Manicure Monday: Monochrome with Accents

It’s Manicure Monday! Today I’m wearing Lost Soul from LA Colors, and my accent polish is L’Oreal’s The Sparklicious. I have on three coats of Lost Soul, one sponged coat of The Sparklicious on my accent nails, and one coat of Seche Vite.



Lost Soul is a cool gray polish with a faint silver shimmer. I’m always a little afraid of these LA Colors polishes; the quality is hit or miss. I’m happy to say this one is pretty good. The consistency is thin, but even; this actually looked pretty nice at one coat. That said, I still went for three coats, because I wanted it to be very opaque to support the glitter.



The Sparklicious is a clear glitter topper with holo silver bars with black and holo silver hexes. The glitter didn’t brush on well, and left behind a lot of clear lacquer. I don’t like to dab glitter on with a brush, so I brushed it onto a sponge and applied it that way. It’s not very even, but that’s not noticeable at first. The black and silver glitters complement the gray polish well.



I was hoping the baby shimmer in Lost Soul would be more apparent in the sunshine; it is just barely visible, but still more visible in the sun than in the studio. Those holo glitters just blow up, though.



The one thing I don’t like: when I apply the glitter this way, no amount of top coat can ever smooth it down. There’s still a lot of texture there. I’m okay with some texture, but having it on only a couple nails is kind of annoying.

Manicure Monday: Last Mani of 2013 Green Gradient Celebration

Happy almost-New Year! I accidentally have sparkly nails for New Year’s Eve!

I used three polishes to get this look. LA Colors’s La Creme is the pale nude you see at the bottom of the gradient there. Man, was it impossible. It was very sheer; the first coat was horribly streaky, and the second coat didn’t even anything out. The lacquer itself was very thin and tended to pool in my cuticles. It was only until I started sponging on the gradient that the color began to even out. Because this foundation coat was so uneven, the gradient took more time and more polish to get right. Usually I can get away with two rounds of sponging; some of these nails took four. The glitter here, the real star of the manicure, is Sinful Colors’s Call You Later. I prefer those big in-your-face glitters to these fine ones, but as long as it sparkles, it’s good in my book.


LA Colors’s La Creme, Revlon’s Posh, Sinful Colors’s Call You Later

Stay tuned for a New Year’s Eve post tonight or tomorrow. Spoilers: my New Year’s resolution is to blog about more than nail polish.

Manicure Monday: Neon Orange Dotticure

Nothing says December like neon orange!


Those bows are freaking cute.

I had a lot of fun doing these. It was a lot of work; first I needed three coats of white polish to make a underwear layer without any bald spots (I still had some), then I needed three coats of the orange to make that color solid. Adding the dots was tough; left hand looks awesome, right hand not so much, my toes are even worse (no, you don’t get to see them). I then put on three coats of Seche Vite for rigidity, a matte coat for a finish, then applied the bows with a healthy dot of super glue. Yeah. I didn’t finish these nails until like eight o’clock last night. I started them at noon. Overall, I like the look I got. And I thought a dotticure would be boring.

Sally Hansen's Hard to Get, LA Colors's Spat!, Julep's Bess

Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get, LA Colors’s Spat!, Julep’s Bess

The orange is LA Colors’s Spat!, which is an awesome orange so long as you have the appropriate white coat beneath. The formula is so watery and thin that it would be pretty tough to get the neon effect without it. The blue is Julep’s Bess, which dotted better than I thought it would. I thought it was going to be watery and thin, too, but this one held up quite well. I got the bows from Claire’s, and they made it through the night and this morning’s shower. I wonder how long they’ll hang on before they get snagged on something and come off.

Manicure Monday: Half Moons and Pearls on Nubbins

I broke a nail Sunday night. I was reaching for something, hit my pinky nail on it, and it just popped off. I couldn’t even save it. It broke completely off at the nail bed. I had to cut them all short. My nails haven’t been this short since I moved out of my apartment and broke every nail taking posters down. My fingertips touch the keyboard keys when I type and it’s weird.


This is the nubbin version of the manicure I had planned for my long, beautiful nails. I almost didn’t do it, since I thought it would look strange on small nails. And it does, kind of. I think the design probably exaggerates how short the nails are, and I almost did give up on the pattern to do a solid black, but where would the fun have been in that? Even nubbin nails deserve to be pretty.

