My DIY Manicure Essentials.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but random Ashley fact: I used to be a chronic nail biter. I finally stopped biting my nails in 2007 when I had UV gel nails for a few months leading up to my wedding. Even though gel and acrylic nails can be damaging, they did help cure my nail-biting habit. For the most part. I still pick at them and once in a while if a nail breaks, I’ll start biting again. Unless I keep them polished. And since I seem to be incredibly hard on my nails (one reason I loved the gels and why I never spend money on a regular manicure), nail polish rarely lasts more than a day or two before it chips or peels. Unless I use the Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips, which last over a week, I find myself painting my nails almost every day. I guess I just traded nail-biting for nail polishing. (FYI, nail-biting is a way cheaper habit than polishing!)

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of products, so I finally put together a list of my DIY mani essentials (excluding the polish itself, since the options are basically limitless):

My DIY Manicure Essentials! #mani #girlyobsessions

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Mani Monday: Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips.

You may have caught a glimpse of my polka dot nails on Instagram or Facebook a few weeks ago. Since a lot of people asked what they were or how I did them, I am back with a post. I could never create such perfect circles on my own (trust me, I’ve tried), so I used the Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips in Spot On. And so you don’t make the same mistake as me… I bought a box of the strips but when I went to do my nails, I realized that I also needed the LED lamp. Oops. I was going to buy the lamp online since the one that comes in the Starter Kit is “mini” and only does one nail at a time, but I needed instant gratification, so I ran back out and picked up the kit. And I’m so glad I did because here is the result:

Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Nail Strips in Spot On. #girlyobsessions

I was worried the polka dot design would be a bit too much once it was on every nail, but I actually loved the result. And it was so easy to achieve. The Starter Kit is available in three different colors and costs $29.99. Not a bad price since most LED lamps start at about $40. In addition to the mini LED lamp, the kit also includes 16 gel polish strips, a bottle of gel top coat, 2 nail cleanser pads, a cuticle stick and a nail file/buffer. Not a bad deal. FYI, a box of the gel nail strips includes everything except the lamp and costs $14.99. (Currently offered in 23 fun colors and patterns.)

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Mani Monday: candy corn inspired nails.

I’ve been totally lacking in Halloween spirit this year. Honestly, it’s not my favorite holiday. I feel like as a creative there is just too much pressure to come up with clever costume ideas and carve amazing pumpkins. Neither of which I do. But what I do love about Halloween is the CANDY. And luckily, if Sandy turns off our power, we have plenty of non-perishable Nerds and Candy Corn to survive on. So to try to get in the mood to give away my candy instead of keeping it, I’ve used the quintessential Halloween treat as inspiration for some spirited nails! (I actually made my own Candy Corn, so I’ll post that tomorrow.)

Candy Corn Inspired Nails! Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer Halloween

Also, I’ve been wanting to try Maybelline’s Color Show Nail Lacquer, and this was the perfect opportunity since it comes in every color imaginable. The colors are bold and saturated and the creamy formula goes on smoothly. And so far, no chipping!! I used Sweet Clementine, Fierce N Tangy, and Porcelain Party. For only $5 a bottle, I would definitely buy again! So check out the easy step-by-step process for Candy Corn inspired nails! Just don’t be tempted to chew on your nails after painting them!

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Enchanted with Sephora’s Disney Reigning Beauties: the Cinderella collection.

I was at Sephora this weekend when I saw a flyer for the Disney Reigning Beauties Collections. Loving all things sparkly and princessy (or anything with a tiara), and being a huge fan of Disney classics, I was so excited about this collaboration (maybe even more than the Pantone one)! Sephora is releasing the first of the limited edition Disney princess inspired collections this October, starting with Cinderella. The timing coordinates with the movie being released from the Disney Vault earlier this month.

Sephora's Disney Reigning Beauties Collection: Cinderella makeup princess

How can you not love this collection? It has all the enchanting, magical essentials:

1. Use the Midnight Hour eye shadow palette for a stunning, smoky eye.
2. A Brush With Fate is a spellbinding collection of sparkly, shimmery nail polish.
3. The Storylook Palette contains 20 eye shadows customized to match the original colors of the movie, including Gus Gus!!! So cute!
4. An elegant compact, designed after the iconic clock, is for touching up your looks.
5. Create a perfect pout for Prince Charming’s kiss with the Moonlit Kiss Lipstick Set.
6 + 7. So This is Love is a romantic, dreamy, delicate perfume that lasts long after the stroke of midnight, and comes in an optional Swaroski crysatal studded bottle.

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Berry your nails: Jamberry nail wraps!

Sara: So I was on Facebook the other day and this pic of crazy cool nails caught my eye. When I clicked on it the girl who posted it mentioned these Jamberry Nails. This was a new brand to me so I did some googling and instantly became obsessed! The brand is set up like an Avon, and there are individual consultants who sell the nail wraps. They come in so many cool patterns, designs and colors…I have about 10 picked out so far!

Jamberry nails nail wraps nail polish nail art

Ashley: I had never heard of Jamberry until you sent me the link…and then I wondered how or why I never heard of them! And then I had the problem of liking EVERY SINGLE DESIGN. Stripes and chevron and houndstooth…how am I supposed to choose? Totally pattern happy right now! You know I’m obsessed with nail art, and I know you are too, but I’ve never actually tried any stick-on nail wraps, have you? Do you think they work?

