Manicure Monday: All Heart

Happy Monday! Today’s post is actually early because, as you’re reading this, I’m on a work trip and it would be a very late post if I didn’t get it done ahead of time. I’m not a blogger who has a ton of mani posts backlogged because I like to write about things as I wear them. This post is all about Literary Lacquers‘s Jack Rose, some striping tape, and a lot of heart glitter. All photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight.

Do you ever notice that every indie maker has their own kind of holo polish? That’s something I enjoy about indie polish; holos are a staple, but each brand has their own blend of Spectraflair sizes and strengths and makes the linear holo their own. Literary Lacquers’s holos are done in such a way that the holo is strong but fine at the same time, and I think that’s really cool. Jack Rose in particular is a polish that starts off sheer and builds up to full strength before you notice it, and the bronze shimmers in it make it metallic and sparkly. I love it.

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I didn’t want to do another look with hand-placed glitter so long after my last one, but this was quick and easy. I’ve mentioned before that I never do holiday manis unless they’re convenient; I don’t like Valentine’s Day, but I like heart glitter, so I got it out. When I did my first hand-placed glitter look, I got so many reader comments about how long it must have taken. In all seriousness, it took longer to get my striping tape straight. I used a smaller size glitter this time, but the application time was about the same. It helps when you’re only doing a couple of nails, probably; if I’d done them all, I’d still be working.

Literary Lacquers can be found in their etsy shop. I got the striping tape on Amazon, and the heart glitters are from Glitter Unique.

I bought these products 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!

Manicure Monday: Pink Holo Stripes With Sprinkles

Happy Monday! I dug deep for today’s mani. I didn’t feel satisfied just putting glitter over polish, so I got the holos out and the striping tape. I should do this kind of thing more often. For this look, I used Elevation Polish‘s Hitsujiyama Park (light pink), Literary Lacquers‘s Laughs in Flowers (pink stripes), Model City Polish‘s Pour Me Another (dark pink), and OPI’s Pink Yet Lavender (glitter). All photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight.

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With this mani, I just wanted something pink and flashy. I chose three pink holos of varying colors and holo strength; Hitsujiyama Park has the least holo and most opacity, Pour Me Another has a strong holo flame but is pretty sheer, and Laughs in Flowers has fine holo glitters mixed in to create a unique finish. These three polishes, when combined, create a distinct and cohesive look. I’m looking forward to pairing them again soon!

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Pink Yet Lavender is a glitter topper, so I brushed it over the striped nails and sponged it on the others. I have to admit, this wasn’t quite what I expected when I started. In the bottle, the glitter looks more rose gold, likely due to the tinted pink base. On the nail, it pulls silver. I don’t mean to say I don’t like it, but I definitely expected more pink glitter, that’s why I chose all pinks for this mani. Pink Yet Lavender, at least, has some holo glitter in it that helps tie it all together. Also, sponging took a significant amount of product. You can see the fll line on the bottle; this is the first time I’ve used this polish and that’s where it is now.

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I am having a lot of fun wearing this, all things considered. The stripes add a fun visual, the glitter adds sparkle, and the holo pushes it over the edge. This took a lot longer than the usual Monday mani, but I’m glad I spent the time on it. I used to push myself really hard to do nail art, and I feel like lately all I’ve been doing is wearing glitter over a base, and that feels lazy. I definitely need to get out of my lazy mani zone.

Hitsujiyama Park and other Elevation Polishes are sold in their online shop. Laughs in Flowers was an Addicted to Holos box exclusive from March 2015 and is no longer available; other Literary Lacquers are sold in their etsy shop. Pour Me Another is also a long-gone limited edition; other Model City Polishes are for sale on etsy. Pink Yet Lavender is also discontinued; OPI is sold in stores nationwide.

I bought these polishes myself.

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.

Swatch Sunday: Literary Lacquers’s Grey Cat/Grey Fence

Swatch Sunday is here again! Today I’m wearing one of the first indie polishes I ever bought, as well as one of my first Literary Lacquers. This is Grey Cat/Grey Fence; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

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Grey Cat/Grey Fence is a gray crelly with black, white, and iridescent glitters in squares and hexes. Application was easy; though sheer, the crelly goes on evenly and without streaks or patches. The glitters also spread evenly and show nicely through many layers of polish. I had no issues at all with it. The product consistency was perfect; it supports the glitters without being thick or blobby. It dries quickly and to a glossy, somewhat smooth finish. I added top coat for extra shine and smoothness.

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Grey Cat/Grey Fence is inspired by a passage from O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi. As quoted by the maker:

“Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him.”

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I’ve had this polish for two years now, and I’ve only worn it once before. Even though Literary Lacquers makes some breathtaking holo polishes, there’s a special place in my heart for this polish, and it might be my favorite LitLacq to date. It’s simple by today’s indie polish standards, but two years ago, when I was new to indie polish, this was unlike anything I’d ever seen before, and the fact that someone was making polish inspired by books was pretty much the greatest thing I’d ever heard.

Grey Cat/Grey Fence has been discontinued, but other Literary Lacquers are available from their etsy shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Minimalism with Color

I really love this week’s Manicure Monday. I paired these two together on a whim, not really knowing if they went together or not. This is one dabbed coat of Literary Lacquers‘s My Secret Garden over three coats of Revlon’s Barely Blush, topped with one coat of Seche Vite.

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As you can see, Barely Blush is a polish I’ve had for a long, long time. I’ve raved about Revlon’s Sweet Nothings collection before, and how easy they are to wear; even though they can be layered over anything and still look amazing, I’ve only ever worn them alone. I love the pearly, subtle shimmer over bare nails so much. Barely Blush is a sheer nude with a pink-to-purple shift and tiny iridescent glitters. I love it. I can’t get over it.

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My Secret Garden from Literary Lacquers is a clear glitter topper with pink, lavender, blue, yellow and green matte hexes with iridescent sparkles. I was afraid the glitter would overpower the softness of the base color, and that the base color wouldn’t be a strong enough foundation for it. I’m so glad I was wrong. The bright glitters definitely stand out, but I don’t think it takes too much away from the rest of the manicure. It also looks very nice over Barely Blush: the twinkly glitters in My Secret Garden and the pink pearl shimmer in Barely Blush lift each other up quite well. It’s like a marriage made in polish heaven.

Outdoors, sunlight

Outdoors, sunlight

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I’m also going to say this counts for the Summer of Untrieds Challenge, since this is the first time I’ve used My Secret Garden, and it’s the first time I’ve featured Literary Lacquers on the blog. Everybody wins.