Manicure Monday: Cognac Sparkle

Happy Monday, reader! It’s been too long since my last post. I knew November would be a busy month for me; all in this month, I’ve gotten a job, written a novel (almost done!) and cooked a huge Thanksgiving dinner. I knew something was going to have to give to get everything done, and unfortunately, it ended up being the blog. I’ve got lots of swatches to catch up on — I’ve been painting, just not posting — so I’ll have lots of content coming up. Some of it’s from when my nails were still long and pretty (rip).

Today’s look was done with Butter London’s Tea and Toast, OPI’s Muppets World Tour, and Orly’s French Tip Guides.

I have this thing about Tea and Toast, like it’s the ugliest color in the bottle, but I absolutely love it on my nails. It’s really stylish, but I always have this apprehension before I put it on, like I’m about to do something terrible, but it always comes out lovely.

I picked Muppets World Tour for this look because I wanted something that would still have a lot of shine without covering the base too much. As it turns out, this polish had more glitter in it than I expected, and it’s hard to see the half-moon and naked nail underneath. On the whole, though, I like the look. It sort of looks like a gradient instead of a half-moon, and glitter is the best. No arguments here.

Unfortunately, I think both these shades are discontinued. Butter London and OPI are both easy to find in stores.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Orange Alert

Hello, reader! Today’s mani is a pretty simple one. I’m apparently still into negative-space manis, but really, I just wanted to do something with a textured polish that was still nail-arty, and this was just the direction it took. For this look, I used Emerald & Ash‘s Construction Season with Digital Nails‘s Spectraflair top coat.

I’ve talked before about how much I love the Road Trip collection from E&A. Unfortunately, I don’t have the complete collection, but the ones I do have have been a ton of fun to wear. The texture is unlike any other polish type; It’s a very fine grit, as opposed to chunky glitter or rough sand. It sparkles like sugar. This one happens to be Nickelodeon orange, which makes it my favorite.

I wanted a little something under the negative part of the nail, just to keep it from being completely bare, so I put a coat of Spectraflair top coat under Construction Season. You can barely tell it’s there, but I like the addition. I can’t see it at all indoors, but in the sun, you can see it’s barely-thereness.

Speaking of sunlight, here are some photos I took in direct sunlight. The orange got kind of washed out, and the color also suffers from an uncooperative camera. You can see the reflective goodness pretty well out here at least, as well as the aforementioned Spectraflair.

Construction Season has been discontinued by Emerald & Ash (though they’ve been MIA for quite some time). Digital Nails’s Spectraflair top coat and other polishes are sold in their etsy shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Orange Holo Crush

Happy Monday! This is post is late because I’m lazy. I’m excited about this mani, though, because I don’t often use my Enchanted Polishes. I try not to feel bad about using discontinued or special polishes, but I feel bad about using the Enchanteds. I don’t want to use them up! This mani started as just a half-moon mani with May 2014, but I added a stripe of Ciaté’s Encore! for a little extra color. Let’s get started! All photos were taken in direct sunlight.

Most of my Enchanteds are used. This one is; it was one of the first ones I ever bought. At the time, I was just buying up whatever ones I could find that were under $20. I could never get in on the pre-orders or surprise restocks in time, so buying them used was always a better option, even if it sometimes cost a little more. I love orange, so I knew this was one I would want. Boyfriend’s birthday is in May, so there’s that, too.

I like Encore! in this mani because it’s a similar orange, but also different enough to be apparent. I wanted something between the negative space and May 2014, and after considering a few different things, this was what I picked. I felt a little bad covering up some holo, but I think it works. Also, good news, Envy didn’t stain me! Two coats of Seche Base did the trick.

May 2014 is no longer sold by Enchanted Polish; other polishes are available in their online shop. Ciaté is sold at Sephora.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Decadent Sands

Hey! It’s Manicure Monday! Today’s look is all about a microglitter polish I made for myself, a little something I call Decadence. I also wanted to do a nail art look with only one polish and some negative space, so here we are. All I used for this look is Decadence and Seche Vite.



