Manicure Monday: Reverse Monet

Happy Monday, reader! My look today is an experiment; I’m using a fan brush for nail art for the first time ever! I bought a cheap drugstore nail art kit just for the fan brush in it, and I’ve finally gotten around to using it. For this look, I used a faded bottle of Sinful Colors’s Dream On, Kleancolor’s Neon Orange, and Island Girl’s Aloha Paradise.

I started this look off with a good base of Dream On. Like I said, this polish faded dramatically. It was once a vibrant neon purple that became the coral you (kind of) see here. Even when I got this polish, I wasn’t a huge fan of it; it takes all of three coats to cover all the streaks and leaves behind a cheap-looking flat finish. I love Sinful Colors polishes to death but this one was never my favorite.

I originally didn’t include Aloha Paradise in this look, but ultimately, the look needed something for contrast. Dream On and Neon Orange are both on the sheer side; obviously the coverage builds, but for nail art, something with good coverage is ideal. It didn’t look like anything without the teal to liven it up. After that, I just kind of brushed the polish back and forth over the nail until I started getting dry brush strokes. It looks amazing up close like this when you can see the brushy details, but from far away, it just looks like a brown mess.

Sinful Colors and Kleancolor are sold in stores. I found Island Girl in Hawaii.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Orange and Ginger

Happy Monday, reader! Today’s look is simple but colorful. I used Sally Hansen’s Sun Kissed and Digital Nails‘s Ultimate Ginger. Let’s get started!

Sun Kissed is a polish I’ve had for a long time; you can’t tell in this photo, but the fill line is somewhere around the French words on the bottle. It may be one of my oldest. I kept it simple here, just because I wasn’t sure how the consistency of the polish would be after so many years. It was actually still pretty easy to work with, but it was thickening and stretching like mozzarella around the neck of the bottle. This is the first time in a while I’ve had the hope that I can finish a bottle of polish.

I used Ultimate Ginger here for the orange glitters, as well as the complementary colors. I knew the orange and blue together would make a stunning combination, but I didn’t realize how colorful Ultimate Ginger really is. It’s not just orange and blue glitters in there; it’s yellow, white, and green, too. I know this is a polish based on a painting of flowers (or rather, a Doctor Who episode centered around it? Confession: I’ve never seen Doctor Who) so it should come as no surprise, but still. There’s much more to this polish than I expected.

Sally Hansen polishes are sold in stores. The original formula of Ultimate Ginger was discontinued, with a changed-up version called Penultimate Ginger taking its place. Either way, Digital Nails is unfortunately still on hiatus.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch: Emerald & Ash’s Construction Season

Welcome back, reader! It’s another swatch! This is Emerald & Ash’s Construction Season, a throwback from their 2013 Road Trip textured polish collection. I’m wearing three coats without top coat.

Construction Season is a bright orange polish with a fine texture. Application was good; due to the textured effect, the polish is quite thick, and goes on in thick coats. I find this kind of consistency easy to work with, but I realize some people don’t. The texture is pretty smooth, and smoothness increases with additional coats. It mostly serves as a visual effect than a palpable one, so even the people who dislike textured polish may like this one.

So, when I was getting this post together, I noticed that Emerald & Ash’s website is down and the domain is expired. I know they were on hiatus for a while, but I thought they came back, and it’s sad to lose another maker. So many of them are closing up this year. It’s a terrible shame. I hope everything is going well for them.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Glitter on Clementines

Hello, reader! Bad news, I broke a nail, and I had to cut them down short. It’s the first major break I’ve had so far this year — the last time I had them this short, it was February — and I’m pretty bummed. Luckily, the two polishes I used today look great on tiny baby nails. For this look, I used Digital Nails‘s Faraday-Glo and Kunimitsu‘s Beautiful Theory.

I can’t say no to neon orange. This is a great shade. It’s super bright even without undies, so much so that my camera struggled with the color quite a lot. Classic neons. There’s a fine blue shimmer in here, too, which was a bit hard to see. I covered it up with glitter.

Beautiful Theory is a fantastic topper. I had a hard time getting the shapes out, but on nails for ants, it’s not a bad problem to have. The iridescent glitters make the polish, though, and especially makes it pair well with bright orange. Depending on the angle, they look purple or pink. It’s really cool.

So tiny!

Digital Nails polishes are available in their etsy shop (though as of this writing they are taking a break). Beautiful Theory isn’t currently stocked, but Kunimitsu polishes are also for sale in their etsy shop.

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.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Siren’s Lucky Shamrock

Happy Saturday, reader! Remember last week‘s Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer swatch, and how I said it was part of a duo? This is its other half, Siren’s Lucky Shamrock. It is the St. Paddy’s Day-themed glitter topper you need. I’m wearing one brushed coat of Siren’s Lucky Shamrock over Zoya’s Chantal (nude) and Neely (green) and LA Colors’s Hottie (coral) with one coat of Seche Vive top coat.

Siren’s Lucky Shamrock is a clear-based glitter topper featuring a mix of green, orange, gold, and black glitters, iridescent glitters, and orange flakies. The official description also lists shamrock glitters, but I didn’t get any, and I don’t see them in the bottle, either. Application was good; the glitters brushed on easily and the product consistency performed well. The polish dries quickly and with some glitter texture, so top coat is necessary for smoothness.

Of the two polishes, this one is the obvious holiday polish. Personally, I don’t care much for polishes that are only useful one day a year, but if you’re big into holiday looks, this is one you want. It’s basically Ireland in a bottle. It makes for a very easy St. Paddy’s manicure.

The following photos were taken in direct sunlight. The flakies get a little washed out out here, but the glitters come alive.

As of this writing, Siren’s Lucky Shamrock is still available, and even better, on sale in the BEGL shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Sunday: Crayola’s Orange

Hello! Tonight’s swatch was delayed due to Super Bowl shenanigans. This week I’m bringing you a scented polish from a fruit rainbow themed Crayola collection. I picked this up a few years ago from a Rite-Aid while I was travelling in Philadelphia. This is Orange; I’m wearing three coats without top coat.

Orange is an orange polish with gold shimmer that is also scented with orange. It smells like orange soda. The scent didn’t last long, of course, not past a few hand washes. Application was good; the product consistency was good and was easy to use. However, it took a pretty long time to dry. I nicked one and brushed over it, and nicked it again about five minutes later. A few hours after application, when these photos were taken, they were still soft enough to be imprinted with fabric textures.

Even though I wish I’d not cared about the scent and used top coat, I rather like this polish. This particular orange reminds me of one I wore as a teen. The color is bright, the shimmer is strong, and the scent is just a fun bonus. I’m really disappointed that it got imprinted, but that’ll teach me to skip the quick-dry top coat again.

In the sun, the shimmer is crazy. I love how strong it is! It’s an unexpected treat for a polish that isn’t intended to do more than smell. These photos were taken in direct sunlight outdoors.

I bought this scented Crayola set at Rite-Aid, but you can probably find them anywhere; for instance, a quick search indicates they’re available on

I bought this polish 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 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: 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.

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


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


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


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

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


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, 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.

Colors Unknown, but probably all Sinful Colors


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 came to be, but I think it was also before the days of quick-dry top coat. Those dark, dark days.

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!


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.

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


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!

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


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.