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┬áthat 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: Gold and Glitter Magic

 

Manicure Monday this week was amazingly fun. I’ve got two polishes that, at first, don’t look like they would pair together well at all. Somehow, though, it works. I’ve got on three coats of Disney Villain Varnish Queen of Hearts, with Digital Nails’s When Life Gives You Lemons as an accent. Photos were taken in the studio and outdoors.

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When I think of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, I don’t think of gold. Just saying. Regardless of what villain this polish was meant to evoke, it’s a beautiful rich, warm gold with tiny microglitters. It takes three coats of achieve full opacity, but the application is smooth and easy. I kind of feel bad that I don’t use it very often. This is the first time I’ve used it as the main color in a manicure, and I didn’t realize what a beauty it is. It’s totally gorgeous.

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When Life Gives You Lemons is a Digital Nails glitter. I feel like that’s all I need to say. It’s a clear base with an impressive show of purple and gold glitters, yellow holo dots and stars, tiny bar glitter (which I actually didn’t notice until I was reviewing my photos), shreds, iridescents…. The sheer amount of glitter in this bottle should be overwhelming, but isn’t. It spreads smoothly and evenly, even the large shapes. It’s also incredible in the sunlight.

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While I’m not sure where you can still find the Villains Varnish collection, Digital Nails still has a few bottles of When Life Gives You Lemons in their etsy store. (It feels really good to review something that’s still available, for once.) The price is a bit higher than usual, but it was created as a charity item, with the profits from each bottle going to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and will fund cancer research. To date, this and its sister polish, I’m a Survivor, are the most expensive polishes I’ve ever bought, but I know I bought more than nail polish; I bought a little bit of hope.

Manicure Monday: Garnet Jelly Sandwich

This week’s Manicure Monday was so much fun! I know I’m going to hate taking this off in a couple of days. I rarely get to do jelly sandwiches, so I’m happy about having the chance, and doing something besides slapping glitter down on polish and calling it art. Today, I’m wearing two coats of OPI’s Which is Witch? between coats of Disney Villains Varnish Mother Gothel.

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Mother Gothel is a deep burgundy, and when I got it, I had no idea it would make a jelly sandwich like this. I swatched it once and I put it away until I started playing with it, planning a future manicure with it. I don’t remember when or how I decided to see what it looked like over glitter, but after I saw it, I couldn’t not do it. To me, this is the perfect translucence for a jelly sandwich: you can still see the holo shine from the glitter, but not the glitter itself. This is a look I love a lot. On its own, Mother Gothel is very shiny, like it could do without a top coat shiny. With top coat, my nails just look like tiny little garnets.

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OPI’s Which is Witch? is special to me because it’s one I had my friend in New York send me. She has a local salon that sells OPI for half the price Ulta does, and even after shipping, I still paid less than I would have at Ulta. Also, I don’t even think I knew what this one looked like when she bought it; I don’t remember asking for it, and I think it was comparable to something else I was looking for that they didn’t have. I love it, though; there are so many kinds of holographic silver glitter in it. A couple of the bar glitters didn’t want to play nice; you can probably still see a couple of them I couldn’t get off of my cuticles.

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Regardless, I am amazed at how this turned out. Note to self: do this more often.

Manicure Monday: Red Gradient

I spend a lot of time doing my nails. Basically, I set aside my entire Monday for it. It wasn’t so bad when I stuck to solid colors, I could be finished in an hour. In recent months, I’ve gotten into more intricate and time-consuming methods and techniques of nail art, so it can take all day to finish them, but when I do finally finish, I have a beautiful manicure and a fantastic sense of accomplishment.

This manicure was against me from the very beginning. In theory, it was a great idea. When I tested it on my mannequin hand, it looked fantastic. When I started, I had to fight it every step of the way. The dark red with glitter polish is very old and thick and refused to drop off the brush the way I wanted it to so I could sponge it on. By the time I finished, I’d actually emptied the bottle. When I added the matte top coat, I felt like I had sucked the life out of it. This morning, while I was in the shower, I picked at the cuticles a bit and took too much off, and when I tried to smooth it down with acetone, I just made it worse. On top of that, it’s raining this morning, so I didn’t have any natural light to help my photos. I also don’t know what that bump is on my middle nail. Even after all of that, though, I’m pretty happy with it. It didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it, but I love the gradient. I keep staring at it.

Yes, my desk is ugly. Yes, that's polish on my keyboard. Yes, that's a burger sticker.

Yes, my desk is ugly. Yes, that’s polish on my keyboard. Yes, that’s a burger sticker.

There’s the stuff I used. That Maybelline bottle is so old that all but the front sticker has come off, so I can’t tell you the name of the shade, not that you could probably buy it anymore. Also, I used to have a real problem with peeling the stickers off of bottles.

There’s another reason I’m writing this. Five years ago, I stopped biting my nails. When I was younger, I’d watch my mother paint her nails, and then I’d feel bad about my own nubby nails, so I’d stop biting. My nails would grow and be long and gorgeous until something stressed me out, and that was it, they were gone. I went through many such phases as a teenager. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I finally managed to stop for good, and now that I think about it, it’s probably because I was able to turn to alcohol during stressful times instead of just biting off all my nails. Save your nails, drink a beer? That’s really bad advice, don’t follow it.