Decadence is a microglitter with silver, red, and blue holographic glitters. To achieve the look, I used some French tip guides along the base of my cuticle, making a half moon shape, and applying two coats of Decadence. I peeled off the guide, added a third coat of polish, and sealed it with top coat. The result is a little lopsided; the glitter is very dense on most of the nail and quite sparse on the half-moon, but it’s kind of cool, like sands through the hourglass.



I’m kind surprised the negative space turned out so well. One of the nude polishes I wore a few weeks ago stained my nails an ugly yellow, and since then, I’ve wanted to do nothing but negative space manis. Of course, I had to wait for my nails to grow out a little. There’s nothing like growing out stained nails.



The following photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight. I love microglitters so much. They’re the best way to pack everything you want — color, glitter, whatever you like — into one bottle.





Decadence is not available for purchase (yet). Lemme know if it’s something you like.

I made this polish.

Manicure Monday: Sunburned Sunrise

Welcome to Manicure Monday! Today’s manicure looks like it was inspired by Reese’s Pieces, but I promise it wasn’t. For this look, I used Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Sunburned Siren, Smokey Mountain Lacquers‘s Electric Sun, and Digital Nails‘s Enterprise, along with Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You matte top coat.



So when I was planning this look, Sunburned Siren was my main color choice. I totally fell in love with it the first time I swatched it. I wanted a nail art look, something that’s bright and fun like the Siren but doesn’t take away from it. I got Enterprise out because of the wild shift; it goes from a deep magenta to a cool gold, embracing the colors of the Siren’s shimmers but also exaggerating them. I added Electric Sun to work with the sunrise motif, to work as a cool shimmery yellow. It’s only just occurred to me that their names work together. I wish I hadn’t added the yellow, because that’s what makes it look like Reese’s Pieces, but it helps the sunrise look like a sunrise, so it works out.



I used Enterprise as shifty sunrays, and I wish I’d used a gold glitter as well. I used an eyeshadow sponge as my application method; I also used it on the all-glitter accent nail. Enterprise is definitely more suited as a topper than a full-coverage glitter, so I did two brused coats of Enterprise, which gave me good but not complete coverage, and just used the sponged coats to cover what was still showing of my nails. I’m surprised it was able to cover so much. And, of course, what’s a manicure without a bow? I love how many of you comment on the bows I use, it makes me feel like people really are seeing my stuff.




In the sunlight, this mani was exactly what I wanted, even if it didn’t turn out the way I’d envisioned. It’s bright, warm, and fun, but it’s also accidentally autumnal, which works out, since the first day of autumn is in just a few days. These photos were all taken in direct sunlight.







Sunburned Siren was a BEGL limited edition and has since sold out; you can buy other BEGLs from their online shop, though they are currently on a break. Electric Sun was a Beauty Quartet Box exclusive and is no longer available; other Smokey Mountain Lacquers are sold on their website. Enterprise and other Digital Nails polishes are available in their etsy shop. My bow charm is from Claire’s.

I bought these products myself.

Swatch Sunday: Revlon’s Sweet Revenge

Happy Sunday! Today’s post is a little different from the usual Swatch Sunday business, because we’ve got a twofer as the polish this week. Revlon’s French Mix set comes with two colors and encourages you to do some nail art with them. This set is called Sweet Revenge. In the photos below, I’m wearing three coats of each polish with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.





Before I talk about the polishes, I want to talk about the packaging, because it directly affects the quality of the polish. While this double-ended polish brush seems really stylish and convenient, I’ve had nothing but problems with them. The brush caps break and stops fitting inside the brush cap, or the polish itself dries out. Either way, the polishes end up becoming unusable. When I took this one out to use it, the brush to the purple polish was broken, and the pink polish was totally dried out. If you have any of these polishes and you hate the packaging as much as I do, you may be pleased to know that the brushes and caps from mini polish bottles from TKB Trading are the same size and will fit very well. This is how I was able to separate mine and save the polish inside.

