Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Red Te-X-ture - OPI Couture de Minnie Nail Art

OPI's newest offering is the Couture de Minnie Collection, celebrating the more refined side of everyone's favorite cartoon lady mouse. The collection consists of three solid shades, a glitter, and a Liquid Sand textured polish. Today's nail art look uses two of the polishes in this collection.

For this look, I began with a base of OPI Innie Minnie Mightie Bow. This red has some shimmer to it, making it look like it's glowing from within (though it's not quite as glowy as its cousin, Danke-Shiny Red from the Germany Collection). I found I got great coverage at two coats, though people that apply their polish a little thicker could definitely get away with just one.

After I let the base dry completely, I used striping tape to block off some Xs on my nails. I added a layer of the Liquid Sand polish, OPI Magazine Cover Mouse, and removed the tape.

Chalkboard Nails: Couture de Minnie Tape Manicure

Chalkboard Nails: Couture de Minnie Tape Manicure

Chalkboard Nails: Couture de Minnie Tape Manicure

Chalkboard Nails: Couture de Minnie Tape Manicure

The result I got was really interesting. Since both polishes are red, the final look was pretty subtle, though you could definitely distinguish the shiny polish below from the grainy, textured polish on top. Sometimes it would catch the light juuuust right and the effect would be even clearer.

What do you think of this look?

This limited edition collection will be available beginning June 2013 at professional salons, including Beauty Brands, Beauty First, Chatters, Dillard’s, jcp Salons, Pure Beauty, Regis, Trade Secret, ULTA and for $9.00 ($10.95 CAN) suggested retail for each nail lacquer.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Revolution - Project Badass Collection

Happy Revolution Project Badass via Chalkboard Nails

I'm a big supporter of indie brands using pop culture references in their collections, so when I heard that Happy Hands Nail Polish and Polish Revolution were teaming up to make an Always Sunny in Philadelphia collection, I was more than excited! As with many of the other pop culture polish collections out there, even if you don't understand the references, I'm sure you'll enjoy the lacquers. Let's take a look at the collection, called Project Badass.

Aluminum Monster is a black jelly with pretty glitters and a stunning teal microshimmer. I've shown it first with one coat over black and second with three coats alone. The formula was the tiniest bit streaky on its own, but this time I actually prefer it layered over black anyway! The shimmer is really what makes this, it illuminates the polish and gives a nebula effect.

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution Aluminum Monster

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution Aluminum Monster

Champion of the Sun is a soft yellow with yellow, orange, and gold glitters. I love yellow so I'm a fan of this one! Three coats.

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution Champion of the Sun

Flip Flip Flipadelhpia is a bold mix of red, silver, and gray glitters in a grey base. I love the monochromatic look with a pop of color! The glitter density in this one was high and applied well. Three coats shown here.

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution Flip Flip Flipadelphia

GreenMan is a chartreuse jelly with satiny glitters. I love the color of this one but did find it to be on the thicker side. The first time I swatched it, I was a little impatient and didn't let each coat set properly before applying the next. Be sure you give it a bit of extra time to dry between coats to optimize the formula. Three coats.

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution GreenMan

Kitten Mittens is one of my favorites in the collection, conceptually -- I love the soft white base with pink, blue, and black glitters! I did find the formula to be a little streaky, though. Like GreenMan, you should give it some extra dry time between coats to minimize issues. Three coats.

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution Kitten Mittens

Nightcrawlers is stunning and gorgeous and my favorite in the collection. This wine jelly is accented with lots of intriguing glitters, but the most intriguing is the sprinkling of fine red microglitter. See how it lights up the jelly base? It sparks! Drool drool drool. Three coats.

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution Nightcrawlers

Rum Ham begins with a light pink jelly base and adds red, gold, brown, and copper glitters. The formula on this one was excellent. It's kind of an understated, natural pink but also brings that extra punch of glitter. I used three coats.