China Glaze's For Audrey, LA Colors' Black Pearl

China Glaze’s For Audrey, LA Colors’ Black Pearl

Nubbin nails are no fun, but they’ll grow back.

Manicure Monday: Black and Blue Glitter Mess

So I’m really excited about this week’s manicure. There are some things I would do differently, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Also, I’ll be wearing my first indie polish this week, and mostly I’m excited about that.


I really love my polishes this week. Outrageous is a soft taupe with a lot of metallic shimmer that goes on opaque in one coat. I’m pretty impressed with it, considering I paid a dollar for the bottle. I really loved it before I put the glitter on over it, and I might regret it a little. The real star here is the glitter anyway.

LA Colors's Outrageous, Pretty & Polished's Boy Bleu

LA Colors’s Outrageous, Pretty & Polished’s Boy Bleu

Boy Bleu from Pretty & Polished is one of the first indie polishes I ever bought. It’s meant to be a full coverage glitter, giving a granite-like appearance. Here’s where I messed up. I thought that dabbing the glitter on instead of brushing it on would give me the most coverage, and I was a little heavy-handed in my application. My accent nails already had two coats of white polish before I added the glitter, just to make up for any bare spots that might have occurred. Thankfully, I didn’t need it, but because the coarse glitter made cleanup difficult, you can now see it around the cuticles. I’m not even sure why you can see it at the tips. Shrinkage, maybe? I don’t know, but there it is. So with the two coats of underwear, the two very thick coats of glitter, and three coats of Seche Vite, the accent nails are much thicker-looking than the others. It kind of bothers me, but it’s not that bad. I actually put so much on that I could shape and mold it with my fingers. Good thing I did, I would have had some strangely shaped nails.

Next time I’ll apply the glitter in thin coats and hope to build coverage that way, rather than trying to load it all on at once. I’ll still probably end up with fat nails again, but it won’t be so problematic.

Manicure Monday: Gold and Nude Half-Moons

So I’m back from my work trip, and it’s time for another manicure.


My long, beautiful nails made it through the conference, but broke one after the other when I got home. My index fingernail tore off while I was washing my hair Saturday morning. I broke a thumbnail turning the crank to shut a window. I broke the other thumbnail cleaning for a surprise houseguest. I gave up and preventively cut all the rest. I miss them. I miss how they made my fingers look long and slender. However, my hands are much more functional now.

Julep's Kennedy, LA Colors' Cactus, Revlon's matte top coat

Julep’s Kennedy, LA Colors’ Cactus, Revlon’s matte top coat

I’m not sure if I wrote about this yet, and I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I’ve bought almost a hundred bottles of polish in the last month or two. The nude (maybe it’s a khaki) was one of the newest ones; I was totally out of control and bought the whole Julep set because I couldn’t choose just one Maven box. It reminds me of unblended foundation. The burnished gold came from my initial dollar store haul when I was first living on my own.

For whatever reason, I have some major tip wear, and I only did them yesterday. I blame the matte top coat.

Manicure Monday: Red and Rose Duochrome

This might be kind of a departure from what I’ve been doing with my nails lately. It’s been a really long time since I had a solid color without any embellishments, and I’ll look at them and think “Hey, dots” or “I should try those decals” and then I tell myself to stop because they’re fine.


This is actually two colors, a semi-opaque red with a really tiny shimmer, and a rosy duochrome layered over it. At certain angles or lighting conditions, it shines pink, blue or lilac. On its own, it’s an odd color, but it is beautiful over this red.

You can see some of the other colors here. Kind of.

You can see some of the other colors here. Kind of.

Having red nails always reminds me of being in Rhode Island with my mother and my grandparents. My mother’s cousin, I think it was, was a nail tech and gave us manicures at least once. Actually, now that I think back on it, this was one of my earliest experiences with nail art. At some point, she gave us a manicure set, one complete with polishes, tools, fillers and fortifiers. I remember most of the colors being sheer, pretty neutrals, except for a bold red. That’s the one I went for, and even though I remember thinking that red was old and busted (blue polish was the new hotness and that was all I cared about wearing), I loved the way it looked on me. It was noticeable, attention-getting, it spoke volumes from my small nails and short fingers. Ever since then, there’s always been something about red nails that I can’t get enough of.

Bonder, LA Colors Animated, Orly Synchro, Out the Door

Bonder, LA Colors Animated, Orly Synchro, Out the Door

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Manicure Monday: Nude and Gold Gradient

So my nail disaster this week was a rare event: I emptied a bottle.


