September 15, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Delicate Print

In 1917, two girls from Cottingley, England claimed to have photographed real fairies dancing in their garden and effectively created the first modern-day fandom. The photos were circulated all over the world and everyone from the average person on the street to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle argued over their authenticity. Fairy societies were created and their members met to discuss fairy life and how it related to the lives and spirituality of human beings. Although the girls finally admitted in the 1980s that the photographs had been faked, the Cottingley Fairies have had magazine articles, books, and even a movie (FairyTale: A True Story) written about them.

Fairies are almost always depicted as impossibly delicate creatures with gossamer wings and silky garments, so they seemed like the perfect subject for today's Delicate Print prompt - especially since the fans of fairies were some of the first 20th-century geeks. This design also gave me the chance to use some of the Espionage Cosmetics' Nailed It nail vinyls specifically created for geek girls.

My thumb, pointer, and pinkie are decorated with the "Faeries" nail vinyl collection from Espionage Cosmetics. Tiny little fairies fly across the nails and include a gold-to-orange gradient, swirling purple vines, and a touch of sparkle. The two accent nails use a base color of Essie Go Ginza with an offset French tip using Milani Sugar Cane glitter and violet rhinestones from Born Pretty.

I really enjoy the geek girl nail vinyls from Espionage Cosmetics and use them when I'm doing cosplay or any time I just feel like letting my geek flag fly. Do you like nail vinyls? Let's talk about why (or why not) or about yoru favorite brand in the comments. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 14, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Flowers

If you've ever been afraid to make a suggestion or propose something new in a meeting, remember that a few years ago someone stood up and said, "Hey, let's create a video game where anthropomorphic plants fight legions of zombies." But if that visionary had never made this suggestion, the game Plants vs. Zombies wouldn't be the huge hit it is today.

Plants vs. Zombies was the first game my son wanted after he got his Xbox 360. I have to's fun, silly, and one of the few first-person-shooter games that's acceptable for younger gamers. While planning my 31-day challenge list, it seems like the perfect subject for today's "Flowers" prompt.

The design is based on the cover art on the Plants vs. Zombies package. I started with a French tip of bmc Lucky Green, highlighted with Revlon Entice. Using bmc Angelic White and Sunshine Yellow, I created the smaller flowers with a dotting tools. The sunflower uses the same color yellow with a center of Sally Hansen Quick Sand darkened with a drop of black polish. The zombie head and hand were made with L'Oreal Greycian Goddess.

Have you ever had a crazy idea you thought would be a popular game, movie, or TV show? Do you play Plants vs. Zombies or the offshoot game PvZ: Garden Warfare? Let's talk about it in the comments below. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Animal Print

One of the many frustrating aspects about living with fibromyalgia is that some days you simply don't have enough energy to complete your day. We call it "running out of spoons." Unfortunately, that's what happened to me yesterday. Between organizing a school fundraising event, working a full day, a doctor's appointment, and an hour drive to get prescriptions, I didn't have anything left to make my "Animal Prints" post for day 13 of the 31-day challenge. But today's a new day, so I'll be posting two designs to catch up.

ThunderCats was a 1980s cartoon show listed as one of the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows in 2009. Popular with kids and their parents, it featured the adventures of a group of catlike humanoid aliens who have to flee their dying planet and retreat to "Third Earth". At a time when children's cartoons were being criticized for being nothing more than 30-minute toy commercials, ThunderCats tried to teach children important lessons about loyalty and friendship. Many episodes feature their enemies, the Mutants of Plun-Darr, as they tried to steal the Sword of Omens from the Thundereans. Although a 2011 reboot of the series wasn't successful, the original still has a huge cult following.

To create my ThunderCat design, each finger was given a unique base color and specific detailing to represent different aspects of the show.

