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!

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 Tuesday: Red vs. Blue Multichrome

Welcome to Manicure Tuesday! I know, it’s weird for me too. I like today’s look today, though, even if I did a bit of a sloppy job. For this look, I used MAC’s Queen’s Honor (red) and Nails Inc.’s Baker Street (blue); my thumb and pinky have Queen’s Honor alone, my index nail has Baker Street alone, and my middle and ring nails have a gradient made with both colors. I then applied a coat of Orly’s Synchro (the multichrome) on each nail, then finished with Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You top coats.

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I love Synchro, because I can confidently say I don’t own another polish like this. The red to blue multichrome is totally unique and I don’t have another polish that uses it. That said, I feel like I’ve never used it to its full potential. I wore it only once over red, and this time I decided to switch it up a bit and use red AND blue. I am stunned by how good it looks over the blue, I might even like it better than over red. Blue is the color I see the most of wearing Synchro, and it makes both colors look icy and interesting. Mattefied, it looks like an ethereal brocade. It’s really cool.

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My gradients didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped. I had a hard time blending the two colors. When I do gradients, I don’t usually pick two colors of the same intensity, I pick one that’s lighter and one that’s much darker, and then it evens out somewhere in the middle. This gradient left a dark purple center that I didn’t really like, but it ended up being covered by Synchro, so it’s hard to tell it’s a gradient at all. It’s pretty subtle. I can’t tell if it’s the look I wanted or not. I still like it though.

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Shifty!

Shifty!

Outdoors, Synchro really shines! The shift occurs pretty easily both indoors and out. These photos were taken in direct sunlight. Try not to notice my green pool.

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Queen’s Honor was a limited edition polish from MAC and has sold out; other MAC polishes are available at your local MAC counter. Baker Street and other Nails Inc. polishes are sold at Sephora. Synchro has been discontinued by Orly; other Orly polishes are sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these products myself.

Manicure Monday: Bridal Gradient

Welcome back to Manicure Monday! I’m excited about today’s look, because the first-ever Wacie Nail Company polish is part of it. I feel like I made this polish a lifetime ago! This is Bridal Bouquet over a gradient of China Glaze’s For Audrey and Orly’s Water Lily.

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Bridal Bouquet was the reason I started making polish. I’d had ideas for polishes and ordered customs from other indie makers, but this was an idea I wanted to do just for myself. I still remember how exciting it was to receive all the glitters and bottles and lacquer supplies in the mail; I still remember the satisfaction of shaking it together, brushing it onto a swatch wheel, and knowing I’d gotten it right. That was two years ago. It feels so good to come full circle.

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To keep the marriage motif, I went for a Tiffany-inspired gradient. For Audrey, everyone’s favorite Tiffany blue, had to be used. In testing, I tried Bridal Bouquet over many blues, but For Audrey was my favorite base for it. As an afterthought, I added Water Lily to create a little bit of dimension beneath the glitter. Though Water Lily is a deeper, brighter turquoise, the gradient is very subtle, barely even there. The glitter is such that the gradient is covered up and on display at the same time.

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The following photos were taken in direct sunlight. When the sunlight is harsh like this, the iridescent glitters get washed out. The gradient looks fantastic, though, and there is a bit of sparkle yet. I’m pretty happy with this look, overall. How long has it been since I last did a gradient? Much too long.

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Follow wacie.com for Bridal Bouquet release info, as well as other Wacie Nail Company polishes. China Glaze and Orly are available in stores nationwide.

I made this polish. Other polishes were purchased myself.

wacie.com Third Year Anniversary Post!

Happy Friday, reader! I don’t typically post on Fridays, but today is a special day: it’s the third anniversary of wacie.com! This is a huge day for us, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring you this post. It’s been quite a ride, and I’m so glad you’ve been a part of it.

On March 11, 2013, I posted my first-ever Manicure Monday post. I think I’d posted a few posts before that, but as wacie.com became more nail-oriented, I took them down and began to focus on nails exclusively. I’d been experimenting with nail art for a couple of years by the time I started the blog, and actually starting the blog helped me get better at it. My nails look and feel healthier, my application skills have gotten better, and I think the quality of the blog has improved, too. Three years is a lot of time for improvement, after all.

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In honor of the anniversary, I’ve decided to recreate the first manicure I ever posted. Just like last time, here’s a gradient done with Disney Villains’s Cruella de Vil with a Maybelline mystery red, along with a coat of Seche Vite top coat and Ciaté’s Mattenificent matte top coat.

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When I go back and read about the early version of this manicure, it sounds like I had a hard time with it; my mystery red was thick as molasses and cleanup was a challenge. I had just as much trouble with it this go-around. I’d thinned the mystery polish — polish thinner is something I’ve discovered since I did that manicure — but I still had trouble sponging it on. I didn’t get the contrast I got last time. I ran out of foam eyeshadow sponges I usually use for gradients and had to use the foundation blending sponges, which not only made my hands look like I’d committed a horrible crime, but made cleanup a huge ordeal. On top of that, because I did the mani from memory before I looked at the old post, I see I got the colors in the wrong order. I’m not even mad about that, because meh, close enough.

