Manicure Monday: Skyglow and Yellow

Manicure Monday is here! I think this week was kind of a dud. My base polish was pretty hard to work with and the mani quality suffers because of it. I’m wearing three coats of Sally Hansen’s Quick Canary with two coats of Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Prototype JJ 1.1 on my accent nails. All nails are topped with one coat of Alter Ego‘s She Shines top coat.



I want to love this mani. I love the big clashing colors, and I love the glitter and how it overwhelms everything else, but I had so much trouble with Quick Canary that I’m put off the whole thing. I just could not get it to dry. I guess it needed to be thinned; the consistency was thick, but was still easy to apply, so I kept going and put down two more coats. Then I put on the glitter and top coat. Those dried, but Quick Canary was still wet, and so while I’m trying to clean up my cuticles, my top layers are sliding around on top of wet, gooey polish. Not cool, Sally. I did the best I could, but my cuticles are still a raging mess.



I’m glad the other polish behaved. Prototype JJ 1.1 is a fun glitter topper; I’ve nicknamed it Skyline because it reminds me of a night out in the city; the bright lights of buildings, the glowing sky, the feeling of being swallowed up by the tall buildings and swathes of people. I love the frenetic pace of huge and complicated cities, and wearing this polish is wearing that energy on my nails. It’s the one redeeming thing about this manicure.



Quick Canary is available wherever Sally Hansen polishes are sold; I got mine at Target. Prototype JJ 1.1 is a one-off bottle and is not available anywhere else. Other BEGL polishes are for sale in their shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Fantasy Makers’s Night Glow

I know I said all the unseasonal polishes were over with, but I lied. Swatch Sunday’s subject is a Halloween-themed glow in the dark polish, complete with gravestone-shaped bottle. I’m wearing three coats of Fantasy Makers’s Night Glow with one coat of Alter Ego‘s She Shines top coat.




Night Glow is a pretty typical glow in the dark polish. It’s very sheer; even at three coats, I can still see my whole nail bed. I’m not sure full opacity could be achieved. The polish did dry quickly and with a gloss. The formula isn’t bad, but I won’t say much about it; my bottle is pretty old — at least five years, if not closer to ten — and it was quite thick when I opened it, so I did have to thin it out. This is probably irrelevant. What really matters is that it glows in the dark. I got one good photo of the effect in action; it glows a vibrant green.



I love glow in the dark polish. It is so fun and so satisfying to wiggle my fingers around in the dark when I go to bed. My boyfriend think it’s annoying but I love it. It feels a little weird, though, to wear such a sheer color without any glitter or other adornments. I’m wearing practically nothing at all. It’s like wearing a revealing dress, I suppose; when I first put it on, I’m a little insecure, but the longer I wear it, the more it grows on me, and at the end of the night I feel sexy and empowered. The analogy is a bit of a stretch, but I think you get it.



Final word: the polish isn’t anything special. It’s probably the most available and affordable glow polish out there; I see it everywhere around Halloween. However, the quality is comparable to the glow polishes I’ve tried from China Glaze and American Apparel, so it’s whatever. If you need a glow in the dark polish, this would be a good one, but this particular one isn’t at all a must-have.


Fantasy Makers is usually available in drugstores during Halloween. I got mine at a costume shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Plum Tired of the Cold

The last winter polish for the season is finally here! This is Plum Tired of the Cold from Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s 2013 winter collection. I’m wearing three coats here with one coat of Alter Ego‘s She Shines top coat.



The mini-decant is courtesy of Angela at Older Ladies Like Color Too.

The mini-decant is courtesy of Angela at Older Ladies Like Color Too.

