Creative musings in bright colors

The Desert

This one was a lot of fun to make. Honestly, I just love painting scenes, and this was no different! I started with a nude base, painted on the yellow, orange, nude, red, and then freehanded the sand gradient. I think I left too much space for the sky, so I decided to add wispy clouds. Overall, I am quite happy with how this came out! The design was inspired by @ruthsnailart.

~ Nude: Zoya – Chantal
~ Dark yellow: OPI – Never a Dulles Moment
~ Orange: OPI – Yank my Doodle
~ Red: KBShimmer – Chai-huahua (with a bit of Zoya Margo)
~ Dark brown: Zoya – Louise
~ Brown: Zoya – Dea
~ Light brown: Zoya – Flynn
~ Neon yellow: Love & Beauty – Yellow (over Serum No 5 – Dayglow)
~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White

I did try to make the sun glow by using Dayglow over a bright yellow, but sadly I didn’t use it over a large enough area (or pile it on deep enough, I didn’t want a huge bump on my nail!). So no glowing sun. That said, I think this is considered a success! I think this is one of the last intense freehand scene I have painted in the past year? You guys will see another one during the #31daychallenge (yes, I plan those manicures ahead so I don’t get stuck playing catch-up), so stay tuned! But since all of my recent best manicures will go up in September for the, the next few weeks are going to be the sad rejects. Sorry!

Water’s Edge

This manicure was inspired by @urbannailart. She had the coolest idea to make a FADED stamp (gradient from white to clear on the plate), and then top that with a jelly polish! I did it 3 times which was overkill…I have a hunch I am going to be doing this again but using only two coats (since the third one both disappeared and just made it look busy). The end result, however, was SUPER COOL and it looks like the surf is just at the edge of the sand! It also gave me an excuse to use my brown-gold holo polish. Unfortunately this polish looks awful on its own against my skin tone, but it works great as an accent color 😀 and of course my shell and starfish charms!

~ Periwinkle: Nails Inc – Regents Place
~ Teal jelly: Zoya – Frida
~ Gold: Salon Perfect – Gold Leaf
~ Brown holo: ILNP – Sparks May Fly
~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White
~ Stamps: Born Pretty – Texture L002, BPX – L020

Since the jelly polish I have is a green-teal, I decided to use a periwinkle purple base to balance out the green in the jelly. I should have ended up with a brownish mess, but instead color magic happened and I got a beautiful vibrant blue :-D. I love polish fun! Moral: sometimes things just WORK and magic happens! I also spent this past weekend at the beach and this is a wonderful reminder that I can relax…even if I am currently on service as a chief in the hospital (dear god, they want me in charge of an entire service in the hospital?!). Anyway, enjoy!

Sunflower Morning

Omg I love this manicure! Look at the detailed stamp! And those ladybugs! This is basically the perfect summer manicure and I am proud of myself. It helps that the stamped worked perfectly (that happens to rarely!) and that the base color somehow just complimented the whole thing. I feel as though I usually reach for a complicated holo/glitter background and it ends up detracting from the final design! But this totally worked. Score 1 to Eva!

~ Pink holo: Femme Fatale – Mr Pinchy
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black
~ Light yellow: Maybelline – Citrus Collide
~ Yellow: OPI – Never a Dulles Moment
~ Green: Zoya – Tilda
~ Dark brown: Zoya – Louise
~ Light brown: Zoya – Flynn
~ Red: Pure Ice – Siren
~ Stamp: Nicole Diary – L21

I wanted to post a link to the born pretty store plate because it worked so darn well…but they stopped carrying it! I guess the good ones sell out fast. Anyway, hope that you enjoyed this summer nail art, stay tuned for more this week!

Interlocking Fans

I don’t love how this came out. Despite how pretty the base color is (and it really is one of my favorite polishes), the pink that I paired with it doesn’t go quite right, and the design on my middle and ring finger just looks blocky. I would almost think it was etched poorly, except the design on the other fingers is from the same plate and came out lovely! Oh well.

~ Blue holo shimmer: Blush Lacquer – Not Your Average Seahorse
~ Hot pink: Born Pretty – Warm Tea Crimson Cheeks
~ Stamp: MoYou – Steampunk 06

Only one photo today. The sun did not cooperate enough to get a sunlight photo and weirdly (or not, the base polish is super sparkly) most of my photos of this design came out blurred! Better luck to me next time.

Neutral Blocks

You guys I am SO PROUD of this. This entire design is free-handed. And it came out pretty!! I just grabbed a neutral palette and got to work 😀 I am honestly shocked that the colors didn’t end up clashing, and that I was able to use the light pink over even the dark brown color without too much difficulty. Usually when I go for a set of colors that I don’t first spend time looking up online to ensure they will work together, I end up with at least one odd color out that looks silly. But these actually worked!

