Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Great Gatsby

I'm getting even more excited now about The Great Gatsby coming out this spring. They have finally released a longer trailer.

 Will you be seeing this film?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A New Years' Challenge

The January issue of The Writer came to my house on the weekend of December 8 and there was one article in it that really spoke to me. It was called "Your Journal, Your Self" by T.F. Joyce. The premise is a reminder that writers should be true to themselves by keeping a journal that really chronicles their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and most importantly, captures their voice, their true self.

The part of the article that really got to me was that the writer was explaining their own tendency to "cloak" their journal entries in code languages, third person narration, etc., for the sake of anonymity  and I can completely relate to feeling that need, but it's true, when you look back, there's a disappointment in the lack of frankness, the masked self, the missing pieces.

My New Years' challenge to myself is to keep a real, unguarded journal of myself. I want to capture my voice, nourish it, make it my own. I bought myself a beautiful journal -- which always is a great incentive for me -- and I've already started writing in it, because I don't believe in New Years' resolutions. If I want to do it, I start doing it. So that's what I did!

Who's in it with me?

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Daily Regimen

Last week a friend of mine posted a Facebook note asking her girlfriends to share their skin care and make-up regimen so that we could all benefit from learning each others', and I thought it was such a great idea, I decided to write a blog post about it! It's true, sharing your personal care can be a great way to teach friends good ways of caring for themselves, and can also help you to learn where you might be doing something wrong.

Skin Care

I believe that skin care is step one to any beauty regimen. If the skin you're applying make-up to isn't healthy underneath, that make-up won't do it's job as needed! My foundation skin care is Serious Skin Care which is sold on HSN. It all started with a sample of the C line face wash, and it became a love affair ever since. It makes my skin feel silky-smooth, it keeps away blemishes, it prevents uneven skin tone, and it works on wrinkles! I use the A line and the C line, alternately, and I'm bad at using it every day, but I usually succeed in convincing myself when I look in the mirror and tell myself, "You're almost 30. Take care of your skin now while it still looks good, because you'll regret not doing it when it's too late." I mean, even once the aging process becomes visible, it's not too late to reverse it a little, but I'd rather work on keeping it healthy now. The lines come with a series of washes, scrubs, moisturizers, skin food, and eye cream. It's all very gentle and soothing to the skin. It's amazing to see blemishes clear up because of vitamins instead of because of harsh chemicals like alcohol.


My make-up changes periodically, when something better comes along. I use a mix-and-match collection of products based on what's been my favorite. My make-up is very simple and no-nonsense because I'm a super low-maintenance person. I'd rather just get it over with and move on with my life!

I use a foundation, pressed powder, mascara, eyeliner, and once in a great while, lipstick and blush, but not every day. Some days, if I'm just running around or going to the gym I will skip the eyeliner, but I've recently been introduced to be best eyeliner in the world, so I have lately been wearing it every day. I'll get to that in a moment!

My foundation and pressed powder are the L'Oreal True Match with Sunscreen. I'm all about the pale! I never tan anymore--haven't since I was about 19 years old. My grandma, my best friend's dad, and my father-in-law have all had experiences with skin cancer, and while those have been for various reasons, it doesn't seem right to mess around with your odds. 

The mascara I'm currently using is Maybelline The Falsies. I've been kind of a rouge mascara user lately. I've gotten tired of my usual and wanted something with volume boost! We'll see where I go from here. 

My previous eyeliner was Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen, which is applied like a marker, but I was never happy with it. It's always too hard to get right on the lash line, which I need because my lashes are so light. And then... *cue angel music* I was at Target the day before Thanksgiving and they had already brought out these sale 1 get 1 free for make-ups. I picked a waterproof liquid black eyeliner. My eyes have been thanking me ever since! It's Revlon Color Stay Liquid Eyeliner in a little tube, and I have never experience anything go on so perfectly smooth. If you look closely in the mirror while applying it, you can see it dry. It changes from shiny to matte in about 10 seconds. I have not had it come off yet, and I've even cried a few times while wearing it! (Changing birth control makes me emotional. Don't judge.) Anyway, it can be good to use the marker to make the line, and then the liquid to fill it in. 

