Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wedding Nail Art No-Chip Manicure from Polish2Times

I had my first no-chip manicure for my friends' wedding in September. Thanks to a Lifebooker deal, I got nail art for $2 extra. I went to Polish2Times and Cheryl was fabulous--great human being, and we had lots of fun chatting while she made my nails absolutely gorgeous. I actually brought the dress I was going to wear to the wedding so we could come up with something that matched, and matched we did!
Dress from Anthropology:

Nails from Cheryl at Polish2Times (photo courtesy of Polish2Times with color Photoshop corrected by me)

And the wedding itself was fabulous. I saw my friends from College Attempt #1 and four of us shared a room the first night which was crazy but completely fun. It was so good spending quality time with some of my favorite people ever, and my nails stayed fabulous and chip-free.

Two weeks later, my nails finally chipped badly all over the place, and I discovered how difficult it is to remove a no-chip manicure. I spent literally hours with aluminum foil wrapped around 100% acetone-soaked cotton balls on my nails, then scraped and buffed like crazy until the crap finally came off. I almost made an emergency manicure appointment because I had a date and my nails were looking ridiculous and I was sick of fighting with them, but I finally triumphed, finding my real nails underneath it all. As a result, I don't think I'll get a no-chip again without scheduling a removal appointment (they tend to be like $5-$10 and definitely worth not having to do battle myself) but it was great while it lasted.

After the wedding no-chip, I pained my nails red with red sparkles on top and they looked great and I didn't get a picture. FAIL.

Now, for Halloween, my nails are a different kind of awesome, but I'll let that be its own post...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Business Card Woes

I'm trying to redo my business cards. I am failing miserably. I want business cards that reflect my push towards vintage and antique hardware in my shop, but the first background I tried using was too busy and the second turned out ugly. I may have to photograph something specifically for the business cards. Poop.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Aquarium Manicure

I went to the Shedd Aquarium. Again. I love the aquarium. I've been a member for something like six years. This time, I got to see the new baby dolphin.

For the occasion of aquarium-going, I did my nails as waves. First I painted them OPI's "Teal the Cows Come Home" and let them dry overnight.

Then I cut out pieces of blue painter's tape with my wavy scissors. I covered all but the tips of each nail with the tape and painted the visible portion NYC's "Cashmere Creme" (I like using one top-of-the-line and one bottom-of-the-barrel polish just for poops and giggles).

When that dried and I removed the tape, voila! I had wavy awesome aquarium nails.
I then used a dotting tool in orange polish (Revlon's "Siren") to draw fish on my thumbs. I finished up with OPI top coat and cleaned up the edges and all the escaped polish on my fingers. Unfortunately, I still don't have a basic tripod (I know, they're not that expensive) so I couldn't get a shot of my thumbs. Stupidly, I didn't even get a picture of the final pretty manicure, so you'll just have to make do with the last sloppy one.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Painter's Tape Manicure

I've discovered something wonderful: painter's tape. The blue stuff is much more expensive than regular old Scotch tape, but it is a miracle product for manicures.

I was recently at Walgreens and picked up Wet n Wild's "Through the Grapevine," which is a fabulous cheap magenta. I love Wet n Wild's new fat brushes and their colors really pop. It was a great hue, but I was getting nail-art restless after a few days. I'd also recently found my zigzag scissors in my car (welcome to the disorganization of my life) and was itching to use them. When I bought "Through the Grapevine," it was sitting next to "I Need a Refersh-Mint"--a color I already owned and loved. I liked the combination (reminded me of the 80s), so I knew what I had to do.

I'd heard about painter's tape on a few nail blogs, but actually using the stuff was amazing. It cuts much more cleanly and easily than Scotch tape and makes cleaner lines. Here is a photo of my nails all taped up and the "I Need a Refersh-Mint" painted over them:

And when I took the tape off, voila! Gorgeousness! This manicure made me happy until it chipped and peeled a horrible death a few days later (I never got a chance to put on a topcoat and, after all, it was Wet n Wild).

Note: I touched up the areas around the cuticles a bit with Photoshop because they looked like crap when I took the picture and I didn't take another photo after I retouched my actual nails.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Patriotic Nail Art Using Scotch Tape

Right now, I absolutely love my nails. I actually photographed them in progress so I will tell you how I did them and perhaps you can duplicate my magic.

