Angling for a Kiss

S&M 3 March 2018

For this design I used colors from the most recent Holiday and Winter Gelish collections. The base color is Angling for a Kiss, a beautiful deep cranberry red polish, and the white lines are My Main Freeze.  Both are from the Thrill of the Chill winter collection. The mixture of tiny and chunky glitters is Silver in My Stocking” from the Little Miss Nutcracker collection.

After painting the lines on one nail, I decided they were too thick and wished I’d used acrylic paint instead. But the lines were cured already so I decided to roll with it.  Overall this is a super simple design to do as long as you have a nice striping brush!



Gelish Royal Temptations Collection for Spring 2018

Look at these beautiful swatches of the lovely Gelish Royal Temptations Collection!

S&M 3 March 2018 B

ICYMI this is the spring collection for 2018 for Gelish, released about a week ago. The colors are really pretty, and I’m amped about them all, as usual. I think the green Ruffle Those Feathers and purple All the Queen’s Bling are going to be really popular with clients.  Actually, Ruffle Those Feathers is the first color I used on myself!

(Please ignore the bubbling on the blue My Other Wig is a Tiara swatch… that was my fault. This is what happens when you apply layers of gel polish that are too thick!)

If you prefer to see live swatches, please check out the Smoke and Mirrors YouTube channel for swatches of the entire Royal Temptations collection!



Don’t Toy With My Heart

S&M 27 January 2018 A

For this design I used a technique that’s been around for awhile but I had not yet tried: the “smoosh” manicure.  Here are the colors of Gelish I used:

  • black – Black Shadow
  • red – Don’t Toy With My Heart (also used on full coverage nails)
  • gray – Fashion Week Chic
  •  nude/neutral – Taupe Model

I did one coat of Taupe Model as the base, cured it, then applied small drops of all the colors in various spots on the nails.  Next, I used my Morgan Taylor clear stamper to smoosh the drops around so they blended a little, but not so much that the colors became “muddy”. Finally, I cured the design for 1 minute.

Once the smooshing was done I thought it was a little boring so I stamped on top using a design from the Morgan Taylor Designer Plates Flirty Florals collection.  These are some great stamping plates that would do even better with a better stamping polish. (Next time I’ll try using polish from Clear Jelly Stamper.) Check out the macro shot!

S&M 27 January 2018 B

This ended up being super easy (and quick) to do, but got a lot of notice. I wore this manicure for over two weeks!

Have you tried the smoosh mani? Let me know how it turned out in the comments!

Sweater nail fail… but a technique win!

S&M 22 December 2017

In preparation for winter solstice I decided it was time to finally try sweater nails. It isn’t too hard, right? Just sprinkle some clear acrylic powder into the uncured gel polish design, then cure…

Nope. This was a fail in my book. I guess you can kinda see the design in the photo, but IRL it just looks like a gray nail.

For this design I used two colors of Gelish: the green sparkly polish is You Crack Me Up from the Little Miss Nutcracker holiday 2017 collection, and the gray creme is Let’s Hit the Bunny Slopes from the winter 2013 The Snow Escape collection.

Before I painted these nails, I trimmed my natural nails and capped them with Gelish Dip in Simple Sheer (not that it matters, because you can’t see it). In the past I’ve had problems with Gelish peeling off of my dipped nails. So this time I did not apply the Dip top coat, but instead just filed to shape and finish buffed. Then I applied Gelish with no Foundation, only Top It Off.

This left the finish a little more rough, and it worked! The Gelish stayed on for about two weeks, no problem. The above photo was taken at about the one week mark.

When I first reviewed Gelish Dip a couple months ago, I got some comments and questions about what to do for this issue and, at the time, I did not know the answer. But now, here it is! I had good results, but please try it and let me know if it works for you, too!

Don’t Break My Corazon

S&M 12 November 2017

This design was done with two coats of Gelish Don’t Break My Corazón from the Fall 2017 Matadora collection. This is a stunning red in person, and it is the type of red that goes with everything.

