Manicure Monday: Golden Red

Happy Monday! Reader, you may not be surprised to see I’ve done another red and gold mani. As much as I love that particular combo, it’s starting to feel like a rut. However, since my base polish was both red and gold, I just rolled with it. I started with three coats of Digital Nails‘s Let Zygons Be Zygons, then did a watermarble with a mystery Orly gold and clear.

The gold is so shiny that the watermarble is pretty difficult to see. You can see the marbled lines if you look closely, but from far away, it’s a mess. I suppose the solution is just don’t choose such a blingy polish, because this totally looked better in my head. I thought about mattifying it, but I didn’t think it would help, because it’s just that shiny. I wish I could tell you what the name of it is, because you kind of need it.

Let Zygons Be Zygons is such an awesome polish. I loved the idea of a red jelly with golden flakies, but what I didn’t know until today is that there’s just a hint of Spectraflair in it. It’s gorgeous! It looks kind of basic, but I really love it on my nails. There’s a lot going on in it. I just hope I don’t regret putting it on my toes also.

I took this one facing one of the lights directly. You can see the marble a little better here.

The next set of photos was taken in direct sunlight. Out here, you can see the tiny holo very well. In the macros, you can see that the Orly gold is made pretty much exclusively of gold flecks. This mani didn’t turn out the way I imagined it, but I’m glad I went for it.

This one’s in the shade.

Let Zygons Be Zygons isn’t in stock, but other Digital Nails polishes are available in their etsy shop. You probably know where to find Orly.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Blast From The Past

Welcome back, reader! Manicure Monday is a simple look this week. I’d actually planned something a little more intricate, but now that I’ve cut my nails down, I simplified it. I’m talking like there’s something wrong with just color and glitter, there’s totally not! For this look, I used Sephora by OPI’s It’s Bouquet With Me over Orly’s Rio Nights.

Originally, I’d planned a gray to purple gradient with Rio Nights. When I’ve got a multicolored glitter like this, I like to pick colors out and find cremes that match it, and that way everything is cohesive. With nails this small, though, there just wouldn’t have been room for it.

I love this mani, though. It’s making me all kinds of nostalgic. I was a hardened nail biter when I was younger — hell, until I was 23 — and this was what my hands always looked like back then. I liked wearing polish, but it was never a biting deterrent, so I always had these tiny little nails. I also feel deeply for purple glittery polish; the first nail polish that was 100% mine was a gift from my sister, and it was a purple glitter, right around the time unconventional colors and glitter polishes were getting popular in the late 1990s. I wore that polish until it was gone. This look channels that polish so hard.

I regret that I didn’t get any sunlight photos of this look. There’s been some inclement weather in the southeast, and the sun didn’t shine for more than five minutes at a time, and I could just never catch it. Also, when was the last time I wore a bow charm? It’s been ages!

The Sephora by OPI line has been discontinued; I actually found this particular one at Big Lots. Orly polishes are sold in stores nationwide. My bow charm is from Daily Charme.

I bought these polishes myself.

Empties Roundup: November 2016

Guess what, reader? It’s finally time for the Empties Roundup for November 2016! I don’t know about you guys, but November was a rough month for me. I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, I wrote a novel for National Novel Writing Month, and between those two things a lot of my other responsibilities were neglected. I even neglected my poor blog, and I’m still catching up. Better late than never. Enjoy the empties!

JP Orange Spice Hand Soap

This is what you get when you send Boyfriend out for hand soap. Like you kind of expect him to get something nice, because by now he should know what you like. Instead, he spends the least amount of money possible. This soap smelled all right at least, but it took a lot of product to finally come to a lather — how else am I supposed to know my hands got clean otherwise? I replaced this with some L’Occitane soaps I found in a thrift store. Yeah, you read that right: thrift store soap is better than this.

Orly French Tip Guides

Ahh, the original nail vinyls. I can’t live without these, and I bought another box as soon as I emptied the last one. These are super helpful for French tips and half-moon manis and I will always rebuy them.

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Super Hydrating Hand Cream

I love Pacifica products, and the blood orange scent could be my favorite. Well, besides all the others. I love everything they make! I actually got this from the Target clearance bin. It did moisturize my hands a lot, but they would occasionally still feel dried out after dishwashing, so I went through it pretty quickly. I’ve moved onto another Pacifica lotion, this one in the Indian Coconut Nectar scent.