My blush is usually Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends in Pure, but I recently picked up L'Oreal True Match Naturale (see above link to True Match line), just because of my love of the True Match line. So far, it's just okay. I think I need a slightly darker color, but the one I really wanted was sold out at the time. 

If I wear eye shadow, it's always silver, but to be honest, I usually don't bother. Eyeliner and mascara is all i need. Lipstick is occasional, but not frequent. I got a great little tube from Vanis when I went there for my wedding make-up and I usually wear that now, or the Neutrogena tinted lip balm


I started having my hair done at a professional salon in about 2006 when I made friends with a girl who worked at a luxury salon. I've never looked back since! My hair has been healthier, happier, and prettier. The salon uses Kerastase products which are a little out of my budget, but I use their products for heat protection, mousse, and conditioning treatments occasionally. 

My shampoo is a few steps down from that, but still a few above the grocery store brands. I use Redken Blonde Glam shampoo and conditioner, though sometimes I venture out into their other lines, like the Full Body line. I love the Blonde Glam because it smells like grapefruits, and feels clean and adds brightness. Also, just as a but of advice, I only shampoo my roots, and only condition below my head. This keeps hair cleaner near the scalp, because when you think about it, that's really the only place that gets dirty. As long as the shampoo runs down the rest of the hair, there's no need to scrub the length. All that does is promote damage, split ends, and dullness. I also seldom blow dry my hair because it dries relatively straight. 

I've only had short hair twice in my life--when I was 13 and when I was 19--and it's been almost 9 years...I'm thinking about taking the plunge again. My hair grows so fast, it can't really hurt!


You might wonder what this has to do with skin and hair health! I think it's very important for women to have a workout regimen, but also to supplement their body with added nutrients. Most people don't get all they need even from a balanced diet, and let's face it, most people don't eat a balanced diet either! I take a daily multivitamin from Optimum Nutrition that's LOADED with everything you need in a day, as well as Smart Fats, and/or Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil. I also take Branch Chain Amino Acids, Glucosamine, Protein, and Calcium when I'm lifting. All of these supplements help maintain a strong and healthy immune system and good hair, skin, and nails. I also periodically take probiotics to improve digestion, simply because my experience has shown me that poor digestion leads to poor sleep and that leads to bad skin!  

When I slacked off on my supplements for a few months this summer, no joke, my fingernails and toenails all started breaking off. I think that the body starts to love the nutrition and when it's gone, it really shows as a deficiency. 

For women not engaged in active working out, I still recommend the multivitamin and Smart Fats, but you may also choose to take Andrew Lessman's Hair Skin and Nails formula. (Also, his Friendly Flora probiotics receive great reviews...I have usually used Pearls myself, but may give his a try.)

My Beauty Resources

In case you've never visited this website, I think every girl should know that Lauren Conrad's website, The Beauty Department, is an excellent resource for hair, skin, nails, and more! You should definitely check it out. 

Also, about a month ago, I happened to pick up Allure magazine (it's the Keira Knightley issue still on the shelves now) and there was a "Black Friday" special for a beauty box for $29. I snapped it up immediately! It arrived with at least $150 worth of merchandise in it, and I was ecstatic. I've been trying out all kinds of new products, including that Neutrogena tinted lip balm that I mentioned above. I don't know if any of these items will be added to my future routines, but if they are I will definitely let you guys know! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals Deciphered

Looking for some Cyber Monday deals to make your shopping worthwhile?

First stop, Amazon. Their list of deals is constantly refreshing. I've already bought 4 things today. And if you're looking for the Kindle Fire, use coupon code FIREDEAL to get this baby for $129, today only! 

Like supporting small businesses, wearing retro fashion, AND being modest? Look no further than Shabby Apple! This website helps small business fashion designers get off their feet by selling their designs. Get 20% off the top today with coupon code JOYFULSEASON. 

Love shopping on Etsy? Some of these Treasuries are assembled by the keyword "Cyber Monday Sale," but this is just a small sampling of the sales available on Etsy. Check out my shop, TreasuredDetails, and use coupon code ITSCYBERMONDAY for 30% off your entire purchase.