First! Two coats of OPI's "Teal the Cows Come Home" nail polish. 
I was going for blue, not so much turquoise, but my other flaggish blue is way too dark so I used this one. I'm still not sure I made the right choice for patriotism's sake, but for the final product looking good, I certainly did.

I let the teal dry over night. Then I used Scotch tape to cover all but just a triangle at the point of each nail. Before putting each piece of tape on my nail I stuck it on my hand a few times to decrease the stickiness so it wouldn't rip off the existing polish and it would leave a cleaner line. 

Once the tape was in place on all ten nails, I painted two coats of Ulta's "Snow White" over the tips where the triangle was showing. I let that dry some and then topped it off with Sephora by OPI's "Be-Claus I Said So." 

At this point everything looked like one hot mess. I also was getting worried about time because everything kept taking so long to dry in the 100+ degree humidity and I was supposed to be somewhere. Ideally, I would have waited until everything was completely dry, but after an hour I got impatient and took off the tape and voila! Nail art!

Not bad!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake Jelly Belly Nail Polish Coincidence

I did not do this on purpose. My friend was the one who alerted me to the fact that my nails were plagiarizing Jelly Bellies.
That's the Strawberry Cheesecake flavor. Same friend who noticed the coincidence actually got me the red sparkle polish. It is Sephora by OPI's "Be-Claus I Said So." The pink underneath is Ulta's "Encore Pink." I'm quite pleased with these nails. They lasted almost a week without chipping and I think they're pretty swell. Now I have to devise something patriotic for the 4th of July in a few days.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Portland: Polka Dots, Nudity, and Roses

I went to Portland. Not last weekend but the weekend before. It was sweet.
Before I went I painted my nails lavender with dark purple polka dots using my birthday present Sephora dotting tool.

The lavender is OPI's "Do You Lilac It?" and the dots are Nicole by OPI's "The Grape Debate."
The whole thing chipped like hell in about five minutes. I don't know if it's because I was flying and running around Portland with my family, or if it's just chippy nail polish, but I used OPI base and top coats, so it shouldn't have chipped so badly.

Portland! Land of the hipster and vintageness and six kinds of organic and really good food and coffee and cute shops and craftiness. If Etsy wasn't headquartered in Brooklyn, it would be in Portland.
My entire immediate family (parents, sister, brother, and I) met up for my sister's graduation from grad school. She is now a Master. Congratulations, sister! Her apartment is amazing. It's a converted vintage office building with amazing old hardware and sconces and things. I'd have taken photos for blog inclusion but she would have killed me, so use your imagination.

We took a side trip to the ocean at Cannon Beach and the Haystack Rocks where we watched a man get down on one knee and propose to a woman who clearly said yes as she cried and they embraced.

We went to the Saturday Market. There was a lot of food.
We ate a very small percentage of it and still ended up stuffed.

Saturday night I witnessed the Portland World Naked Bike Ride. People dressed in costumes and painted their bodies. One woman painted a bike on her chest with each of her breasts as a wheel. I did not get any photos of the Portland World Naked Bike Ride. Just imagine thousands of penises and multi-colored breasts flying past, all attached to happy people trying to hi-five the bystanders while a semi-impromptu band played along the side. Or, check out some of the great photos other people got here:

Monday, before going to the airport, my parents and I went to the rose gardens in Washington Park. I'm a big fan of roses.
We'd had beautiful weather the entire trip, but that day it was overcast and raining on and off, which wasn't great for existing but was great for taking pictures. 
Perfect droplety roses everywhere and lush green and the Portland skyline in the background. Not bad.

After the gardens we had just enough time to run through Powell's Bookstore. I bought something but I can't say what because it is a gift for someone that I haven't given yet.

The end.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


My "About" section is done with the exception of my shop photos. Check it out:
I still haven't hung my shelves or organized my physical Etsy existence, so I'm not taking pictures yet.

I'm going to Portland, Oregon tomorrow very early morning with my family! My sister is graduating social work school and I'm proud to go support her and finally see her Portland life. I did my nails in purple polka dots for the occasion, but they got a bit messed up before I even got a top coat on. I'll still take photos today and post them later.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

To Do: Paint Nails, Find Muse, Hang Shelves

My nails have been naked for many days in a row because I have been so busy.

