Monday, April 29, 2013

The Art of Nail Art

I did a bit of research of the art of nails on women and how it impacts men.  From what I could find out (really, there isn't much out there) men prefer clean, conservative, not long nails.  Fancy nails gives an impression of "high-maintenance," but dirty nails gives out an unfavorable "unclean" impression.  Gah!  So hard to find middle ground.
Now personally, I love nails and I think nails are a great way to express one's mood, spice up an outfit, and/or easy to take risks with.  I will agree that long nails can look pretty darn ugly and fairly impractical.  So, I'm working with short fingernails here and this is what I came up with to spice up those nails.
Sally Hansen's Nail Art Pen!
High maintenance?  No way with this thing!  It's like having a nail salon right at your home! French manicures, designs, tiny minuscule details -everything can be done with this little thing.  Plus it comes in all your favorite colors.  I will admit, it's a bit expensive hovering around 7 bucks, but it save many $20 salon trips.
Here are my steps to a perfect at home manicure:
  1. Remove any nail polish with nail polish remover.
  2. Cut your nails to a desired length and gently smooth your nails with an emery board.  You might want to shape your nails so it has a nice curve.
  3. Take a large bin and fill it with warm/hot water.
  4. Add some hand softening material like olive oil, honey, milk, etc.  Try and search the internet for other options - there are tons of natural foods that can help those hands.  Covering your hand in avocados can also be a great pack.   
  5. If you wish, take an old toothbrush and dip in your favorite soap and gently scrub your nails to loosen and get rid of any dirt.
  6. After about 10 minutes or so, take them out.  Push back your cuticles at this point.
  7. Dry your hands thoroughly.
  8. Apply your favorite color of nail polish as directed on the bottle.  Don't apply the top coat yet.
  9. Time to use those pens!  For a french manicure, gently draw across the tip of each nail.  Then draw another line directly below the line for a little more depth.  Take a look at some conservative nail designs below if you are feeling a little more adventurous :)
  10. Apply a clear top coat.
  11. And ta-da! You are done!
The art of nail art is a really great way to practice your art skills as well.  Try to find something in your apartment/house that you think looks pretty and try to design your nails like that.  Perhaps you have a two-toned vase in blue and green with white flowers?  Then try to paint your nails so that it has two colors (maybe blue on the top half and green on the bottom?) and use the art pen to draw a flower or cover with small swirls.  Likewise, try to express your mood with your nails.  Feeling angry?  Cover your nails with a fire engine red nail color and maybe draw three horizontal white slashes across each nail.  Let me know if you are stuck on any ideas and I'd be more than happy to help!  Here are some to get you started:

Color Blocking on a Budget

Color blocking seems to be ubiquitous nowadays with multiple stars wearing the same Stella McCartney optical illusion dress pictured below:

I was walking through JCPenney the other day and saw a gorgeous color blocking dress of a different style for $30!  Amazing find!  Look at the pictures below - the style is very similar to the Ali Ro dress that retails for a hefty $265.
JCPenny's Olsenboye's Color blocking dress - $29.99

Ali Ro's Pleated Color block dress - $265

I bought the JCP version of the dress and I am pleased with the overall product.  It from the blue part down, it is thick and cotton-like.  The top black part is a little thinner, but carries the weight of the dress well.  I also like the length of the dress; not so short that you have to self conscious about showing your butt when you bend over, but short enough that it comes above the knees and shows off some leg.  I would say this is perfect for a lovely Spring day for an outing or even for work with a pair of nice black heels or flats.