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!

Empties Roundup: June 2016

Hello, reader! Today’s post is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I love reading empties posts, but I rarely empty products, and it’s not worth it to me to write about the one BB cream or the bottle of Seche Vite I used up this month. For this inaugural Empties Roundup, I have five whole things to talk about. Let’s get going!

OPI’s Expert Touch Lint-Free Nail Wipes

IMG_17562

I picked these up out of a Sally Beauty Supply sale bin for four dollars. I wasn’t sure what they were at the time, but I grabbed them, just to try them out. The box says they absorb polish very quickly, and while this is true, they also absorb remover very quickly as well, and eventually gain this gross tacky feel to them, which I really disliked. The wipes themselves are small, so between the tacky feel and the size, I used a wipe or two per nail, or 10-20 for each manicure. They left lint on me, so they’re definitely not lint-free. They do remove polish, however, so it wasn’t a total miss. They even work in the foil method of glitter removal. I didn’t hate these wipes, but the day the box ran out and I could go back to regular cotton pads was a pretty good day. I won’t be purchasing these again.

Benefit’s Bathina “Take a Picture, It’ll Last Longer” Body Balm

jerbbm

This is truly a momentous occasion, because I’ve had this tin since 2010 and it is finally empty. The balm itself was a rosy gold with a soft powdery scent, and came with a puff for applying it to the skin. I didn’t use it continually since 2010, only in the summers, because this stuff looks amazing over a tan. It can be a bit much on very hot days, but I happen to like looking like I sweat glitter, so that’s okay with me. I loved this product, but I don’t know if I’ll ever re-purchase it. I’ve got other body shimmer products I need to work through first, and who knows how long that will take.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara

IMG_17692

This wasn’t an empty as much as it was just time to toss it. I’d been using it since March. I really wanted to love this, but I couldn’t get past the brush. It was really big and unwieldy with a pronounced curve, often giving me too much product where I didn’t need it. There was one side of the brush with very short bristles, and that was the only way I could use it. Mostly I’m just sad this mascara isn’t the old Volum’Express in the red tube; that was my HG waterproof mascara, and now Maybelline has discontinued it and wants me to have scary spidery lashes now. I replaced it with the Great Lash Waterproof mascara, also from Maybelline.

Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip Gloss in Clair

IMG_17752

This is another oldie from my collection that’s finally going to the big vanity drawer in the sky. I really love the Buxom lip glosses for their minty tingle and sheer wash of color; I have dozens of these glosses but I’ve ever finished like two, including this one. Because I have so many, I probably won’t more, and even if I wanted to replace this one, I don’t think they make it anymore. That’s actually how old this lip gloss was.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Virgin

jerudvsm

Do you ever look at your eyeshadow palettes and notice there’s one shade that’s visibly more used than all the others? In my UD Naked palette, Virgin is that shade. You can tell because the pan is completely empty. And because no Naked look is complete without Virgin, I got a single to replace it. This is actually the second single eyeshadow I’ve gone through. I’ll definitely be replacing this.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder Sample

IMG_17932

I actually forgot I had this in my makeup bag until I ran out of my regular powder. Finding this actually saved my life. I have no idea where this came from, since I don’t normally buy Tarte; it must have been a Sephora sample, or an ipsy bag offering. It was a pretty nice powder, though it felt a little creamy for a finishing powder; my skin didn’t feel 100% finished. In the summer, though, that’s not so important, because it ends up just disappearing into sweat anyway. I’m not sure I’d buy a full size of this, I’d rather just go back to my Make Up For Ever powder.

And there you have it, the first-ever Empties Roundup on wacie.com! Looking at these photos, I feel very accomplished. I rarely use something for so long that I actually use all of it, so to have this many empties at the end of the month is really special. Now all I have to do is avoid buying more stuff and setting myself back!

I bought these products myself.

Manicure Monday: Minty Fresh and Clean

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s look is a pretty simple one. I had a nail break — my nails were already pretty short — so I felt a simple look was best for nails this short. Today’s look was done with a vintage Maybelline mystery color, Lynnderella‘s The Full Minty, and rhinestones.

IMG_88092

IMG_88132

As you can see, this Maybelline polish is at least ten years old. That’s as long as I’ve had it, anyway. I don’t know anything about it; its name and other labels got peeled off, leaving its identity lost forever. It’s a really nice polish besides being old; it’s a warm nude with a subtle shimmer, it dries pretty quickly, and application was easy, even though I remember one of the last times I used it the brush dropped a strand in the wet polish. I’m always impressed by how long a polish can live.

IMG_88312

IMG_88362

I never know what to pair nude polishes with. Nudes are a great base for anything, and I couldn’t decide what to use with it, so what I did this week was pick a random Helmer drawer, shut my eyes, and grabbed a polish out. It was this one, Lynnderella’s The Full Minty. This was one of the first Lynnderellas I ever bought, and I’ve had it at least a year now, so I’m happy to be trying it out. At first I wasn’t sure about it; I thought the green would overwhelm the nude, and it kind of does, but I like it. The rhinestones, the final afterthought, pulls it together.

IMG_88502

IMG_88422

In the sun, this is really nice; you can see the full variety of glitters in The Fully Minty, as well as the subtle nude shimmer in the base.

IMG_87502

IMG_87632

IMG_87562

mmmfacmm

As the Maybelline mystery color is old and likely discontinued, I can’t offer any buying notes for it. The Fully Minty and other Lynnderella polishes are available on both eBay and Storenvy. My rhinestones are from Amazon.

I bought these products 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.

100_1933

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.

IMG_64792

IMG_64892

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.

IMG_64962

IMG_65002

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.

IMG_65062

IMG_65112

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.

