#MonthlyMani // Simple Nail Art Inspired by Candy Buttons

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It's the third Tuesday of the month, which means I'm linking up once again with the ladies of #MonthlyMani! Our theme this month was Candy Colors, and with so many pretty options I had a really hard time coming up with this one. I was in idea overload!

I considered all the bright, crazy-patterned options, but it when it comes down to it, I'm really most inspired by more minimal nail art lately. I am also loving simple geometric shapes likes dots and stripes.

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So this look, inspired by old-fashion candy button strips, gives me the best of both worlds. It's simple, both in looks and effort, but still has a great splash of color. While I'm sure a dotting tool would work wonders, I've never owned one because I think the tip of a bobby pin works perfectly.

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I just dotted the design on, one color at a time. The only thing slightly tricky here is getting them centered and keeping your hand steady. A trick I learned in art school is to rest your elbow on something and your hand instantly becomes steady.

Overall, I love the look! It's fun and graphic without feeling too in your face. If you wanted an even more toned-down, office-ready look, using a muted purple, gray, or black instead of the candy colors would be gorgeous!

Check out these ladies for some more candy-colored inspiration!

Kristi from Delightfully, Kristi

Justine from The Thrifty Girl’s Guide

 

What's your vote on nail art? Do you like more minimal designs or are you in the more-is-better camp?

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#MONTHLYMANI | Glam Rock Nail Art with a Simple Cheat

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It's the third Tuesday of the month, which means I'm linking up with the ladies from the #MonthlyMani group! This month's theme is metallics, and I have to admit I feel like I cheated a little on this one.

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I go through major phases when it comes to metals, and I'm thinking 2016 is the year for copper. I started this mani out with a metallic copper base. I knew I wanted to do something flashy and sort of glam rock, so I cut out a lightning bolt from washi tape and was planning to use it as a stencil.

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However (here comes the cheating part), once the blue glitter bolt was on my nail, I really dug it. So, all I did was add a clear top coat and called it a day!

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I had never used any kind of foreign object in my diy manis before, but I thought it worked really well. If you're the type of person who would be distracted by the somewhat raised surface, I would recommend using an incredibly thin material, like a foil or lightweight tape instead of the glitter washi tape.

If you're looking for some more metallic mani inspiration, check out the rest of the #MonthlyMani crew:

Justine from The Thrifty Girl’s Guide Jacki and Lesli from Sistas from Cali Melissa from The Fashion Huntress Kristi from Delightfully Kristi Lyndsey from Dressed in Mascara

Have you ever tried a washi tape mani?

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#MonthlyMani: DIY Snake Print Nails

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It's the third Tuesday of the month, which means I'm linking up again with Delightfully, Kristi and the ladies of #MonthlyMani! Our theme this month is "Animal Instinct" so I decided to go for some metallic snake print nails. I really love this nail art technique because it is so much easier than it looks but really ends up looking chic.

 

To create this snake skin effect you need a few tools:

- three colors of nails polish (I used black, bronze, and pewter)

- a piece of tulle large enough to cover your nails (I used a larger and smaller tulle for variation, but that is entirely optional)

- a makeup sponge

- a cotton swab & nail polish remover

 

I started with base coat of flat black polish that I let dry completely before adding the print.

To start creating the snake effect, I covered the nail with the piece of larger tulle (meaning the holes are bigger). I have loads of material at home, so finding two sizes of tulle was simple for me. If you don't have anything like this on hand, fishnets or even a piece from a shower loofah could work just as well.

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Hold the tulle tightly over the entire nail then, using the sponge, lightly dab on the darker of your two colors. I found this worked best when the polish was very light on the sponge and I applied only a light pressure. I was a little heavy-handed on the first nail I tried and, let me tell you friends, it did not go well. So keep this step light and easy. Holding the tulle in place for about 15 seconds before removing also helped to create a good, clear design.

I used a very random pattern, just dabbing the color in spots and I really liked the way it turned out. I would say I covered only about 30-40% of the nail using the first color.

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Repeat this step with the second (lighter) color and the smaller tulle (or the same size if you're working with just one). I used a shimmer pewter color and again, a lighter hand is best for this. I used the same method as the previous step: using random dabs of color and covering 30-40% of the nail. I placed some on the black areas and some overlapping the bronze color to add texture.

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Again, hold the tulle in place for about 15 seconds before removing for a clear pattern. Once you've done this on all of your nails, your cuticle area is going to be a hot mess of sponged polish, like mine is above. Just take a cotton swab soaked in nail polish remover around this area to clean it up. Add a coat of clear polish and you, my friend, are rocking one exotic mani!

