Nailspiration: Alterre NY’s Resort/Winter 2017 Collection

Hello, reader! Today’s post is all about shoes and manicures based on shoes. I got an early look at Alterre‘s 2017 shoe collection, and after seeing how easily the designs and colors lend themselves to negative space manicures, I had to give it a shot.

This post is a sponsored post by Alterre NY and Brandbacker. The opinions stated in this post are my own.

If you’re unfamiliar with Alterre, imagine this: modular sandals. You start with a sandal base, with straps that snap to the bottom sole. Different straps (the look) can be added to the sandal base (the lift) to customize the shoe. All looks work with all lifts and can be used to create a huge combination of different shoes. Imagine the possibilities!

This year’s collection, which doesn’t launch until September, is based on styles from the 1970s. The catalog contains a lot of earth tones and platform shoes, which I’m a huge fan of.

As I mentioned, I saw a manicure for every shoe in the catalog. The modular approach to negative space manicures works as well as it does for shoes.

P2’s French Kiss and Essie’s Good As Gold

These looks are completely outside what I usually do for myself. I did a lot of taping and a lot of freehand painting, which I’ve never been completely comfortable with. Some of these looks, I regret to say, aren’t up to my usual standards.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Lighthouse on the Lake and Siren’s Quarter-Life Crisis

They’re kind of editorial, and maybe that’s the look I wanted all along. Not all of these looks, nail and shoe alike, are suited for everyday life, but they could be with just a few adjustments.

This was directly from the PDF catalog, I didn’t get a hi-res photo of this one.

Sally Hansen’s Black Out, China Glaze’s White on White, dried flowers from Ciaté

e.l.f’s Nude, Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s I Could See Them Too

P2’s Artful, Essie’s Nothing Else Metals, OPI’s Dutch Tulips

So, what do you think, reader? I hope you like the shoes and some of the manis. I’ve been thinking of making Nailspiration a regular feature, because I see so many things around the house and out into the world that would make fantastic nail art that I never get the chance to try.


This post is a sponsored post by Alterre NY and Brandbacker. The opinions stated in this post are my own.
All nail products featured in this post were purchased 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.

Swatch Sunday: Shleee Polish’s Beautiful Dreams

Welcome back, reader! I’m excited about today’s swatch; it’s from a brand I’ve been dying to try forever! This is Beautiful Dreams from Shleee Polish; I’m wearing one coat over LA Girl’s Black, China Glaze’s White on White, P2’s French Kiss (pink), and Nails Inc.’s Baker Street (blue).





Beautiful Dreams is a clear-based glitter topper with a primarily white glitter mix — shapes include stars, moons, hearts, dots, and clouds — with silver moons and stars, iridescent hexes, and a strong blue-to-purple shift. Application was good; I didn’t have to fish for the shape glitters, and the glitters brushed on evenly. Product consistency was also good; it wasn’t too thick or thin. It dried quickly and with a glossy finish; I used top coat for extra smoothness and shine.



When this polish came out early this year, I jumped on it. This was the first time I’d ever seen the cloud glitters, and I still get so excited about new glitter shapes, I have to buy the polish I see them in first. Beautiful Dreams is a great use for them, too; the overall look is ethereal and celestial, and the clouds just belong. It’s a perfect mix of glitter and shimmer. I am crazy impressed with it, as well as with Shleee in general.






The following photos were taken in direct sunlight. The shift gets a little washed out — especially in midday — but still looks gorgeous. You may also be wondering why I used a white polish as a base for white glitter. I think there’s something charming about white over white; it’s giving the shift and the silver glitters a chance to stand out.







Beautiful Dreams is currently not in stock; other Shleee Polishes are available in their etsy shop.

I bought this polish myself.

HPB Presents: Dragonfruit

Hello, reader! It’s time for June’s installment of the Hobby Polish Bloggers Link-up! Every month, this Facebook group chooses a theme, and the theme for June is fruit! When the theme was announced, dragonfruit was the first thing I thought of, so here are dragonfruit nails! For this look, I used L’Oreal’s Satin Starlet, Digital Nails‘s Valar Morghulis, and P2’s French Kiss, as well as Seche Vite and Essie’s Matte About You top coats.



I love the flavor of dragonfruit, and vagely knew what it looked like until I was at a luau in Hawaii and found it on the buffet. It was the first time I’d ever eaten actual dragonfruit, and it was amazing. I knew it would be an easy thing to recreate in a manicure, so I went for it.



I started with two coats of Satin Starlet, then added a brushed coat of Valar Morghulis, another coat of Satin Starlet, another coat of Valar Morghulis, and then added the French Kiss tip. French Kiss was more translucent than I thought it would be and you can see some of the black glitter through the tip, but it’s not the worst thing that happened to this mani. With all the coats, it took ages for the polish to be dry enough for the French tip vinyls. I actually did it once, waited an hour, and had the vinyls pull up the polish on every single nail. I got a beer and started over, waiting four hours this time. The pinky peeled off. This time I just peeled the polish off the vinyl and stuck it back on because I was not doing it a third time.



