There was a thankfully-brief period in my life (around two or three weeks when I was 12) when I would paint my nails metallic blue or violet or emerald green and then, when one or two of them chipped, just paint a different color over the chipped nail instead of taking the nail polish off like a normal person. This would eventually result in cakey, peeling, multi-colored nails that I wore like a proud badge of Daria-esque apathy. Then I would listen to Alanis Morissette and pretend I understood what she was singing about.
I've come a long way since then! Nowadays, I like to redo my nails a different color every two weeks or so, taking off all the polish when it starts chipping. Sometimes I'll even add some glitter or a party nail for holidays. Until a few days ago, I still hadn't been inducted into the cool-girl club of nail art though. So when I got an invitation from Swarovski to try out one of their bling-tastic manicures at the Vanity Projects salon in downtown NYC, I immediately decided I would be a nail art virgin no longer. It was pretty much like getting a regular mani: After a lot of deliberation, I chose a lovely peach color, and the manicurist carefully applied it after preparing my nails with a base coat. But then, she also painstakingly applied different-sized crystals and pearls to my accent nail. Little fans on the manicure table made the drying process a lot faster.
After decking me out, they let me strut my stuff on their E! News-inspired mani cam:
Not bad for a nail-crystal novice. I was really impressed by how little time the meticulous process took, and the fact that, almost a week later, the crystals are still firmly affixed to my nails, showing no signs of falling off. I hope they don't. I'd be far too lazy to go get them fixed.
Images: Swarovski/LaForce + Stevens