You like Kohls? Get an extra 20% off all online purchases, today only.

Feeling blue from the lack of bookstores in your area? Don't forget to stop by Barnes and Noble's website to get your Cyber Monday book fix...for less!

Please comment to share any other deals you've found. We all want to shop! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holiday Accessories by TreasuredDetails

I'm excited to announce some brand new accessories for the holiday season! Some of them went up for sale in my shop, TreasuredDetails, just today, and more will be rolling out as the week continues. Here's a brief introduction to some new great products.

The first favorite of mine is the Glittery Holly Fascinator that was a huge hit with the models at our shoot earlier this month. This is a simply crafted piece that makes a statement. The glitter is bold and the colors are bright and festive. This is an accessory that will catch sunlight, moonlight, Christmas lights, and candlelight, and send it back sparkling beautifully! If you're interested, I have 5 available this holiday season, and may be persuaded to make some more, if you want them ;) You can buy it here.

Another brand new holiday listing today is the sweet and simple Silver Fern Bobby Pin Set. These have a powerful sparkle too, and because they're not specifically Christmassy, they can be a great accessory for New Years' or all-year-round evening wear. The set comes with a large and a small leaf for wear in an up-do. This also makes a great gift! You can buy this set here.

These little tiny Glitter Holly Bobbies in Green and Gold are a favorite of mine! I'm making a set for myself, because I just love the idea of wearing something cute and sparkly and festive, but not too overwhelming to my outfit! I have a few of these little sets available, so feel free to pick up more than one. These make great stocking stuffers too! The bobbies are available for sale here.

The last holiday item that I added for sale today was this pop of color with a snowflake applique. I love the idea of wearing this belt with a white lace dress (as pictured) for a holiday party. It would be a beautiful detail for a winter wedding dress as well, especially if the bride wants a little color in her ensemble...maybe even just for the reception. This particular sash is listed here

I love making customized sashes for any holiday or event, so please let me know if you'd like to chat about an idea you have. I'd love to make your dreams come true! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Brand New Designs from TreasuredDetails

This summer and fall has marked the reinvention of TreasuredDetails, and I'm excited to begin unveiling some of my newest creative projects! I have always loved the idea of custom designs, enjoying working with women who are looking for something a little special, something just for them, for whatever event they happen to need an accessory for...weddings, proms, parties, professional photos, boudoir sessions, performances, or just for their own pleasure. "Custom" designs go a long way, but a potential buyer often needs a spring board, a "THIS is what I want...but different." And then we take it from that point, choosing the colors, the materials, and the "treasured details" that make your piece your own in every way! 

TreasuredDetails has specialized in hair accessories, cocktail hats, and veils, while only dabbling in sashes and shoe clips. We've now expanded to include far more! I invite you to follow me to stay up-to-date as the new items are rolling in and just waiting to be claimed and customized. 

TreasuredDetails Winter 2012/2013 Preview

In the image below, the lovely Amelia is modeling a feather pad hair fascinator. This hair piece was designed by me and handsewn with beautiful accents and details, including feathers of ivory and amber, a vintage rhinestone brooch, two types of vintage lace, sead pearls, rhinestones, and crystal beads. 

This feather pad was inspired by the debutantes of the 1920s. 

This next image depicts my lovely cousin Clarissa wearing a custom cocktail hat with a handsewn horsehair bow and handmade dotted tulle flower puff.  This hat is a collage of bright white, as it appears here, and would be a beautiful addition for the bride who favors the mid-century American look to her classic or vintage-inspired wedding, but like all designs, it can be customized for all purposes! Looking for the same thing in black? Prefer a birdcage veil on it's edge? It can be done!

This design was created with a 1960s lady in mind. 

This large purple dahlia clip is being modeled by the lovely Diana. This lovely purple flower with vine leaves cascading down the back is a beautiful accessory that can be worn casually or for a formal event. This clip is a personal favorite of mine, being a gardener and lover of the outdoors. Every time I walk through the woods (which is often) I am inspired to create a new accessory for the woodland beauty. My own wedding this past year favored the woodland style, and this will always be a favorite look for me. This piece is also customizable. Just contact me if you have a request or can think of something that would make this fit your vision better!