On the middle nails I taped off the inner section before applying the Don’t Break My Corazón. After the polish cured I removed the tape and glued on some 3D net embellishments from Born Pretty Store. This stuff is basically a lot of strings all laid in a random pattern and glue together. It comes to you in a small sheet, and you can cut a strip whatever size you need from it.  It is a flat sheet of it, however, and only slightly flexible. And it is not self-adhesive, so I used nail glue to adhere it to the curves of my nail. It stayed on very well, and I had to soak it off with acetone when it was time for removal.

I’m not sure if this design is really my style, but the product worked well and I got a lot of questions and compliments on it!

Olé My Way

S&M 18 October 2017

On these nails I used Gelish Olé My Way from the Fall 2017 Matadora collection, with mermaid pearl powder from Born Pretty on a couple of the nails.  This deep blue color turned out beautifully in just two coats!

Unfortunately I can’t recommend the pearl powder, as I’ve tried it two times with different top coats and haven’t had good results.  For these nails I used the inhibition layer to adhere the powder, then top coated with Top It Off from Gelish.  When I didn’t get the result I wanted after the first coat, I cleaned the inhibition layer off the index finger nail and applied some OPI Top Coat. Once that dried I added another layer of powder.

This time around I also used one of the silicone nail art brushes from a five piece set that I ordered from Born Pretty to press in the powder. Even then I wasn’t satisfied with the finish – it still seemed uneven –  and so I went back to using the applicator sponge provided with the kit for the second layer on the pinky nail.  I can, however, recommend the silicone brush set.  The brushes seemed like good quality for the price.

I’ve also found that Born Pretty now has an Amazon store.  Buying from them through Amazon seems safer and slightly faster – rather than waiting 4-6 weeks like usual for order delivery, I waited only 25 days for the brushes to come in.  Have you bought any items from Born Pretty through Amazon? What did you think?

Marshmallow Manicure

S&M 1 October 2017.jpg

About a month ago I saw a post on the Nails Magazine website about the “marshmallow manicure” that Morgan Taylor lead artist Gina Edwards had created for Caroline Herrera’s Spring 2018 NYFW collection models.

While Gina Edwards used Heaven Sent (formerly Little Princess) for the white color, I decided to use the new white called I’m Drawing a Blanco, from the fall 2017 Matadora Gelish collection.  I’m Drawing Blanco does have a bit of shimmer to it, which I embellished with some rhinestones and Gelish Grand Jewels to create this design. The butterfly is a double-stamped (first white, then black) image from stamping plate BP-07 I purchased at The Born Pretty Store.

Mauve Your Feet

S&M 30 September 2017

One of the new colors from the Gelish fall 2017 Matadora collection is proving to be very popular so far, at least on social media. It’s called Mauve Your Feet, and I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. Here’s my take on it.

This is 2 coats of Mauve Your Feet stamped with a rose design from Morgan Taylor Designer Plate 3720201-1 in black polish.  I used a plate and stamper from the Flirty Florals Collection 1 kit, and the design came out beautifully!

What do you think? Have you worn this color yet?

Unboxing: Gelish Polygel

video thumbnail unboxing polygel trial kit

Check out the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel for a new Gelish Polygel unboxing video!

In the video you’ll see what is in the Polygel Trial Kit, including:

The video also features the new PolyTool, created by Gelish for use with the Polygel.

My, Myself-ie and I

S&M 6 August 2017

As we enter the final weeks of summer 2017, I felt some neon pink nails were in order. This is Gelish Me, Myself-ie and I, from the Selfie collection, with some hand-painted nail art. Some nails are topped with All That Glitters Is Gold from the original Gelish Trends collection. I used black and white acrylic paints, a striping brush and a dotting tool to paint the design. This design was done on enhancements (tips) done with Gelish Dip, and not only do they look pretty good but they’re holding up very well!

Check out how beautifully all the colors work together in this collection:

S&M 6 August 2017 B

Here’s a photo of my entire Gelish Mini Selfie collection. I rarely buy the mini sizes any more, but decided to purchased them in the smaller size for this collection because neons don’t see a lot of use from my current clients.

Selfie Collection

This summer I’m loving the corals and pinks in this collection. What about you? What’s your favorite Selfie color?