Plum Tired of the Cold is described by BEGL as a “blackened plum shimmer base packed with gold micro hexes, red hexes, diamonds, and circle glitters, wine and burgundy hexes, and black hexes and holo dots”. When they say it’s packed, it’s packed. The glitter is varied but still even; I might not have gotten one of every kind of glitter on every nail, but I got one on each hand, which is often enough that I don’t wonder if they’re really in there. The base color itself is pretty dark, which means I could only get by with one coat if I really wanted to. The coverage is buildable and the color darkens with each coat. The formula applies evenly, even with all the glitters. The consistency was on the thicker side, but that’s expected in a polish like this. Drying times were good; the polish dries to a satin finish. Top coat really brings out the shine in the glitters.



While I loved this entire collection, the big glitter polishes were my favorites. Tacky Winter Sweater has to be my favorite because it’s pink, but I think this one is second fiddle. It’s a deep and rich color, which I love, and it’s full of shimmer and glitter and shine. It’s a beautiful polish.



Let me get in one last whine about how much I hate cold weather: I hate cold weather. Lately, it hasn’t been as warm as I’d like it to be; it’s been gray and rainy and hovering around 65 degrees. It sucks, but it isn’t cold. On the bright side, since this is the last winter polish, it means we’ll have BEGL spring polishes to liven up the rainy days. I can’t wait to wear them.

Plum Tired of the Cold has been discontinued by the maker and is no longer available. You can buy other BEGL polishes from their shop.

I did not purchase this polish, but it was not sent for review or evaluation.

Manicure Monday: Serenity Gray

Manicure Monday today is awesome! I got to pair a favorite creme with an insane glitter shifter. I’m wearing two coats of Sally Hansen’s Grey Area with two coats of Digital Nails‘s Serenity on my accent nails. All nails are topped with one coat of Alter Ego‘s She Shines top coat.



I almost don’t even want to bore you with the details of my gray polish. I know you’re not looking at it. You’re probably not even looking at these words, and I don’t blame you. Grey Area is a warm charcoal creme that’s pretty versatile. It’s one of the first polishes I bought to use for nail art, and it does everything well, even water marbles. It goes on opaque and smooth and glossy in one coat. It’s the best. I love it.







Serenity, the show-stopping glitter you see here, is one of the most exciting polishes I have in my collection. The shift is so strong and so dramatic, and occurs in any lighting condition. I cannot stop waving my hands around in front of my computer monitors, just to see it happen. It’s green-to-purple at most angles, and when a light source is directly in front of it, the purple-to-pink-to-gold happens. It’s incredible. I’m just going to stop writing now and let you drool over this glitter.





I really love this combo. The gray is dark and interesting, and the glitter just makes my eyes fall out of my head. It’s truly stunning. I’m also a little upset I waited this long to try it. Also, I’m trying the accent nails in a different place today because I saw other people do it and it’s cute.

Grey Area is available wherever Sally Hansen is sold; I think I got this bottle from Target. Serenity can be found in the Digital Nails shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Estée Lauder’s Black Plum

Swatch Sunday!! Today’s swatch is luxurious and glamorous. I feel like such a Fancy Nancy with this on. I’m wearing Estée Lauder’s Black Plum; this is three coats with one coat of Alter Ego‘s She Shines top coat.





Black Plum is a deep blackened plum (surprise) with a subtle lilac shimmer. The shimmer didn’t translate well to the nail, but it looks gorgeous in the bottle. You can see it somewhat in the sunlight (photos below), but in the studio it’s basically invisible. However, this formula was a joy to work with. I had perfect opacity in two coats, and the consistency was on the thin side, but not to thin as to be watery. My favorite thing about this formula, though, is the high gloss it dries with. This is some wicked shiny nail polish. In fact, I think I dulled it when I put on my top coat. It looks like plastic leather sexiness when it dries. It’s absolutely gorgeous.



This is my first Estée Lauder polish; in fact, I don’t have much experience with the brand at all, apart from some lipsticks and skincare minis from gifts with purchases. This polish was also in a gift with purchase, probably the only thing from it I’ve actually used. I’m really impressed with it. I’m disappointed the shimmer doesn’t capture well, but I love it anyway, so much so that there’s definitely a trip to the Estée Lauder counter in my future.



