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 wacie.com 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!

Manicure Monday: White Snow Blue Lava

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s manicure is accidentally wintry. Some rain finally brought some chilliness to Florida, but it’ll be warming up again by Christmas (I hope). By chilliness, I mean it’s 59 degrees right now. Anyway, onto the look; I used OPI’s White Shatter over American Apparel’s Neptune, as well as Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You matte top coat.

Crackle polish is so over, even Boyfriend knows it’s over. I showed him my nails today and he said “Come on Wacie, crackle polish is so 2011.” I know it is, but I’m still going to keep using it if I have it around. I get tons of compliments on crackle polish whenever I do wear it, and since it’s almost certainly going to be in fashion again in the future, why should I toss it? Not that I plan to hoard it for another ten years, but as I already have plenty of ten year old bottles, it’s not unlikely I won’t still have them.

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Something I like about topper polishes — not just crackles, but glitters and shifters, too — is that I can get creative with what I use as my base. Sometimes I’ll use it as an excuse to use a high-end or indie creme, a thermal, just something that I wouldn’t normally use. I’ll even try to use a color that makes a contrasting or unlikely combo. I used the glow-in-the-dark Neptune for this because I loved the idea of the glow coming through the cracks. It mostly just glows through the white, but you can still see the difference. Neptune also isn’t completely opaque, and it changes color a bit based on whatever part of my nail it’s on. It’s a bit brighter when it’s on the white free edge of my nail, and makes a mini gradient.

Of course, old crackle polish can be unpredictable. It didn’t crack on a few nails and I had to redo them. The pinky nail you see here had to be redone twice. It wasted a lot of time and polish. I love the matte finish, though. Usually I’m not a fan of the matte finish, but I feel like it was the way to go today.

White Shatter is discontinued, but other OPI polishes are available in stores nationwide. Neptune and other American Apparel polishes have also been discontinued.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Bedspiration

It’s Monday again, and you know what that means! My nails this Manicure Monday were inspired by the bedding set in one of my guest rooms. I’m wearing Julep’s Korin and China Glaze’s Recycle with OPI’s White Shatter, all with one coat of Rica‘s Glossy Glam top coat.

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I know lots of you look at something and can automatically translate it to nail art. It’s impressive and I’m totally envious. I’m not as big into intricate nail art as I used to be (even when I was, I was awful at it), so it’s rare that I look at something and think “Yes, I want my nails to look like this”. It’s even rarer that I act on it. When I saw this comforter, even before I realized it, I knew I could do a quick-and-dirty nail art version. Green polish, gray polish, and white crackle. It could be done. When I grabbed Korin out of the storage container, I knew I had to try it out.

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Unfortunately, I think it looked better in my head. Crackle polish is unpredictable sometimes, and though that’s the one thing I love about crackle polish, I really didn’t think it would cover up most of my nail. It defeats the purpose of the whole thing. I was hoping for a jagged but even grid of crackle, leaving the colors beneath somewhat visible. Oh, well. I still like it, even if it’s not what I was going for at all.

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I got Korin from julep.com, Recycle from Sally Beauty Supply, and White Shatter from Publix. If you’re curious, the bedding is from Target.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Cracked Blue Frost

Hello, readers! It’s Monday again, and I have another mani to show you. I’m wearing China Glaze’s Crackle Glaze in Oxidized Aqua over Julep’s Char, topped with one coat of Rica‘s Glossy Glam top coat.

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For a Julep polish, Char, a deep blue creme, is pretty good. I had almost-opaque coverage in one coat; I guess these darker colors use more pigment, because I never have to struggle with the darker colors, only the light ones. It dries with a beautiful gloss. One thing I do notice, however, is the smell; Julep polishes generally have a mild smell, but this one is way different and much stronger. I suspect the pigment is the culprit; I have a similar shade from OPI that has the same odd scent. I’m looking forward to wearing Char on its own.

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Over Char is Oxidized Aqua, an icy blue crackle polish. This is the part of the mani I don’t like so much. You know how it is with crackle polishes; you sacrifice many tiny cracks for good coverage. I wanted good coverage, and so I have one or two cracks on each nail, which looks pretty silly. Also, I had to redo some nails because the crackening never took place. Overall, I guess it isn’t that bad. I can talk about how lame the polish is, but I only have myself to blame. I didn’t have to use it.

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Let’s talk about the new top coat! I got a bottle of Rica’s Glossy Glam in the March/April Beauty Quartet Box. I’ve heard so many good things about this top coat and I see it everywhere, so I’m excited to have the chance to try it out myself. I’ve used it in two manis now (the first is one you’ll see later this week) and I’m pretty happy with it so far. It doesn’t feel totally dry after five minutes, so I’ll have to remember to give it ten. The shine is beautiful, and my nails are so smooth; I don’t feel any of the cracks or ridges from the crackle polish when I touch my nails. I find that impressive.