  • Thumb - Sinful Colors Blue Lucite, with the Sword of Omens hand drawn using Essie Jiggle Hi Jiggle Lo, bmc Iced Silver, a black Sharpie, and a red rhinestone from Born Pretty.
  • Pointer - Gradient of bmc Orange Peel and Wet 'n Wild Sun Settle Down and Bee-U-Tiful with hand drawn tiger stripes using bmc Noir Black. (Tygra)
  • Middle - Gradient of bmc Angelic White and L'Oreal Greycian Goddess with hand drawn white tiger stripes using bmc Noir Black. (Bengali)
  • Ring - Gradient of Pure Ice Shore Bet and Sally Hansen Quick Sand with stamped cheetah print using bmc Noir Black and a Born Pretty stamping plate. (Cheetara)
  • Pinkie - Base color of Sally Hansen Quick Sand with stamped paw prints using bmc Noir Black and a Born Pretty stamping plate. (WilyKit and WilyKat)
I'll be posting the design for today's Flowers theme a little later in the day. In the meantime, let me know in the comments if you were a fan of ThunderCats or some other 80s cartoon. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 12, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Stripes

Whether you're a geek or not, computers are an essential part of your daily life. At work, at home, even in your car, the computer is everywhere. But for geeks, the influence of the computer goes even further. They are the driving force of our gaming systems, the machines many of us use to make our living, and the "wow" factor in science fiction movie special effects and high-end animation.

To pay tribute to the computer, I chose the Stripes challenge to recreate a circuit board nail design originally done by SmashleySparkles. While my stripe work still isn't as tight as I'd like it to be, I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

To get the textured plastic look, I started with Sally Hansen Peel Off Base Coat and sponged on a generic glitter as a base. I covered the glitter with the one-coat bmc polish Lucky Green. The circuit board lines were hand drawn with Sally Hansen Lickity Split Lime and highlighted with gold studs. The final step was adding an OPI matte top coat.

Do you have any technique secrets for drawing perfect stripes and lines? Please tell me about them in the comments. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 11, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Polka Dots

A large dot gobbling up lines of small dots...seems like an ideal fit for today's Polka Dot theme. When I first saw this adorable Pac-Man design from Hannah Rox Nails, I knew I wanted to try to recreate one day and today's the day!

Pac-Man was one of the first video arcade games that many of us played. In the 1980s it seemed to be everywhere - not only in the arcades, but also in bars, airports, and even hotel lobbies. It's considered one of the most successful arcade games of all time, spawning merchandise, an animated series, home games, and a sequel (Ms. Pac-Man).

To recreate this Pac-Man design, I started with bmc Noir Black. Pac-Man is Sinful Colors Pull Over and he's gobbling up dots made from bmc Angelic White. The ghosts (Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde) are created with Essie Fiji, Sinful Colors Bright Lucite, bmc Sunshine Yellow, and Wet 'n Wild I Red a Good Book.

Did you grow up playing Pac-Man, either in an arcade or on your home gaming system? Let talk about it in the comments. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 10, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Gradient

Every fan of Joss Whedon knows the One Great Truth of the Whedonverse: eventually, and usually more than once, Joss will break your heart. Buffy leaping from the tower, Tara gunned down by a madman, Penny hit by flying shrapnel, Angel...well, pretty much all the time. But our most painful and lasting heartbreak wasn't Joss' fault. Of course, I'm talking about the cancellation of Firefly.

Now considered one of the best and most original science fiction TV shows of all time, Firefly was cancelled by FOX after their mismanagement (bad night, weak lead-in, showing the first four episodes out of order) prevented the show from finding an audience quickly. By the time people realized how amazing the show was, it had already been pulled off their schedule and the final three episodes (out of a total 14) weren't even aired. Former FOX executive Preston Beckman (@maskedscheduler) has said the cancellation of Firefly may have been the single biggest mistake FOX TV ever made. The show's ever-increasing cult status, legions of fans (called "Browncoats") and a full-length theatrical movie would seem to prove him right.