Here are those sunlight photos. You can see the tiny lilac shimmer if you look really hard. Otherwise, it just presents as a rich plum creme. I’m totally fine with this.



You can get this polish wherever Estée Lauder is sold. I get mine from Belk.

This polish was a gift with purchase. It was not sent for review or evaluation.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Toasty Warm

It’s another winter polish this Swatch Saturday! This is the next-to-last of the Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer winter collection from 2013. This is Toasty Warm; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Alter Ego‘s She Shines top coat.




Toasty Warm is a deep and rich blackened red with red glitters. It applies very easily; it was almost opaque on the first coat, and had perfect coverage on coat two. The glitters are suspended well in the polish; there’s no digging for it or struggling to even it out. The polish consistency was just right, not too thick or thin. It was pretty quick-drying; it reached its dried satin finish in about five minutes. I added a top coat to really bring out the beautiful amber shimmer.





I have a deep affinity for these dark and vampy colors; they’re so dramatic and striking. They also shine like crazy with top coat on. I love this a ton. I wore these colors a ton when I was younger, because I wasn’t allowed to wear black nail polish. Every time I wear a deep color like this, 13-year-old me is giving almost-30 me a high-five.



It’s a little weird wearing it this time of the year, though. As I write this, it is 83 degrees outside. It’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s gorgeous. “Toasty warm” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel right now; right now, I do not have socks on. I do not have on a hoodie or long pants. It did not take my 13 year old LCD monitor 25 minutes to warm up. This is the beginning of the year for me, when I can crawl out of my flannel and wool cocoon and bask in the sunlight. Unfortunately, I understand that a lot of you got snow on the first day of spring. I am so sorry. Hang in there, my northern buddies. This too shall pass.

Toasty Warm is long discontinued and is no longer for sale from the maker. Other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are available from their shop.

This polish was a gift. It was not sent by the maker, nor was it sent for review or evaluation.

Manicure Monday: Pink and Nude Watermarble

For the first time on this blog, I tried a water marble. I’ve actually tried some before, but circumstances kept me from finishing them. This mani didn’t turn out quite the way I imagined it, but it’s growing on me. My water marble was done with L’oreal’s Broadway Boogie and Sinful Colors’s Timbleberry. I have one nail each with Broadway Boogie, Timbleberry, and Ciate’s Love Letter. All nails are topped with one coat of Alter Ego‘s She Shines top coat.



At first I was just going to do a gradient with these colors, and then put the glitter on top. I’m so glad I did something different. Gradients are just so easy; they’re my fail-proof nail art look. I used to be hooked on watermarbles and did them constantly, but as I started to wear more indies, I just got used to laying down glitter and calling it a day. It feels good break away from that.



A quick word about the polishes I used: Broadway Boogie, a warm nude creme, really lengthens my nails. Timbleberry, a bright warm pink, is very vibrant, though faded a little in the marble. Love Letter, a shifting pink-to-orange microglitter, complements the warm and cool tones in this look.



I would love to do another look like this. I used to do so much nail art, and now I barely do any. I kind of miss it.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Emerald & Ash’s California Stop

Swatch Sunday comes to you in a more timely manner today. I’m excited to show you California Stop from Emerald & Ash. It’s from their textured Road Trip collection. I’m wearing three coats without top coat.





California Stop is a brick red jelly with shimmer and reflective silica beads; the silica beads are what gives this polish its texture. The texture is fine and still pretty smooth to the touch. I thought the drying times were good; my nails were bathroom dry in about fifteen minutes. Applying it was tricky; with all the beads and reflective goodness in it, the brush widened quite a bit, and was wider than my smaller nails. This made application on my thumb really nice, but made a mess on my pinky. I don’t blame this on the polish, just on my small hands. I got perfect opacity in three coats, though those who use lighter coats may need more.



Inspired by the ever-present red stop sign, this color is the exact shade of sun-aged red found in signs all over my neighborhood. To me, it evokes childhood memories of being in the car with my mother, driving around in my grandparents’ suburb, seeing the faded signs, the palm trees in every yard, and the sun in my eyes. Now that I think about it, that car was the same color as those signs.





The polishes in the Road Trip collection were the first textured indie polishes I’d ever seen, and I just thought they were really cool. They aren’t as coarse as mass-market textures, and they are beautiful in their shimmery monochrome simplicity. Also, at the time, I was getting ready to embark on a two week long road trip with a friend, so I was all about road tripping. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any of the polishes until recently, and by then, three of the seven were out of stock. It’s a shame, because there really isn’t anything else like them in my collection.

The reflective effect works best in dimmer, direct light, so in bright midday sunshine, it’s not as obvious. Out here, you get the shimmer and color of the polish, but not the reflective effect.



California Stop, as well as three of the other Road Trip collection polishes, are still in stock on the Emerald & Ash website. They are clearance priced, so it’s likely quantities are limited.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Snowfall at Dusk

Hello! Swatch Saturday is late today due to website maintenance. If you were here earlier and the site was down, I apologize. That said, Swatch Saturday is digging into the rest of Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s 2013 winter collection. Yeah, I know. It was 80 and sunny and springtime now, but here we are. This polish is called Snowfall at Dusk; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Alter Ego’s She Shines top coat. Also, that’s lotion stuck in my cuticles. Sorry.





Snowfall at Dusk is a cornflower blue jelly with various shades of blue glitter in hexes, dots, and squares. There are also white snowflakes in the bottle, though I didn’t get any on my nails. The formula was fantastic; the glitters and the color apply easily and evenly over the nail. It dried quickly. It dried completely smooth, even before top coat. The jelly is a great translucence; you can see all the glitter through all the coats. It’s a fun and easy polish to put on and wear.




I really like this polish. I love the blue winter motif, because it’s seasonal without being holiday festive. Blue is also a pretty cheerful color to me; sometimes winter is just so gray and dreadful and any pop of color, even one this soft, is a welcome sight. This polish says to me “Hey, it’s cold and wet and you’re miserable, but we’re gonna get through it”. That said, winter in Florida is over and I could not be happier.


I even got some pics in the sunshine! This polish almost looks like it wants to melt out here. The jelly is beautiful; you can see right through it. The glitters shine so well. Glitter in direct sunlight in the best thing in the universe.



Snowfall at Dusk has been discontinued, but BEGL‘s most recent winter collection is still available in their shop.

I bought this polish myself. Two Year Anniversary Post!

Today is the second anniversary of! Two years ago, I posted a mani and wrote some stuff about it. I didn’t know what to expect then; it was my first time owning my own domain and really running a website myself. I really had no idea that, two years later, I’d still be doing it. I am amazed that I’ve come this far. Just like I did last year, I want to share some stats and numbers with you to show how the blog has grown and improved in the past year.

Julep was the brand featured in the most Manicure Monday posts; last year it was Sally Hansen. Blue-Eyed Girl is still the most-swatched brand. Pink was the most often-used color; last year’s was blue. Gradients are still the most common nail art technique. A lot has changed since last year, so make you look at last year’s post to compare.






This year saw a lot more swatches than last year. The swatches even outnumber the Manicure Monday posts now. At this time last year, Swatch Saturday was just getting started and I was only a few bottles in. Wacie Nail Company was still in its very early stages and I was crazy with experimenting. This year saw the introduction of Swatch Sunday and the Summer of Untrieds, which really beefed up the numbers. Indie polishes were used 107 times, way up from the ten or so I used last year. Glitter was used in 92 manicures. 35 manicures used accent nails, mainly swatches of glitter toppers. Last year I estimated 617 bottles in my collection; this year I count 987, which means I’ve purchased 390 polishes since March 2014.

The next year of is going to be really exciting. I hope that you, dear reader, will stick around to share it with me.