Manicure Monday: Glitter Crack

Happy Monday, reader! Remember crackle polishes? Today I dug out an old polish, one of my first-ever China Glazes and one that crackles, no less. Sometimes I forget how long I’ve been doing this nail polish thing, and this polish comes as a stark reminder. This is China Glaze’s Gleam Me Up with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Lighthouse on the Lake.

Lighthouse on the Lake, this beautiful deep blue creme, has been a big player in my collection recently. I’ve used it as undies for glitter swatches and nail art, and it always looks great with whatever I pair it with. That’s really true for every BEGL creme, but this is the one I’ve used most often.

I can never get good macros on cloudy days.

Gleam Me Up is blue glitter crackle madness. I don’t even hate this polish. The glitter is dense enough that the crackle effect is crisp, but lets enough of the base color through so that everything is uniform. Honestly, it’s a fun combo. I kind of want to get some other crackles out to see what I’ve been missing.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are available from their online shop; BEGL is currently on hiatus while the maker is on maternity leave (!!!). China Glaze polishes are sold in stores.

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.

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 Ciaté

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!

Swatch Sunday: China Glaze’s Cashmere Creme

Happy new year, reader! My first post of 2017 is a swatch, and the polish is a vintage China Glaze. I’m not sure how vintage it is, but I do know that the label on the bottom is one I’ve ever seen before. I’m wearing three coats of Cashmere Creme with one coat of Seche Vite. Today’s post is very late due to NYE shenanigans.

Cashmere Creme is a cool frosty beige polish. Application was good; the polish was very easy to work with, the product consistency is spot on, and I had no issues. The polish dries quickly and with a smooth satin finish.

I found this polish in a thrift store, and I’ve been really curious about it ever since. It was about half-full when I got it, so it’s had quite the life before it came to live with me. I don’t know how old it is or anything else about it, and any identifying information that might have been on the bottle has long been rubbed away. It’s a mystery! I like this polish for that reason, but I also like it because it’s interesting. I don’t go for colors like this often, colors that are soft, neutral, SFW, because I tend to think they’re boring. The shimmer in this one is just so pretty; it gives the polish an allover coolness that makes it seem more silvery than it is. It’s gorgeous. I regret that it wasn’t sunny on the day I took these photos, I would have liked very much to see what it looked like in the sun.

I don’t know where to tell you to get Cashmere Creme. I know, I’m sorry! I bet you can find it on the internet. Other China Glaze polishes are sold in stores nationwide.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Old-Fashioned French Manicure

Manicure Monday is finally here! Today’s post is late because somebody (me) failed to charge the camera battery. It’s still Monday somewhere, so let’s get this post rolling. I went for a French manicure-inspired look with inlaid glitter. For this look, I used Zoya’s Chantal, L’Oreal’s Raven’s Dream, Lynnderella‘s Something Old, and China Glaze’s White on White.



I used two nudes in this look. I planned to use Raven’s Dream — a nude called Raven’s Dream, what? — is a sheer nude that’s ideal for a French mani, but I really suck at applying these sheers. I can never get them to look not-streaky. I love the look when it’s applied well, but I can never get it right, so I used Chantal as undies, and then a couple coats of Raven’s Dream on top. As it turned out, the color you’re seeing here is Chantal, but the shine, as well as the sheer painted over the glitter, that’s all Raven’s Dream. It has the most gorgeous gloss finish.



I picked Something Old to go in this look because it has this great vintage feel. It’s got white and pink, the best hallmarks of bridal-themed polishes, but also incorporates a soft yellow, really making it seem faded and well-loved. Of course, this look kind of takes the beauty out of the polish. You can see some colors and shapes, but any sparkle gets cancelled out. The colors in the glitter are just soft enough to be obscured, so unless you know the glitter is there, it’s easy to overlook.



I always suck at painting tips on. They always look so thick! My bottle of White on White is really low, so it took a lot of polish to get an even white tip on every nail. Some of them look and feel flat, but others have a visible bump where the tip is. It happens every time. It ties the look together, though. It’s not a true French by any means, but it does the job. The following photos were taken in direct sunlight outdoors. The glitter looks really nice out here, you can even see a bit of sparkle.





Chantal and other Zoya polishes are sold at Ulta. Raven’s Dream has been discontinued; other L’Oreal polishes are sold in stores nationwide. Something Old was a Lynnderella limited edition and has since sold out; Lynnderella polishes are sold on eBay and on China Glaze is sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Lavender Glamour

It’s Manicure Monday again! It’s Halloween, but I’m kind of glad to have the Halloween manis behind me. Lavender doesn’t scream (heh) Halloween, and I’m cool with it. For this look, I used LA Colors’s Bliss (lavender) and China Glaze’s Full Spectrum (microglitter).



When I paired these two polishes together, I was originally just going to use Full Spectrum as accent nails and leave the Bliss nails alone. I love Bliss on its own, and I love cremes, but my recent sort-of resolution to do more nail art inspired me to do the glitter swirls. For these, I just dipped a thin nail art brush in Full Spectrum, did a wiggly thing on the nail with it, and then more wiggly things in the leftover spaces. I put dots to fill up whatever space was left. The design is a bit clearer on the thumb nail than the others, but it’s still cool on the others. This was a mani where I could totally shut out the perfectionist and just be happy with however it turned out.