Etsy has a brand new "About" section. Read all about it here:

I haven't filled mine out yet. My Etsy life was born of my migraines. Friends recommended I check it out when I was at my absolute worst, back near the beginning of the 20 Months Of Uninterrupted Pain. Just as I was recognizing that this headache was different, was not going to end, I could do very little day after day beyond sit in a pitch-black room and stare at the beautiful items sold on Etsy through half-closed eyes. As time went on, I started making my own goofy and snarky greeting cards and selling them in my own little shop. It was just the occasional card, but it thrilled me to be selling directly to customers (unlike when I worked at a major greeting card company, a job I also loved but you didn't actually get your name on your work or personal interaction with the buyer). I started feeling better little by little, and taking advantage of my good days, I grew and expanded my business to eventually include wallpaper envelopes. I learned how to take better photos of my products and improved my packaging, customer service, and advertising. I started this blog. I created the (still going though I'm no longer a part of it) Jewish Etsy Team "EtsyChai." Etsy was all the good parts of my life, the parts not mired in pain.

I want to do that justice. I don't want to gloss over migraines, the pain, or how much Etsy meant to me for so long. I also don't want to scare people or to be overly negative. Or long-winded.

I consider myself a writer. I should be able to do this.

The other half of my "About" section I need to work on is my photos, but I'm about to put up these five giant shelves for all of the Stuff, and I imagine once everything is up and organized it will look much nicer than if I take pictures of the current mess of merchandise.

Oh, "About" section, so much work you have created for me!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nubar Polka Dot Magenta Ladybug Nails Happy Goodtime Wow

After seeing it on Pinterest, I requested as a birthday gift (and got! thank you again, Mom and Dad!) Nubar's Black Polka Dot nail polish. It's a clear polish with tiny and large black dots in it, so when you put it over a color it looks like you are a polka dotting expert. It's not particularly even and can take a few too many coats when the big dots decide to hide, but the final look is fabulous. I chose to put it over OPI's "Houston We Have a Purple" (which is more magenta than purple). Add OPI base and top coats, and the first photo was actually taken today, four days after I polished them! (A good thing, too, since some of my original photos came out like crap). 

What you really care about: photos!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Life at 30, in Polka Dots and Blah

I'm 30.

I had a party with my closest friends, spent my actual birthday (which was also Mothers Day) with my family including my brand new babycousin, ate too much and completely quit exercising for a week and a half. My party went well despite the caterer and the cleaning people both leaving me hanging (caterer flaked and cleaning crew got into a car accident on the way to my house)! My friends are wonderful and so is my family.

In work news, I've been hunting for these vintage doorknobs, and then for these rosettes for the doorknobs, and now I'm trying to get versions of the things fabricated, and the whole thing has been significantly more difficult than I ever anticipated. I don't like assuming the worst, but assuming the best meant I was disappointed at every turn when no one had enough of the right thing in the right size and no one ever called me back in a timely manner. Whiiiiiine.

I've been neglecting my Etsy shop a bit, too. When the bare minimum effort still gets me views and favorites, it's hard to motivate myself to do the more I need to be truly successful. I haven't been advertising and getting my name out to other blogs at all. I haven't been listing new items. I'm in a blah funk and I need to get out of it fast.

My nails, on the other hand, are anything but blah. They seem to be my main creative outlet these days. They are short now, thanks to scrubbing the heck out of my house before my party when the cleaning crew had to cancel at the last minute, but they are exciting.

I got more quality nail polishes as well as some fabulous tools for my birthday. My cousin did these beauties for me:
It's OPI's "Teal the Cow's Come Home" with "Gargantuan Green Grape" (also OPI) on top using a dotting tool. OPI base and top coats helped this manicure last an extra long time.

Thank you, Cousin K for doing my nails, friend K for the fabulous nail tools (and polish not yet used), and parents for the polishes seen here and yet to be tried!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Minty Nail Fail

I saw my migraine doctor last week, who reminded me that I have been doing something with my life: getting better. And I've finally been succeeding at getting better. That counts. That's huge. It just isn't what I thought I'd be doing at age 30, but "Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht" (Yiddish proverb meaning "Man plans, God laughs"). I just need to laugh along.

