Full Name: Tracy Vinson
Hometown: Forest, Va.
Salon: The Mobile Manicurist
Preferred Nail Art Medium: Gel
Favorite Nail Trend: Ombré

I am the owner/CEO of The Mobile Manicurist, LLC. I was working a full-time job at the time I obtained my nail tech license. What I “thought” was going to be a little side business immediately took off by leaps and bounds. I built a full clientele in only six weeks and had to quit my full-time job I’d been at for several years. I’m a lover of all things vintage, and that shows through both in  personality as well as business branding.

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Week 9: Bio Seaweed Gel

Paint the Town

This week we were asked to show you the neighborhood that has most influenced our artistry. Without a doubt, I knew immediately what I had to create.

Some of my best training as an artist has taken place in the city of Orlando, Florida. Now, I’m not a princess artist. As a matter of fact, I hate doing “princess-y” art. However, by putting my spin on this, I made it work.

The word PREMIERE represents the largest beauty show in the USA. If you’ve ever attended you know the long line of taxis that await to get all 56,000 of us to our destinations.

I’ve also created the majestic Cinderella’s Castle, along with the Ferris Wheel that can be seen from just about any location in Orlando.

I am grateful for each and every opportunity as an artist, and this city has played a huge role in shaping me into who I am.

Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial for how Tracy created these nails.

Week 8: ibd

Scream Queens

This week’s project brought back so many memories of the days we used to make our own Halloween costumes. There wasn’t much to choose from in the stores much less an entire store dedicated to Halloween. I’ve never watched a scary movie in my life, so I had to do my research when it came to this week’s project. That was a little tricky because that meant I had to see some images I didn’t like…let’s hope I can sleep tonight. I wanted to bring the elements that the judges asked for, both ghoulish and glam, while keeping with the theme of Scream Queen.  I’ve also kept in mind that the judges have asked me to produce something different each week. Naturally my style will show through any art that I create, but I am totally thrilled that I’ve pulled off a piece of art that I would have never tried, had I not been given this set of rules. Please be sure and watch my video. It’s impossible to see all of the details from the one photo that’s posted here. Hope you enjoy my interpretation of the American Horror Story nails, featuring Lady Gaga.

Click here to see a video diary of Tracy’s nails.

Week 7: INM

Northern Lights

I have so much on my plate, yet I’m surviving. I’m keeping my head above water. I’m so very grateful. Not only for the opportunity but for the boundaries I’ve pushed myself outside of. The struggle is not always about the challenge itself but about all the arrows we endure along the way. You see, if you get shot enough, your skin toughens up; you don’t feel those arrows as much when they get you. You’re in full-on work mode and are not even aware of your surroundings. However, when you decide you’re going to take a break for a day or two, reward yourself, or get some other things knocked off your list, guess what happens when you come back to work again? Those arrows, oh my! Our skin has gotten tender from the break we’ve taken and now, they hurt when you get shot. That’s why it’s so difficult for us to return to work after a vacation. Have you ever thought of it that way? You don’t have to be competing in NTNA to be exempt from them. This week’s piece offered a beautiful distraction for me, taking me to the Northern Lights as I imagine them to be. It provided respite and a peaceful scenery from my arrows of life. I hope it will do the same for you.

Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial for how Tracy created these nails.

Week 6: Artistic

The Artist Within

They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I know that to be true in certain areas of my life already. I cannot imagine my life without my art and music. I’m a person who rarely watches TV; I almost feel that I’m wasting my time by doing so. It’s hard for me to key down enough to even sit through a movie. That’s because I’m a Type A personality. For us, our creative minds never shut off.

When I’m working on a project, I have to put my whole self into it … even down to the perfect music to work by. When that piece is finished, it had better look like it’s come out of a display window at Neiman Marcus, or I won’t be happy with it. Being a perfectionist can sometimes take the fun right out of things. On the other hand, being an artist can provide therapy like no other. There’s no right or wrong in what one creates, and no judgement. No one has to like it as long as the artist himself is pleased. Art is basically anything you can get away with. An artist simply cannot fail … it’s a success just to be one. I challenge you today, don’t be afraid to try something just because you think you may fail. Do it anyway! You never know what the outcome may be.


Click here to see a video diary of Tracy’s nails.

Week 5: Akzéntz

Decade Decadence

When thinking about this week’s challenge, I thought I would share a little something with you that not many people know.

I chose the ’30s as my theme for a specific reason. Times were so hard for many, many people. But there were happy times in the midst of everything as well. There had to be!! Babies were still being born, toddlers taking their first step, and many new accomplishments were being made.

However, during the lean seasons of life, and we’ve all had them, that’s where you learn to appreciate the things that don’t have a single bit of monetary good. You learn to appreciate things like your health, your family, and your God for giving you the strength to get through yet another day.