To create this gradient tribute to Firefly, I used a mix of Revlon's French Toast and Fall Mood, combined with bmc's Sunshine Yellow and Orange Peel. My thumb has a circular gradient, while the others have a standard vertical gradient. The Firefly imagery represents:

  • Thumb - An approximation of the Chinese characters from their ship, the "Serenity" (Shaney stamping plate with Wet 'n Wild Ebony Hates Chris)
  • Pointer - Arabesque pattern representing the living quarters of companion Inara Serra (Born Pretty stamping plate with Wet 'n Wild Ebony Hates Chris)
  • Middle - dragon symbol of the Blue Sun star system, home to the Alliance capital city of Meridian and the doomed planet of Miranda (Born Pretty stamping plate with Sinful Colors Rain Storm)
  • Ring - a leaf on the wind...*sniff, sniff*...sorry, it just got dusty in here... (Born Pretty water decal)
  • Pinkie - 3-D metal and rivets of the ship (Espionage Cosmetics' Nailed It Steampunk nail vinyl)
I think I need to go binge watch Firefly for the umpteenth time. If you're a fan of the Whedonverse, let's talk about it in the comments. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 9, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Rainbow

Like many parents, I screen the shows my son watches on television. But when I watched my first episode of Adventure Time - a show my child described as being about "a boy and his talking dog" - I couldn't have imagined how big a fan I would become of this strange, post-apocalyptic cartoon. Apparently other grown-ups had the same experience, since Adventure Time has as many adult fans as kids.

For today's Rainbow theme, I chose an Adventure Time character named Lady Rainicorn. A magical creature, she uses the light spectrum to fly, phase through matter, and change the color of anything she wants with her horn. For some unknown reason, the native language of her kind is Korean. She's very laid back, a loyal friend, and made a wonderful subject for today's challenge.

To create Lady, I started with the base polishes of OPI Alpine Snow on my fingers and Sinful Colors Blue Lucite on my thumb. The stripes were created with Wet n' Wild I Red a Good Book, Sinful Colors Pull Over, Revlon Entice, Wet n' Wild Sky Me Mine, and China Glaze Spontaneous. Her pink face is Essie Fiji and blonde mane is Wet n' Wild Bee-U-Tiful. Wow, that's a lot of color on just five fingers!

Are you an Adventure Time fan? If so, who's your favorite character? Let me know in the comments below. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 8, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Metallic

First, and most important (to a geek like me anyway) Happy 50th Anniversary to the original Star Trek series! I'll be creating a full-blown trekkie nail design later on in the challenge.

Now, to the mani at hand (pun intended). Today's prompt is "Metallic" and I have to admit - I didn't like my metallic nail art the last time I did the 31-day challenge and I don't like it now. Don't get me wrong, I think the C3PO design is cute (thanks to "Flight of Whimsy" for the idea) but I just don't like metallic polishes. My nails naturally have extremely pronounced ridges. I buff them and use a ridge-filling base coat, but there simply isn't any way to get rid of them completely. Metallic polishes show the ridges worse than any other, so I rarely use them. But, as I've heard other nail artists say, you have to "stand by your mani" so I'll stand by mine and the fretting, blustering protocol droid it features. :-)

I used bmc Liquid Gold as the metallic polish. As metallics go, I love how this one spreads smoothly and is almost a one-coat wonder. A fine point Sharpie marker and a black Kiss striper was used for the details on C3PO's face and chest plate. Different sizes of gold studs help complete the look.

Do you have a type of polish that you've tried but just don't like wearing? Let's talk about it in the comments. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 7, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Black & White

I got hooked on Japanese anime in college, but many people in the U.S. had never seen it until Spirited Away won an Oscar in 2002 for Best Animated Feature. If you've ever been curious about anime, this film is a wonderful introduction. The animation is beautiful, the story's engaging, and it has many memorable characters including the subject of today's Black & White challenge: No Face.