On a lighter note, nails! I finally found a bottle of Essie's "Matte About You" at the North and Sheffield Commons Ulta. The next day I was at the crazy shmancy Walgreens on State Street and spotted a bottle of Wet n Wild "I Need a Refresh-Mint." The color is completely gorgeous so I decided to treat myself (at 99 cents, this was not a major self-spoiling) and began planning things I could do with it and the "Matte About You" together.

I decided to paint my whole nails with the mint and then use my wavy scissors and Scotch tape to split them vertically between matte and shiny.

It was a good idea in theory.

In practice, you could barely tell the difference between the matte and the shiny sides, but it created a weird slightly textured wavy line down the middle of my nails.
Fortunately, it only looked stupid from up close, but I think I have to experiment more with the "Matte About You" on darker colors, or put down a layer of shiny top coat first to make a bigger difference.

I still absolutely love the Wet n Wild color. People keep complimenting it. I just have to come up with a better creation next time.

Terrible photo to go with terrible manicure:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hating My Starry Manicure, Hating My Life

I hate what I did to my nails yesterday.

It started with a seemingly good idea. I punched a whole bunch of stars out of vintage wallpaper.
But then something stupid inside me said "oh look, the paper is gold, white and black, I should paint my nails black." I used Ulta's "Little Black Dress" and tweezered the stars onto my still-wet nails. They looked like crap.
The stars were too big for my little nails and the black didn't sufficiently contrast with the black in the stars. I smudged up one of them and repainted it gold, thinking that might help. Why I thought repainting yet another non-contrasting color would help is beyond me. I wonder if the stars would look better on, say, red or some other color not in the wallpaper.
But instead of taking it all off, I sealed it in with a hearty layer of topcoat (Essie's "No Chips Ahead") and poked and prodded the stars down as they curled up then calmed down in the stickying drying polish.

I don't like myself very much right now, so of course I don't like my nails, and maybe I think I deserve it. The migraines have been better for over two months, and while I'm still in a side-effect stupor, I can do more on a daily basis than I could when I was in pain all the time. Between turning 30 in a few weeks and these new questions of if I'm capable of having a real life again, I realize just how much I don't have a life right now. I'm wasting my time away, and if I'm in pain constantly it's just something I have to learn to accept, but if I'm not in pain, what the hell am I doing? I'm going nowhere and doing nothing and I hate it, but I can't find the motivation to make something of my days. I fight myself enough just to exercise, do the laundry, wash the dishes (and I have a friggin' dishwasher). How do I find the inspiration and the desire to forge a new path, lunge forward, do something real?

Of course I hate my nails.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nail Art: Black and White and Schmutzed All Over

I wanted to paint my nails white with black polka dots like the super-cute ones I saw as nail stickers somewhere (Target? Ulta? I don't remember, to be honest). I was worried about how steady my hands are (thanks to my migraine medications, they shake all the time) but figured I could come up with something entertaining no matter what. I started by painting my nails the opaque white I'd gotten from Ulta, but it was so opaque and so bright I just wanted to cover it up as much as humanly possible. I let it dry over night and the next day I had very little time to do anything to my nails, but needed the white covered, so quick slashes of Scotch tape diagonally crossing ten fingers later, I used Ulta's "Little Black Dress" for an extremely fast and dramatic manicure. The white was still too bright so I went digging through my glitter sparkle collection and settled on Pink Cookie's gold, thinking it would be the least unclassy. Still, the final result is not classy or pretty or anything I particularly love. And the worst part: even though I let it dry for a really long time, it smudged and moved and squished around hours later so that it ended up looking like total crap on a few fingers before I even got a photo of it! So here are my pictures, but just so you can see what I'm talking about and not because I'm proud of it the way I was proud of my ripples or my cashmere sparkle gradients.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tap Gala Ripple Nails

This month I attended galas two weekends in a row. My life is awesome. But two different galas meant two different dresses meant two different nail creations. This past Saturday's gala was for the Chicago Tap Theatre and I wore a royal blue slinky dress from Akira. After all my nail art experimentation, I decided on a ripple in blue and silver. I did the ripple with Scotch tape cut by decorative edged scissors. I think it turned out pretty well:

The polishes are Wet n Wild dark blue (don't know the color name, it either fell off the bottle or never existed) and Nicole by OPI's "Look at Me, Look at Me." After I took the photos I added Essie's "No Chips Ahead" topcoat.