When we were given the challenge this week of only using 10% of embellishments, I knew that wouldn’t be hard for me. You see when I opened my business only five years ago, we took every penny we had saved and put it into me getting started.

I’d left a full time job as a music teacher to “do nails” and I was responsible for the mortgage payment in our household expenses. It was either sink or swim and by George, I wasn’t about to sink!
Buying a pack of Swarovski crystals was out of the question for me. However, I had my know-how and my wits about me, and I’d try just about anything if it meant making that mortgage payment! That’s how I learned to use what I had to achieve “embellished” nails. Thankfully, only about eight weeks into my new business as The Mobile Manicurist, I’d already doubled my income from my previous job! The first thing I purchased was four little packs of Swarovski Crystals. I’ll never forget that day. It was like someone had given me the moon. I was so thankful.

So if you’re in a place where you feel like your little is too little, let me encourage you today to look up! You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your MIND is a palace! I love each of you and am so grateful to be in this place at this very moment.

Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial of how Tracy created these nails.

I wanted to bring you something classy but sassy. When doing a non-cluttered nail design, it’s important to remember color palette is everything. And these colors — red, black, and white — are my all-time favorite and make for a striking combo. These long, almond nails are worn by many celebrities today and I’d like to think my nails are something they’d want to wear as well. I was inspired to do these nails last week when I was working on the previous challenge. While researching for my freedom piece, I discovered that poppies are a sign of courage and had to paint them. I realize in doing a cleaner design I’ve taken a risk in the competition world. However, I trust the cohesiveness of this week’s work will speak for itself. The next time you see a poppy, I hope you’ll be reminded of the courage all of us have inside. Sometimes we don’t even know it’s there. We would rather run away than fight our daily battles. Today, I challenge you…choose courage, not comfort. Take time to stop and smell the poppies.

Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial for how Tracy created these nails.

Week 3: Gel II

Timeless Treasure

This week’s project took me aback somewhat. I did not expect to get so emotional creating this piece of artwork. However all week long I have thought about those who gave their life for me and my family so that we may live in peace. It has been overwhelming at times. My treasure lies in my freedom. Not only physical, but spiritual as well. When I work on a piece I literally have to put myself in the place of whatever I’m creating. This week, I watched some documentaries on how our freedom came to be, I listened to American Civil War-era music as I was working (thus the violin in my piece),  and I talked to several individuals about what their freedom meant to them. More than half of them said it meant they could do whatever they wanted. True, but I felt this missed the point. These are the unseen things we can so easily take for granted because life just gets in the way. Let us always be mindful of others, sharing our treasure with them as well. For some, it may be a smile. For others, it may be taking them a meal. For that one person who’s given up hope, you could be their treasure just by listening. No, we don’t have to travel the world to find our treasures. We carry them with us every day. All we need to do is pull them out, and put them to good use. Let it be written that I never treasured things, but always treasured others.

Click here to see a video diary of Tracy’s nails.

Week 2: Orly

Sunset Strip

Sunset Strip … the place where Hollywood was born. I decided to feature some of the celebrities who frequented Sunset Strip, and now, Sunset Boulevard. A “past and present” version, if you will. The Strip was one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite places to hang out, to have an extended stay, or just to relax. Thus, she is the center of my piece. Her portrait is done with Wildflowers Art-Paints and a watercolor brush. Using the Orly Sunset Collection as my color inspiration, I painted her first, to set the tone for the entire piece. I then chose to feature Clark Gable. Not only was he Marilyn’s favorite actor, but his go-to restaurant, The Brown Derby, used to be located on the Strip. He’s painted in the same fashion with the acrylic paints. I added Johnny Depp as the last portrait. Painted only in black and white, and adding a little coral to highlight. He represents the “present” era of Sunset Boulevard. The other nails are all designed to have the glam and glitz that Hollywood offers, as well as a little local flair, and maybe even something that Marilyn Monroe would have had in her jewelry collection at the time. They include genuine coral and moonstone as well as a couple of vintage pieces from my personal collection. I hope you will examine each one of them up close to get the full detail.


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial of how Tracy created these nails.

Week 1: Gelish

Squadron Goals

My design this week is based on a love of collecting and the memories that each piece holds. When choosing a travel destination, I always search out the little “hole-in-the-wall” vintage boutiques and consignment stores.  I like to buy things that others would completely overlook, things I can turn into something else —like trash to treasure. While designing my Parisian nails this week, I went through some of the treasures I have and incorporated them into this design. The little aviation goggles on the pinky were made out of broken jewelry findings that anyone else would’ve thrown away. The ring finger includes encapsulated travel stamps from the early 1900s that my grandpa brought home from the war. And the watch parts on the index finger are from a family heirloom that is nearly 50 years old. Someday I’ll be able to share this picture and all of these little stories with my grandchildren and hopefully they’ll say, “tell us that story again.” I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed making them.

Click here to see a video diary of Tracy’s nails.