Char is available wherever Julep polishes are sold; I got mine from their website. Crackle Glaze appears to be discontinued by China Glaze; I got mine at Big Lots. Glossy Glam is available from their etsy shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Blue Bomb

For Manicure Monday this week, I pulled out a crackle polish that had been languishing in the collection. For this look, I’m wearing P2’s Blue Bomb over Essie’s Mint Candy Apple, a dusting of China Glaze’s Fairy Dust, and Ciate’s Speed Coat Pro top coat.

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I know we’ve seen crackle polishes on the blog before, and each time I’m always conflicted about wearing one; it’s something between “Man, this is super cool” and “Dude, what was I thinking?” I mean, I like the look in general; I always get compliments on crackle polish whenever I wear one out, and I like how unpredictable it is and how two nails never look exactly the same. I feel pretty meh about this look, though. I even tried to dress it up with Fairy Dust, which was a last-minute impulse, and even then it’s like 2010 called and asked for its manicure back.

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Individually, I love these polishes. Mint Candy Apple is a nice baby blue creme that was opaque in two coats. Fairy Dust is the most beautiful kind of subtle. Blue Bomb is special to me because it’s from Germany and I got it in an awesome Reddit swap. I normally like it, but today I’m not feeling it so much. I guess that’s a really rude-as-crap thing to say about a gift. Sorry.

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Final word: It looked better in my head. It also looks nicer in person, because the glitter is more glittery.

Summer of Untrieds Day 15: Pink

Day 15 of the Summer Untrieds Challenge calls for pink, so I went with something I’ve had for ages and have never tried: My first-ever China Glaze! I grabbed a bunch of these vibrant glitter crackle polishes during a huge Sally Beauty sale last summer (or maybe the summer before?), and I’ve only used one of them until today. This is one coat of Glam-More over two coats of Ciaté’s Amazing Gracie, topped with one coat of Seche Vite.

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As you can see, Glam-More is a glitter crackle. It’s pink, pretty, and totally passé. I just can’t say no to glitter, though, in any of its forms. This was actually quite thick when I opened it, but I took care of that with some thinner. It went on easily after thinning and the crackle effect occurred almost immediately. I think it’s a bit pinker in person; it looks purplish in the studio. That’s a bit misleading.

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I’ve never used Amazing Gracie before today, so I’ll say something about it, too. It’s a soft, sheer nude that’s perfect for a French mani. It dries quickly and with a nice shine. I fear these polishes a little, because they always come out streaky, and since they’re so translucent, you can never correct it with another coat. That happened to me a little, but isn’t noticeable under the crackle.

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I really love how dense the glitter is in Glam-More. It’s basically a clear crackle with glitter; there’s no pigment at all, that’s all glitter! This is especially obvious in the sunlight/outdoor photos. I regret using such a delicate base color, though; I feel like a darker color would have done more for it. Actually, looking back, I made that mistake the last time I used one of these crackle polishes. Why didn’t I learn?

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I feel a little weird wearing this. I know I’m late to like every nail trend ever, but this is crazy. It’s like a nail polish time capsule.

Manicure Monday: Dainty Glitter Crackle

I’m always afraid of manicures like this. They never turn out the way I want them. Those light, girlish pinks are never opaque enough, and in my experience, crackle polishes won’t crackle if you look at them sideways. Thankfully, this one turned out quite well.

I have no clue what that string is hanging off my nail. I swear it wasn't there when I took the photos.

I have no clue what that string is hanging off my nail. I swear it wasn’t there when I took the photos.

The light pink I used this week is Wet ‘n Wild’s Sugar Coat. After three coats, I still had a visible nail line, but it was very shiny and pretty regardless. The crackle, China Glaze’s Luminous Lavender, is more subtle than I expected. It wasn’t the glitterbomb the bottle makes it look like. It dries matte is somewhat gritty, so it takes a good top coat to bring out the shine in the glitter. Overall, I like this look. These soft, dainty manicures always make me feel different, like less really is more. I feel like I’ve gone on that tirade before in another post. I’m not a less is more sort of person, but manicures like these make me feel like it’s true, like it’s not so bad being feminine and sweet, like I could be that person in the future. Whether I actually want to be that person remains to be seen. Also, you can even really tell I nicked the polish off my middle finger nail while I was chopping vegetables for dinner last night.