This final preview is being modeled by my beautiful friend Janneal. (The camera loves her!) This simple headband is a TreasuredDetails classic that's been modified more than once for a bride in need of her own creative control over her accessories. These sweet ivory gardenias have been handsewn with pearl bead stamens and affixed to an ivory satin-wrapped headband. Customizations that have been done to this design are turning the 5 gardenias into 5 individual clips or bobbies, and having this made in different colors! Be sure to contact me before purchase though, because colors are limited in this design. 

This is another classic piece that favors the woodland-friendly girl, but also gives a twist on a very traditional bridal look! This veil can also be changed up a bit with the addition of a blusher veil. Ask me if you'd like a customization like that as well. 

When I design, I employ the understanding that the sky is the limit! You deserve the look that suits you best, and I want all my customers to walk away happy. If you like what you see--or at least like what you're reading and want to see more!--shoot me a message and we'll take the first step toward a custom design that makes you happy. 


Accessories: TreasuredDetails
Photos: Michelle Cox Photography

Copyright Infringement a Problem for Independent Designers

Lately it seems like lots of independent designers are complaining about having their designs "ripped off" by look-alike artists. That's maddening for artists who spend hours and days conceiving ideas, executing them, assembling them, and often customizing them for buyers. As a designer, I specialize in custom designs, with very few appearing in the "ready to ship" category on my shop. I love working with a buyer on a custom design that will reflect their spirit and desires. Brides, bridesmaids, prom-goers, performers, lovers of the beautiful...whatever you are, I want to make you what makes you say "YES! That is me!"

If you're looking to create or start your own business as a designer, I highly recommend using existing artists for inspiration--honoring them, as it were, like a concert pianist might listen to Mozart or like a writer might read the Brontes--but do not copy them.

Copying destroys everyone! It destroys the novelty of the creator and the promise the custom designs will indeed be one of a kind. It negates the hard work the designer put into their creation--and the design process is different for everyone, but mine usually consists in part of sketching, pinning on my board, rearranging, walking away, rearranging again, photographing, reviewing, and eventually hand pressing and gluing (both of which often means burned fingers!), careful sewing (lots of pin pricks!) and more photographing and modeling...and that's just the prototype! I may spend hours creating one piece, but what happens when a bride contacts me and says, "GORGEOUS! ...can I get that in scarlet? and how about a different kind of flower?" Then it's back to the drawing board.

Creating designs that come from your own lovely, creative mind is such a wonderful feeling...TRY IT! Don't succumb to the temptation to copy someone else's designs when you have your own potential.

Artists staying off each others' toes :)

So, in the spirit of this, I invite you to stick around for a few sneak previews of my upcoming designs! Click here for more!

Friday, November 2, 2012

After 5 Months of Marriage

Nick and I have been married for 5 months today! I can't decide if that's an amazingly short amount of time for such a full life as we've had, or if that's a crazy long time considering how long engagement felt. At any rate, there are a few things I've learned so far, and one is this....

Never underestimate the power of doing something cute for each other. Marriage is no different from dating, except that you really need to try to make them continue liking you...forever! :)

This card was purchased from Colette Paperie.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Good Woman

It's no secret...I love Oscar Wilde. The tales of decadence and delight, overindulgence and iniquity. They are fascinating! Who wants to read tales about perfect people, beautiful people, who never have troubles? I'd rather hear tales of beautiful people who do beautiful things and disgraceful things all at once. Stories where people suffer and struggle and fear, while enjoying life and being beautiful on the surface.

I watched A Good Woman this past week. The film features two favorite actors: Stephen Campbell Moore and Charlize Theron, but it also features two terrible actors: Helen Hunt and whoever plays Lord Windermere.

The story is minimal, covering only a little piece of a story, and as a viewer, I find myself cheering for Lord Darlington, the charming playboy, more than for Lord Windermere. It's folly of course, to want the lovely bride to leave the man she married, but that's merely the film. Now I intend to read the play Lady Windermere's Fan. I know I've begun it, but it didn't strike me quite the same way without the understanding that Lord Darlington was playing by Stephen Campbell Moore. That helps everything along quite nicely.