My favorite thing about this look is that, even though it’s clearly inspired by dragonfruit, it’s not immediately obvious if you’re not thinking about it. Without the French tip, it’s just a really creamy monochromatic look; I almost didn’t want to add the tip because I liked it the way it was. Adding the tip is adding a great pop of color. White, black, and pink is probably my favoritest color pairing ever.


Satin Starlet may be discontinued; other L’Oreal polishes are sold nationwide. Valar Morghulis and other Digital Nails polishes are available in their etsy shop (they are currently on hiatus). P2 polishes are sold in Europe.

I bought two of these polishes myself, the other was a gift.
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Swatch Sunday: P2’s Artful

Happy Sunday! I’m happy to bring you today’s post, because I get to show you polish from Europe! I’ve worn P2’s Artful on the blog before, but that was ages ago, and you never got to see the polish on its own. Here’s Artful at three coats with one coat of Gelous gel coat.




Artful is a teal creme polish. Application was easy; the polish is rich and very pigmented, giving me an almost-opaque first coat, and complete opacity in two. I remember this polish staining me the last time, so I made sure to use two coats of base coat (I use Orly Bonder) this time around. The product consistency is very good; it’s very easy to control the polish with the brush. It dries quickly and with a glossy finish; I used top coat for extra shine and protection.



Apart from details about the polish itself, I can’t tell you much else about it. The polish was sent to me by someone in Germany, so I don’t know where to tell you to look for it — other than Germany, obviously — but I recommend it. I don’t know if it’s a 3-free formula, or if the EU even has such a thing, but that doesn’t bother me much. Both the color and the formula are so rich and vibrant that I really wish I could get them more easily. The shade itself isn’t hugely special, but I love using polish from another country, and maybe it’s a good thing it’s not so widely found in the US; I probably wouldn’t like it so much.



Both indoors in the studio and outside in cloudy lighting, this polish looks a lot more turquoise than it does in real life. In real life, it’s darker and greener. Also, my cuticles got a bit stained anyway, despite my best efforts, but that tends to happen with blues and greens in general. Also, and this is likely why, I got stuck trying to clean my cuticles up with non-acetone polish remover, because it was the only thing I had in the house. It didn’t work well at all; the polish didn’t come off, it made my brush feel dry and brittle, and it has this weird cherry cough drop smell. If you see any spots that look bubbly or bumpy around the edges, that’s totally not the polish’s fault.




Artful and other P2 polishes have to be available somewhere. If I knew, I’d tell you.

This polish was a gift. It was not sent for review or consideration.

Manicure Monday: Blue Bomb

For Manicure Monday this week, I pulled out a crackle polish that had been languishing in the collection. For this look, I’m wearing P2’s Blue Bomb over Essie’s Mint Candy Apple, a dusting of China Glaze’s Fairy Dust, and Ciate’s Speed Coat Pro top coat.



I know we’ve seen crackle polishes on the blog before, and each time I’m always conflicted about wearing one; it’s something between “Man, this is super cool” and “Dude, what was I thinking?” I mean, I like the look in general; I always get compliments on crackle polish whenever I wear one out, and I like how unpredictable it is and how two nails never look exactly the same. I feel pretty meh about this look, though. I even tried to dress it up with Fairy Dust, which was a last-minute impulse, and even then it’s like 2010 called and asked for its manicure back.



Individually, I love these polishes. Mint Candy Apple is a nice baby blue creme that was opaque in two coats. Fairy Dust is the most beautiful kind of subtle. Blue Bomb is special to me because it’s from Germany and I got it in an awesome Reddit swap. I normally like it, but today I’m not feeling it so much. I guess that’s a really rude-as-crap thing to say about a gift. Sorry.



Final word: It looked better in my head. It also looks nicer in person, because the glitter is more glittery.

2014 Birthday Nails!

It’s my birthday! I’m not going to do a proper write-up of all the polishes today, I’m just going to show this off because I am way too proud of it.


Here are the polishes I used:
Thumb: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Dawn Breaks
Index: Indigo Banana‘s Moonlight (Clair de Lune)
Cupcakes: P2’s French Kiss, American Apparel’s Neon Pink, Essie’s Fiji, Ciate’s Candy Floss
Pinky: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s If You’re a Seascape

I also want to take a moment to thank everyone who’s participating in the giveaway! If you haven’t entered yet, you have, of this writing, eight hours left to enter to win two Ciate polishes. The winner will be announced tomorrow! I’m so excited, this is my first giveaway and it is going gloriously well. I can’t wait to do this again.

Manicure Monday: Blue Crackle Over Copper

I was looking forward to this manicure for a while. I bought Essie’s Penny Talk a few months ago, when I was just climbing onto the Essie bandwagon. My boyfriend and I were grocery shopping and I found the supermarket’s small section of nail polish. I flipped and grabbed as many bottles of it as I could hold (like four). My boyfriend caught me, made me put them all back, and literally dragged me away from the shelf. I didn’t put them all back though. I sneaked this one.