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What really gets me is that the matte coat left those white spots on my nails again. The manicure looked great — exactly like the first time should have looked — until I applied the matte top coat. I was so frustrated and upset that I just threw it away. I hate tossing a nearly-full product, but I just can’t let it ruin any more manicures. I thought about redoing them, but decided I’d just leave it, as a sort of humble reminder of where I came from as a blogger. No matter how long I keep this blog, I’ll always have room to improve. Maybe on my fourth anniversary, I’ll finally get it right.

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Here are some sunlight photos; it rained the last time I did this mani. In the sun, the glitter is a bit invisible, but still manages to sparkle a bit.

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On my past anniversaries, I’ve posted graphs and little data tidbits about the blog and what I’ve covered. I’m not going to do that this year, but I will share a few figures:
I’ve done 216 swatches.
Between swatches and Manicure Monday looks, I’ve worn Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers 108 times. Essie is my most used mainsteam polish brand at 42.
Blue is my most used color.
I now own more than 1,400 bottles of polish.

Thank you so much for making it this far with me. Thank you so much for making this blog more than a hobby, but a means to cultivate friendships, foster creativity, and strengthen a community where we all can grow together. Thank you so much for being a part of the last three years.

One polish was purchased myself. The other was a gift, not sent for consideration or review.

HPB Presents Elevated Gradient!

Hello, reader! This is a special post for the Hobby Polish Bloggers group on Facebook! Every month, we do themed manis, and January’s theme is the gradient. It doesn’t matter what kind of gradient we do, as long as it’s a gradient; we can make it as complex or as simple as we want. I decided to make mine a challenge and use four previously unused polishes. For this look, I used Sittin’ Pretty and Topless and Barefoot, both from Essie, as the base; I used Kilimanjaro and Salautay, both from Elevation Polish, as the glitter topper. All nails are topped with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a two-color gradient, so long, in fact, that I started to wonder whether or not I’d lost my touch. This is probably one of the hardest gradients I’ve ever done. I could not get light purples and nudes — not just these Essie two, I tried OPI as well — and I could just never get them to come together. Either a color would go bald from oversponging, or a color just wouldn’t turn opaque, no matter how much of it I used. It did finally come together, and it was amazing.

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I had to use purple and nude, though, because I had to use Kilimajaro and Salautay. I knew that as soon as I got these polishes that I had to put them together, because they have so many similarities: they both employ the use of round glitters and the color silver. After I finished the base gradient, I made a gradient with the glitters, flipping the colors so that the purple was over the nude and vice versa. Of course, after I sponged it on, they kind of bled into each other, which is actually pretty cool. My index fingernail got a little too much glitter, but aside from that, I totally got the result I wanted and I’m so happy.

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This is the most intensive nail art work I’ve done in a while, so I’m really proud of it! Also, because this is a group effort, there’s an InLinkz widget here with everyone else’s gradient manis, so be sure to have a look at them! They’re just as proud of their work as I am with mine.

Sittin’ Pretty, Topless and Barefoot, and other Essie polishes are sold in most stores; I got mine from Walgreens. Kilimanjaro and Salautay are discontinued by Elevation Polishes, other Elevations are sold in their online shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Violet Gradient with Violet Glitter

Happy Manicure Monday! I don’t feel like this mani is my best work, but I still rather like it. For this look, I used Essie’s She’s Picture Perfect, Revlon’s Amethyst, and Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Might Not Recover, all with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

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I put She’s Picture Perfect and Amethyst together for their similarities: they’re both shades of purple and they both have a strong pink/purple flash. I thought it would be great to see that pink/purple flash show up in both colors of the gradient, like this unifying shimmer that really pulls everything together. Unfortunately, it’s not easily seen in the gradient, either in photos or in real life. Also, the colors didn’t blend as easily as I expected them to; the deep purple just looks so sponged-on, even after three rounds with the sponge. It’s still pretty, but it’s really not my best work.

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I added Might Not Recover as an accent nail at the last minute, and I gotta tell you, I’m stunned. I just can’t believe how much it sparkles. Like it was sparkly in the bottle, but damn. I also chose this polish for its similarities in color, but I like that it stands apart from the rest of the mani while complimenting it. The bling is just a tad bit overwhelming, which means it’s just the right amount (like there’s a such thing as too much). I always have an issue with microglitters still having some texture after I put down top coat, but this one has stayed nice and smooth, and I love it.

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In the end, everthing goes together really well, yeah?

