Manicure Monday: Cold Blue Hearts

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s mani was my first successful-ish look with vinyls. I had a sheet of tiny heart vinyls, and it’s been so long since I got them that the company who made them has since closed up. The first time I tried to use them, I messed up and just did not get a good look. I messed up this time, too, but not as badly. For this look, I used Ellagee‘s Cyrena and Sweet Heart Polish‘s Summer Breeze.

Cyrena is a sister polish to Liliana, which I wore recently and loved. This is a cooler icy blue version, complete with the same iridescent flakies, strong holo, and jelly-like opacity. Summer Breeze is about the same color, but with more pigmentation and less holo. I wanted a look that was more or less light blue monochrome. I think I got it pretty close.

So, about the vinyls. I don’t know if it’s because the cutouts were so small, or because my nails are small, but I had a really hard time getting good crisp lines, especially at the tips of the nails where they narrow and curl up on themselves. For the most part, you can tell the hearts are hearts, and only a few look blobby. This is because I added the tips to cover all the ones at the tips that were less defined. I freehanded the tips, and they’re a little sloppy, especially on the right hand, but I can deal with it.

Cyrena has been discontinued by Ellagee; other Ellagee polishes are available on their website. Summer Breeze was a box exclusive and is no longer for sale; other Sweet Heart Polishes are sold on etsy.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Holo Dots

Happy Monday! This week’s look is pretty simple. After being at a loss over what to put on my nails, I finally settled on a dotticure after realizing I’ve never really done one. This is Ellagee‘s Liliana and A Rhyming Dictionary Polish‘s Heathendom.

Liliana is from a 2015 Ellagee collection. Yeah, I had to scroll way back through my Instagram photos to determine how old it is. Before this (and now, too, I suppose), I had a pretty limited experience with Ellagee, only having polishes from collaborations with other indies. This is the first one I’ve ever used that was independent of any other maker. In a word, wow. Seeing Liliana on my nails reminds me why I bought the whole collection. The holo is so strong, and the iridescent flakies floating in the polish are so super pretty. I wish this one was a little more opaque, but it’s gorgeous regardless. I’ve got some others from this collection I’ll be using pretty soon!

The flakies show up beautifully in the shade.

I used Heathendom as my accent here because it’s also a holo, but you can’t see the holo effect in the dots. I wanted an all-over holo effect, but now that I’ve done it, I should have used a blue creme, something that with more contrast. The dots are a bit more visible in the shade than in the sun. It’s a cute look either way.

Liliana was discontinued by Ellagee; other polishes are for sale at ellagee.com. Heathendom was a limited polish made for a collaboration with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer; other Rhyming Dictionary Polishes are for sale in their etsy shop (though it appears they’re on a break).

I bought these polishes 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 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!

HPB Presents: Spring Hibiscus

Hello hello, reader! Today’s a special Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up post. Every month we get together and do a themed mani, and the theme for March is spring. The mani can be as simple or elaborate as we like as long as it fits the theme; as a personal challenge, I try to use polishes I haven’t used before. For this look, I used Elevation Polish‘s The Merchant’s Son, Ellagee‘s Breena, Essie’s Tart Deco and Sunday Funday, L’Oreal’s New Money and Hyde Park, and Revlon’s Sunlit Grass and African Tea Rose, all topped with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

Of course, flowers are the harbingers of spring, and as beautiful as they are, I didn’t want to do a floral mani for spring because I knew everyone else would be doing it. I did it anyway. Boyfriend and I are very into tropical plants, and we wanted to make our backyard space even more tropical, so we got a few new hibiscus plants. I snapped a photo of this beautiful peach hibiscus, and I knew I had to make a mani out of it. Boyfriend is also quite the connoisseur of Hawaiian shirts, and this look is inspired by those as well.

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I started this look out with two coats of The Merchant’s Son, three on some nails where it was still a bit translucent. The Merchant’s Son is a thermal, but you can’t really tell under all the flowers. I didn’t even bother to show the thermal effect in action because it would be impossible to see. I picked a thermal because my original idea was to use a gradient. I also used a thin coat of Breena — that’s where the flakie holo comes from — just to add a bit of sparkle. When you can see the thermal effect of The Merchant’s Son, it shows right through Breena. The addition of Breena was probably unnecessary, but I needed one more polish to make an even eight.