This film is on Netflix if anyone is interested in checking it out!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fun Quick Manicure

 I love pretty nails! Sometimes I just want something pretty and creative, but quick! I recently did this very simple manicure. What do you think?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Projects in Progress

With my big photo shoot with Michelle Cox Photography and a group of very lovely models coming up in only one week, I am working like crazy to my production off the ground! I have so many new items already made, and so many being "drafted."

Side note: Sorry, I am a writer. I think of unfinished, in-the-works projects as "drafts." It's just part of my nature!

Anyway, there are so many things to prepare for the shoot as well...props and displays for photographs, outfits for models, and inspirations for the shoot, not to mention finishing touches on the designs!

Oh, I have been and will be a busy woman this week!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Home Decor, Wedding Decor, Same Thing

Brides, do you struggle with buying expensive wedding decorations that you will never use again? I had this problem when I was planning my wedding, so I quickly sought to remedy the problem. I decorated my wedding and reception with items that I could use again in my own home afterward. From sparkling lighted topiaries to cut crystal glasses, and from elegant treasure chests to vintage pitchers that made lovely vases, my mom and I chose items that would be useful for future uses as well as current ones.

When choosing the decor for your wedding, be wise! Decorate your wedding in your own taste so that it will be pleasant to bring these same pieces into your home afterwards. Besides, your wallet will thank you.

Past brides, what parts of your weddings have you brought home with you and reused?

Stay tuned for another post about repurposing wedding items for creative decorative projects in your home!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Millinery Experimentation

Today I created my first hand-pressed millinery flower. This is destined to become a creative love affair.

I can't wait to post more about how I did it, and some new creative items that I make. Keep an eye out for more interesting developments in the flower-making department.

Would you ever try s project like this? I've always wanted to, and now that I've done it, I can't wait to do more. 

New Tools

I am officially a crafting nerd. I get so excited about the simplest new toys. I purchased this new friend of mine this past week and I'm extremely excited to get started on using it! I'm waiting on the edge of my seat until its arrival and cannot wait to try my hand at a few crafty projects I have in mind.

What crafty supplies get you excited? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Inspiration in the Woods

The fall season is the most inspirational for my creativity. While summer is a beautiful season of brilliant greens and and beautiful blues, I am more inspired by the golden hues of fall. There's nothing like a walk in the woods to awaken new ideas in my soul!

Have you ever walked along the trail and imagined yourself to be a fairy creature, only a few inches tall? From that vantage point, the woods are a treasure trove of inspirations! Autumn leaves which may appear just brown on the trail before you, cobwebs strung between dried stalks may appear to be a mere white film, even those dry stalk themselves look flat and wan standing there where they once bore flowers.

But look closer at these intricacies and you will see brilliance. Veins of color bursting forth on the surface of dead leaves, drops of dew like natural jewels clinging to the weaves of a cobweb, gold glitter like fairy-dust gleaming on the surface of dried stalks. Each of these details natural, adornments of nature herself.

When I walk through the woods, inspiration takes hold on me and I create something new soon after. Have you seen a wedding veil with jewels in its white fluff, or golden hues in the stems of a white flower? Have you seen fairy wreaths wrapped with gold leaves and tiny gems like drops of dew?

This is where I get my about you?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


As a great lover of film as well as history, I am very inspired by period films, when it comes to making my designs and when it comes simply to daydreaming.

I also love stories that are about stories, possibly because I can relate to storytelling more than nearly any other concept. How many stories I've read and films I've enjoyed! As a writer and lover of tales, how could I do differently?

A couple of years ago I first read and watched Atonement. It is a story of a story, a lovely and haunting tale. If you have not yet enjoyed this story, you should do so soon. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Titanic

I have always enjoyed history and stories from before my time. The dreadful tale of the Titanic is no exception. It's been depicted in many ways in many different adaptations, including as a family tale, a love story, and lately as a historical depiction.