I kind of wish I was wearing Full Spectrum on its own. There is so much going on with this microglitter; though it looks silver primarily, there are fine glitters in many colors, as well as an allover purple shimmer. It’s just beautiful. I’ve had this in my collection a long time, and I’m glad I’m finally using it. There are blue and green versions of this polish, and I can’t remember if I have them or not, but I need them if I do. This is super beautiful.



In the sunlight, the glitter takes off. The colors are brighter and much easier to detect. These photos were taken in direct sunlight.





thumb, index, ring fingers

LA Colors and China Glaze are sold in stores nationwide. My bow charm is from Claire’s.

I bought these polishes myself.

Birthday Mani Digest 2016

Welcome back, reader! As you know, I took a bit of time off these past couple weeks to celebrate my birthday. It was only supposed to be one, but the arrival of Hurricane Matthew led to everything being postponed. That madness is now over, and now I’d like to show you what my nails were up to during the downtime. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen most of these lovelies already. I promise I will not be mentioning my birthday again until next October.

Birthday Mani #1: Pink Frosting With Sprinkles
Essie’s Good Morning Hope with Lynnderella‘s Icing Glass Garland


The first birthday mani was a fun warm-up with an untried Lynnderella topper. I had a lot of fun wearing this; Icing Glass Garland was a lot more interesting in real life, however. There is a lot of iridescence and color-changiness. It doesn’t look like much over Good Morning Hope, but it still made for a fun and dainty look.

Birthday Mani #2: Cupcakes
Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Eleanor, China Glaze’s White on White, LA Girl’s Black, Orly’s Water Lily, P2’s French Kiss, Ciate’s Pillow Fight


I always do cupcakes to celebrate my birthday, and this year’s mani was actually done in the middle of the hurricane. Even though the hurricane was an unwelcome birthday event (thanks, universe), we still had a good time. A lot of our friends live in evacuation zones and came to stay with us when the call came to evacuate, so we still had a party and ate food and played board games. It was not the worst experience.

Birthday Mani #3: Hello Dalek
Digital Nails‘s Hello Dalek


This was last week’s Manicure Monday post, but I’m including it for continuity. Monday was my actual birthday, and it was a ton of fun to wear a party on my nails as well. When your birthday is on the worst day of the week, you have to party any way you can.

Birthday Mani #4: Glitter Frosting
Digital Nails’s Pandorica, Model City Polish‘s Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Wacie Nail Company’s Your Daring Escape, Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Walk Through the Tulips

This look includes the polish I made myself for my birthday! Your Daring Escape is a silvery-white holo with holographic glitter and pearl pink and metallic silver flakies. I wanted a holo-meets-glitter-gradient look, but as the sun never came out that day, a lot of the beauty got lost.

Birthday Mani #5: Stripey Blue Frosting
Literary Lacquers‘s Bluestocking Romance, Hard Candy’s Sky, China Glaze’s Mosaic Madness


This was the mani I got the most compliments on for sure. I’d always wanted to do this moving stripes design, and this was the day I felt like dealing with the striping tape. It came out so much better than I expected it would, though I’m a little disappointed it smeared a little with the top coat. I’d totally do it again.

I also want to take this time to share some birthday manis of years past. I realized at some point that I’ve been doing the annual cupcake mani for five years now; the annual cupcake mani predates, even. I love doing little retrospectives like this; if I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that my cupcake painting skills have gotten only marginally better.

Colors Unknown, but probably all Sinful Colors


Look at this. I almost don’t even want to share this, but we all have to start somewhere, right? I do remember waiting practically all day for the dots to dry, and they still smudged when I put the top down. Not only was this before came to be, but I think it was also before the days of quick-dry top coat. Those dark, dark days.

Sally Hansen’s Mint Sprint, OPI’s Eurso Euro, P2’s French Kiss, Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get, Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Floppy. Hoppy. BUNNIES!


These look more like mashed potatoes than cupcakes. This was my first birthday post on the blog. Going back and reading the post, about it, I completely forgot all that stuff happened! I do remember doing this mani in Boyfriend’s tiny Atlanta living space, trying not to bother him and his roommate with nail polish smell. I got acetone on his desk and ruined the varnish. I still feel bad about that.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Dawn Breaks and If You’re a Seascape, Indigo Bananas‘s Moonlight (Clair de Lune), P2’s French Kiss, American Apparel’s Neon Pink, Essie’s Fiji, Ciate’s Candy Floss


That P2 polish finds its way into every birthday mani, doesn’t it? I loved this look a lot. I totally wore it to a fancy restaurant. Here’s the post!

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Ocean Warmed by the Sun, Digital Nails’s Purple Reign, Nails Inc.’s Pudding Lane, Hot Topic’s Light Blue, Estee Lauder’s Black Plum


This is last year’s mani, and the mani that celebrates the big 3-0. This was also one of the last photos I took on my phone before Drunk Me left it on top of the car and broke the camera forever. Good times!

Again, a huge thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday; I cherish all of you! Thank you so much for tolerating all of the birthday posts.

Pretty sure I bought all these polishes myself.