Bath and Body Works Shower Gels in Maui and Oahu

I’ve done it, I’ve finally finished up my B&BW shower gels. I may have a few others stashed away somewhere, but these ones are finally gone. I don’t think either of them were too full; Oahu was a good half full, even fuller before I used it to wash makeup brushes a couple times. Maui was mostly done and I think I only got a couple uses from it. I haven’t repurchased any other shower gels; I’m going to see if I can put a dent in my soap collection.

Briogeo Blossom and Bloom Voluminizing Blow-Dry Spray (mini size)

I got this in an ipsy bag forever ago, but I only just started blow-drying and heat-styling my hair, so I’d only gotten around to using it this November. I think I used this up at the beginning of the month, and I really miss it. The scent was lovely, and it left a nice softness and shine on my hair. I bought Not Your Mother’s blow-dry spray when this ran out, and I like that one too, but I’d rebuy this in a second if I saw it on a shelf.

Hickory Ridge Organics Dead Sea Salt Scrubs in Coconut, Spearmint Eucalyptus, and Mango

So of all these products, these are the ones I’m most excited to talk about. These are local-ish products, made in St. Augustine, Florida, which is just a half-hour drive from where I live. Boyfriend and I went to St. Augustine for my birthday this year, and while we were wandering, I found the HRO shop and got a little crazy. I liked these scrubs a lot; the scents were really strong and the oils were plentiful and very moisturizing. My one gripe is that the salt pieces were kind of large and rounded off. I like a scrub with gritty, abrasive bits, and this one was a bit too gentle. Also the labels are not waterproof. That said, I hope to buy more of these on my next trip there. For now, I’m back to the Shea Moisture scrubs.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NW10

I’m pretty proud of this one, too, because this is like three years coming. I loved this foundation, and I’m proud to have used up the whole thing. I don’t know if you can see the fill line; it’s not really a fill line, just the foundation on the very bottom of the bottle that the pump couldn’t get to, and it’s just enough that it just coats the walls of the bottle instead of trickling out if I turned the bottle upside-down. I’m a little sad to see it go. I decided to try NARS’s All Day Luminous foundation when this ran out, and even though I like it enough, I wish I’d just repurchased this one. Side note: I just panned the powder I bought with this foundation.

Castelbel Jasmine and Hyacinth Soap Bar

This was a huge bar of soap, so huge and so egg-shaped that it was really awkward to hold and use in the shower for a long time. Recently I dropped the last little sliver on the shower floor and it broke into a dozen soapy little pieces. I got an oatmeal soap from Trader Joe’s (another Boyfriend pick) out of the drawer.

And there it is, nine days late, the Empties Roundup for November 2016! Have you used any of these products? What did you use up? Let me know in the comments!

I bought these products myself.
Except for the ones Boyfriend bought himself.

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.

Manicure Tuesday: Red vs. Blue Multichrome

Welcome to Manicure Tuesday! I know, it’s weird for me too. I like today’s look today, though, even if I did a bit of a sloppy job. For this look, I used MAC’s Queen’s Honor (red) and Nails Inc.’s Baker Street (blue); my thumb and pinky have Queen’s Honor alone, my index nail has Baker Street alone, and my middle and ring nails have a gradient made with both colors. I then applied a coat of Orly’s Synchro (the multichrome) on each nail, then finished with Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You top coats.

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I love Synchro, because I can confidently say I don’t own another polish like this. The red to blue multichrome is totally unique and I don’t have another polish that uses it. That said, I feel like I’ve never used it to its full potential. I wore it only once over red, and this time I decided to switch it up a bit and use red AND blue. I am stunned by how good it looks over the blue, I might even like it better than over red. Blue is the color I see the most of wearing Synchro, and it makes both colors look icy and interesting. Mattefied, it looks like an ethereal brocade. It’s really cool.

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My gradients didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped. I had a hard time blending the two colors. When I do gradients, I don’t usually pick two colors of the same intensity, I pick one that’s lighter and one that’s much darker, and then it evens out somewhere in the middle. This gradient left a dark purple center that I didn’t really like, but it ended up being covered by Synchro, so it’s hard to tell it’s a gradient at all. It’s pretty subtle. I can’t tell if it’s the look I wanted or not. I still like it though.

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Shifty!

Shifty!

Outdoors, Synchro really shines! The shift occurs pretty easily both indoors and out. These photos were taken in direct sunlight. Try not to notice my green pool.

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Queen’s Honor was a limited edition polish from MAC and has sold out; other MAC polishes are available at your local MAC counter. Baker Street and other Nails Inc. polishes are sold at Sephora. Synchro has been discontinued by Orly; other Orly polishes are sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these products myself.