As a longtime fan of Downton Abbey, I was excited to hear about the release of "Titanic," the Julian Fellowes penned miniseries. I have recently begun watching it and while I am only part of the way through, I am excited to continue. With us poor Americans sitting idly by waiting for season three of Downton Abbey to cross the pond, this miniseries is a perfect way to get your fix. Best of all, it's in its entirety on Netflix.

And Stephen Campbell Moore is in it. But maybe that little detail is less exciting to others than myself.

Do you like historical dramas? Which is your favorite?

Downton fans, how are you occupying your time in wait? 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

TreasuredDetails New Bridal Line

I am excited to announce the coming of TreasuredDetails' new bridal line. Busy fingers have been creating new items for sale for several months, and my workspace is filled with sketches, bits of lace, trailing lengths of ribbon, and pins and needles of all sorts.

For those of you not aware of the changes on hand, I wanted to make sure you knew that the line is coming! Photography, completed by Michelle Cox Photography, is scheduled to take place on November 3rd.

2013 is going to be a big and exciting year for TreasuredDetails! I look forward to sharing all things new with you. Thanks for your support!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cinematic Inspiration

Have you ever watched a certain movie and been entirely absorbed by something you saw there? When I watch Bright Young Things, that's exactly how I feel! I am always inspired by scenes of decadence and beauty, and films that portray accessorized young ladies often make me feel that way. I am always thrilled to check out the costumes and accessories worn in various period films.

If you have never watched this film, I highly recommend it! Especially if you love the classic style, including shows like Downton Abbey and the literature of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Oscar Wilde.

And if nothing else convinces you, perhaps it will help if I assure you that the handsome Stephen Campbell Moore should captivate your attention for the duration of your movie viewing!

If you watch the film, let me know what you think! 

Fabric Hair Bows Giveaway!

We're doing a giveaway! I've actually never done one of these before, but think they're so fun! I love to enter giveaways all the time myself, and I've won some great things through them. If you guys would be interested in entering more giveaways, make sure you participate and share this one. Let's get as many people to check it out as possible :)

You can win this set of fabric hair bow clips from TreasuredDetails! These cuties are handmade and can be used by adults or children. How would you like to add these three bows to your hair accessory collection, for free?

Contact me if you have questions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dryer Hedgehogs

As a new housewife, I spend a lot of time figuring out how to save time doing housework. (Ironic, isn't it? I assume it will pay off in the future.) I'm also determined to find ways to save steps! I have a full time job, and although I work from home, I don't have time to stop working throughout the day to do housework. In fact, the only times I have tried to "kill two birds with one stone," so to speak, have resulted in disaster. (Once I tried to boil a toothbrush... I figured I'd get the water boiling at least and then the phone rang and I forgot about it. The result? A small kitchen fire. No big deal. Except I'm still scraping black plastic-dust off the blinds and vents. It just never goes away!)

Yeah, I'm woman enough to admit that I make mistakes. After all, making mistakes is often the best way to figure out the worst, and subsequently the best, way of doing things in your home!

So, housekeeping takes place between the hours of 6pm and 12am now. It's fine. I'm a night person, and I'm much more motivated to do laundry, wash the toilet, and make dinner when I can put my whole heart into it. (Yeah, I'm one of those women. It's a genetic disorder. Just ask my mom.)

My most recent housekeeping-corner-cutting attempt was really not corner cutting so much as budget-cutting. I bought these cute "dryer hedgehogs" from ModCloth, because they're supposed to soften fabric while cutting cost and eliminating allergy symptoms caused by fabric softeners. So, I tried them!

My testing environment wasn’t controlled enough, I don’t think, because our apartment is very dry during the cooler months of the year. I tossed the hedgehogs into the dryer instead of a dryer sheet and the blankets were so staticky that they sparked when I tried to pull them out! I couldn’t tell if they were soft or not. I ended up throwing a dryer sheet into the wash and starting over. It’s not urgent for me since I don’t have allergies to fabric softener, although the liquid kind is really concentrated and does give me itchy skin.

Conclusion: Another test must be done when it’s humid outside in order for me to determine an official “yea” or “nay.”