Satin Sheets.

I’d had this bottle for a while, almost ten years probably. I got the whole collection of them when Walgreens had them on sale for two dollars a bottle, once upon a time. I’d been using them occasionally ever since, just wearing them over my naked nails to give them a hint of shimmer. When I got into nail art and multiple colors, I struggled to find a way to preserve that natural, minimal look while still getting some attention. I tried to work it into this gradient, and towards the end, I didn’t have enough polish left to finish it. I had my heart set on this gradient, so I took it off and started with another color. I kind of feel like a jerk. Not only did I run out of the polish, I wasted what I had left. Sorry, Satin Sheets. You still had a good run.


So I started over with a crème nude. I still wonder what it would have looked like with the sheer white, but I think I like what I ended up with. The first coat of Whipped was so sheer that I thought it was a jelly, but turned opaque with another couple of coats. Rare and Radiant has a lovely green color in the bottle, but appears mostly gold on the nails. It also appears I didn’t blend my pinky nail very well.

I was trying to get the green shimmer to show up. It did a little bit.

I was trying to get the green shimmer to show up. It did a little bit.

I like gradients. I like them a lot. I feel like it’s the best look I can get with minimal effort. I always manage to screw up taping, dotting is tedious and prone to mistakes, I don’t have the patience for freehanding anything. With gradients, I just dab a sponge on my nail, and that’s it. I still get to try surprising color combinations; I just don’t have to work as hard for them.

Bonder, Whipped, Rare and Radiant, Out the Door

Bonder, Whipped, Rare and Radiant, Out the Door

Now I’m off to recount my polish bottles. I was somewhere around 250 the last time I checked, but I need to make sure that’s accurate, especially now since I’m down one.

Manicure Monday: Green and Yellow Color Blocking

I have an inner perfectionist, believe it or not. It never cares about anything important; it’s never concerned with how clean my house is. My inner perfectionist is kind of a slob. No, my inner perfectionist only notices the flaws in trivial things, things that no one else will ever notice. My manicures are one of those things. I know that a manicure can look great without being totally perfect. My inner perfectionist does not. My inner perfectionist hates this manicure.

Left hand.

Right hand, because it's a little different.Left hand on the top, right hand on the bottom.

I got the idea from this Chalkboard Nails tutorial. I needed an idea that would allow me to use warm, bright colors, but wasn’t too complex or time-consuming. I added to it, rotating the design instead of alternating the colors. In theory, it’s a fantastic idea. In practice, with sloppy taping and thick, goopy polish, I just made a mess. I started with the white base, which took three coats until it was finally opaque, and then I added the yellow, then the green, which is old and thick and tough to work with. I think my bottle of Seche Vite is starting to thicken up as well, because I kept getting really thick, uneven coats of it. Between the green color and the topcoat, they’re a little bumpy in places.

What I used: Orly Bonder, Hard to Get, Daisy, Lickety-Split Lime, Seche Vite

What I used: Orly Bonder, Hard to Get, Daisy, Lickety-Split Lime, Seche Vite

I keep telling myself it’s not that bad, but I can’t stop hoping they’ll chip off soon so I can redo them (which means they’ll stay on all week).

Manicure Monday: Neutral Gradient

Here’s another entry into the “I thought this would turn out better” files. Generally, I like the colors, and I always like how my gradients turn out, but I kind of expected more from this color combination. The brown is too cool for the nude, and looks purple in direct sunlight. That’s not really what I was going for.


This is another case where the quality of my polish is far lower than the quality of my top coat. I don’t even know the name of that Maybelline polish; it lost its labels long ago. I think I got it in that same outlet shopping excursion as last week’s old-as-dirt Maybelline polish; it’s all goopy and thick and was hard to coax out of the bottle. I used Seche Clear this week because I couldn’t get the Bonder bottle open. I bought Seche Clear by accident, thinking it was Seche Vite, but it’s not a bad base coat. This is the first time I’ve used it in a full manicure.


I don’t typically do neutral colors like this. They’re understated and don’t pull much attention, completely the opposite of my personality. I keep telling myself that nudes and neutrals don’t have to be boring, and even though it’s a nice change from the bright colors I usually wear, it doesn’t really feel right. One thing I do like is how shiny they are. I can see myself in them. Thanks, Seche Vite.