Manicure Monday: Bridal Gradient

Welcome back to Manicure Monday! I’m excited about today’s look, because the first-ever Wacie Nail Company polish is part of it. I feel like I made this polish a lifetime ago! This is Bridal Bouquet over a gradient of China Glaze’s For Audrey and Orly’s Water Lily.

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Bridal Bouquet was the reason I started making polish. I’d had ideas for polishes and ordered customs from other indie makers, but this was an idea I wanted to do just for myself. I still remember how exciting it was to receive all the glitters and bottles and lacquer supplies in the mail; I still remember the satisfaction of shaking it together, brushing it onto a swatch wheel, and knowing I’d gotten it right. That was two years ago. It feels so good to come full circle.

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To keep the marriage motif, I went for a Tiffany-inspired gradient. For Audrey, everyone’s favorite Tiffany blue, had to be used. In testing, I tried Bridal Bouquet over many blues, but For Audrey was my favorite base for it. As an afterthought, I added Water Lily to create a little bit of dimension beneath the glitter. Though Water Lily is a deeper, brighter turquoise, the gradient is very subtle, barely even there. The glitter is such that the gradient is covered up and on display at the same time.

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The following photos were taken in direct sunlight. When the sunlight is harsh like this, the iridescent glitters get washed out. The gradient looks fantastic, though, and there is a bit of sparkle yet. I’m pretty happy with this look, overall. How long has it been since I last did a gradient? Much too long.

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Follow wacie.com for Bridal Bouquet release info, as well as other Wacie Nail Company polishes. China Glaze and Orly are available in stores nationwide.

I made this polish. Other polishes were purchased myself.

Manicure Monday: Shine Overload

Happy Monday! I got crazy with the shiny nails today, just because I could! For this look, I used Ciaté’s Monte Carlo over Orly’s Shine with one coat of Seche Vite top coat. Also there’s a huge rhinestone bow.

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When I started this mani, I knew it wouldn’t photograph well at all. I’m okay with it, really. It’s so shiny in real life. Shine is this great shimmery metallic silver that reflects a lot of light, and Monte Carlo is filled with metallic and holographic glitters that makes it worse. It’s not really that over-the-top, I guess, it’s a pretty basic polish with glitter, but photography really was a challenge.

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Monte Carlo is actually a pretty cool mix of glitter. It’s kind of a mess; the glitters — blue, pink, and holographic silver bars — don’t really go together, but the overall look is chaotic and fun. It’s neither fine nor chunky, but adds a pop of color and the shine of glitter to any under-color.

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I feel like Shine maybe detracts from it a bit. I thought it would be a good under-color for Monte Carlo; since Monte Carlo already had a lot going on, I thought it needed a strong color under it, something that could hold the figurative weight of the glitter. In general, I do like the way it looks, but I think the silver shine, when the light hits it, overwhelms the subtleties of the glitter. Shine is one of the most aptly-named polishes ever. The following set of photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight. I think the sunlight photos came out better because the light is better diffused, but I still had a little bit of a problem with the glare. The silver holo bars show up best here.

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So let’s talk about the bow charm. It’s awesome, right? It’s ridiculous. They’re wider than my whole finger and it’s only a matter of time before they pop off somewhere and get lost forever. I couldn’t resist it, though. I really wanted to make this look even more obnoxious than it already was.

*bling*

*bling*

Shine is available wherever Orly is sold; mine is from Sally Beauty Supply. Ciaté is sold at Sephora. The gigantic bow is from Born Pretty Store.

I bought these items myself.

Swatch Sunday: Orly’s Space Cadet

Happy Sunday! It’s been a long day, and I’m excited to finally bring you today’s swatch! I’ve been dying to wear this polish, and I’m thrilled to be showing it to everyone. This is Orly’s Space Cadet; I’m wearing three coats of Space Cadet with one coat of Gelous top coat.

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Space Cadet is a purple, copper, gold, and olive multichrome polish. The polish is a deep indigo base; the mutlichrome effect comes from the larger pigment particles in the polish. If you look closely, you can see where they didn’t cover the nail all the way and the blue color of the base is more visible. Application was easy, and product consistency was good; the polish wasn’t too thick or thin, and the polish spreads well over the nail. I needed two coats for full opacity. The shifting effect is strong and occurs in any lighting condition. It dried quickly with a smooth and glossy finish. I added top coat for extra shine and protection.