~ Pastel pink: OPI – Be There in a Prosecco
~ Pink: Essie – Eternal Optomist
~ Dark pink-red: OPI – Yank my Doodle
~ Brown: Zoya – Dea

I cannot decide if I think overall I would have saved time by trying to use striping tape for all the lines, but I bet it was quicker to freehand. Especially with the overlapping pieces, trying to wait for each layer to dry to add tape would have been unbearable! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!

Tropical Sunrise

Something about the pastel orange background just makes this manicure. I adore it, everyone else who saw it adored it, and it only took 2.5 hours (eep!) to make. Worth it! This scenic mani was also inspired by ruthsnailart, although I painted with polish not acrylic. That said, I think this is going to be the last use I get out of the pastel neon orange that I own, it is down to its last 1/2 inch of polish and is too gloopy to use! (Since I painted these some time ago I can say that my prediction was correct, and I now own a new almost-neon pastel orange instead).

~ Orange: Maybelline – Bleached in Peach
~ Pink: Zoya – Jordan
~ Blue-grey: Essie – Rock the Boat
~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black
~ Light blue: Zoya – Blu
~ Blue: Zoya – Yummy
~ Dark blue: Zoya – Ling
~ Periwinkle: Nails Inc – Regents Place

My two biggest regrets with this admittedly awesome bit of art were 1) I cannot successfully make large circles (the sun is wonky) and 2) my palm tree stamp almost didn’t work! I also have NEW PALM TREES now so hopefully I can do something like this but also different (hah!) again soon! Hope you enjoyed this taste of summer 🙂

Field of Succulents

This was a lot of fun to make, and a lot of fun to wear! I knew I wanted something minty green, and I actually picked out the colors long before I finalized the design. I stated with a pastel mint base, and then stamped on some random splatter designs in a darker teal. I then stamped over everything with a black floral-ish pattern to make the succulents, but I decided that wasn’t good enough. I wanted more color variation! Which is when I remembered my ink polishes, and the fact that I have a green/teal one. So I grabbed it and dabbed on some ink over the center of each succulent. Voila!

~ Pastel teal: Zoya – Tiana
~ Teal: Zoya – Cecilia
~ Ink: Born Pretty – Blooming Constant Jade
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black
~ Stamps: Lina – Make Your Mark 02, Nicole Diary – L21

For something that was quite quick to make, this came out rather stunning. A lucky mix of colors and patterns I think. It did remind me that I own these ink polishes though, and that I should absolutely use them more! Anyway, hope you enjoyed!

Purple Sharp

I painted these while on vacation, which is why the are so minimalist (and why I only have sunlight pictures, since I didn’t bring my regular camera with me!). I basically only had a selection of purple polishes and a small paintbrush, so I went with simple! I am actually really proud of my straight lines and the design is not terrible for all that there isn’t much going on :-p

~ Dark purple: Zoya – Monica
~ Purple glitter: Dreamland – You Look Like Seafood
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black

Maybe at some point I should do a “very simple” collection of things that can be painted with nothing but a hairpin, a thin brush, and the brushes from the polish itself, and that can be completed in 30 minutes or less. No other tools and no long involved designs. Any interest?


I love this polish so much that I barely wanted to cover it at all! So I made sky designs with clouds, the sun, and the moon. It also gave me an excuse to use these very intricate sun and moon stamps (even if you can hardly see them because using black holo polish instead of creme grey polish obscured the details)!

~ Teal/purple multichrome: Emily de Molly – Near and Far
~ Black holo: Darling Diva – Black Diamond
~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White
~ Stamps: BM – XL213

Every now and then I run into a design in my not-yet-posted folder, like this one, that reminds me to use a polish that I haven’t touched in months. Like this one. Near and Far is definitely going back out into my use soon set of polishes! Silly me. Anyway, hope you enjoyed!

Girly Geometric Floral

I did this in pink. If I had done this in any other color I think I would have ADORED it, as it is I only like it. Too much pink! That said, I do love how I made the lace pattern…I didn’t have a full-nail lace design without flowers built in, so I just double stamped (carefully) using one of my moroccan quatrefoil, and voila! Honestly it was perfect. I should probably redo this in blue or purple just to make myself endlessly happy in the future.

~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White
~ Light pink: Zoya – Abby
~ Pink: Zoya – Sandy
~ Hot pink: Zoya – Kelsey
~ Dark pink: Zoya – Ciara
~ Light green: Zoya – Tilda
~ Dark green: Zoya – Shawn
~ Stamp: BM – XL205

I also accidentally really like how the roses came out? My hand-painted flowers can be quite hit-or-miss and this was a hit in my books! Again, maybe just with less pink next time around. Ouch.