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Make sure to check out how the other bloggers interpreted the "Animal Instinct" theme!

Piniel from Pins-Place Justine from The Thrifty Girl’s Guide Jacki and Lesli from Sistas from Cali Kristi from Delightfully, Kristi

Have you ever created nail art using tulle?

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#FWSBeautyChallenge Inspiration: Fresh Beauty Ideas to Try This Week

Yesterday officially kicked off the #FWSBeautyChallenge! I had been pushing myself lately to bring the fun back into my daily routine. I wanted to get more creative with it all. Try some of the looks I'm always pinning instead of just sticking with the quickest and easiest. And thus the challenge was born!

If you're thinking of joining in (and you totally should!), you can pick any days from the calendar prompts- you can do as little or as much as you choose- and just put your own personal spin on the theme!

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Then simply post your pics to Instagram and tag me (@freewillsstudio) plus use the hashtag #FWSBeautyChallenge to be automatically entered in this awesome giveaway!

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Every day you post is a new entry so the more you post, the more likely you are to win!

And now for the REALLY fun part! I've been getting a few questions about the prompts, so I thought I'd give a more in depth look at the ideas behind the daily themes and help get all the inspirational/creative juices flowing!

*Sidebar: These are just my own personal ideas in case you would like some more clarification or feel stuck on any one prompt. Please know I want anyone participating to FEEL FREE to take as much liberty with the themes as their hearts desire. There are no "rules" to this challenge.
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Friday, 7/3: My Go-To Lip Color

I think this one's pretty self-explanatory. I want to see your standby shade! It's a fun way to see everyone's favorites and maybe get some new ideas for yourself. Like virtual shopping with your BFFs! You can simply show us your pucker or the lip color itself- get creative with it!

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Saturday, 7/4: Red, White, or Blue

Pick one or sport all three! Show us how you're rocking your patriotic spirit!

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Sunday, 7/4: Laid Back Sunday Vibes

Is there anything better than perfectly undone hair or glowing barely-there makeup? Not in my book. Show us how you do casual cool.

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Monday, 7/6: Beauty Bag Favorites

The IG equivalent of looking in someone's medicine cabinet. Show us your favorites and we'll show you ours. (Tip for product image newbies: if you don't have a visually appealing surface to take photos on, a white board or even a large piece of white paper can serve as a great crisp backdrop.)

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Tuesday, 7/7: Tropical Color Mani

This will be a fun one for me because I always tend to go for the moody nail color choices and this will push me to go with something bright and summery. Pick your favorite bright color or go full-on nail art- it's up to you!

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Wednesday, 7/8: Go for the Gold

Gold is my all-time favorite color and the possibilities for this prompt are really endless. Show us how you shine!

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Thursday, 7/9: How I Rock a Top Knot

Top knots are my favorite hair trend to come out in the past couple of years. Show us your favorite top knot variation or try something completely new. There are so many different top knot ideas out there.

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I hope this helped inspire those of you taking part in the #FWSBeautyChallenge. And if you're deciding whether or not you'd like to give it a try, it's never too late to jump in and give it a try!

Follow me on Instagram to see my takes on this week's prompts!

 

I hope to see you there! :)

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Five Minute Friday: Taking the Time to Feel Beautiful (plus a New Instagram Beauty Challenge!)

One of the goals I made for myself this month involved fixing my hair and doing my makeup everyday. I see how that might sound completely silly, but between a lot of work-at-home days and being a horrible sweaty monster moving into a new apartment, these things had really become last priority. And I was feeling much less than my most beautiful self.

The thing about it is, I truly love beauty: hair, makeup, nails, whatever. It's just fun, right?! So I set this goal to kind of challenge myself to bring the fun back into it, and it definitely has!

 

Whether it was trying a darker lip color, a fun mani, or an easy braid, I was really only spending a couple of minutes more than in my regular routine but it was a whole lot more inspiring!

I liked it so much, in fact, that I created a beauty-related Instagram challenge for July to keep the fun going!

I'll be going into more detail on Monday's post, but here's a sneak peek for now...

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I hope you'll join in and tag your pictures with #fwsbeautychallenge! There are so many reasons I'd love for you to take part (one of which is a PRIZE!!!). But like I said, more on that Monday. ;)

In the meantime, why not head on over to my Instagram and make sure you're following? July is already starting to look so much more beautiful!

 

Happy weekend, friends!

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#MonthlyMani: A Practice in Negative Space

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Happy St. Patrick's Day! I don't really do anything to celebrate the holiday since I'm in that space in my life where I'm a lot less interested in binge drinking in crowds but also don't have kids to do fun all the fun themed Pinterest-y things with yet. I will, however, be wearing my green, especially since I'm already rocking some in my new negative space mani!

