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 Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Siren Sweetheart

Hello, reader! Swatch Saturday is going strong in 2017! Today’s polish is Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Siren Sweetheart; I’m wearing one brushed coat over Zoya’s Chantal and Essie’s Fiji and Mint Candy Apple.

Siren Sweetheart is a clear-based glitter topper with iridescent hex and square glitters and denim blue hexes in a mainly-white glitter mix that includes rectangles, stars, hearts, diamonds, and squares. Application was okay; the consistency was pretty thick, which is not unexpected, seeing how much glitter is in the bottle. The glitter is very dense, so I got tons on the brush and didn’t have to fish for the larger shapes. The polish dried quickly with some texture; I used top coat for smoothness.

The white glitter topper is one of my favorite mixes, because it can be worn over anything. I only swatched it over pastels here, but you could put this over any creme and have an interesting look. The iridescent glitters shift colors based on the lighting, so there’s some color in the polish, the white glitters add texture and fun, and the blue glitters break it all up. I am having a ton of fun wearing this.

These photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight. In the sun, the iridescent glitters look a little washed out, but out here, you can see just how much glitter is on each nail. The studio photos seem a little deceptive by comparison.

Siren Sweetheart was a numbered limited edition that has since sold out. Other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are sold in their online shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

A Look Back at 2016

Hello reader! Now that 2016 is behind us, I wanted to look back on some of my blog highlights and share my favorite nail art looks, and maybe share some of my 2017 blogging goals with you. I guess I could have waited to do this on my blog-versary in March, but it feels more appropriate to do it now.

January: Elevated Gradient

February: Neon Satisfaction

You’ll notice these photos are tiny. Why? Because in March, The Great wacie.com Server Crash of 2016 happened! My webhost had a hardware failure, and for whatever reason, several months of posts were lost and had to be pieced back together with images and text cached by Google. It was an extremely frustrating and embarrassing time for me.

March: Spring Hibiscus

I miss these long nails.

This is probably my favorite look of the year.

Third Anniversary Do-Over

I mentioned earlier that my blog’s anniversary is in March. For last year’s anniversary, I recreated the first-ever mani I posted on my blog. I don’t know yet what I’ll do for my fourth year, but it’ll probably be awesome.

April: Dusty Watermarble

May: Neon Splatter

I went to Hawaii in May. As a result, this is my least active month on the blog for the year.

June: Orange Jello Sandwich

My first Empties Roundup post was also in June.

July: Beyond

August: Ombre Hearts

September: Popples

October: Stripey Blue Frosting

This was a look I did to celebrate my birthday.

November: Ruby Opal

December: White Snow Blue Lava

So there’s my year! This was probably the busiest year for the blog, since I broadened my sujects quite a lot. I did tons of swatches and nail art, but I also ventured into product reviews and makeup talk. I don’t think this will ever become a full lifestyle or beauty blog, but I’m definitely having fun with it in this format. I’m kind of excited to see what it’ll evolve into in 2017. Here are a few beauty goals I have in mind, though.

1. Write more
I wrote 175 posts in 2016, averaging about 14 per month. It doesn’t sound like much to me, like I did way more work than that, especially when it started to feel stressful. That said, I’d like to do at least one more post every week.

1b. Write on my other blog more
I have a second blog that I want to start posting to more. It’s been so long since I’ve bothered with it that I don’t even remember the login credentials. I still want a place to talk about myself and my life, a place to seem like I have a life away from my nails.

2. Build a real skincare routine
I still feel insecure about my skin. I’m frustrated that I’m 31 and I still get acne. I want to take every preventative measure I can against wrinkles and anti-aging. I also want to try a 10-step Asian beauty routine. If you’re over 30 with oily skin and hormonal acne, I want your recommendations.

3. Stop competing
I know one of the big rules of blogging is not to compare your success with others’, but I feel so competitive about it. At the risk of sounding whiny, I always look at other bloggers who’ve been working on their blogs for about as long as I have, and watching their blogs grow faster than mine is kind of frustrating. I don’t want to feel like that anymore.

4. Do more real nail art
I love glitter toppers and I think I use at least one every week, but sometimes it feels lazy. I want to go back to the basics: watermarbling, gradients, dotting. I love my glitters, but it’s starting to feel like a cop-out.

I think that’s it! Anyway, I think 2017 is going to be an exciting year, and I’m looking forward to the good times, the challenges, and the time we spend together. Thanks for reading!