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution Rum Ham

The Nightman Cometh is my second favorite in this collection, next to Nightcrawlers. This is the only clear based glitter topper in the collection; I've layered it over Sally Hansen Wet Cement. Everyone knows I have a black glitter weakness and this one has a lot of it! It's also beautifully accented by white, gold, and green holographic glitters. This is just one coat shown.

Chalkboard Nails: Happy Revolution The Nightman Cometh

My official Chalkboard Nails picks are Nightcrawlers, The Nightman Cometh, and Rum Ham. What do you think? Are you a fan of Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and if so, do you think they represented the inspiration well?

This collection is available via the Happy Hands shop and the Polish Revolution shop.
Be sure to keep up with these brands via their social channels, as well.
Happy Hands: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Polish Revolution: Facebook | Instagram

Friday, May 24, 2013

Geometric vs. Organic Floral Nail Art

Hey fine folks, I'm sorry I've had such a large gap between posts lately. Like I briefly mentioned earlier,  I've been really busy working on a huge project at work. I'm going to do my best to prepare some posts this weekend though, so hopefully there won't be too many more big gaps!

I was determined to do some nail art last night and decided to start with a floral. Now, I love florals (I've definitely done my fair share of them!), but I wanted to punch up the design a little bit. I thought it would be cool to contrast a harsh, black and white geometric checkerboard against the soft organic floral nails. I love the way they stand out, so rebellious!

I freehanded everything in this manicure with my medium length striper brush. I probably have a checkerboard stamping plate somewhere but I did want to challenge myself a bit and freehand those nails, too. I did force myself to be a little less controlling about the checkerboard lines than I normally would have been. That's kind of ass-backwards, huh? Controlling myself into being less controlling?

Chalkboard Nails: Geometric vs. Organic Floral Nail Art

Chalkboard Nails: Geometric vs. Organic Floral Nail Art

Chalkboard Nails: Geometric vs. Organic Floral Nail Art

Chalkboard Nails: Geometric vs. Organic Floral Nail Art

Chalkboard Nails: Geometric vs. Organic Floral Nail Art

Chalkboard Nails: Geometric vs. Organic Floral Nail Art

Colors used in this manicure include:
Cult Nails Tempest (white)
American Apparel Hassid (black)
OPI My Vampire is Buff (bone)
Lime Crime Peaches and Cream (lighter orange)
OPI Call Me Gwen-ever (darker orange)
Illamasqua Jo'mina (lighter purple)
China Glaze Crimson (darker purple)
China Glaze Def Defying (green)

I wish the Lime Crime polish would have shown up better in my photos. In person it has a much better contrast to the pale cream background.

So, what do you think about this geometric vs. organic manicure? Too much, or just bold enough?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Simple 70s Gradient

There is something quite beautiful about a simple, two color gradient. I will rock crazy nail art like nobody's business, but sometimes you just want something clean and pretty.

The other day I asked Sean to pick two colors for me so I could make a gradient out of them. He picked green and brown. Initially I felt kind of apathetic about the choices, but I had told him that I would do whatever he chose so I had to follow through with it. As I began sponging together my colors, I realized that they went beautifully together. The combination was a little out of my wheelhouse because I usually go for the pastels or brights. I was surprised to find that this earthy, 70's combination was really working for me.

China Glaze - Desert Sun (brown)
OPI - Jade Is the New Black (green)

Chalkboard Nails: Sponged 70's Gradient

Chalkboard Nails: Sponged 70's Gradient

Chalkboard Nails: Sponged 70's Gradient

Chalkboard Nails: Sponged 70's Gradient


Friday, May 17, 2013

Chalkboard Nails for What I Wore: Spring Floral

Hey guys! I'm sorry I haven't had a post for you lately, I am busier at work than I've ever been before. I just come home and go to sleep immediately! BUT here's the good news: my next What I Wore collaboration post is up! Stop by and check out my manicure inspired by a gorgeous floral skirt.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Succulent Plant Pattern Nail Art (Inspired by Lindsay Nohl)

Occasionally, while aimlessly surfing the internet, you get lucky and something awesome happens. This happened to me a few weeks ago as I was browsing around on the Paper Bicycle Creative blog. Something seriously lovely caught my eye, and I knew I wanted to do nail art inspired by it.

