Manicure Monday: Inky Opal

Hello! I feel like today’s mani is a special occasion because I’m using Essie’s Shine of the Times. Remember when this was the polish every nail addict needed but couldn’t find? I remember checking every drugstore in town when I heard it existed, and then I had to resort to buying one on Amazon. About a year after that, I did find two in the wild, hidden away in a Walgreens sale bin. It was the greatest day. For this look, I used Shine of the Times over Julep’s Char.

Char is the best undies for shine of the Times. It’s dark enough for the fiery flakies to look their best, but has just a hint of color. I love Shine of the Times over black, but it’s kind of basic. I love substituting a dark gray, blue, green, or plum for black. It feels a little more sophisticated. Plus, when it’s over dark blue, it kind of looks like unicorn pee.

I don’t think there’s a polish that Shine of the Times couldn’t make better, though. Honestly, I chose Char at random. I was totally prepared to layer it over any creme I plucked from the drawer, but now I can’t imagine a better combination.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any sunlight shots of this thanks to the impending winter storm, or for those of us in Florida, rain. I think I captured the shift pretty well, though, and my flakies came out sharp. I never get studio photos this good.

Shine of the Times, as you may know, was discontinued by Essie. Char may also be discontinued; it’s out of stock on julep.com.

I bought these polishes 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 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 wacie.com 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.

Guest Post for Secretary’s Nail Art

Hello reader! I hope you like guest posts, because I’ve got another one to share. Dina from Secretary’s Nail Art recently had a baby, and I got to step in and help her out. It’s look that’s a little of everything, but mostly it’s pink.

Follow the link to see more!

Manicure Monday: Hors d’Oeuvres

Hi hi! It’s Manicure Monday! Today’s look is one I kept simple, but it’s still over the top. I used Essie’s Hors d’Oeuvres and a diamond charm from Daily Charme. It’s kind of insane.

Hors d’Oeuvres is a challenge to photograph. There’s so much shiny; the strong gold shimmer and embedded silver hex mix means a lot of light bounces off it and makes it hard for the camera to focus or get a good white balance. (I shoot on auto, sue me.) It’s also very reflective, which is a cool finish. I’m really enjoying it.

I ran out of super glue, so I decided to see if Seche Vive was enough to hold the diamonds on. It did, for a while, until one mysteriously disappeared. I still have yet to find it. I pulled the other one off to risk losing it and put on a second coat of Vive. Speaking of which, have you guys tried Seche Vive? I was skeptical, since I’ve never used any of these gel-effect polishes or top coats before, but I really like how this one feels. I used multiple coats and haven’t noticed any of the bad effects from multiple coats of Seche Vite, so yeah. It’s too early to tell yet, but I might be a convert.

The sunlight is probably where Hors d’Oeuvres looks its best. You can definitely see how reflective it is in these photos; that glare is out of control. This set of photos were taken in direct sunlight outdoors.

This one is actually in the shade.

Hors d’Oeuvres and other Essie polishes are sold in stores. The diamond charm is from Daily Charme.

I bought these products myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Siren Sweetheart

Hello, reader! Swatch Saturday is going strong in 2017! Today’s polish is Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Siren Sweetheart; I’m wearing one brushed coat over Zoya’s Chantal and Essie’s Fiji and Mint Candy Apple.

Siren Sweetheart is a clear-based glitter topper with iridescent hex and square glitters and denim blue hexes in a mainly-white glitter mix that includes rectangles, stars, hearts, diamonds, and squares. Application was okay; the consistency was pretty thick, which is not unexpected, seeing how much glitter is in the bottle. The glitter is very dense, so I got tons on the brush and didn’t have to fish for the larger shapes. The polish dried quickly with some texture; I used top coat for smoothness.

The white glitter topper is one of my favorite mixes, because it can be worn over anything. I only swatched it over pastels here, but you could put this over any creme and have an interesting look. The iridescent glitters shift colors based on the lighting, so there’s some color in the polish, the white glitters add texture and fun, and the blue glitters break it all up. I am having a ton of fun wearing this.

These photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight. In the sun, the iridescent glitters look a little washed out, but out here, you can see just how much glitter is on each nail. The studio photos seem a little deceptive by comparison.

Siren Sweetheart was a numbered limited edition that has since sold out. Other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are sold in their online shop.

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!

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

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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

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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

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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
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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

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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 wacie.com, 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.

2012
Colors Unknown, but probably all Sinful Colors

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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 wacie.com came to be, but I think it was also before the days of quick-dry top coat. Those dark, dark days.

2013
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!

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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.

2014
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

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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!

