First of all, a very happy birthday to my awesomely pretty (and pretty awesome) mommy!

As I was growing up, one of my mom’s and mine favorite weekend activities was getting our nails done together. Now that geography and schedule doesn’t allow this to happen very often, it has become a rare treat – but I still go to have my own done as often as I can. (i.e.: Last week, before leaving for my press trip, I chose a mani and pedi over packing, doing my work, or cooking dinner.)

As we get closer to the holiday season, having picture-perfect nails is even more important. Dashing Diva’s renowned nail tech Alisha Rimando, who has won several US awards for her professional nail creations has some tips to get us started.

Add a sizzling affect to any party ready manicure by applying 2 coats of either of chic black or winter white and then use a silver or gold polish for a festive accent. See below Alisha’s three favorite holiday nail looks:

blackgoldnails.jpgBlack Polish with Faded Gold French

How to apply: For this dramatic faded look, use the silver or gold polish sparingly half way down the nail to the tip. Wait to dry, then apply another coat just to the tip of the nail.

White Polish with Gold Frenchwhitegoldfrench.jpg

How to apply: Create a shimmering French by creating a soft, thin smile line at the tip of a black or white nail with a silver or gold finish.

Black Polish with Silver Racer Stripe

blacksilverstripe.jpgHow to apply: For a subtle metallic affect, just polish one perfect stripe of gold or silver down the center of each nail to add definition and makes the nails appear longer.

What to do to avoid Smudges or Streaks?

Alisha Rimando from Dashing Diva says to avoid streaks, use a light hand when applying polish and let each coat dry for at least 5 minutes before applying another. If you can cover the nail in 3-5 strokes even better. Fewer strokes, fewer streaks! To avoid smudges, let each coat dry for one minute before applying the next coat. This lets the solvents from the polish evaporate creating a hard coating of color. Plus, apply a drop of Dashing Diva Flash Drip (or a quick dry silicone/oil solvent) after the top coat to provide a protective barrier to help prevent smudging. If you do smudge, apply a liberal amount of polish remover to your finger and lightly rub the top of the nail to smooth out the crease or smudge, let dry and the re-apply a top coat if needed.