Chalkboard Nails: Succulent nail art inspired by Lindsay Nohl

My inspiration was this gorgeous succulent pattern by Lindsay Nohl. I love the almost watercolored look of these, and I wish I could have represented the soft, faded colors better on my nails! Still though, it can be hard to translate specific details into nail art at times, and I feel good about the modifications I made to get this to work for nails.

Succulent plant pattern by Lindsay Nohl

I started with a white base, and then freehanded my plants on using four different colors.

China Glaze - Westside Warrior (olive green)
China Glaze - Fancy Pants (blue)
China Glaze - Grape Pop (purple)
China Glaze - Purr-fect Plum (burgundy)

Chalkboard Nails: Succulent nail art inspired by Lindsay Nohl

So yeah, I'm obsessed with the inspiration pattern and now I'm obsessed with the fact that I have a tiny version of it on my nails.

Chalkboard Nails: Succulent nail art inspired by Lindsay Nohl

Chalkboard Nails: Succulent nail art inspired by Lindsay Nohl

I thought it would also be interesting to include my palette for this nail art. When I do nail art I work off of pieces of wax paper, and often when I finish a design I'll fold up the palette and save the clean outside for my next design. Unfortunately, I think I waste quite a bit of polish because of how quickly it dries. Oh well, such is the life of a nail artist I guess...?

Chalkboard Nails: Wax paper as nail art palette

A pinnable combination image, if you are into that sort of thing. :)

Chalkboard Nails: Succulent nail art inspired by Lindsay Nohl

I hope you guys enjoyed this look. Nail art is really an amazing thing, isn't it? It makes me feel so happy, not just while wearing it but also while painting it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Hand and Nail Care Routine

One of the things that I get asked most often is "What is your nail care routine?" I don't think I've ever done a post dedicated to the whole lineup of products that I use and how I use them, so I figured I would take the time to share now.

These are just the products I use to care for my nails, so I won't be talking about topcoats, base coats, etc here. Keep an eye out for that post in the future though!

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
If I had to pick just one nail care item to use for the rest of my life, it would be mah Burt's. I've used a bunch of cuticle care products over the last two years but I always come back to this one, and I'll tell you why. First of all, it does a damn good job. It melts right in to my cuticles and keeps them hydrated nicely. While it may feel a little grainy coming out of the container, when I massage it into my nail area it's soft and smooth without being too greasy or slick (I'm looking at you, LUSH Lemony Flutter). Second, I love the purse-ready tin. Things have to be pretty robust to hold up in my purse and Burt's has proven tough. Third, one tin lasts for-ev-er. I apply it daily and I have no problem getting at least six months out of every tin. After you've let it soften your cuticles, you can also gently push them back for a neater appearance.

Duri Rejuvacote Nail Strengthener
Rejuvacote is like a miracle product. Similar to OPI Nail Envy, Rejuvacote is a product that you apply directly to the nail to improve strength and nail health. I like to wear a coat of it under every manicure. Some people wear it in place of base coat -- I choose to stack them together! Rejuvacote first and then my base coat of choice second. Since I've been using it, Rejuvacote has helped to almost completely eliminate nail breaks and sometimes I feel like it makes them grow faster, too! You can find it on Ninja Polish and I also heard a rumor this was going to be stocked in Wal Mart but have yet to see it there.

Hand Lotion/Cream
I apply hand lotion/hand cream at least twice a day, and this is the one area of my routine where there's a lot of variation. I have so many hand moisturization products that I just leave them all over the place. That way, I always have one nearby! I usually use a thicker cream at night time and a more lightweight lotion during the day. I don't think the specific product matters so much here as long as your hands are getting the moisture. Favorites include: Fortune Cookie Soap's Whipped Cream Body Butter & OPI Avojuice.