The pink in this set, as I mentioned, was totally dried out, but I saved it with polish thinner. Because of this, and because I had to use so much, I can’t speak for the consistency of this polish, or what it was like before I had to thin it out. When I applied it, it was on the thinner side, and required all three coats for full opacity.




The purple polish is very opaque, and achieved full opacity by the second coat. The pink shimmer, though fine, appears best in lower light; the studio lights washed it out a bit. The purple polish was the best suited for nail art because of its opacity. Both polishes dried quickly with glossy finishes.





I did a quick skittle mani just to see how well each one works for actual nail art. The pink, though it does work for some things, isn’t thick enough to fully cover the purple, which is opaque enough to cover anything. I’ll definitely be using the pink as the base color from now on. Photos were taken in both the studio and outdoors in direct sunlight.




Sweet Revenge, the French Mix series, and the double-ended brushes in general seem to be discontinued by Revlon, because I don’t see them on their website (good). Other Revlon products are available nationwide.

I bought this product myself.

Manicure Monday: Autumn Moons

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s Manicure Monday finds me with very short nails; I went bowling on Saturday night and kind of trashed them. At least they grow back. I went for a mature yet cute look today to remind myself that these are, in fact, not a child’s hands. I used Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Newborn Solstice Sun, Essie’s As Gold As It Gets, and China Glaze’s Angel Wings. All nails are topped with one coat of Seche Vite.



I wore Newborn Solstice Sun on its own quite some time ago when I swatched it. Even though it’s gorgeous on its own, I wanted to try something new with it. I went through the bag of tricks: rhinestones and loose glitters, vinyls and striping tapes. I wanted to get really crazy with it. Once my nails were unexpectedly cut down, though, I decided to keep it simple. I’m wearing Newborn Solstice Sun alone on two nails, as well as the darker shade in the half-moon. It’s a beautiful polish; the color is so deep, and the glitters add depth and sparkle. This is a huge BEGL favorite for sure.



I used Essie’s As Gold As It Gets as the undies for my half-moon. It’s so soft, you can barely tell I used anything there. I wanted just a hint of sparkle, and that’s exactly what I got. I used China Glaze’s Angel Wings as an afterthought; I actually had an accent ring finger nail that was just covered with red and gold rhinestones, but it looked too Gryffindor, so I took it off and just used the gold glitter instead. It still looks out of place to me, but at least it’s not as ridiculous as the rhinestones were.



Newborn Solstice Sun was a limited edition polish; other BEGLs can be purchased from the BEGL shop. As Gold As It Gets and Angel Wings are available wherever Essie and China Glaze are sold. I got my rhinestones from Amazon. The red bow vinyl is from Monster Polish as part of their Doctor Who collaboration with BEGL. I always associate the red bowtie with Pee-Wee Herman, though.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Pink Moons and Glitter Crowns

Welcome back, reader! I hope your Monday treated you well. I had some Monday mishaps with my manicure today, but overall, I really love how it turned out. For this look, I used a deep pink Maybelline polish with Nails Inc.’s Princes Arcade for my glitter accents. All nails are topped with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.



So this Maybelline polish is one I’ve had for probably a decade and a half. It’s a formula that’s not sold anymore, the color label has long since been peeled off, and the print on the label was wearing away. These aren’t necessarily signs of a bad polish, just an old one. Here’s the kicker, though: the brush was disintegrating. Strands of the brush — sometimes in whole, long fibers, others broken off into centimeter-long pieces — were coming off and getting stuck on the nail as I was applying the polish. At first I thought I could just pick it off, since I’ve had brushes like this before; they lose one or two hairs, I tweeze them off, and no harm done. This was not that. The more I brushed, the more came off. It was shedding like a cat. By the second coat I had to give up. I got a mini bottle from my workshop, poured the polish into it, and started working with the new brush. It was a vast improvement, but unfortunately some of the strands were left floating in the polish and found their way into my manicure anyway. You can see a couple in there. I probably should have thrown it out, but it seemed like such a waste; it’s really a great polish; I got perfect opacity in two coats, and it dried with a really glossy finish, albeit a bit slowly. I had to save what I could.