Has anyone else ever tried these? Leave a comment and let me know what your experience was!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Black and Blue French Manicure

This fancy black & blue French Manicure is easy and fun to do! As a first step to any manicure, it's important to file your nails smooth along the edges, and rough-up the tops of your nails just a little bit to ensure the polish sticks as it's intended to do. It's important to always use great care when prepping the nails for a manicure, to ensure that the nails aren't damaged or broken before the nail polish is applied. Nothing feels worse than a broken nail under your polish!

The second step is, in my opinion, non-negotiable! This fantastic L'oreal base coat is the best base coat I've ever tried, and believe me, I've tried many. Manicures are notoriously short-lived for me. I've tried all kinds of "long-lasting" polish, even the guaranteed no-chip that you get from the salon. Even that is really pushing the limit if it lasts ten days. And the down side to the no-chip Gelish nails is that they aren't that much fun! You can try to paint nail art on those, but they naturally repel it. 

When you apply this Quick Dry Base Coat, you only need one coat. It feels like it takes a while to dry, but the truth is, it remains a tad bit tacky to the touch, with an almost gritty undertone to it. This is intentional, and the reason this base coat is so good. It's designed to keep the manicure and the nail bonded to each other, and believe me, it does the job. Like any manicure that is not well-cared-for, the final design may wear and chip after while, but this base coat does a better job of keeping the bond strong than most other base coats do.

The next step to this manicure is to gather the tools and colors that you want to use. I wanted to use a light baby blue and black, for sharpest contrast. The tools I needed were masking tape and zig-zag scrapbooking scissors. I used Sally Hansen Pure + Smooth nail color. As a personal note, I generally prefer Essie colors, but every time I go to the store in search of this sweet baby blue, the Essie version is sold out. So

Once your base coat is to your preference (with Essie, it takes approximately two coats, while with this Sally Hansen color, it takes about three), you should begin preparing your masking tape for the French tip. Again, I chose the black color to have the crispest contrast, but when you're working with such opposing colors, you do have to be very careful to not feather the colors under the tape. There's a delicate balance because pressing the tape down on your nail too hard can cause the base color to come up. I usually wait at least 30 minutes before applying the sticky tape to my base color, just to be on the safe side. This can give you time to experiment with your tape pieces.
Once you're ready to start applying the guides to your nails and painting the tips, you can either apply the tips to one hand at a time, or if you have some time to spare, one nail at a time. I like to do one nail at a time myself because then I can be sure that each one is perfect. I do often apply the guide all at once though. Painting the tip is actually quite simple. You can apply as much polish as needed in the first coat, and often subsequent coats are not necessary. Just remember to double check that before removing the guide because it will be really hard to try and tape the guide back on once you've removed it! Don't forget to remove the tape VERY gently so as not to pull off the base color beneath, or the French tip where it overlaps the tape slightly. 

When the French tip is complete, you can double check any lines that need to be fixed or made more defined, because sometimes those lines can feather a little with the removal of the tape. This is also a good time to work on the retouching that may be required wherever the masking tape has pulled up some base color.
If you want to do a cute design like the one I chose for my accent nail, you can either mask out the main line of the ribbon and free-hand paint the bow with an art brush, or you can free-hand it with a nail art pen. I've done both. I love these nail art pens! They came out this year though, and they're quite expensive. I suspect they're being discontinued already because I can seldom find them anymore. I got this one at Target where it had been reduced to $7 (yes, reduced!) and there were only a few color options available where they used to be pretty extensive. Let me know if you find them for sale anywhere! I'd love to know if they're still around! They make painting designs a lot easier for those with an unsteady hand or those who are in a big hurry. 
Before you can call this manicure "complete," you need to add your topcoat! This is especially important if you're using the nail art pen, because the texture of the polish is a little different from the rest of the nail. Also, where you've removed the masking tape, your French tip may peel away slightly, and this top coat is the perfect way to keep it secure. (Remember your French tip doesn't have that added protection of the base coat like the rest of the nail. I have considered trying to do a base coat under the tip as well, but haven't yet. I will let you know when I do!)
Here is the finished product! Let me know if you try this design, or if you have your own cool  design you'd like to share on my blog! Contact me at to contribute, or leave a comment below. I'd love to see your own fancy manicure creations.