Swatch Sunday: Zoya’s Envy

Welcome to Swatch Sunday! I’m excited about today’s post. I don’t know if you know this, but I list all the polishes I own in my polish list, and this is what helps me decide what I’m going to swatch. Swatch Saturday goes down the list from the top, which it’s always a Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer polish. Swatch Sunday is the first polish from each brand, and the brands are in alphabetical order. So, since today’s swatch is a Zoya polish, next week we’ll loop back around to Butter London, and I’m excited about that. So, to celebrate one go-around of the Swatch Sunday polish list, here’s Zoya’s Envy. I’m wearing three coats of Envy with one coat of Seche Vite.

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Not sure why the tips look worn.

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Envy is a blackened green creme. Application is good; the product consistency is on the thin side but is still easy to use. The polish dries with a glossy finish before top coat.

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So I’m just going to say this. This stains. It stains bad. This polish has given me the worst yellow nails I’ve ever had. In fact, I used two coats of Seche Base for this swatch in order to avoid — I hope — the staining. It’s a shame, too, because I really love this shade. It’s not as harsh as black, and it’s an unexpected alternative to blackened burgundies and browns. A similar polish might be Essie’s Stylenomics; it looks similar, but I can’t vouch whether or not it stains the same way. I almost went for another Zoya instead, but I’m a blogger, and it’s kind of my job to wreck my nails so you don’t have to.

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Envy and other Zoya polishes are sold at Ulta, though I don’t recommend you buy it. It’s funny, after all these years, I don’t think I’ve ever discouraged anyone from buying anything until now.

I got Envy in a friend’s grab bag, likely because it stained her nails.

Manicure Monday: Old-Fashioned French Manicure

Manicure Monday is finally here! Today’s post is late because somebody (me) failed to charge the camera battery. It’s still Monday somewhere, so let’s get this post rolling. I went for a French manicure-inspired look with inlaid glitter. For this look, I used Zoya’s Chantal, L’Oreal’s Raven’s Dream, Lynnderella‘s Something Old, and China Glaze’s White on White.

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I used two nudes in this look. I planned to use Raven’s Dream — a nude called Raven’s Dream, what? — is a sheer nude that’s ideal for a French mani, but I really suck at applying these sheers. I can never get them to look not-streaky. I love the look when it’s applied well, but I can never get it right, so I used Chantal as undies, and then a couple coats of Raven’s Dream on top. As it turned out, the color you’re seeing here is Chantal, but the shine, as well as the sheer painted over the glitter, that’s all Raven’s Dream. It has the most gorgeous gloss finish.

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I picked Something Old to go in this look because it has this great vintage feel. It’s got white and pink, the best hallmarks of bridal-themed polishes, but also incorporates a soft yellow, really making it seem faded and well-loved. Of course, this look kind of takes the beauty out of the polish. You can see some colors and shapes, but any sparkle gets cancelled out. The colors in the glitter are just soft enough to be obscured, so unless you know the glitter is there, it’s easy to overlook.

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I always suck at painting tips on. They always look so thick! My bottle of White on White is really low, so it took a lot of polish to get an even white tip on every nail. Some of them look and feel flat, but others have a visible bump where the tip is. It happens every time. It ties the look together, though. It’s not a true French by any means, but it does the job. The following photos were taken in direct sunlight outdoors. The glitter looks really nice out here, you can even see a bit of sparkle.

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Chantal and other Zoya polishes are sold at Ulta. Raven’s Dream has been discontinued; other L’Oreal polishes are sold in stores nationwide. Something Old was a Lynnderella limited edition and has since sold out; Lynnderella polishes are sold on eBay and on lynnderella.com. China Glaze is sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these polishes myself.

HPB Presents: Silly Halloween Cats

It’s that time again: It’s the Hobby Polish Bloggers linkup for the month of October! Every month, the HPB Facebook group gets together to do a themed mani. Of course, October’s theme is Halloween! I’d been seeing the cat tips around, so I decided to try it out myself. I used Zoya’s Chantal, the no-name glow in the dark polish from Rite-Aid, Sally Hansen’s Black Out, and Enchanted Polish‘s Ectoplasm.

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I don’t really like doing holiday nails, so I wasn’t that excited about the theme. I went with the black cat tips because it’s more cutesy than Halloweeny, and also resembles one of my own cats. It fits the theme while also dodging it, and I’m happy about that.

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I started with three coats of Chantal; of course, I wanted fewer but could never get it even until the third. I also used two of the glow in the dark, since the glitter is so sparse. I’m pretty happy with the art job I did with the cats; I did the head shape with the polish brush itself, did the ears and pupils with a thin art brush, and used the dotting tool to apply the iris. That part is a little wonky, but I’m happy everything else looks the way it should.