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So I’m really, really impressed with this polish. I know it’s been out a while, I know how late I am to the party, but man this polish is awesome. It’s probably the strongest shifter from a mainstream polish I’ve used yet. You can see the pieces in the polish and how large they are; it’s basically a fine glitter in there, so those it’s not as smooth as a multichrome from I Love Nail Polish might be, this one performs about as well as those do. The color shift requires very little effort to see — all one has to do is move their hands a bit and their nails will look completely different. There’s such a wide variety of colors between the shift, too, that one rarely sees the same color twice. It’s absolutely stunning. I tried so hard to capture the shift, but I did not do it justice. The shift is pretty intense, and I guess the camera couldn’t handle it.

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This is my favorite. I got all the colors!

I got some sunlight photos. The colors are warmer in natural light, and you can see the tinted base out here. Again, the shift occurs pretty easily.

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Space Cadet and other Orly polishes are available where salon-quality polish is sold; I got mine from Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Summer Bronze and Gold

For Manicure Monday this week, I’m wearing one of the super-gorgeous Naked polishes! Every time I get one of these out, I think about how foolish I was to buy this Urban Decay set, and how glad I am that I did, because it’s nowhere to be found now. This is Smog, and I’m wearing two coats topped by one coat of Seche Vite. My glitter accents are Orly’s Too Fab.

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Smog is a bronze polish with a rich golden shimmer. It’s wonderfully opaque in two coats, dries quickly enough, and delivers even color. It reminds me of chocolate ganache, just rich and sweet and shiny. Delicious. I want to wear this so much more often, but the bottle is so small and scarce that I never want to run out.

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Too Fab is the opposite. Orly bottles are enormous, and I’ve had this one for a pretty long time. This is like the metallic gold glitter topper that never stops giving. My bottle is a hair more than halfway full, but I will be using it until the end of time, probably. I didn’t expect to get so much glitter on my accents; this is one coat, after all. I wanted to be able to see the Smog through the glitter. It’s still pretty, though. I think the gold and the bronze complement each other very well.

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Outside, this is just blinding. The gold shimmer in Smog is really visible here, and the glitter throws so much light it’s insane. You can see the light flaring off of it. It’s crazy.

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Handcare rave: I got this cream the other weekend from Ulta. Le Couvent des Minimes Soothing Night Hand Creme has the most delicious lavender scent, and it makes my hands pretty soft. I use it right after I wash dishes in the evening, when my hands are the most dry. It absorbs well, smells incredible, and feels very light after application. The price is a little steep; it was something like $8 for a .8oz tube, but oh my gosh, it was so worth it to me.

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Final word: these are the perfect polishes for the end of summer and the beginning of the school season. I could not have chosen better.

Manicure Monday: Bronze Glitter Gradient

It’s like I dipped my nails in shiny chocolate. It’s not chocolate, though. It’s glitter!

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As you can see, I used two polishes this week. Wet ‘n Wild’s 2% Milk is a very pale, very sheer pink. The first coat was so sheer that it was nearly invisible. The second coat was less so, but was still very transparent and natural-looking. I’ve never gotten the point of these sheer pinks that don’t cover anything. I guess they’re useful for French manicures, but I never got the point of those either.  Orly’s So Go-Diva is a bronze glitter suspended in a clear base, and I had some trouble with this one. Before I started working with it, there was this layer of clear polish hovering over the glitter, and so when I pulled the brush out, I’d have maybe five pieces of glitter on an otherwise bare nail. I got this look by applying it with an eyeshadow sponge; the sponge soaked up the extra lacquer and still let me place the glitter where I wanted it.

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I could have done a better job with the gradient, probably. Since 2% Milk was so sheer, I felt I needed a thick layer of glitter to cover the nail line, and so that’s why it goes down so far. I tried to exercise some control, I honestly did. This is actually the second attempt at this manicure today; my gradient work was awesome, but I tried a jelly sandwich thing with the pink, but I ended up hating it and took it off. I’m not especially happy with this gradient, but I like it enough to keep it on. However, it has crossed my mind to just sponge the glitter onto the whole nail and keep the sheer pink out of it.

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This is a good festive manicure, I think. I never do themed or holiday nails, but I love when they happen by accident.

Wet 'n Wild's 2% Milk, Orly's So Go-Diva

Wet ‘n Wild’s 2% Milk, Orly’s So Go-Diva

You’ll see that layer of clear is gone from the Orly bottle. Out of curiosity, I tested it to see if the glitter spreads any better, and it does. I think I’m just going to pour out that extra bit of lacquer from every bottle from now on.