2015
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

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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.

Manicure Monday: Ombre Hearts

Happy Monday, reader! A lot of polishes found their way into this week’s Manicure Monday post! For this first-time ombre, I used Essie’s Go Ginza and Devil’s Advocate (thumb and pinky, respectively), Ciaté’s Pillow Fight (index), Julep’s Charlotte (middle), Chanel’s Provocation (ring), and Revlon’s Hearts of Gold FX. I also used Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You matte top coat.

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So after last week’s break, I actually broke the same nail again and just gave up and cut them all down. I forgot how hard it is to have short nails! I mean, obviously it’s not like having long nails, but there’s a challenge in there. I can’t scratch my back as easily, for example. It’s also harder to paint them, because the edge is so near the fingertip, I can’t wrap the edges as well. They’re already worn on some nails. It’s sad; this mani is going to be chipped to hell by tomorrow.

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At first, I was just going to use Charlotte as the base on all five nails, but I decided that was boring. I’d never done an ombre like this before and dug around in the bins for purple cremes. You would not believe the time I spent looking for four more purple cremes. Turns out, these are like the only five I had! How is it possible that I can have 1,400+ bottles of polish but practically no purple cremes? I actually did have a few more but most of them were similar shades and didn’t make a difference. I don’t like how some of the purples are warm and some are cool, but the glitter looks good over all of them at least.

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Hearts of Gold FX is such a fun topper. I love glitter toppers and I love shaped glitters. I love finding mainstream polishes with shaped glitters. I’ve worn it on the blog before, so this time I used the matte top coat to make it extra different. I love the way it looks mattefied! The glitter looks different over every nail, but I think I might like it best over the lighter shades, where the glitter blends in a bit more. In the sunlight, even though it’s mattefied, it’s still blinding.

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Essie and Revlon are sold in stores nationwide; mine likely came from Walgreens. My Chanel is from Nordstrom. Julep polishes are sold on their website and other stores. Ciaté is sold at Sephora.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: No Place Like Chrome

Happy Monday, reader! I hope you guys like shiny silver, because that’s all I’ve got today. This is Essie’s No Place Like Chrome without top coat. Silver for days!

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I love the Mirror Metallics collection from Essie. I have them all, but I’ve only ever used two of them, and No Place Like Chrome is the only one I’ve used twice. I know metallic polishes come and go, everybody makes them at some point, but I’m so glad I’ve got these. The finish is so fun and unique, making any mani stand out. I’ve only ever worn this polish by itself, but someday I’ll get around to using it as an accent with something. Mirror polish makes any mani striking.

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The last time I wore this bow was with another strong silver mani. I am actually really surprised by how easy these are to wear. Sure, it’s big, but it rarely gets caught on anything. It’s about as wide as my finger, so someone with thinner fingers might have trouble, but I love wearing these bows. It’s like wearing the biggest, tackiest engagement ring, except it’s glued to one of my nails.

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In the sunlight, the metallic effect is just as apparent. It’s actually kind of blinding. The bow is especially ridiculous. Check out the flares on it.

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No Place Like Chrome and other Essie polishes are sold in stores nationwide. My bow charm is from Born Pretty Store.

I bought these products myself.

Swatch Sunday: Seche’s Collage Overlay

It’s Swatch Sunday again! Today’s swatch is Seche’s Collage Overlay! This is a serious glitter topper. I’m wearing one brushed coat over China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, Essie’s Fiji, and Ciaté’s Sugar Plum, as well as one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

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Collage Overlay is a clear-based glitter topper with holographic pink bar and hex glitters in various sizes, as well as large white hexes. Application was tricky with this; there’s so much glitter and it tends to clump together, making it a challenge to get even coverage. The bar glitters are pretty long in this polish and can be difficult to work with as well. You can see them sticking off the edges of the nail and into the cuticle. On the plus side, it does dry quickly with some chunky glitter texture. I used top coat for shine and smoothness.

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So I really wanted to love this look. I really loved it the first time I used it; I paired it with a hot pink jelly for a sandwich, and it made a really great look. I love the glitters in this mix; I love how it’s holo glitter, but it’s not much like any holo glitter I’ve ever seen. The color is unique. I love the white hexes as a monotony breaker. I just wished it brushed on a bit better. It’s a mess.

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I took some photos outside, and let me tell you, this is blinding in direct sunlight. Look how washed out these sunlight photos are. This will give you some indication of how shiny it is. It was kind of painful to look at.

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Collage Overlay might have been discontinued by Seche. Other Seche products are available in stores nationwide; I got mine from Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought this polish myself.