So I do the half-moon thing pretty often, but usually with two polishes, a base coat and then a second color brushed over. I’ve never done it with the natural nail exposed, so I decided to give it a shot. Really, I just wanted to do something other than the usual creme-and-glitter-accents I usually do. I really love this glitter — Princes Arcade from Nails Inc. — because it and the mystery color kind of complete each other. I’m not sure that Princes Arcade is dense enough to be worn on its own, but it looks full and lush over the base color. I also tried it as a gradient along the half-moon — a crown, if you will — just as a glitter accent but also trying something different. I like the look, but I think I got a bit too much on the index finger. The middle finger’s got the right idea though. They just work together so beautifully.



I got my bottle of Princes Arcade from Sephora. I don’t even know how to tell you to find this Maybelline polish, even if you wanted it. The bow is from Daily Charme.

I bought these products myself.

Manicure Monday on Tuesday: Post-Vacation Pink Moons

I’m back from vacation, and the hiatus is over! I had a blast while I was on vacation, but I felt a bit guilty about ignoring the blog. I actually took my laptop and some polish along with me, thinking I would have time to update while travelling. I seriously overestimated the amount of free time I would have. I also didn’t take a whole lot of nail pictures while I was gone, even though I painted my nails; painting my nails while tipsy in a hotel room at 1 AM does not make for good manicures. Anyway, I’m still trying to get my groove back, so this week’s post is not only late, it’s probably also deviating some from the usual format a little. I was gone so long, I actually forgot how I normally take pictures.

I decided to do something easy this week, just to celebrate being back in my natural habitat. I neglected my usual hand and cuticle care, and also suffered a lot of breaks while I was gone, so I spent a lot of time just soaking and taking care of my nails, and after all that, I just didn’t feel like doing something intricate or time-consuming. Also, I’d had a plan for these two polishes before I went on vacation; I have no idea now what it was. This week, I’m wearing a mystery color from Maybelline, and Sephora by OPI’s Dear Diary….





I expected Dear Diary… to be much more sheer than it came out on my nails. The first coat was sheer and pretty streaky, but the second evened it out. There are still some places that are thin and bald, this is most evident on my thumb, if you’re able to see it at all. On every other nail, it’s mostly opaque.





I have no idea how to identify this Maybelline polish. It’s a shame, because even though it’s an oldie, it’s a gorgeous color. It’s a rosy mauve with a pretty shimmer. It doesn’t seem to wear well; I put it on yesterday; this isn’t even 24 hours later. I’ll chalk this up to my nails being so short I can’t wrap the tips.


This bottle comes from a time way back when I had a problem peeling the stickers from things, so that’s how it came to be a nameless mystery color. I’d really love to know its name. If you can identify it, please help me out!

Manicure Monday: Glitter Half-Moon Over Amethyst

Today’s nail experiment surprises me with its elegance.

It took me forever to figure out what to do this week. I had two randomly chosen polishes; one is a very powerful, commanding purple with a blue flash, and the other is a dainty glitter topper with a slight blue tint. In tests, I couldn’t get them to work together. Putting the glitter on top of the purple always cancelled out the shifting colors, and my nails are so short that making thick necktie stripes would not have worked. I was totally out of ideas, and it didn’t occur to me until just before I started that I should use the glitter as the undies for a half moon mani. Best idea ever.

Sinful Colors's Hottie, Sally Hansen's Purple Potion

Sinful Colors’s Hottie, Sally Hansen’s Purple Potion

To me, this is like the nail equivalent of an evening gown. The purple conjures images of both royalty and jewels. The glitter is the sexy underwear beneath. It lays a foundation that is inconspicuous, but adds a nice touch of sparkle that supports the purple without overpowering it. I’m really surprised I could get such an elegant mani that’s also so simple and quick to do.

This is blurred to show you the glitter and the blue shimmer.

This is blurred to show you the glitter and the blue shimmer.

It was rainy when I took the first couple of photos, and as soon as I sat down to write, the sun came out, so I took a one more.