Jamberry nails nail wraps nail polish nail art purple yellow argyle Jamberry nails nail wraps nail polish nail art purple giraffe Jamberry nails nail wraps nail polish nail art polka dot CMYG Jamberry nails nail wraps nail polish nail art purple green black chevron Jamberry nails nail wraps nail polish nail art missing polka dot

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1000 Ways to Get Polished. Trendy nails at Sephora.

You know we love nail polish around here. Just wrap it up into our makeup addiction. Of course it doesn’t help that nail art is everywhere right now. I feel like every other pin on Pinterest is nail related, and I mean, how great is So needless to say I was so excited by a recent Sephora email: 1000 Ways to Get Polished. In case you missed the email or haven’t been to their site, here are the seven trends they highlight and some of the products you can use to achieve the effects!

(Oh, they also have a YouTube channel devoted to nail art tutorials!)

CIATÉ Ciaté Caviar Manicure™
CIATÉ Ciaté Caviar Manicure™ Sephora  CIATÉ Ciaté Caviar Manicure™  CIATÉ Ciaté Caviar Manicure™

Sephora nails Neon
DIOR Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer     ILLAMASQUA Nail Varnish    SEPHORA BY OPI Nail Colour    ILLAMASQUA Nail Varnish   DIOR Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer

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Essie is making me Matte!

Whether under the weather or just in a bad mood, there are two things that always make me feel a little better: reading Hallmark cards, and checking out an Essie display. The cards always make me giggle, and the colors of the polish just excite me.

Essie Matte About You Pshiiit.comEssie Matte About You matte topcoat

So not that long ago when I had a blah day I had a couple of errands to run and planned them around the store with the best Essie display I have found. It was a successful visit! While checking out the colors (and against store policies, maybe trying a couple…shhh) I found a new top coat. I can be a sucker for top coats with the promises of strong, less brittle, longer nails. However, this one made me squeal out loud! Matte About You is a top coat that will turn any color polish into a matte finish. Instantly the possibilities with all the polishes I have started spinning through my mind. One little bottle could completely revamped my entire collection!

Essie Matte About You Essie Matte About You Essie Matte About You Hunger Games

I am very excited to try this out with all my colors and see the different effects!

{ Hey, it’s Ash, I’m hijacking Sara’s post! Photos courtesy of Pshiiit (BTW, super cute site that makes me feel very inadequate about my nail polish skills) & Nails Made Simple. (Just had to include their Hunger Games nails!) }

Sephora meets Pantone.

Ashley: Sara, I know you’ve been swamped the past few days, so you may not have seen the email about Sephora’s collaboration with Pantone. They have created an exclusive, limited edition collection celebrating Pantone’s color of the year: Tangerine Tango. They have 12 items ranging from nail polish and eyeshadow to brushes and your fave, lip gloss. Oh, and some fab faux lashes. Being a graphic designer (and a makeup junkie), I am beyond excited about this collection!

Sephora Pantone Universe Tangerine Tango Collection Sephora Pantone Universe Tangerine Tango Lipgloss

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C-C-C-Check it out.

Last year when Nicki Minaj dropped her CD, Pink Friday, it was all I could listen to for months. I was obsessed (I like to think I was a rapper in my past life), and I knew every word to every song. My fave being Super Bass! I like that she stands out and can hang with the boys who rule the industry she runs in. She can be a little eccentric, but at least she isn’t borderline related to ET (ya I am looking at you Lady Gaga).

Nicki Minaj OPI Nail Polish Collection Pink Friday

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Sally Hansen Salon Effects, trendy or tacky?

I have all kinds of issues with my nails. I was a chronic nail biter until about 5 years ago when I got gel nails for my wedding. I kept them for about a year, and that pretty much cured my habit. But I’m tough on my nails and manicures rarely last more than a few days. Or I pick my polish off, and then pick my nails. I guess picking isn’t much better than biting. Either way, the longest I’ll have nails that are all the same length is usually about a week. Sigh. Lately, due to life being hectic and somewhat stressful, I’ve been picking again. And I’ve been meaning to at least put some clear polish on, but its like the very last thing on my to-do list!

Sally Hansen Salon Effects
Anyways…I’ve been wanting to try the Sally Hansen Salon Effects for a while now. They seem like a good idea for a nail biter/picker. They are basically like stickers of nail polish that you apply to your nails. They are supposed to last 10 days, with no dry time, and look like you just stepped out of the salon. I watched this tutorial and they seem pretty easy to apply, and here’s a great tip: if your nails are short, like mine, you can use one strip for two nails!

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Check It Out

So, the catalyst behind my interest in this product is a little blurb I read in my Lucky mag. They featured a houndstooth print from the line. Houndstooth! But I can’t decide if the houndstooth is trendy or tacky? Maybe just on one nail like in the picture? Either way, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to try them.

The Salon Effects come in a variety of solid colors and fun prints. Something for everyone! (I’ll come back with a review after I try them. Or if anyone has tried them, let me know what you thought!)

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