More Nail Trends

Half-moon manicure in coral and gold and teal/turquoise and gold

On Pinterest, I’ve frequently seen the nail trend of half moon manicures and I finally decided to try it out. A lot of people suggest using reinforcement holes for loose-leaf paper to make the half-moon shape, but since I didn’t have those stickers available, I just free-handed it.

I’m a pretty indecisive person. So in true Cynthia-fashion, because I couldn’t decide on a color, I painted one hand teal/turquoise and gold and the other hand coral and gold. Both colors turned out great in my opinion, so even though my hands didn’t match, they still looked awesome! Haha.

Pop of pink and chevron

Another nail trend I’ve seen is the mixed print nail design. I chose to do a chevron pattern on my ring finger. Again, as a tip, many people say to use scotch tape or nail tape to create the chevron pattern. But being too lazy to cut up tape and having rather bad experiences with scotch tape peeling off my nail polish, I did the design free-hand. To make the uneven-ness of the zig-zags less noticeable, whenever I showed off nails, I flashed my hand very quickly, so people would only see the design briefly. Just long enough for people to admire the nail art, but  short enough so that they couldn’t see the mistakes. 😛

Lightning bolt

One last nail design I decided to try was the lightning bolt by Nailside. Her tutorials are really easy to follow and she has some beautiful nail art. I first did only two colors, teal and black. Then decided to add silver to my ring finger for a little pop!

Lightning bolt with pop of silver on accent nail

I love trying new nail designs and trends. For someone with very limited artistic talented, nail art is one of the few creative, artsy things I can actually do. Haha.

Perfect Fall Nails

Unfortunately, it’s finally starting to feel like fall here in the Bay Area. Our last few days of Indian Summer have gone and have been replaced by chilly, cloudy days (which means it’s in the high 50s to mid 60s… I know we’re spoiled here in California :P). Luckily, I was still able to enjoy those last few days outside, basking in the sun and taking in the breathtaking views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and that beautiful Bay. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of living in the Bay Area. Most people around here are natives and rarely ever leave the area. I can totally understand why.

Even though the leaves don’t change colors here like they do almost everywhere else in the country, I still decided to paint my nails appropriate for the new season. I first saw this nail design on Pinterest and fell in love with it immediately. It’s super easy, so beautiful, and perfect for fall!

Here’s a link to the original design by Glitter and Nails.

Although I didn’t use exactly the same colors as she did, I think I did a pretty good job in recreating this nail design. If you’re looking for fun yet fairly easy nail art for the fall season, I’d definitely recommend trying this out. (However, be warned, the glitter will get everywhere. :P)

Even though it’s no longer Indian Summer here in the Bay Area, sometimes it’s nice to have a change in weather. It helps remind us that time is moving and life goes on. It’d be nice to stay in summertime, but after a while, it’d get tiring right? (Well, to be honest, probably not haha). At least now, it feels more like November and the weather change makes me more excited about the upcoming holidays. Without changes in life, we’d get stuck in a routine of being simply content (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but may result in a life without excitement or spontaneity. I suppose I associate change with growth and so I think without change, we cannot grow. So here’s to a new season and a new round of experiences and growth.

Put a Ring on It – Ring Finger Accent Nails

For a while, I had no idea there were nail trends… as in nail designs that are “in.” Ombre nails have been pretty fashionable recently as well as chevron nails. One trend that may seem a bit odd, but is really cute is the accent nail where you paint one finger (often the ring finger) one color and the rest a different color. I love that this trend is super simple yet non-traditional.

My first attempt involved pink nails with a gold accent.

For my second attempt I did light blue nails with a silver accent and added some sparkles.

You can also put the accent nail anywhere – it doesn’t have to be the ring finger. But if you’re single like me and don’t have a heavy rock drawing attention to that finger, an accent on that nail might be nice. Haha, just kidding!

Gone with the Wind – Dandelion Nails

My summer blues nails were chipping away, so I decided it was time for a new design. I wanted something simple yet cute and super easy to do. These dandelion nails fit the bill perfectly! This was one of the easiest freehand designs that I’ve done so far. Just draw some white strokes and black stems and you’ve got dandelions! The little petals being blown across your nails is super cute too. If you want to do an extremely quick and easy yet impressive nail design, definitely try this one out!

Summer Blues

Summer is quickly coming to an end… at least it is for me, since classes start tomorrow! Eeks! How did time fly by so fast?

This summer, I traveled and ate my way through Boston, New York City, and San Diego.

Boston Done Right: Paul Revere, Cannoli, MIT, and the Charles River

Sights of the City: Times Square, Taxis on 80th St, View from Empire State Building, Downtown Manhattan

NYC Eats: Shake Shack, Chelsea Market, Momofuku, Doughnut Plant

Peaceful La Jolla

I also finally crossed off a few items on my baking to do list (but still haven’t tried making my own kimchi! need to do that soon!).

Purple Ombre Cake – Check!

Kolaches – Check!

And I spent valuable time and made amazing memories with my friends and family. Even though I was working everyday, this was actually one of my most fun summers.

To express my summer blues (and match my blue floral dress), I did a variation of blue ombre nails. I was inspired by this nail design from Miss Renaissance. I had slightly darker shades of blue than she did, but they worked well.