The polish looked like it was going to last a long time until I went digging through vats of vintage door knobs.  I've been searching for four identical vintage or antique knobs that are as similar as possible to the one already owned by a client of a client, which has been more difficult than I expected. I may have finally found solutions, but my hunt destroyed my manicure with chips all over.

The chippiness made me mad last night so I took it off and redid my nails in Ulta black and white with Pink Cookie's gold glitter on top. The white is very opaque, which I like, and unbelievably bright, which is good and bad. It's very striking, but it's in no way "pretty." Still, I think I'll have more fun with the black and white combos in the future.
Photos to come.

I really want more decorative edge scissors. There's so much more I could do.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nailed It! (Sort Of)

I've been neglecting this blog again. Oops. Best thing to do is to jump right back in where I am now.

Latest "crafting" endeavor: nail art! Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest I'm a little obsessed with nails right now. My "Get Nailed" board on Pinterest has 26 pins and 105 followers as of this moment. I'm picky about what I pin, and I want to try or steal or just completely love every set of nails on my board. I've also started following too many nail blogs to count. My next post will probably be a "Great Nail Art Blogs" post, but I'm not there yet.

This post is a "Look At What I Did!" Post. Because I've started doing. First I just got a really fabulous polish from Target.  
It's called (appropriately) "Look at Me, Look at Me" and it's silver with minuscule sparkly glitter flecks of red and blue. I loved the way it looked, so I took a photo and posted it to my Flickr and Pinterest.

Then I was craving pastel blue nails, but neither OPI nor Essie seemed to make a pastel blue polish. Once I was compromising on brand, I figured "Go cheap or go home" and went straight for NYC (New York Color)'s glorious $2 Cashmere Creme. 

Before I had a chance to repaint my nails, I found myself in the Marshalls checkout line staring down some packages of 6-for-$6 nail polishes. After some indecisive hemming and hawing, I went with the glitter overcoats package. The brand is "Pink Cookie," which I'd never heard of, but for $6 I was willing to risk it.

I found on Pinterest all of these manicures with pretty gradients, and I figured I could manage a glitter gradient. Cashmere Creme plus the teal glitter Pink Cookie overcoat and way too much time trying to perfect it and I had myself a successful set of nails:
Unfortunately, the glitter washed off in two days despite my Essie topcoat (should have reapplied).

Last night instead of, say, actually doing real work on my Etsy shop like a productive human being, I watched Bones and Glee on Hulu while I attempted a gazillion versions of basic Scotch tape manicures in three colors on my nails. 
A bit messy, a bit insane, but successful in that I now know how to do a Scotch tape manicure and I know what I did wrong and right.

I'm going to a gala for Chicago Tap Theatre this Saturday night and I'm wearing a dark blue dress, so I think I'm going to go with just two-colored dark blue and silver glittery nails. I may play around more to choose which design to do since I'm not happy with any of the two-color designs I did, so there may be another photo very soon.

Yay nails!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Migraine Day, Migraine Treasury

I'm having a bad migraine day, which is funny because I'm supposed to go meet with a disability lawyer this afternoon and I don't know if I'll make it. I wonder if she gets that a lot. At any rate, my migraininess inspired me to make a migraine treasury:

'Migraine Marches On' by jillhannah

Stupid migraine. I'm on new drugs (again) and you have been slightly better behaved, but still you torment me. It's almost March. I would like to have a good March. Please stay in February.

Out of Order - silh...

Custom Pair of Matc...

vintage primitive i...

Vintage 70's Sh...

Morning Light 10x15

Antique Meat Cleave...

Glass Round Pendant...

Vintage Humphreys M...

Your head on Migrai...

Anti-headache firem...


The Imagination of ...



Migraine Journal- R...

Embroidered Sleep M...

I dedicate this to all my fellow migraine sufferers. Though we may have different pictures of pain, I know I find some level of solidarity comforting.