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Remember I said I used glow in the dark polish? This part didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted, though it looks really cool in the photo. In real life it just looked weird. This photo was taken in complete darkness.

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I got some sun shots, too! There’s not much to see here but the glitter. There’s not much, but this is a gentle reminder that it’s there. These photos were taken in direct sunlight.

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And there you have it! I mentioned earlier that this mani looks like one of my cats, so I’ll leave you with a photo of that dear kitty. This is Quaker. She actually crossed the rainbow bridge last August at the ripe old age of 20. Sorry to bring this post down with a sad pet story, but this mani made me miss her.

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Chantal and other Zoya polishes are sold at Ulta. Check Rite-Aids and other drugstores for the fun pumpkin GITD polish. Enchanted Polishes are sold in their online shop. Sally Hansen is sold in stores nationwide.

I bought these polishes myself.
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HPB Presents Neon Splatter!

Hello, reader! Today’s post is a special Hobby Polish Bloggers linkup! Every month, the bloggers from the HPB Facebook group get together and do a themed mani; the mani can be as simple or elaborate as we want, so long as it adheres to the theme. The theme for May is neons and neutrals. For this look, I used Zoya’s Chantal and American Apparel’s Moon as the nude base, and American Apparel’s Neon Pink, Neon Coral, Neon Yellow, Neon Green, and Essie’s I’m Addicted as the colors. I actually did this post two weeks ago before I went on vacation, I’m excited to finally show it to you!

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I really love this month’s theme, and I had a lot of ideas on how to work with it. My first thought was a watermarble, but I did that for last month’s theme, so I skipped it. I also considered the dry brush technique, but ultimately chose the splatter, because I saw an excellent one on Casual Contrast that totally made me want to try it, and also because I’d never done it before. I put my base colors down, got the straws out, and commenced to splattering. I had so much fun with this mani. It reminded me of when we were bored in middle school and we’d dismantle pens to blow the ink out all over stuff. I gotta say though, the cleanup was way worse than I expected. Totally not for the faint of heart.

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For these HPB manis, and really every challenge mani, I try to use untried polishes, but this is the first one where all the polishes have been used multiple times. When it comes to neons, the American Apparel neons are my go-tos; they’re vivid without having to use a white base, and the product consistency makes them very easy to work with. However, there’s no blue, so that’s where the Essie comes in; I had it sitting out from a previous swatch, and it was just the right blue to work with my other neon shades. I love that the theme calls for nudes, because as cool as this would be with a white base, it means you can’t use just any neons, you’ve got to use some that are worth a crap.

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Remember I mentioned Moon used as a base? This is why: super secret glow-in-the-dark action! I put a coat over Chantal, just before adding the splatters. I wasn’t totally satisfied with just nudes and neons, I needed one more element to make this look really special. Between the glow and the neons, this mani is like the ’90s threw up on my nails. These photos were taken in compelete darkness.

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And these photos were taken in direct sunlight! Really harsh sunlight tends to wash neons out, so they’re not as bright out here as they could be.

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Chantal and other Zoya polishes are available from Ulta. Essie polishes are sold at Walgreens and other stores nationwide. American Apparel polishes have been discontinued.

I bought these polishes myself.
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HPB Presents Dusty Watermarble

Welcome back, reader! Today’s post is a special Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up post! Every month a theme is selected by the group, and this month’s theme is dusty colors. The look itself is up to the blogger; as long as it adheres to the theme, it can be as simple or elaborate as the blogger wishes. I like to raise the difficulty a bit and use only untried polishes, but this month I couldn’t, because I have very few unused polishes that fit the theme. For this look, I used Essie’s Spin the Bottle, Sew Psyched, and Marathin, Zoya’s Bevin, Ciaté’s Pillow Fight, and China Glaze’s Fairy Dust.

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As I mentioned, I don’t have a lot of colors in this dusty family, so I’m using a lot of polishes I’ve used in the past. I think Spin the Bottle and Sew Psyched were unused, but the others were probably only used once, so it’s not really a big deal. It took a lot of digging through the polish looking for the right colors; I have a lot of pastels and a lot of deep colors, but not too many in between. Marathin was actually the first polish that came to mind, and after a little bit of trial and error, I found a great combination, as well as the perfect way to wear them together.