Bugs in the Grass

I have been on a bit of a pink-on-green kick recently and I don’t know why. It isn’t really a good color combination unless its in Wicked! Anyway, this time around I painted some pink bugs on some grass and it wasn’t terrible? I have also found my new favorite grass stamp!

~ Light green: OPI – Did it on ’em
~ Green: Zoya – Josie
~ Light pink: Born Pretty – Warm Tea Cherry Blossom
~ Bright pink: Born Pretty – Warm Tea Crimson Cheeks
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black
~ Stamps: Lina – Make Your Mark 02, Nicole Diary – L21 and 090, BM – XL47

The grass stamp is the firework-looking pattern from Make Your Mark 02! I don’t know why I have never through of using it before for this purpose but it works REALLY well. Thank you Lina :-D. Anyway, hope you enjoyed my pink bugs! They were fun to make.

Last year, I did a drip marble of red, white, and blue, for the 4th of July. This year I decided to up my game and use polish especially designed to make cells. Both the blue polish and the white-nude polish are spotting polishes. The end result was a whole bunch of cells! Maybe I should have stamped over this one like I did last year, but honestly it looked super cool on its own so I kept it.

~ White (base): Sinful Colors – Snow me White
~ Red: Zoya – Sooki
~ Cream spot: Baroness X – Sand Ahoy!
~ Blue shimmer spot: Baroness X – Atlantis

As it turns out, the three cell-forming polishes that I own at this point are red, pale nude, and blue. Maybe I should just try ALL THREE next year? Make a tradition of it? Who knows! Hope you guys all had some pretty fireworks!

This is almost identical to a design I made for christmas maybe 4 years ago, only instead of green/red/gold this time I did red/silver/blue! It felt nice pulling out a textured polish for the first time in a while, and I was surprised at how well behaved the metallics were even when I had to play with them to get them to cover all the little fiddly corners.

~ Red metallic: Zoya – Isla
~ Blue metallic: Zoya – Tart
~ Silver textured: OPI – Its Frosty Outside
~ Silver metallic: Nails Inc – South Kensington
~ Silver shimmer: Revlon – Metallic

Anyway, the fourth is this weekend, so I figured I needed to be at least a little patriotic! I have my other 4th-themed manicure going up on Monday, but this one is both easier and more directly obvious. Hope you enjoyed, and have fun with any fireworks or BBQs if you live in the US!

Orange Blossoms

These came out really cute! I wanted to use the new pastel orange polish I bought (to replace the one I have had for 8 years that is finally far too empty to use), and I came up with this! So it doubles as a swatch AND a design. The orange polish you see here is called Cole by Zoya, and it takes 3 thin coats. I suppose I could’ve gotten by with two thick coats, but since Zoya polishes dry fast I figured this was the better option. Its pretty!

~ Pastel orange: Zoya – Cole
~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White
~ Grey: Formula X – Delightful
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black

I was initially just going to do the floral nails, but the orange ones looked sad! So I added some dots (as always) and am quite happy with it. I am also glad I went back and filled in the leaves with white, the contrast I think helps the overall design. Hope you enjoyed!

The Shallows

I saw this IG video by yagala who had the idea of layering blooming ink polish to create a sand surf. I decided that I just had to try it. Sadly, my ink polish did not work quite as well (and is also, frankly, green) so I finished it off with a teal jelly. It ended up looking remarkably realistic for waves reaching the sand, and I will have to remember to try this again with a slightly different color palette!

~ Nude: Zoya – Chantal
~ Green ink: Born Pretty Blooming – Constant Jade
~ Teal jelly: Zoya – Frida
~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White

I think this formally kicks off my summer nails? That said I don’t have many summer-specific nails so other than some more flowers I don’t know where I am going with this! Hope you enjoyed it anyway 🙂

Rainbow Glitter Curtain

These nails are the BEST so I just needed to finish off the week with them! Omg. I wanted to make a rainbow reveal manicure but I also didn’t want to spend literal hours hand-painting every line of this particular stamp…so I came up with a great idea! I started with a somewhat pastel rainbow gradient on my nails. Then I painted the stamping decals (rainbow swirl center, white on the outside, and holo glitter topcoat on the lines) and stamped it straight onto my nails. The end result is super cool looking, if I do say so myself! I love the smooth background rainbow gradient, the bright vibrancy of the colors in the central swirls, and the holo glitter 😀 That said, I apparently need another blue creme (I only have like 9 of them, obviously that isn’t enough) because I used a shimmer for the blue color and it barely came through at all in the gradient!