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I tried something different this week: using a brush instead of the pointed cotton swabs to clean up my cuticles. After buying four packs of them and blowing through them in two weeks, I decided that investing in a good brush was really a more efficient and less wasteful solution. I settled on an angled eyebrow brush from Nyx. It was thin, flat, and would give me just the right amount of space between my polish and my cuticle. The brush didn’t make it past the first cleanup phase. I like to clean up after every step, and so I was cleaning up the three coats of pink before I put on the crackle when it started shedding. Fibers were coming out in the acetone, on my polish, all over the place. I ended up making an emergency trip to Walgreens to find the pointed cotton swabs, only they were out. I bought an eyeliner brush that’s a little thicker than the one I had, but it got the job done, for now. I’ll probably have to go to the art supplies store to grab a paintbrush that can handle the acetone.

Wet 'n Wild's Sugar Coat, China Glaze's Luminous Lavender

Wet ‘n Wild’s Sugar Coat, China Glaze’s Luminous Lavender

Manicure Monday On the Road: Bah Humbug Nublets

I never do holiday-themed nails. Sometimes I want to. I saw them pop up this year right around November, and I love the candy cane nails, the snowfall nails, etc. They’re so friggin’ cute. I love them on other people but I feel weird doing it myself because a) it doesn’t snow in Florida, b) I don’t really celebrate Christmas, and c) I’d already picked out these polishes like months in advance because I’m obsessive and crazy over this stuff.

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This week I used Black Mesh from China Glaze, which is the black crackle you see here. I had to use really thin coats of this stuff for it to crackle; I put thicker coats on some nails and it didn’t crackle at all. I had to redo them. I’m wearing Black Mesh over Julep’s Bunny, which was also somewhat of a disappointment. In the bottle, it has this gold shimmer that totally didn’t translate to my nails. I saw it on the pointed cotton swab I’d used to clean up my cuticles, so I know it’s there. It just doesn’t show up on the nail at all. I could have gotten the same look from a white creme polish.

It’s the day before Christmas Eve, and I’m spending it with my mother. Whenever we meet up for the holidays, we always just end up painting our nails together. Here’s an obligatory photo of her chickens.

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Manicure Monday: Red Crackle over Blue

There isn’t much to say about this manicure that I didn’t say the last time I used a crackle top coat. I got a very cool, very unpredictable, very 2009 manicure.

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The red stained my cuticles.

I’ll say a word to Dianna, the blue base I used. Usually Julep polishes have varying degrees of quality, and I’m happy to report this is one of the better ones. It was nearly opaque in the first coat.

Julep's Dianna, Nicole by OPI's Red Texture

Julep’s Dianna, Nicole by OPI’s Red Texture

I used to think solid creme colors were boring. If it didn’t have shimmer or glitter, I wasn’t interested. I suppose less is more with them, and that’s a cliche that never quite found itself into my practical life advice files. There’s something about bold, shiny nails without anything to distract from the color. Maybe someday I’ll try it.

Manicure Monday: Blue Crackle Over Copper

I was looking forward to this manicure for a while. I bought Essie’s Penny Talk a few months ago, when I was just climbing onto the Essie bandwagon. My boyfriend and I were grocery shopping and I found the supermarket’s small section of nail polish. I flipped and grabbed as many bottles of it as I could hold (like four). My boyfriend caught me, made me put them all back, and literally dragged me away from the shelf. I didn’t put them all back though. I sneaked this one.

I’ve never shown swatches or pre-cleanup pictures on the blog before, but I knew I needed to photograph this one before I finished. I mean, look at this. I didn’t expect this metallic finish at all, and I am blown away by it. I’ve seen the other Essie metallic colors in stores, but I was never interested in them until I put this on. This is just breathtaking.

This is two coats of Penny Talk with no topcoat.

This is two coats of Penny Talk with no topcoat.

Dat shiny.

Dat shiny.

Unfortunately, it’s not very forgiving if you don’t have perfectly smooth nails. I have some nail peeling and dents from peeling off polish, and you can see every ridge and crease through the polish. I’ve never had this happen before. It may be time to invest in a ridge filling base coat, because I plan to buy more of these.

The actual manicure.

The actual manicure.

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I know crackle toppers are long over, but I still like them. I like how unpredictable they can be, and how each nail is its own unique, chaotic piece of art. This particular crackle topper was sent to me from Germany, so I’m really excited to finally try it. I really love the way the metallic finish shines through the cracks. The crackle itself dries matte, but when I put the topcoat on, I get this incredible shine from both. I didn’t think I would like a crackle manicure so much.

Essie's Penny Talk, P2's Crackling Top Coat in Blue Bomb. I really love that German sticker on the bottle.

Essie’s Penny Talk, P2’s Crackling Top Coat in Blue Bomb. I really love that German sticker on the bottle.