Although I’ll miss the laid-back, relaxing vibe of summer with the sunny days (well, only after the fog has burned off) and the rather peaceful feel of campus that comes with the absence of undergrads, I’m looking forward to what this new school year brings. Fall semester is always a fresh start for me – it feels more like New Year’s to me than January 1st. With a new season comes new friends, experiences, and memories. So, even though I’m a little sad to see my summer end, I’m excited to see what fall brings. Plus, I’ve been dying to make some pumpkin and apple desserts!

Pink Ombre Nails

In honor of Rachel’s birthday cake, the purple ombre cake, I decided to try out the ombre nails trend. Well, that and I finally had enough shades of red and pink to do it!

I’m actually pretty late jumping on this trend because, although it may seem rather trivial, getting enough shades of a color is pretty difficult. It turns out that two shades of pink looked exactly the same, even though they came from two different bottles! Oh well. It just gives me another excuse to buy more nail polish! 😛

A Berry Good July 4th – Mixed Berry Cupcake/Muffins

For July 4th, I decided to skip baking a traditional flag cake and the non-traditional hidden flag cake, even though Pinterest was flooded with them (as Deb from smitten kitchen duly noted). Besides my housemate ended up baking one and our kitchen is definitely not big enough for two flag cakes. So instead, I decided to bake berry cupcakes since I had a tub of expiring sour cream and a bag of frozen berries sitting in the freezer.

Creaming the butter and sugar

Now, I’m not sure if these exactly classify as cupcakes since they looked like muffins. I like to think they were cupcakes since I creamed the butter and sugar and added each egg one at a time. Usually, I think of muffins as  the “mix the wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients, and then add the dry to the wet” kind of recipe whereas cupcakes are more of the “cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs, then alternately add the flour and milk” type. It makes sense since creaming the butter and sugar lightens the batter and makes the final product more fluffy. This is probably why muffins are much denser than cupcakes. But don’t quote me, I’m no expert on cupcakes or muffins. I usually just do what the recipe tells me.

Mixing in the frozen berries

The original recipe was for lemon cream cupcakes, but I modified it by adding in frozen mixed berries at the end. No need to thaw the berries, in fact that’ll result in berry juice instead of actual berries. Also, try not to mix the berries too much since that’ll break them up.

All ready for the oven

I noticed that while baking in the oven, the cupcakes rose quite a bit and then deflated after I took them out. Not sure how to prevent deflation yet. I remember seeing a tip on Pinterest about baking them at a lower temperature, but I have yet to try that.

Since I hate to waste leftovers, I frosted the cupcakes with leftover lime buttercream frosting (the one from the margarita cupcakes). These cupcakes are pretty sweet already and didn’t really need the frosting. So I’d recommend just sifting some powdered sugar on top instead of frosting them (especially with old frosting). Plus, without the frosting, you’ll be able to see the bright colors of the cupcakes!


Unfrosted cupcake vs. Frosted cupcake

(And you can paint your nails red to match them… not like I intentionally did that…    Or you can just patriotically paint your nails!)

I brought these cupcake/muffins to a Fourth of July BBQ and they were devoured pretty quickly. What’s nice about this recipe is that it’s not just strictly for a special holiday, like those flag cakes. You can make these muffin/cupcakes for any kind of party/BBQ or even for breakfast or dessert!

Mixed Berry Cupcakes/Muffins
Adapted from allrecipes

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
Zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
1 bag of frozen mixed berries (or whatever berries you want)

1. Cream the butter and sugar.
2. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
3. Mix in the lemon zest and vanilla.
4. Combine the dry ingredients.
5. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream to the creamed butter mixture.
6. Fold in the frozen berries.
7. Fill a paper-lined muffin tin with batter (each one 1/2 or 3/4 full of batter).
8. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.
9. Cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
10. Sift powdered sugar on top or frost with your favorite frosting (a lemon buttercream or cream cheese frosting would go well with these cupcakes).
11. Paint your nails to match the berries in the cupcakes and enjoy!

Nailing it!

I’ve recently become quite obsessed with nail art, which is very surprising since I haven’t wore nail polish at all in the past four years. One day during the last few weeks of my senior year in college, I decided to treat myself to a mani-pedi, something I had never experienced before. I absolutely loved it, especially the massage chair and the pedicure. So relaxing! If you’ve never had a pedicure before, you should definitely try it (that includes guys too)! After that, I was hooked on nail art and pedicures.

My obsession peaked this past spring when I used painting my nails as a procrastination method. It was the perfect way to procrastinate since you can’t do anything with your hands while your nails are drying. 😛 However, I suppose I got a little crazy with it when I started changing my nails every two to three days. I changed them so often that even my advisor noticed (which is probably not a good sign).

One of my favorite designs I did was this “Art Deco” design by the Beauty Department. It’s super easy and looks so pretty.  I first followed their color scheme of dark brown, gold, and black. Then, I replaced the dark brown with dark purple. What’s great about this design is that you can use any combination of colors you want! Another plus is that it doesn’t require any special nail art tools, such as a dotting tool or tape.

If you’re looking for a cute, easy way to jazz up your nails, I highly suggest this design. Your friends will definitely admire your nails and give you tons of compliments. 🙂