Have you tried doing negative space nail art yet? I've been wanting to try it forever and taking part in Delightfully Kristi's #MonthlyMani linkup (my first time!) gave me the perfect opportunity to finally give it a shot! This month's theme was St. Patrick's Day, obviously, but since I'm not really going all out with the celebrating, I wanted to do something that was a more subtle approach to the festive mani. Something I could wear for the rest of the week without screaming "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"

So I opted for a black and nude negative space mani with just a few pops of green. And let me tell you friends, for my first ever nail art post, I have to say some lessons have been learned.

1. It is WAY harder to photograph your own hand than you would imagine.

2. Manicure pics without background colors or props turn out really boring.

So, bear with me and my rough/boring pics this time and hopefully next month I will have enlisted help and employed some more interesting photo techniques. (Click images to enlarge.)

How to do it:

1. Start with a bare or nude nail. I actually prefer the look of a bare nail, but had bright blue polish on my nails last week and they still had a bit of a blue tinge, so I opted for the painted look. If using polish, make sure it has plenty of time to dry or you'll find yourself in a very sticky situation (pun, yes, but also horribly true).

2. Mask off the areas that will become your negative space. You can make each nail have the same design or get completely random, like I did here. Nail art striping tape is generally recommended for this, but I just cut thin strips of clear office tape and it worked perfectly fine.

3. Add your polish to the exposed areas. I used two colors- black and green- and the trick here is to move very quickly because step 4 is crucial.

4. Peel off the tape immediately, while the paint it still completely wet. This seems strange at first, but if you wait for the paint to dry, you run the risk of it coming off and taking parts of the design with it.

5. Add clear top coat.

6. Voila! (See the all-green accent nail? It's my version of a negative space four leaf clover. Like I said, subtly festive. ;) )

 

I have to say, although I'm not crazy about the pictures, I am loving this negative space manicure! It was a lot easier than I anticipated- it probably took only about 5 minutes for the tape and polish- and although a little shaky, I think it ended up looking pretty good! I can't wait to try the look with bare (non-blue) nails and employ even more negative space.

 

Looking for more #MonthlyMani ideas? Check out the St. Patty's day nail art from my fellow linkers:

Kristi from Delightfully Kristi

Piniel from Pins-Place

Jacki and Lesli from Sistas from Cali

Erika from Erika’s Style Diary

Marlena from Here, Pretty Kitty

 

Have you tried a negative space mani?

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Top 10 Must-Try Beauty Trends for S/S 15

We're getting our first glimpses of Spring and I'm really starting to feel the excitement that comes with updating my look. Fresh, easy, colorful- all words I'm welcoming with open arms right now. If you're looking to shake up your beauty routine, too, here are my top 10 favorite beauty trends of the season for a little inspiration...

(Click an image to enlarge and activate slideshow.)

Which beauty trend are you most excited to try?

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Trending in Beauty...DIY Oil Spill Manicure

If you read my Weekly Roundup, you know how much I'm loving the oil slick trend right now, so I was really excited to try my hand at this edgy nail art seen at the Rebecca Minkoff Fall 2013 runway show.

photo credit: Harper's Bazaar

After checking in with some of my favorite blogs, I found this awesome oil spill nail tutorial at beautyeditor, here, and gave it a shot....

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I am so happy with the end result! And the best thing about this manicure is that it's super easy because you are essentially "messing up" your nail polish on purpose! Even though several nail polishes are required (dark grey, silver, turquoise, navy, and purple- all metallic), it only takes a few easy steps, as shown in the picture above. Here they are:

1. Start with a base coat, then add one coat of dark metallic grey to the entire nail.

2. Once that's dry, add a couple of dabs of each of the colors. (You need to move quickly so the polish won't dry, so it's best to work one nail at a time, leaving all the caps unscrewed for quick access.)

3. Use a clear top coat to swirl the colors around. (This will contaminate your top coat somewhat with polish, so I would recommend either using an inexpensive one or keeping a paper towel nearby to wipe off the top coat after each use. Mine ended up with the slightest blue tinge, but it wasn't ruined.)

4. Clean up the excess polish around the nail and allow to dry for about 20 minutes (it's really thick!). Then apply final layer of top coat.

So I'm really loving this new nail polish trend! I think I want to try it again- I want to do a version with golds instead of silvers and one with a maroon/purple/navy palette. If you need more detailed instructions or want to see another take on the look, I would definitely recommend checking out the inspiration post at beautyeditor .

What do you think of the DIY Oil Spill Manicure? Yes or mess? Tell me your vote in the comments section!

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