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I did the leaves before I did the flowers, but I did them exactly the same way; instead of brushing the polish on, I stippled it on with a dotting tool. I don’t know what it is, but I’m much more comfortable with the dotting tool as a method. Brushing never works for me. I have small nail beds, and often the brush feels too large or unwieldy, even when my nails are quite long. For this reason, there’s not a lot of intricate detail in the foliage and flowers; I took a cruder colorblock approach to this. I stippled the leaves on — two colors for variety — and then the flower petals, and then the pistils and stamens. For reference, I used Nailstorming’s hibiscus nail art tutorial video. I actually picked my colors before I sought out the video, and I love that we both chose pretty similar colors.

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This was my first attempt at this kind of nail art, and I’m happy with how it came out. It’s rough, sure, but I didn’t screw it up or anything, you can tell what it’s supposed to be. It’s super in your face. Boyfriend accused them of being stick-on nails and that was kind of satisfying. I got to use a whole eight unused polishes, that’s pretty nice too.

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The truth is, spring came long ago to Florida. I know other parts of the country are still thawing out, but we’ve been enjoying it for some time now. That’s kind of the reason I didn’t want to do a spring flower mani, I was just so over spring flowers that I just wanted something summery and fun, something that really reflects Florida in March. Speaking of which, here’s some sunlight photos! The holo, or what you can see of it, looks amazing out here. I’m not sure if the Elevation or the Ellagee is my favorite of this look, but they look so beautiful together I couldn’t possibly choose.

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Here’s a product roundup, just for reference. I rarely do this, but I rarely use so many polishes for one mani.

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Elevation Polish has discontinued The Merchant’s Son, but you can find their other polishes in their shop. Breena also appears to be discontinued by Ellagee; other polishes are sold in their shop. Revlon, L’Oreal, and Essie are sold in stores nationwide.

I bought these polishes myself.
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Manicure Monday: Lemon Butterfly Fizz

Happy Monday! It’s still Monday somewhere, so let’s take a look at my mani this week. For this look, I used Color Club’s Daisy Does It and Ellagee‘s Chronic Badass. I’m pretty chuffed with it. I’m also thrilled with the photos, since I’m still on my backup camera; I can’t believe this is the same camera that took last week’s sad photos.

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Daisy Does It is gorgeous, and I was afraid I — or the backup camera — would fail to do it justice. It’s a sheer yellow with yellow-to-gold shifting flecks, but I couldn’t get the shift to show up in the studio. Everything else is accurate, though: the lemon yellow, the barely-there nail line, the tons of shimmer that make it almost metallic. I love this polish and the rest of the collection; the shades are pretty simple but have tons of dimension and personality.

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I’ve loved Chronic Badass ever since I swatched it earlier this year. I picked it to go with Daisy Does It because I just love purple and yellow together. Before I put it on, though, I had my doubts. I didn’t want the pink and purple glitters to interfere colorwise with the green shift, but it actually looks pretty cool. The shift only shows up in certain lighting conditions anyway, so I worried over nothing. The shimmer itself is really powerful and seems especially so on the accent nails. The topper makes it seem much glassier than the nails without it. It’s gorgeous.

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I hope to have the camera fixed in time to start weekend swatches again; the camera place nearest me is only open 8 to 5 Monday through Friday, so finding the time to get there will be a challenge. I’ve missed my blog, though. I miss my camera.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Ellagee’s Chronic Badass

For this Swatch Sunday, I’m wearing my first-ever polish from Ellagee! This is Chronic Badass; I have on one brushed coat over China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, Essie’s Pilates Hottie, and LA Colors’s Daisy, topped with Digital Nails‘s Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That top coat.

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Chronic Badass is a clear glitter topper with black matte and holo glitters, metallic pink dots, black holo stars, and purple and holo silver butterflies. It was really easy to put on; the glitters brushed right on, and I didn’t have to fish for the stars or butterflies. All the glitters lay flat on the nail — even the butterflies — and are perfectly smooth with one coat of top coat. Drying times were good; I had no issues with prolonged tackiness. It has a really great formula.

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Chronic Badass was part of a fibromyalgia-themed duo collaboration with Digital Nails. Both polishes were made with purple, the color for fibromyalgia awareness. Chronic Badass also makes use of the butterfly, a symbol embraced by fibro patients. Both polish makers have fibromyalgia and made this cool little polish box to raise awareness of this and other invisible illnesses. I admit I didn’t know a whole lot about it until this box went for sale last spring. It was an awesome thing for them to do; it makes me so happy to see polish makers use their time and materials (and glitter) to educate people and make the world just a little better.

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I have some sunlight photos! The holo glitters love the sunshine, and shine a lot brighter than they do indoors. I really love this look; it’s so colorful and cheerful.

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Originally, both polish makers had this duo box in their shops; Digital Nails no longer carries it, but it looks like Ellagee still has it in stock.

I bought these polishes myself.