Born and raised in San Diego, I grew up in beauty salons. My mom went to beauty school when I was in third grade. The smell of acrylics and perm solutions is part of my childhood. I’ve now been licensed for 11 years but only embraced the world of nail art six years ago and now I can’t get enough! I was honestly bored with my profession until nail art took over my life. Now I find that I’m constantly challenging myself and nothing ever seems to be good enough because I’m my worst own critic. I made my way into the Top 18 last year but didn’t make the Top 12, so this year I’m determined more than ever to prove myself! I got a little taste of it so now I want more, and I’m ready!
Week 3: Gel II
For this week’s challenge, we were asked to create art on five nail tips of what it is that we treasure most. Instantly, upon reading my email, I knew it was my family. Not anything that is materialistic, nothing you can hold or wear, but my memories that I hold in my heart. The day I had set aside to start my week’s project, I got word that my uncle had passed away. Although the family knew this was inevitable, it was still so heartbreaking. He was my grandmother’s youngest son, and she just passed away a few months ago. That being said, this challenge really tugged on my heart strings. Although my set has nothing to do with either my uncle or my grandmother, it has everything to do with never forgetting memories of our loved ones. Those are things that no one can ever take away. My treasure trove, originally three different memories, ended up coming together as one piece that I found flowed perfectly together. The center of my set is the Point Loma Lighthouse. This lighthouse sits at the tip of the beautiful peninsula that stretches out into the Pacific Ocean. This is also the location where I got married five years ago. It was truly the perfect day. On the right side of the peninsula, I have a whale-watching scene. This is one of my daughter’s favorite memories of her, my son, and I several years back. It was just a normal day at the time, but how sweet that it ended up being one of her favorites with me, now one of my favorites as well. And lastly, on the left side of my set, to complete the scene: the surfer. I have spent numerous days, hours, and weekends from the crack of dawn until sunset watching my son surf. He was in so many competitions growing up, it’s definitely a favorite memory. So, I chose one of my favorite pictures of him and tried replicating it.
And so, here it is … my timeless treasure, my family.
Week 2: Orly
My inspiration for this week, An Ode to the Sunset Strip, comes from different iconic places throughout the decades as well as different thoughts and images I think of when thinking of the Strip. I chose to feature something different on every single nail. Going in no particular order, I’ll start with Chateau Marmont. First opened in 1929, this iconic landmark has hosted so many celebrities. Whether having just visited for a night or two, or having taken up residency here, so much history lies within the walls of this beautiful palace. Speaking of celebrities, I had to showcase a nail that showed just that: celebrity status. And with celebrities come paparazzi. And so, I have featured a nail that shows something you might often see along the strip. The celebs often frequent the clubs and restaurants yet they usually aren’t alone because the paparazzi are always close behind. With celebrities in mind, I wanted to showcase two famous faces that once upon a time were regulars on the Strip. The beautiful Marilyn Monroe was known to meet her beaux for dinner and a romantic evening. Also, Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, used to be the house band at Whiskey a Go Go before blowing up into stardom. Some other famous clubs on the strip were Pandora’s Box, The Viper Room, and The Rainbow Room. Pandora’s Box was a trippy little place that was known to have live rock bands play. I featured this on a nail with a psychedelic background and painted a silhouette of a band playing there. The Viper Room is known for once being owned by Johnny Depp and also the location of the fateful night that River Phoenix overdosed. I really love this nail because it shows what the walls of the club look like from inside and it frames the Viper logo. My Rainbow Room nail is pretty simple but I really only wanted to showcase the famous marquee that you see when passing by. When researching the Strip, so much happened around this club throughout the decades, I chose to only use its marquee because I feel like it makes a statement on its own. Since I featured some clubs, one of my nails represents a Go Go dancer. Whether you want to imagine this nail at a dance club or a gentlemen’s club, this dancer can be found at either of those places. In 1950, a movie called “Sunset Boulevard” was made that featured Gloria Swanson. Another object that stood out to me, I had to somehow incorporate a film and this one was perfect since it is Sunset Boulevard. Even though the Strip is only a mile and a half long on the boulevard, I thought it perfect to feature this nail with the movie poster. And lastly, The Hollywood Hills. The very first thing I think of, and the last nail I leave here with is the picturesque view of what is Hollywood, right above the Sunset Strip.
Week 1: Gelish
What inspires me when it comes to travel? A sweet vacation that I’ve longed for and have only dreamt about! There are a ton of places around the globe that I’d like to visit, but the first place that comes to mind is Japan! My mother was born in Tokyo and moved to the States when she was only 4 months old. And now, my daughter is planning a trip there soon so it’s only fair to start planning an awesome trip for myself! There is so much to do when it comes to traveling, so I wanted to make sure my design covered the basics. Food. A must is to find a cool little local spot (not touristy), to really get the taste of where you are. There is nothing more authentic than tasting legit local grub. It’s also just really cool to take everything in while walking through the midst of a local urban market or busy city streets. Nature. Every place in this world has something beautiful and unique to take in. So, finding this place and absorbing it, is priceless. Take a picture, meditate, or just stand there in silence and be grateful for this amazing trip you just made. There is history everywhere we go, you cannot travel somewhere and not learn a little something about that place. It will also help you to appreciate and respect these places even more when you strive to understand them. And with this, my trip to Japan was built.
Click here to see a video diary of Liza’s nails.