No Face is a spirit that seems formless, except for a face that looks like a Noh theater mask. It's a lonely creature who's constantly hungry and eats everything including other spirits, people, and their emotions. It can be very large and frightening when it consumes negative emotions, but eventually it befriends the hero of Spirited Away and becomes a sweet, docile being who loves to knit.

To create the No Face design, I started with a base color of OPI Alpine White, then outlined the edges of the nail with Wet n' Wild Ebony Hates Chris. For the details of the face, I used black and gray sharpies. On my other fingers I created a negative space design with the same black polish with Kiss nail vinyls and a white striper.

Have you seen Spirited Away or are you a fan of Japanese anime? Let me know below in the comments. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 6, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Violet

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
-- Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics"

Ever since Karel ńĆapek coined the word "robot" to mean an artificial humanoid in his 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) these mechanical creatures have been a integral part of science fiction. Whether they're portrayed as our friends (Robbie, Data, C3PO) or our enemies (Cybermen, Cyclons, Terminators) humans continue to have a fascination with creating machines in our own image. Every year, scientists and engineers create robots to help us with manufacturing, perform dangerous tasks, and improve health care. Talk about life imitating art!

I chose robots for today's Violet theme because I like the way silver and gold look on a dark purple background. For my base color, I used two Wet n' Wild polishes: Disturbia (for its deep purple color) and Black Light Party (to add some sparkle). The robots and other mechanical graphics come from the Born Pretty L004 stamping plate, using bmc Iced Silver and Liquid Gold stamping polishes. The little gold robot on the middle finger is my first-ever attempt at reverse stamping.

What robot from TV, film, or books is your favorite? Let me know in the Comments. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 5, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Blue

Fezzes are red
The TARDIS is blue
Bowties are cool
And so are you!

-- a valentine from the 11th Doctor

When I created this year's challenge list of geek girl themes, Doctor Who was the only choice for blue on day 5. The color of the Doctor's trusted time machine, the TARDIS, is so iconic it even has its own BBC-approved Pantone color (Pantone 2955C - TARDIS Blue).

I started watching Doctor Who when PBS began broadcasting it in the US in 1978, so Tom Baker is my Doctor. I quickly became a fan and watched earlier episodes as they became available on VHS. The early years were cheaply made and sometime cheesy, but there was something intriguing about the Time Lords and their ability to travel in time and space. I had my doubts when the series rebooted in 2005, but fell in love with this new incarnation and have been a huge geek about the show ever since. I've been known to cosplay several different Doctor Who characters, so why should my nails be any different?

I don't have the official TARDIS Blue nail color, but Sinful Colors Rain Storm is pretty close. OPI Alpine White was used for the time vortex (ring finger) and bmc Liqiud Gold was used to create the Doctor's most feared nemesis, the Daleks. A single nail vinyl from Espionage Cosmetics' Nailed It Nebulae set is on my thumb and I used bmc Iced Silver and the L004 stamping plate from Born Pretty to finish off the look. The details were completed with Wet n' Wild Ebony Hates Chris and a black sharpie.

So, like Doctor Who itself, this nail design has a little bit of everything! I'm still not happy with my freehand skills, but I keep practicing and hope to get better. Comment below if you have any freehand tips for me or you want to geek out about Doctor Who. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 4, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Green

Donatello...Leonardo...Michelangelo...Raphael. To some, they are the greatest Renaissance Italian artists of all time. But to comic book fans in the 80s, they are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Originally created as a one-off goof on popular comics of the early 1980s, they became one of the most successful series of all time, expanding from the original comics to animated series, video games, films, toys, and a shell-load of turtle merchandise.

My favorite TMNT was always Donatello. Not only does he wear my favorite color (purple)  but he's the smartest of the turtles and the least likely to solve problems with violence. He always seemed to be the one who embodied the teachings of Sensei Splinter (a mutated Japanese rat who is the Turtles' teacher and adoptive father...yes, really...) who taught them the ways of ninjutsu.