~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black
~ Holo top coat: China Glaze – Fairy Dust
~ Pink: Revlon – Bubbly
~ Orange: Formula X – Incandescent
~ Yellow: OPI – Never a Dulles Moment
~ Green: OPI – Did It On ‘Em
~ Teal: Zoya – Wednesday
~ Blue: KBShimmer – Id’ Rather Be with Blue
~ Periwinkle: Nails Inc – Regents Place
~ Purple: Zoya – Malia
~ Stamp: Moyra – 45 I Fill You

This ends out rainbow week! Hope you all enjoyed. And are prepared to see all three designs in my end-of-year roundup of favorite nail art posts :-p Happy friday!

Peeping Rainbows Redux

For a few years now I have wanted to re-create one of the manicures that I tend to think of as my most iconic: the peeping rainbow design that is on all my blog icons. This time I used more colors and thinner lines…and while I do love it, if I am being honest, I think I liked the simplicity of the original (which was done in 2013, wow) better! The first time around I used 9 polishes. This time I used 10, but the colors were far more red/purple skewed! This batch is also much darker, originally I went with neons. I might have to try this AGAIN with my current neon collection!

~ Pink: Zoya – Kelsey
~ Red: Zoya – Sookie
~ Orange: Zoya – Thandie
~ Yellow: OPI – Never a Dulles Moment
~ Green: Zoya – Josie
~ Teal: Zoya – Cecilia
~ Blue: Zoya – Ling
~ Indigo: Zoya – Danielle
~ Purple: Zoya – Landon
~ Dark pink: Zoya – Ciara
~ Black: Mentality – Rascal (wow, this is an incredibly old polish, before Mentality went off the deep end and tried to poison all of our nails)

This is also, I suppose, an ode to Zoya cremes? Probably 90% of my creme polishes are Zoya. I love their finish and they tend to play nice with my nails. I also don’t love how Zoya does most other finishes other than metallics, so cremes it is! I hope you enjoyed, and let me know if you preferred the original neon or the new darker peeping rainbow design!

Pastel Rainbow Scales

It is time for rainbow week! Which is to say my birthday is today (wow I am really getting old…) and I love rainbows, and it is also pride month, so enjoy a whole WEEK of excellent rainbow manicures! This particular design is one I had been meaning to try for a while. I know the whole rainbow mermaid thing was big, and that I have missed that particular wave, but I cannot pass on pretty rainbows! The idea was for this to be pastel, and it certainly isn’t bright, but I would not call this pastel! I do love the white bits though. I tried something similar previously with “Scales of Many Colors“, but the scales were tiny and if I’m honest my stamping wasn’t up to par. Also, looking at the finished product, I should have gone with my gut and used green not teal, but my inspiration from Nails4Cocktails used teal!

~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White
~ Purple: Zoya – Malia
~ Blue: Zoya – Rocky
~ Teal: Emily de Molly – Glee Ridden
~ Yellow: WOW – #301
~ Orange: Forumla X – Incandescent
~ Pink: Sinful Colors – Pink Forever
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black
~ Flakies: Picture Polish – Festival
~ Stamp: BC – 04

So, happy birthday to me! And happy rainbows. And hopefully just overall happy. Which is going to be slightly challenging since the new interns start today at the hospital, and I imagine there are going to be SO MANY neurology consults! Ah well. Enjoy!

Purple Divided

While on vacation I painted some nails. All I had was various purples and a tiny paintbrush…so I literally pulled a bobby pin out of my hair (I had it in a bun from snorkeling since I hate wet hair) and made dots! Because that is the obvious solution. Also, as I found out almost 10 years ago early in my nail art adventure, you can make dots out of just about anything and they will look fine.

~ Purple: Zoya – Landon
~ Purple holo: ILNP – Zoe
~ Silver: A England – Excalibur

So, very very simple manicure that took a total of 15 minutes with basically 0 tools, and honestly it still looks pretty! Maybe I should do a starting-nail-art series with how to make simple designs with minimal tools? Probably not, I like my complicated designs (and stamps) too much! Enjoy anyway :-p

Copper Knots

I have never used this stamp before and it is quite pretty! This is quite a straightforward manicure (just a stamp over a base) but with the beautiful shifty holo multichrome base, and the complicated interlocking stamp, it looks rather sophisticated!

~ Copper/gold holo multichrome: Enchanted – I am the Walrus
~ Gold: Essie – Good as Gold
~ Stamp: Whats Up Nails – B017

I am always torn using one of my more expensive polishes for simple stamping manicures, but then again, what is the point of having a polish if I never use it? It seems counterintuitive. I should use my favorite polishes more and just buy back-up bottles (that said I don’t think I am the Walrus is available any longer). Hope you enjoyed!

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