Thursday, March 26, 2015

Abstract Roadmap Nail Art, for the Adventurer In You

Roadmap Nail Art by @chalkboardnails
The last road trip I went on was to California, where my boyfriend and I (plus a couple of our best friends) went to Disneyland. The trip was a blast, and we were basically pros at navigating the Disney FastPass scene and making the most of our days. It was magic!

Then, on the way back, the air conditioning in my car died. Oh, and did I mention that this was in June? In the middle of the desert? That sucked. But such is the nature of road trips, right? You gotta roll with the punches! And the mishaps always make the best memories.

Roadmap Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

The China Glaze Road Trip collection celebrates that wanderlust, those adventures, with twelve boho chic shades. In the spirit of the road trip, I used five of them to create some abstracted road map nail art.

Nail polish used:
China Glaze Boho Blues
China Glaze Sun's Up Top Down
China Glaze My Way or the Highway
China Glaze Pinking Out the Window
China Glaze Pop the Trunk

I used Boho Blues as the base, cause it's my favorite shade in the collection. How great is that cornflower blue? This is two coats of it. Then I painted (and dotted!) on some loose road map details with the other four shades.

I'm actually super happy with the way that this look turned out; it's not too literal but not too ambiguous. Maybe if I'd been wearing this when my AC died I wouldn't have been so crabby!

Roadmap Nail Art by @chalkboardnails

Here's a fun fact about this collection: it makes up a big part of the set of polishes that I use in nail school with clients! Boho Blues has been huge for pedicures while Pinking Out the Window is a popular manicure choice. Have you picked up any of the shades in this collection yet?

The China Glaze Road Trip collection is available now at beauty supply stores like Sally Beauty and Ulta.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jergens BB Hand Perfecting Hand Cream: 'Cause Your Hands Wanna Be Beautiful, Too

I know how it goes. Your nails are the stars. You pamper them, you beautify them, you moisturize your cuticles and make sure there are no stray hangnails. You polish them to perfection and you might spend hours on nail art. But what about your hands? I know I'm guilty of neglecting them sometimes, and I'll bet that you might be too. But the fact is, your hands are important and deserve attention. Besides, beautiful hands provide a beautiful frame for your nails!

Jergens BB Hand Perfecting Hand Cream is here to rescue your poor, neglected hands with five beautifying benefits. Upon application, it hydrates your skin, softens your hands, and protects them with broad spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen (if you're not on board the sunscreen train, choo choo!). After two weeks of use, it promises to show you more even skin and diminished dark spots.

I like this hand cream. It absorbs quickly without feeling greasy, and has a clean, slightly powdery scent to it. It's immediately moisturizing. And if I can get all the extra bonus benefits at the same time, all the better. Hey, at least I can admit to my laziness!

Ready to pamper your hands? You can pick up Jergens BB Hand Cream at your local drugstore, grocery, or mass retailer for $6.99.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Jergens. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Embrace the Grey with This Geometric Necktie Patterned Nail Art

Monochrome geometric nail art by @chalkboardnails
Despite the fact that I haven't seen or read 50 Shades of Grey, I think we all know the basic gist of the story. OPI's 50 Shades collection includes a range of six shades - five greys and a red - and I used three of them to create this nail art look today. I chose a geometric pattern, one that you might find on a necktie, which fits with what I know about the story quite well, I think.

Monochrome geometric nail art by @chalkboardnails

Nail polish used:
OPI Embrace the Grey
OPI Dark Side of the Mood
OPI My Silk Tie

I began by painting my nails with two coats of Embrace the Grey. It applied smoothly and evenly, like OPI cremes usually do!

I painted on a freehand square pattern using Dark Side of the Mood, and then added the silvery squares inside them with My Silk Tie.

What do you think - Christian-esque?

Monochrome geometric nail art by @chalkboardnails

Ya know, even though I haven't seen the movie or read the books, I can get behind a good geometric pattern any day of the week! What about you - have you "Embraced the Grey"?

Monday, March 16, 2015

China Glaze Electric Nights for Summer 2015 Swatch and Review

China Glaze Electric Nights Collection Swatch and Review via @chalkboardnails
China Glaze's new summer collection, Electric Nights, draws inspiration from the electronic dance music culture with nine neon cremes and three neon glitter toppers. It's not my scene but these polishes sure are! They're bright, they're fun, they're bumpin'. Read on to check out my swatches!

Point Me to the Party - One coat over white
A rainbow neon glitter topper with pink, magenta, orange, green, and blue neon glitters. The glitter density was good and it's just so FUN! You may have seen something like this from indie brands before, but it's pretty cool to see a major brand embracing the neon glitter.
China Glaze Point Me to the Party via @chalkboardnails

Let the Beat Drop - One coat over white
A neon glitter topper with pink, magenta, and orange glitters.
China Glaze Let the Beat Drop via @chalkboardnails

Can I Get An Untz Untz - One coat over white
A neon glitter topper with blue, green, and purple glitters.
China Glaze Can I Get An Untz Untz via @chalkboardnails

Daisy Know My Name? - One coat over white
I wish my camera had been able to accurately convey how neon this one is! It's a super bright neon yellow, especially when layered over white. It went on smoothly and evenly.
China Glaze Daisy Know My Name? via @chalkboardnails

DJ Blue My Mind - Two coats over white
I'm pretty obsessed with this gorgeous deep sky blue creme. Of the two blues in this collection, this one is my pick.
China Glaze DJ Blue My Mind via @chalkboardnails

Glow With the Flow - Two thin coats over white
This is another one where the brightness just did not translate well to my camera. This bright pink creme is super gorgeous. It's very Barbie-esque, but in the best of ways.
China Glaze Glow With the Flow via @chalkboardnails