CND SolarOil
I prefer cuticle cream to cuticle oil for everyday use, but when my nails need a little bit of extra pampering, I'll reach for my CND SolarOil. It seems to condition my cuticles really nicely and smells DELICIOUS (it's the sweet almond oil!). It also absorbs more quickly than the other oils that I've tried. Definitely a win!

Tropical Shine Nail Files
Now, I'm no file expert and I'm certainly not a trained manicurist, but I figured I'd include this anyway. My go-to file is a 220 grit Tropical Shine file that I purchased at Sally Beauty. However, the grit you need will be dependent on the condition and strength of your nails, so stop by Kayla's post about nail files for more information. Remember, never saw back and forth with your nail file. Only file in one direction.

Tips and Tricks

Be consistent!
The more consistent you are with your hand care, the faster your hands and nails will improve. My nail care process is no big's all about consistency! Make it a habit. Here are some tips...
  • Keep a container of cuticle cream by your computer monitor or on your bedside table
  • Set a reminder alarm on your phone if needed
  • Moisturize after you wash your hands, as hand soap and water can be very drying

Don't pick off your nail polish!
Just don't! I know it's tempting, but picking polish is really damaging to your nails and can cause them to grow out weaker. I'll admit that I get a little antsy sometimes and commit this greatest of sins too, but really try to make an effort to avoid it.

Find what works for you.
The products that work for me may not work as well for you! I have faith in these products and think that most people will find them effective, but if something doesn't seem to be working right, do some research on other alternatives. is a good resource for product reviews if you want to poke around before you buy.

Be patient.
A new cuticle care routine may take a little while to start showing results. Be patient and stick with it and you should see some changes! If you have ragged skin around your nail beds, try softening and conditioning the area with some cuticle cream or oil before you reach for the nippers. Cuticle nippers are easy to go overboard with, and for many people, they aren't even necessary.

Questions? Like I said, I'm not a licensed nail tech, but if you have questions about these products, please feel free to ask in the comments or email me. I'll do my best to answer them for you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sparkle and Smolder - Zoya Irresistible Nail Art

I recently sat down to do some nail art with the new Zoya Irresistible Collection, and three of the colors jumped out at me. They came together in a gorgeous, fiery combination, and I immediately knew I wanted to do a gradient!

Chalkboard Nails: Sparkle & Smolder Nail Art

Let's talk about the three polishes I used for this look!
Zoya Kerry is a yellow gold foil. Definitely one of my favorite shades in the collection.
Zoya Amy is an orange foil. Super sparkly and warm.
Zoya Bobbi is a red-magenta foil. It reminds me of the color of red grapes.

Chalkboard Nails: Sparkle & Smolder Nail Art

This nail art came out so well but the process was a double edged sword.

If you're familiar with sponged gradients in nail art, you'll know that the sponge deposits polish on the areas of finger that surround your nail. It's usually not that difficult to clean up if you're using cotton swabs and acetone.

I didn't have my brain turned on before I started this nail art, and barged ahead without protecting my surrounding fingers in any way. BIG MISTAKE! Let me tell you why. These polishes are so super sparkly and flecky (part of their appeal!), but their downside is, if you get them on your skin, those sparkles can be pretty challenging to remove. I spent more time cleaning up the polish on my skin than I did doing the actual gradient.

If you guys want to try a gradient with these polishes, I would recommend applying Elmer's Glue or something like Liquid Palisade to the skin surrounding your nails first. If you let it dry completely before you start the gradient, you'll just be able to peel off the mess after you're finished.

Chalkboard Nails: Sparkle & Smolder Nail Art

Chalkboard Nails: Sparkle & Smolder Nail Art

What do you think of this look?

The Zoya Irresistible Collection is available now on for $8 per polish.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hard Candy Black Tie Optional

It's no secret that I have a black and white glitter problem. So when I learned that Hard Candy's new releases included a black and white glitter polish, I was ecstatic! My favorite glitter, at a nifty $4 price point? Sign me up! But how is the formula...?

Chalkboard Nails: Hard Candy - Black Tie Optional

It's fantastic!