I got She’s Picture Perfect from Walgreens and Amethyst from Big Lots, though both brands are sold nationwide. Might Not Recover and other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are available in their shop (which is temporarily closed). The Fimo bow is from Claire’s.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Neon Sunset Gradient

Happy Monday, reader! I adore today’s manicure because it’s so bright and busy. The gradient you see was done with Color Club’s Wham! Pow! and Sally Hansen’s Magenta Moves; the glitter topper is China Glaze’s Whirled Away. All nails are topped with Seche Vite top coat. I had a ton of fun doing this look today, so I hope you love it!

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Wham! Pow! is one of the best neons I’ve used in recent memory. It was opaque in two coats, dried with a satin finish, and — the best part — did not require a white base for the full effect. It’s almost painful to look at, it’s so bright. This is a seriously fantastic neon and I definitely recommend it to everyone. Magenta Moves, though a bright color, isn’t as neon as Wham! Pow!, so it kind of keeps the gradient from being too loud and creates the smoky-but-still-bright sunset effect.

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I fell in love with Whirled Away the first time I saw it. This was back when those black and white glitter toppers were at the height of their popluarity; this was the first one I got, probably also the first one I ever used. My favorite thing — simultaneously the best and worst thing about this polish — is that it sets itself apart from the others by using much larger glitters. I love big glitters, cannot lie, etc., but I feel like it makes the polish go faster. I’ve only used it twice, but the bottle is already half empty. It’s so sad. It’s also kind of a pain to apply, because the slice/bar glitters are so long they sometimes hang off the nail like eyelashes, and sometimes it was hard to get the glitters to spread evenly over the nail, but it still looks cool even when it’s a little lopsided.

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Unrelated: I miss swatching! I noticed today that it’s been two months since my Canon broke; I thought it would only be in the shop a few days and now I have no idea when I’m getting it back. I’m so sad, I really miss wearing all those new polishes! I’m kind of afraid to use things now because I can’t document it as easily. Here’s hoping it’ll come back someday soon.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Teal Glitter Gradient

I started this Manicure Monday with no real plan. I had a glitter and a bright base color, but I didn’t really know what to do. I thought at first I would use some nail vinyls to create a pattern, but I screwed it up. I tried stamping and blew that, too. I didn’t want to do a gradient because I always do those, but here we are. I used Sinful Colors’s Nail Junkie (how appropriate) and Essie’s Naughty Nautical, as well as two coats of Digital Nails‘s Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That top coat.

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Naughty Nautical is a teal polish with fine rainbow shimmer. Nail Junkie is a thin teal jelly with many colors of fine iridescent glitters. I paired them together thinking I would just wear Naughty Nautical as a base for Nail Junkie, but I thought that was boring and forced myself to do some nail art. It’s not as intricate and ambitious as I wanted it to be, but I like the look I got. I acheived it by putting down two coats of Nail Junkie, then doing the gradient. It looks like the glitter is sponged over the teal polish, but that’s not the case. I also considered painting another coat of glitter over the gradient, but I decided that what I had was enough. You can also see the nail with the stud has no gradient; it’s only the base color and glitter.

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I’m pretty happy with it. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything nail-arty and fun. I really want to do more of that instead of just painting glitter over a base. Also, I’m really embarrassed by how dry my hands look in these photos. I put lotion on before I took them, I swear.

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You can get these polishes wherever Essie and Sinful Colors are sold. Mine are from Walgreens.

I bought this polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Pottery-Inspired Gradient

For today’s Manicure Monday, I got my sponges out and did a gradient for the first time in months! This particular mani was inspired by a piece of pottery I saw in a museum. This is Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get with Disney’s Villain Varnish in Cruella de Vil, topped with one coat each of Ciate’s Speed Coat Pro top coat and Hard Candy’s Mattely in Love matte coat.

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Hard to Get is a white creme. It’s my favorite of the white cremes I’ve tried so far, and I use it so often I’m on like my fourth bottle. I actually emptied my current bottle on this manicure, so maybe I’ll pour a little of something out for it. Or maybe I’ll just another bottle. My feelings on Cruella de Vil aren’t so firm. I love the way this polish looks, but I don’t like the formula. It smears when top coat touches it (exhibit A: the thumb smudge), and it stains cuticles (exhibit B: pinky). It is an absolutely gorgeous polish, but sometimes I hate using it.

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As I mentioned, the gradient was inspired by a piece of pottery. I was in the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia on my birthday a couple of years ago, and I saw this lovely vase that was a deep red at its curved bottom, then faded to white at its fluted tip. I immediately “I am going to do this on my nails” and took a surreptitious photo with my phone for reference. I’d planned to keep it around and show it on the blog once I finally did the mani, but then I lost my phone in Philadelphia (long story) and the photo is gone. I guess that means I have to go back and take another photo.

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This is not my best gradient, not by a long shot. It’s pretty tough doing a gradient with a bright color and white, and when you use a smudgy red like this one, it’s even tougher. I was really looking forward to this mani, and I’m disappointed it didn’t turn out so well. I will definitely try this again.