To create this Ninja Turtle design, I started with a base of  Sally Hanson Lickety-Split Lime for the Turtles' heads and Pure Ice Shore Bet for the shell. The mask ties were painted with bmc Sky Blue, China Glaze Spontaneous, bmc Orange Peel, and Wet n' Wild I Red a Good Book. For the shell pattern, I sponged a combination of bmc Lucky Green, Revlon Entice, and Lickety-Split Lime over a Yi Kou nail vinyl from Born Pretty.

Who's your favorite of the "heroes in a half shell"? To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below. Turtle Power!

September 3, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Yellow

This year, Pokemon celebrated its 20th anniversary commemorating the release of the original game. My son, along with the rest of the world, celebrated by making the game Pokemon Go a worldwide phenomenon. Although I never really got into chasing and capturing the little pocket monsters, I know the names of many of them - including, of course, Ash's best friend Pikachu. When I saw this adorable nail art from @grillednails, it seemed like the perfect fit for today's Yellow theme, so I've modestly tried to recreate it.

The yellow base is Sinful Colors Pull Over and the face details were created using bmc colors Noir Black and Angelic White and finishing off with Wet n' Wild I Red a Good Book for his blushing, electric-shock-throwing cheeks. My original choice for the yellow base was bmc Sunshine Yellow, but it wasn't bright enough. It looked more like a Dijon mustard color - pretty, but not the right "Pikachu yellow."

Have you been playing Pokemon Go? Which team did you choose (my son and his friends are Team Mystic) and how many have you caught? Let me know in the comments below. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 2, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Orange

Unlike many sci-fi fans, I don't argue Star Wars vs. Star Trek; I like them both for different reasons. Star Trek was the first fandom I "geeked out" over, but the original Star Wars trilogy brought the science fiction genre back into the mainstream.

However, like many Star Wars fans, I was apprehensive about the new set of movies helmed by Disney and J.J. Abrams. Between our dislike of the second George Lucas trilogy (I'm looking at you, Jar-Jar) and our extreme disappointment in the new Abrams' directed Star Trek movies (blowing up Vulcan...really, J.J.?) we weren't sure what to expect. Thanks goodness we were worried for nothing. Star Wars - The Force Awakens had a wonderful story, mind-blowing action sequences, and a delightful mix of old and new characters. And one of the biggest fan favorites was a little orange and white droid named BB8.

To create these orange nails, I started with two coats of OPI Alpine Snow. The details were created using bmc Orange Peel, L'Oreal Greycian Goddess, Wet 'n Wild Ebony Hates Chris, and Born Pretty silver studs. Everything was topped off with Sephora Matte Top Coat. A special thanks to my son's BB8 clock for acting as model. (Yes, the geek girl is raising a geekling.)

Are you a Star Wars fan? Star Trek? Or do you geek out over both (or neither)? Let know in the comments. To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.

September 1, 2016

31-Day Nail Challenge #31DC2016 - Geek Girl Theme - Red

In 2014, I started a blog to participate in that year's 31-Day Nail Challenge. Although life, work, and other world events prevented me from participating in 2015, I'm dusting off these pages for the 2016 challenge.

Once again, Sarah Waite (@chalkboardnails) has provided a list of prompts to inspire our nail designs. This year, I'm adding my own twist with a geek girl theme. For the next 31 days, be prepared for nail art covering science fiction, fantasy, video games, and many other tidbits of geeky fandom goodness.

So that I really push myself as a nail artist, I'll be trying techniques and materials that I may not be completely comfortable with, so if the results are a little rough I apologize in advance. For the first challenge of the month (Red) I choose the character that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Iron Man.

The base colors are Sinful Colors Under 18, Essie Lilacism, and bmc Liquid Gold. The design details were created with fine point Sharpie markers (that smeared more than I intended) and Born Pretty rhinestones.

To see more nail challenge designs, look for the #31DC2016 tag, or browse through the In-Linkz posts below.