What you see here is just one coat of Hard Candy Black Tie Optional over OPI You're Such a Budapest. The glitter was plentiful and controlled well, though I do recommend using the dabble method.

Chalkboard Nails: Hard Candy - Black Tie Optional

It's such a beautiful look, isn't it? Splatter nail art in seconds!

Chalkboard Nails: Hard Candy - Black Tie Optional

Hard Candy polishes are available at Wal Mart. I had to visit a few different locations before I found this one in stock though, so it seems stock levels may be luck of the draw!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sally Hansen Camouflage Nail Art (+ Tutorial)

It's time for another Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art tutorial! This month's theme is street style and I've decided to show you how to do this easy camouflage nail art. Camouflage, while traditionally used in the military or by hunters, has been used by fashion and by the style savvy, too. I particularly like camouflage when it's shown in unusual color combinations.

Instead of blending in, you stand out!

Chalkboard Nails: Camouflage nail art tutorial

Chalkboard Nails: Camouflage nail art tutorialChalkboard Nails: Camouflage nail art tutorial

You'll need these five things to recreate my camouflage manicure: Sally Hansen Lightening, Sally Hansen Lickety Split Lime, Sally Hansen Black Out, Sally Hansen White On, and a small nail art brush. You may also be able to recreate this look using a dotting tool or rubber tip of a bobby pin in place of the nail art brush.

Chalkboard Nails: Camouflage nail art tutorial

Check out the video to see how it's done!

There are very few steps for this manicure, and the less precise your shapes are, the more authentic it will look!
  1. Paint your nails with two coats of White On. While you should let polish set before you move on to step two, it doesn't need to be completely dry.
  2. Using Lightening and your nail art brush, paint three or four freeform shapes starting from either side of your nail. 
  3. Add some more shapes in the white space using Lickety Split Lime.
  4. Grab Black Out and do the final round of shapes. These ones can overlap the other two colors a little bit, and you can make some of them extend fully across the nail if you'd like. Just be sure to leave a little bit of white showing through in the background!
  5. Clean up any stray bits of polish around the nail using a makeup brush dipped in polish remover, and seal with topcoat.

Chalkboard Nails: Camouflage nail art tutorial

I hope you've been inspired to enter your street style manicures into the I Heart Nail Art competition! Don't be shy, I know you guys have all sorts of creativity to contribute to the theme, and you could win amazing prizes!

Sally Hansen products can be found at chain drug stores, food stores and mass retailers nationally. Visit their FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more information.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Freebie Friday: Glitter Macros for Your Phone!

Chalkboard Nails: Free glitter macros for your phone wallpaper

It's FREEBIE FRIDAY! Today I'm starting a new series of posts where I make things and then give them to you for free! I'm not sure how often I'm going to be doing these posts, but it's no matter because FREE! I already have tons of ideas brewing so definitely stay tuned.

A while ago, I posted a tip on Instagram that glitter macros make excellent lock screens for your mobile phones. The tip was really well received and tons of people shared screenshots of their newly glittered phones. Because you guys liked them so much, I've taken some new macros and sized them properly for you!

TO USE: Navigate to this page on your phone (tip: use the shortlink Tap/click on the photo you want to use to open up the full resolution version. For iPhone and Android users, tap and hold on the photo until a menu comes up. The menu should give you the option to save the photo to your phone, and then you can set it as your wallpaper/lock screen!

(these are high res and should work well for most Android phones as well!)

Cirque - XX

Cirque - Debris

Dollish Polish - Toad-ally Awesome!

Happy Hands Nail Polish - Flowers On the Highway

KBShimmer - Bejeweled

KBShimmer - Squared Away

KBShimmer - Watercolor

Naild'it Unique Nail Polish - Confetti Falls

Naild'it Unique Nail Polish - Peace, Love, and Hairspray

Please do not take these images and post them on your own blog. Instead, if you want to share, I'd ask you to direct people to this post so they can grab them themselves! Don't forget, the shortlink leads to this post.

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