice muted deep green that I can see myself using for a lot of nail art in the future.

The Great Outdoors collection is available now at Ulta and Sally Beauty, as well as in select salons nationwide.

Products in this post were provided for review.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

East Asia Meets The Southwest - Embellished Gel Nail Art

Southwest-inspired gel nail art by @chalkboardnails

I have been waiting for this day since the beginning of the challenge. Not only because it meant that I had successfully completed the gauntlet for the fifth (!!!) year in a row, but also because I had a manicure that I have been dying to recreate for a very long time.

This beauty of a manicure is completely inspired by 111NAIL salon in Japan. I love it SO much. I tried to copy it to the best of my ability (and materials) and I am beyond happy with the outcome. I just adore the aesthetic of Japanese nail art; it's always so refined and balanced.

Southwest-inspired gel nail art by @chalkboardnails

Since the challenge is now over, I decided to these in gel and on both hands so I can enjoy them for a while. Here are the products that I used:

Gelish - Hot Rod Red
Red Carpet Manicure - Sandal Scandal
Akzentz Gel Play in White and Black

Gold caviar beads
Triangle studs
Turquoise teardrop charm
Round gold frame

Akzentz Bling On (used to attach 3D embellishments)
Presto Top Gel (thick gel topcoat)
Gelish Foundation (go-to gel basecoat)

Southwest-inspired gel nail art by @chalkboardnails

These nails weren't hard to do at all; however, they were pretty time consuming.

The drag marble nails are my favorite part and are beyond easy, especially in gel. All you need to do is apply the colors in arced stripes, and then drag a clean striper brush through them to create the patterns. Cure the marbling in your lamp and you're set!

The other nails are basically just dots and embellishments, which I attached using Akzentz Bling On. It's a super strong, thick gel that grabs ahold of your charms or studs and helps keep them in place once cured. It made the process of placing the gold bits a lot easier, especially on a manicure like this with so many elements.

I made sure to finish with a thick gel topcoat to help smooth out the edges on the 3D pieces.

Southwest-inspired gel nail art by @chalkboardnails

If you have a moment, be sure to go give @111nail_omotesando a follow on Instagram, I have completely copied this manicure from them and there is so much more gorgeous work to be seen on that account.

Southwest-inspired gel nail art by @chalkboardnails

That's a wrap on the challenge for this year! Stay tuned for my 2015 roundup, and congratulations to those of you who have finished as well!

Previous nails I've honored:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Simple Vintage Floral Inspired by Lacquerstyle

Vintage floral nails by @chalkboardnails

We are nearing the end of the challenge! Today's prompt is "inspired by a tutorial" and I've taken inspiration from the talented (and Queen of Florals), Lacquerstyle. For this particular look, I've followed her Simple Abstract Floral Tutorial, which not only features a fun and easy design, but has gorgeous cinematography and photography to boot.

Vintage floral nails by @chalkboardnails

I wont detail how to do this look -- if you want to visit the tutorial, just click on the link above!

I used Formula X Cloud Nine as my base. The flowers are painted with China Glaze Make an Entrance, while the blue blossom sprays were done in China Glaze First Mate. I created the leaf shade by mixing China Glaze Take a Hike and American Apparel Crescent Heights.

I love this look, though mine aren't quite as perfect as Kristin's! The smaller blue sprays really add a lot to the completed manicure.

Vintage floral nails by @chalkboardnails

Check out the other tutorials I've tried in the past:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Crop Circle Inspired Nail Art

Crop circle nail art by @chalkboardnails

"Inspired by the supernatural" is another one of the challenge prompts that I'm not usually too enthused about. I started out today attempting a manicure depicting the Galactic Entity from Futurama, but quickly changed my mind (looked too much like my galaxy nails!). I decided to do some crop circle nail art instead, and boy am I glad that I did! I'm super pleased with these and hope you enjoy them too.

Crop circle nail art by @chalkboardnails

I started out by applying two coats of Essie - Mojito Madness as my green base. Then, I used the dry brush technique to add some swipes of Duri - Shocking Twist. If you're unfamiliar, you just wipe most of the polish off of your brush, and then lightly swipe it over your nails.

Then, I used LVX - Avenal to handpaint my crop circle designs. Many of them have geometric elements to them, so I chose to focus on concentric circles as well as lines and triangles.

I finished the nail art with a matte topcoat. I liked the look of it glossy, but to be honest, the reflections of the lights that I use for my photos on my nails made my linework look distorted.

Crop circle nail art by @chalkboardnails

See more of my supernatural nail art: