Manicure Monday: Light and Magic

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s look was an experiment in combining matte and glossy finishes to create some texture, and I think I did well. My polish here is Monster Polish‘s What’s Wrong With This Jumper?; I used Seche Vite for the glossy elements.

I swatched this polishes ages ago, and I swore that when I did a proper manicure with it, I would take advantage of its natural matte finish. It’s a beautiful polish either way, so I thought doing this would give it the best of both worlds; you get the most holo on the shiny parts, but the matte softens it. This is the kind of nail art this polish was meant for (though maybe not this execution).

Unfortunately, this has already started to chip. I should have used a coat of top coat before the last coat, and ultimately, before I added the nail art, but I’m running low and need to conserve what little I have. I definitely plan to try this again in the future with another beautiful matte polish.

In the shade. The contrast between gloss and matte is most evident here.

Monster Polishes are for sale in their online shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Whenever: Punk Rock on Ice

Hello again! Today’s post is a quick one. This was a look I did that was supposed to be a Manicure Monday post, but for whatever reason, was never posted; it was definitely from November, which was a hugely busy month for me. In any case, I’m excited to finally show you this look. I used Indigo Bananas‘s Do You Have a Flag? and Model City Polish‘s Punk Rock Princess.

One day a few years ago, I realized I needed a white holo, and Do You Have a Flag? was the first one I stumbled upon. It’s a polish with a lot of dimension; not only is it a bright white holo, but it’s got some frost to it, and some silvery-white flakies to make it interesting. It’s a great polish.

Punk Rock Princess, on the other hand, was not a planned purchase, but it’s not like I wasn’t going to buy a polish called Punk Rock Princess. This is a polish I love, though. It’s got loads of chunky glitter, so even if it had a different name, I’d still love it. The colors are a wee bit edgy, and really pop over the white. The base has a pink tinge to it, and I’m not sure if that’s intentional, but I kind of like how it transformed the white to a light pink. The holo goodness is still visible underneath, but it added a bit of variety to the look.

Do You Have a Flag? looks like it might have been discontinued, but other Indigo Bananas polishes are available on their website. Model City Polish isn’t making polish anymore (sad).

I bought these polishes myself.

Throwback Swatch: Bluebird Lacquer’s It’s Fall Over Me

Right, so during the month of November, I was insanely busy with starting a new job, starting a volunteer job leading writing groups for National Novel Writing Month, actually writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month, and cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for nine people. Now that novels are finished and Thanksgiving is over, I’ve finally got the time to share the swatches I’ve been collecting.

This first one is It’s Fall Over Me from Bluebird Lacquer; I’m wearing two coats over e.l.f.’s Smoking Hot (red), Butter London’s Tea and Toast (tan), Sally Hansen’s Black Out (black), China Glaze’s White on White (white), and Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Lighthouse on the Lake (blue), topped with Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You matte top coat.

It’s Fall Over Me is a clear-based glitter topper with iridescent shifting glitters of various sizes. The shift is definitely reminiscent of the flakies in Essie’s famous Shine of the Times. Application was easy; the product consistency is wonderful in that it’s not thick enough to be goopy and difficult to use, but it’s not thin enough that it drips off the brush. The glitter delivers very easily, but I definitely wanted more than I got on my first coat, so I used two. In the future, I might try sponging it on to get that heavy glitter coverage without the thickness of multiple coats of lacquer. I used two coats of top coat as well, just to smooth down any glitter texture that was left.

I bought this at the Indie Shop Atlanta, and it had my heart as soon as I saw the bottle. I am such a sucker for these opalescent kinds of glitters, because there’s always something going on with it; it’s the easiest way to give a look dimension and style without getting knee-deep in nail art. It also looks interesting over any color, even white, which is obviously not the ideal undies for this polish, has a unique effect on it.

When I was talking to maker Lou at her booth, she told me I had to try it with a matte finish, so I did, and here are the photos of that. I definitely prefer the glossy finish, but I have to admit that the glitter looks pretty cool mattefied. I feel like the matte finish makes the shift a little less dramatic, but it still does happen, and still looks pretty cool.

Unlike everything else I’ve shown you from my Indie Shop Atlanta haul, this is a polish you can actually still buy! As of this writing, It’s Fall Over Me is for sale on the Bluebird Lacquer website.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Dark Water

Welcome back to Manicure Monday! You find me today with the shortest nails I’ve had all year. My last break was already devastating (curse you, fitted sheets), and now something else has happened to completely finish them off. This is China Glaze’s Black Diamond and Digital Nails‘s Leviathan.

I’ve had these Digital Nails starship glitters forever, and I’m just getting around to being able to appreciate them. They’re beautiful! The shift is just too impressive not to rave about. I realize I am so late to this party, but shifters, man, they’re amazing.

I feel a little bad for Black Diamond, because it’s a lovely polish on its own. It’s got this subtle gunmetal shimmer to it that the glitter completely obscured. I did plan a glitter gradient to get the best of both words, but there just wasn’t room for it on these tiny nails. Glitter wins every time.

China Glaze is sold in stores; I got this particular bottle at Sally Beauty Supply. Leviathan and other Digital Nails polishes are available on etsy, though they’re currently closed.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Crystal Knockout’s Pegasus Landing

Welcome back to Swatch Sunday! Today’s polish is a new-to-me brand called Crystal Knockout (formerly DazzleGlaze). I loved meeting them at The Indie Shop in Atlanta; they’re from Florida, and I always like meeting the neighbors. They were selling a big range of products, even making their own jewelry. I regret that I didn’t buy any of the jewelry. Anyway, so here’s their VIP bag contribution. This is Pegasus Landing on its own (three coats) and over both China Glaze’s White on White and Sally Hansen’s Black Out (two coats) with one coat of Seche Vite.

Pegasus Landing is a shimmery white gold with gold glitters and rose gold flakies. This was very easy to apply; the product consistency good, even with all of the glitter in it. The bigger glitters was a little shy, but with repeated coats, I still got a good amount on my nail. I did a terrible job at showing the rose gold aspect of the polish; it was probably my favorite thing about it. The polish dried well but I did wish I’d used a second layer of top coat.

I didn’t expect this polish to work so well on its own, but I definitely prefer it alone than over white or black. I love how well the gold stands out over the black, but it’s definitely best without undies. I don’t really have any other polishes like this one, so it’s got a cool uniqueness factor. Lots of polishes like this with really creamy shimmery bases and chunky glitters don’t work, but this one does.

Pegasus Landing was an event exclusive. Other Crystal Knockout products are sold on their online shop.

This polish came in an event VIP bag.

Swatch Sunday: Chaotic Glitz’s The Dryad

It’s Swatch Sunday!! Yes, it’s another Indie Shop Atlanta exclusive. I’m sorry. I feel so bad teasing polishes you can’t buy without hunting it down. I’m pretty excited about trying out a new-to-me brand, though! This is The Dryad from Chaotic Glitz. I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite.


I’ll admit it, I have no idea what color The Dryad is. In the bottle, it looks like a blackened shimmery plum with holo glitter, but on the nail, it’s more of a gunmetal, or just a shimmery black. In any case, I am so into it. The product consistency was lovely; it was super easy to work with and I had complete opacity in two coats. It dries with a satin finish. The brush is also one that delivers a lot of polish on the nail, I’ll let you decide if that’s a plus or not.

There’s a brush-stroke there that didn’t quite level itself out.

The Dryad is a pretty great polish, and I’m happy it’s one of my first CGs. It’s a dark and sultry polish. It has an edge. Unfortunately, it was shady outside when I took these photos, and the glitter isn’t as shiny as it should be, but it’s definitely got some sparkle, too. It’s beautiful.

The Dryad was an Indie Polish Atlanta exclusive. Other Chaotic Glitz products are available from their etsy shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Sunday Doubleheader, Part One: Bluebird Lacquer’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

It’s Swatch Sunday! Same rules as last time, we get two today because we had none last week. Lucky for you, they’re two of my acquisitions from The Indie Shop Atlanta! This first swatch is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil from Bluebird Lacquer. I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a dark polish — I can’t tell if it’s a black or a navy — with blue-to-purple shifting shimmer, holo, and flakies. This polish has everything. Application was good; as you might expect, it was a little thin and streaky on the first coat, but everything evened out nicely. It dries with a somewhat glossy finish; I added top coat for shine and protection.

This is a polish I cannot help but love because there’s so much going on in it. Dark and moody? Check. Icy blue shimmer? Check? Holo? Yes! Flakies? Okay sure! It’s like a buffet of everything that makes nail polish amazing. I loved wearing this and cannot wait to put it on again.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was an Indie Shop Atlanta exclusive and may not be for sale. Lucky for you, though, I happen to have an extra bottle! There was a mini in my VIP bag but I knew I wanted a full-size when I saw it, so I’ve got one of both. I’m thinking of doing a giveaway with it and some of the other dupes I got; should I give them away one bottle at a time, or do the whole lot?

Other Bluebird Lacquers are sold on their website, though as of this writing, their shop is temporarily closed.

I bought this polish myself.

Nailspiration: Alterre NY’s Resort/Winter 2017 Collection

Hello, reader! Today’s post is all about shoes and manicures based on shoes. I got an early look at Alterre‘s 2017 shoe collection, and after seeing how easily the designs and colors lend themselves to negative space manicures, I had to give it a shot.

This post is a sponsored post by Alterre NY and Brandbacker. The opinions stated in this post are my own.

If you’re unfamiliar with Alterre, imagine this: modular sandals. You start with a sandal base, with straps that snap to the bottom sole. Different straps (the look) can be added to the sandal base (the lift) to customize the shoe. All looks work with all lifts and can be used to create a huge combination of different shoes. Imagine the possibilities!

This year’s collection, which doesn’t launch until September, is based on styles from the 1970s. The catalog contains a lot of earth tones and platform shoes, which I’m a huge fan of.

As I mentioned, I saw a manicure for every shoe in the catalog. The modular approach to negative space manicures works as well as it does for shoes.

P2’s French Kiss and Essie’s Good As Gold

These looks are completely outside what I usually do for myself. I did a lot of taping and a lot of freehand painting, which I’ve never been completely comfortable with. Some of these looks, I regret to say, aren’t up to my usual standards.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Lighthouse on the Lake and Siren’s Quarter-Life Crisis

They’re kind of editorial, and maybe that’s the look I wanted all along. Not all of these looks, nail and shoe alike, are suited for everyday life, but they could be with just a few adjustments.

This was directly from the PDF catalog, I didn’t get a hi-res photo of this one.

Sally Hansen’s Black Out, China Glaze’s White on White, dried flowers from Ciat√©

e.l.f’s Nude, Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s I Could See Them Too

P2’s Artful, Essie’s Nothing Else Metals, OPI’s Dutch Tulips

So, what do you think, reader? I hope you like the shoes and some of the manis. I’ve been thinking of making Nailspiration a regular feature, because I see so many things around the house and out into the world that would make fantastic nail art that I never get the chance to try.


This post is a sponsored post by Alterre NY and Brandbacker. The opinions stated in this post are my own.
All nail products featured in this post were purchased myself.

A Look Back at 2016

Hello reader! Now that 2016 is behind us, I wanted to look back on some of my blog highlights and share my favorite nail art looks, and maybe share some of my 2017 blogging goals with you. I guess I could have waited to do this on my blog-versary in March, but it feels more appropriate to do it now.

January: Elevated Gradient

February: Neon Satisfaction

You’ll notice these photos are tiny. Why? Because in March, The Great Server Crash of 2016 happened! My webhost had a hardware failure, and for whatever reason, several months of posts were lost and had to be pieced back together with images and text cached by Google. It was an extremely frustrating and embarrassing time for me.

March: Spring Hibiscus

I miss these long nails.

This is probably my favorite look of the year.

Third Anniversary Do-Over

I mentioned earlier that my blog’s anniversary is in March. For last year’s anniversary, I recreated the first-ever mani I posted on my blog. I don’t know yet what I’ll do for my fourth year, but it’ll probably be awesome.

April: Dusty Watermarble

May: Neon Splatter

I went to Hawaii in May. As a result, this is my least active month on the blog for the year.

June: Orange Jello Sandwich

My first Empties Roundup post was also in June.

July: Beyond

August: Ombre Hearts

September: Popples

October: Stripey Blue Frosting

This was a look I did to celebrate my birthday.

November: Ruby Opal

December: White Snow Blue Lava

So there’s my year! This was probably the busiest year for the blog, since I broadened my sujects quite a lot. I did tons of swatches and nail art, but I also ventured into product reviews and makeup talk. I don’t think this will ever become a full lifestyle or beauty blog, but I’m definitely having fun with it in this format. I’m kind of excited to see what it’ll evolve into in 2017. Here are a few beauty goals I have in mind, though.

1. Write more
I wrote 175 posts in 2016, averaging about 14 per month. It doesn’t sound like much to me, like I did way more work than that, especially when it started to feel stressful. That said, I’d like to do at least one more post every week.

1b. Write on my other blog more
I have a second blog¬†that I want to start posting to more. It’s been so long since I’ve bothered with it that I don’t even remember the login credentials. I still want a place to talk about myself and my life, a place to seem like I have a life away from my nails.

2. Build a real skincare routine
I still feel insecure about my skin. I’m frustrated that I’m 31 and I still get acne. I want to take every preventative measure I can against wrinkles and anti-aging. I also want to try a 10-step Asian beauty routine. If you’re over 30 with oily skin and hormonal acne, I want your recommendations.

3. Stop competing
I know one of the big rules of blogging is not to compare your success with others’, but I feel so competitive about it. At the risk of sounding whiny, I always look at other bloggers who’ve been working on their blogs for about as long as I have, and watching their blogs grow faster than mine is kind of frustrating. I don’t want to feel like that anymore.

4. Do more real nail art
I love glitter toppers and I think I use at least one every week, but sometimes it feels lazy. I want to go back to the basics: watermarbling, gradients, dotting. I love my glitters, but it’s starting to feel like a cop-out.

I think that’s it! Anyway, I think 2017 is going to be an exciting year, and I’m looking forward to the good times, the challenges, and the time we spend together. Thanks for reading!