I’ve never shown swatches or pre-cleanup pictures on the blog before, but I knew I needed to photograph this one before I finished. I mean, look at this. I didn’t expect this metallic finish at all, and I am blown away by it. I’ve seen the other Essie metallic colors in stores, but I was never interested in them until I put this on. This is just breathtaking.

This is two coats of Penny Talk with no topcoat.

This is two coats of Penny Talk with no topcoat.

Dat shiny.

Dat shiny.

Unfortunately, it’s not very forgiving if you don’t have perfectly smooth nails. I have some nail peeling and dents from peeling off polish, and you can see every ridge and crease through the polish. I’ve never had this happen before. It may be time to invest in a ridge filling base coat, because I plan to buy more of these.

The actual manicure.

The actual manicure.


I know crackle toppers are long over, but I still like them. I like how unpredictable they can be, and how each nail is its own unique, chaotic piece of art. This particular crackle topper was sent to me from Germany, so I’m really excited to finally try it. I really love the way the metallic finish shines through the cracks. The crackle itself dries matte, but when I put the topcoat on, I get this incredible shine from both. I didn’t think I would like a crackle manicure so much.

Essie's Penny Talk, P2's Crackling Top Coat in Blue Bomb. I really love that German sticker on the bottle.

Essie’s Penny Talk, P2’s Crackling Top Coat in Blue Bomb. I really love that German sticker on the bottle.

Manicure Monday On the Road: Birthday Cupcakes

It’s my birthday week, so I’m visiting my boyfriend in Atlanta for the week. Unfortunately, this means I have one photo of my manicure, taken with an iPad. Unfortunately, it means I had to type this blog entry on an iPad as well.

They look kinda melted.

They look kinda melted.

I used a lot of colors in this manicure, as you can see. Here’s a list:

Green: Sally Hansen’s Mint Sprint
Blue: OPI’s Eurso Euro
Pink: P2’s French Kiss
White: Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get
Accent nails: Blue Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Floppy. Hoppy. BUNNIES!

Several days before I left, I packed everything I would need for this manicure. I put all five polishes into a bag with my dotting tool, pointed cotton swabs and acetone, striping tape, tweezers, and whatever else I would need to successfully complete this mani. When I started, I ended up peeling off my old mani, which took off a bit of my natural nail, but it also meant I didn’t disturb my boyfriend’s six housemates with bad acetone smell. Also, since it was a mani with rhinestones, it also meant I didn’t have to go through the kitchen hunting for foil or anything like that. So I’d already started on a bad foot. Then when it was time to start the dotting, the dotting tool wasn’t in my bag. I went through it twice, I looked in other bags several times, and it was nowhere to be found. I ended up making all my dots with the end of an unwound paper clip. It definitely shows. While this isn’t some of my best handpainting, it’s not my worst, either. Actually, it may be my best. I’m awful at handpainting.

So, the polishes. Eurso Euro had a really weird smell, somewhat different from the usual OPI smell. Now that I think about it, I have a dark blue P2 crackle with the same weird smell. Do these dark blue pigments just smell differently, or what? It had really nice coverage, and was easy to work with, but that smell. I can’t get past it. The mint green Sally Hansen is an Insta-Dri, so of course it was opaque in one coat and ready to go right away. I didn’t use the P2 for much, other than the cherry on the top of the cupcake, but it’s probably just as nice to work with.

I think the glitter crelly, Floppy. Hoppy. BUNNIES!, kind of stole the show here. Yes, that’s butterfly glitter you see there, as well as stars in a couple different colors, squares, and hexes. It’s a limited edition polish from Blue Eyed Girl Lacquer, and you only get it by ordering the whole Buffy the Vampire Slayer-inspired collection. Holos aren’t really my style, so they felt bad for me and gave it to me anyway. It’s an excellent polish, and I kind of dislike how exclusive it is, because it’s the best one in the collection, in my opinion. If you want in on this or any of their other polishes (you do), here’s the link to the BEGL store.

I really hate typing on an iPad, so I guess I’ll end it here. See you guys when I get back from vacation!

Manicure Monday: Gold Leaf Over Green

So here’s another bandwagon I missed by a year or so: the gold leaf top coat. Yes, that’s real 18k gold on my nails. It was part of my splurge binge the other month, when I scooped up all the polish and things I’d wanted for months but was too broke to buy. I was so happy to finally use it this week! The green color I used this week is actually from Germany. I got it in a Reddit makeup and nail polish gift swap last summer. She sent me a bunch of eyeshadow and a four bottles of German nail polish. I’ve had this stuff for a year, and I’ve just gotten around to using it.


Overall, I like this look. I feel kind of bad; this is one of the most expensive nail products I own, and even though P2 is impossible to find in the US, it probably costs like €2 in Germany. I love it though. I love all kinds of products from around the world, and this is no exception. It’s worth it to me to pair it with the gold leaf.

P2's Artful, Zoya's Gilty 18k real gold top coat

P2’s Artful, Zoya’s Gilty 18k real gold top coat

The best comment I’ve gotten on these so far? “I see a retarded brachiosaurus on your middle finger.”