Home Sweet House Music - Two coats over white
A neon creamsicle orange. So citrusy, cheery, and bright!
China Glaze Home Sweet House Music via @chalkboardnails

PLUR-ple - Two coats over white
A bright purple creme. I'm obsessed with this shade of purple. So deliciously bright. It went on a little streaky but mostly evened out after the second coat.
China Glaze PLUR-ple via @chalkboardnails

Red-y to Rave - Two coats over white
A bright neon traffic cone red-orange. This is another standout for me, it's great!
China Glaze Red-y to Rave via @chalkboardnails

Treble Maker - Two coats over white
A bright kelly green.
China Glaze Treble Maker via @chalkboardnails

UV Meant to Be - Two coats over white
A light sky blue creme. This is the lighter counterpart to DJ Blue My Mind. A great pool blue for summer!
China Glaze UV Meant to Be via @chalkboardnails

Violet Vibes - Three coats over white
The bright magenta huge on this one is gorgeous, but I found the formula to be a bit finicky. It was streaky for the first two coats but evened out on the third.
China Glaze Violet Vibes via @chalkboardnails

Overall, I found the formulas to be on the thinner side. During application, it was best to get a slightly larger bead of polish than I would normally use, and polish it on to the nail with a light touch to minimize streaks.

As you may have noticed, I decided to swatch all of these over a white base to boost the brightness. I wasn't sure which ones would need it and which ones wouldn't. As it turned out, not all of them needed it. You can check out jessface90's swatch video to see many of them swatched alone.

I wish that the neon-ness of these had come across more clearly! They're bright and happy and lovely. Overall, it's a classically China Glaze collection full of bold, fun colors and trend-setting glitters. This collection is set to release in April, so start gearing up for summer now!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Go Behind the Scenes and Tour OPI Headquarters with Me! [VIDEO]

How would you like to go behind the scenes of one of your favorite nail polish brands? I had the opportunity to live the dream when I recently visited OPI headquarters with Leslie from Work/Play/Polish. I had to take some photos and videos to share with you guys, so come with me as we pull back the curtain and peek into their world of nails!

One of the first things you may notice upon arrival is a big mural on the side of the building. Among other elements, it's got a huge OPI polish, a GelColor, and a Nicole bottle!

Leslie and I entered the building, got all signed in, and waited anxiously for our tour to start. We'd only been sitting there for thirty seconds when Miss Pop walked in! We both recognized her immediately as one of OPI's star nail artists. As it turned out, she was going to be joining us on our tour!

While Miss Pop got settled in, Leslie and I had the opportunity to meet with Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, Executive Vice President and Artistic Director of OPI. You may recognize her name from polishes like "Where Did Suzi's Man-go?" and "Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees." I may have geeked out a little. It's fine. Let's pretend I played it cool.

We got to peek into their offices before our tour officially began. There were inspiration boards, stylized photos, displays from past collections, and ad campaigns decorating the interior. We got to see a few special rooms, including the manicuring room, where OPI techs apply and test products, and a marketing room, where they shoot a lot of their social content.

As we geared up for the factory portion of our tour to begin, we were given super sexy safety goggles. I immediately proceeded to take a selfie, obviously. We took a second to shoot a pic of our nails together, and our tour guide Sergio got in on the mani shot too (see above)!

Words can't properly express the experience of seeing OPI products being assembled, filled, and packed! You've just got to go watch the video at the top of the post, if you haven't already. Everything was so efficient... and seeing those polishes in mass quantities made my eyes get reallllll wiiiiide.

What do you think? Was it like you envisioned it? I know I was surprised by how non-industrialized everything seemed. OPI ships to 125+ countries internationally, and yet every single polish is manufactured in this one location. I couldn't believe that!

As Miss Pop said, the tour was the nail addict equivalent of getting the golden ticket and going on the Willy Wonka factory tour! I'm so thankful to have been able to have this opportunity, and I want to give a huge thanks to Jaq and Sergio who helped make the day amazing.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nail School Weeks 6, 7, & 8: Ready, Steady, Acrylics!

In weeks six through eight, we really focused on honing our acrylic skills in preparation for the full evaluation. In addition to our regular daily clients, we practiced our acrylic sculpting on classmates, our mannequin hands, and our skill sticks. My class has been progressing at different rates; for me, my full acrylic evaluation came at the beginning of week eight.

Pink and white fever
We made quite a bit of headway in our pink-and-white sculpted acrylics. We practiced choosing the right nail forms for each individual's nail beds, and then did some drills on the various stages of sculpting. We did a full set of acrylics on our mannequin hands. We continued to work on our skill sticks to get the fundamentals of sculpting down pat!

At my school, we have two acrylic evaluations before we are released to do them for clients. The first is a three-finger evaluation on one of our fellow classmates, which you can see below. No oil is to be applied, as the instructors need to be able to see the nails as they are! My three finger evaluation went okay, though I know there were (and are) areas I had to improve on.

Once you pass your three finger evaluation, you have to bring in a model to perform a full set in two hours. I brought in my dear mommy! She sat like a champ as I went over the two hour time limit by about a half an hour. You can see my completed set below. Not too shabby for my first go, eh? I passed the evaluation and immediately was assigned a client for another full set! Nerve-wracking!

I also began doing acrylic fills at this time, and was given my first demo with the electric file. We don't use it for much, but there are certain circumstances that require it.

I imagine that my updates will become much more infrequent from now on! I think going forward, it will be a lot of client work and honing previous skills, versus learning brand new ones. We'll see!