IMG_64442

IMG_64502

IMG_64542

 

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.

Swatch Sunday: Maybelline Mystery Red

Hello, reader! For today’s Swatch Sunday, we’re looking at a very old polish from Maybelline. Its name has since been lost, but today, we’re immortalizing it in blog form. It’s also one of the polishes I used in my first-ever wacie.com post, so there’s that. I’m wearing three coats of this mystery polish with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

ssmmr

ssmmr2

ssmmr3

This mystery polish is a red jelly with fine red and silver glitters. Application was easy, and pretty typical of a polish like this; the first coat was streaky, but additional coats deepened the color and built opacity. And, for a polish its age — it’s been about ten years since I got this bottle — it applied pretty well. I thinned it myself a few months ago, but there were still some issues with inconsistent thickness, which I believe is a sign of its age, not its formula. The glitters distributed easily. It dried quickly and with a glossy finish. I added top coat for extra shine and protection.

ssmmr4

ssmmr5

I have a real soft spot for this polish. I’ve written time and again about how much I love red polishes, and this is a really special one. I’ve had it a long time, and though nothing beats a red creme for me, this may be an exception; it’s like a red creme but with more. It complements my skin tone so well, and it just makes me feel glamorous and sexy. I will truly be sad when it runs out.

ssmmr6

ssmmr7

I do not know the name of this polish, nor do I know whether it’s still being made by Maybelline. Other Maybelline polishes are sold nationwide.

I bought this polish 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.

mmpmagc

mmpmagc2

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.

mmpmagc3

mmpmagc4

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.

mmpmagc6

mmpmagc5

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: Red Luxe

Welcome to Manicure Monday! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that I got off my duff, got the dotting tool out, and did some real nail art. I still kind of suck with the dotting tool, but I’m really pleased with my results. For this look, I used Maybelline’s Red Relic as my primary color, Ciaté’s Gold Digga as the secondary color, and caviar beads in Gleam, also from Ciaté. I also used Seche Vite and Hard Candy’s Just Matte top coat.

mmrl

mmrl2

Red Relic is a fun little polish. It’s a red jelly with iridescent pink flakies that dries matte. I was a little disappointed when I first tried it out, because I’m not a huge fan of the matte finish. I supposed then that it wasn’t anything top coat couldn’t fix, so I kept it. The finish has grown on me, though. It’s actually the reason I made the whole manicure matte. Gold Digga has a metallic shine, and I needed to even it out with a matte top coat, so the finish you’re seeing is actually the matte coat, not the original Red Relic finish.

mmrl3

mmrl4

Gold Digga and the Gleam beads came together in a caviar nails set that was in the sale bin at Sephora. Gold Digga is a pretty nice polish; it’s a burnished gold with a rich metallic finish. It also looks fantastic mattified. The matte coat hides the brush strokes and evens out the color. It’s rare that I think a polish looks better without a glossy finish, but this one definitely does. I feel like it helps emphasize the luxe feel Ciaté was going for.

mmrl5

The two colors together are gorgeous. I got the elegant and opulent look I wanted. I’m just a bit unhappy with all the nail art horrors my camera captured. In the photos you can see just how uneven the crosses are, you can see all the gaps in the caviar, you can see the glue spots where I put the studs down. I know nobody probably noticed them until I mentioned them, but when I look at these photos, they’re all I see. In person, though, this mani is perfect.

Red Relic was a limited edition and has been discontinued by Maybelline, though you can find it if you look around the internet. Gold Digga and the caviar nail kit are available from Ciaté’s website. Hard Candy’s matte coat is from Walmart. My studs are from an outlet store.

I bought all of these products myself.

Swatch Sunday: Elevation Polish’s Pitaraq

Hello, reader! For Swatch Sunday this week, we’re going to look at Pitaraq by Elevation Polish. I’m wearing one coat of Pitaraq over two coats each of Maybelline’s Poolside, OPI’s OPI… Eurso Euro, and Marc Jacobs’s Midnight in Paris with one coat of Digital Nails’s Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That top coat.

IMG_40762

IMG_40862

IMG_40882

IMG_40942

Pitaraq is described by Elevation Polish as a shimmer topper; it consists of a clear base packed with blue, silver, and white flakies and blue shimmers. This topper is very easy to apply; one brushed coat is enough to cover the nail in wintry shimmer. The consistency is perfect; it’s not thick or goopy like toppers sometimes are. Drying times were good; I didn’t notice any excessive or prolonged periods of wetness or stickiness. It’s really easy to put on and use.

IMG_41012

IMG_41072

Inspired by the icy winds of Greenland, Pitaraq evokes, to me, the fierceness and cruelty of nature, as well as inclement weather and extreme conditions. It’s like an ice storm in a bottle. The cremes I used for undies were completely transformed; they are now shimmery, metallic, artcic versions of themselves. This is such a fun topper; even though it looks tame and demure in the bottle, but it really packs a punch.

IMG_41152

IMG_41232

Because spring is coming, we’re getting more sunshine, and so I’m able to start taking outdoor photos again. Look at this in the sunshine! It’s crazy. Every flakie reflects light and makes it super shiny. It’s absolutely mesmerizing.

IMG_41272

IMG_41292

As of this publication, Pitaraq is for sale at the Elevation Polish shop, though it has been discontinued. Act soon if it’s something you’re after.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday on Tuesday: Post-Vacation Pink Moons

I’m back from vacation, and the wacie.com 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….

IMG_49242

IMG_49272

IMG_49342

IMG_49412

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.

IMG_49502

IMG_49552

Sunlight

Sunlight

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.

IMG_49452

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: 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.

100_2010

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.

 100_2014

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.