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Watermarbling is one of those things I want to do all the time, and yet, I rarely do. I’ve done a few marbled accent nails here and there, but it’s usually as an afterthought; when I’m planning a mani, I usually just pick a glitter topper that pairs well and that’s it. A lot of the time, I’m working with polishes that don’t seem conducive to marbling. I don’t want to use anything with fine glitters or shimmers because it may not spread well, I don’t want to use anything rare, discontinued, or expensive, and I don’t want to use anything with a really unique finish, like a holo. If I’m creating a look around a creme, I’m rarely thinking about other cremes. It’s a shame, because I love cremes; I think the glossy creme finish is the most underrated of them all, and yet I rarely take advantage of them. Even with all these beautiful creme shades and the marbling, I still had to top it with glitter. Fairy Dust counts as a dusty color, right?

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The following photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight. The colors are a bit washed out here, making the dusty colors look lighter and more pastel. Fairy Dust looks overwhelmed as well. On the plus side, I was able to get macros of all my favorite swirls. My ever-elusive right hand even makes an appearance.

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From left to right: Left thumb, left ring finger, left middle finger, right thumb

From left to right: Left thumb, left ring finger, left middle finger, right thumb

Essie, Zoya, Ciaté, and China Glaze are all sold in stores nationwide; mine are from Walgreens, Ulta, Sephora, and Sally Beauty Supply respectively.

Also, remember this is a group project, and there are links below to the other dusty manicures done by members of the group. Show them some love, too!

I bought these polishes myself.
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Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s St. Nick’s Sweet Treats

I take back everything I have ever said on this blog. In fact, I may as well just close it down. My swatch this week from Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer is the most perfect polish I have ever used, and I really doubt it gets better than this. This is St. Nick’s Sweet Treats, and I’m wearing one coat over China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, Essie’s Marathin, and Zoya’s Bevin, as well as one coat of Color Club’s clear coat. Seriously, this is the polish I want to wear for the rest of my life.

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St. Nick’s Sweet Treats is a holiday-themed glitter topper that contains large amounts of red and gold glitters, and smaller quantities of purple, blue, and green metallic and holo glitters. Overall, the amount of glitter in this bottle is huge. There is so much glitter, so much shine, so much to look at it’s crazy. The best part: It doesn’t even matter what colors I use as undies. It’s barely visible beneath all that glitter. I could wear literally any color and it would look fantastic under all this confetti.

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Application was surprisingly easy. You might think that all this glitter would clump and gather on itself, and that never happens. The glitters spread well and with even coverage. There’s also a pretty even representation of each type, even with the small colored glitters.

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This is a crap photo, but I posted it anyway just to show you how shiny these glitters get. I used the built-in camera flash for this. The colors in the glitter really come alive here.

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So, final word: Perfect. Application is perfect, appearance is perfect, everything about it is gorgeous and I love it. This is absolutely my favorite BEGL, and my polish of the year all years.

Manicure Monday: Heavenly Jewel Tones

For Manicure Monday this week, I got to use a glitter topper I absolutely love. Revlon’s Heavenly is a beautiful mix of iridescent glitters. It looks incredible over dark colors; I wore it over black about this time last year. I decided to try it over jewel colors for a fancy, muted look. My under-colors this week are Zoya’s Envy, Revlon’s Persuade, and Ulta’s Moody Blues; I’m wearing two coats of each, two coats of Heavenly, and one coat of Seche Vite.

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I don’t know what to say about Heavenly I haven’t already said. It’s nothing short of amazing. It transforms any polish into a shining beautiful mermaid. It’s so cool how so many colors can come from two different glitters. The first coat of it was kind of lacking, so I went for a second, and made a bit of a mess with it. That’s why my cuticles are so rough-looking. I’m a little embarrassed by it.

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A quick word to my under-colors: Zoya’s Envy is a dark green creme that is the perfect base for this glitter. I almost used this color only until I started to wonder how it would look over blues and reds. Moody Blues is a dark blue creme that dries with a matte finish. Persuade, the wine creme, flooded my cuticles because it was so thin, but I’ll chalk that up to being a brand-new full bottle. All three cremes look fantastic in two coats, and all three work very well beneath this glitter.

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One more thing: I did some shopping this weekend at Ulta, and I grabbed a lot of new hand creams to try. My dishwasher has been broken and washing dishes by hand every night is destroying my hands, making them red, flaky, and itchy. I fully admit to buying this Anatomicals cream because it made me laugh, but I really like the cream so far. I put it on before I go to bed, after I finish my skincare routine, and it makes my hands really soft and smells fantastic.

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I almost chose pastels for this instead since it’s still summer, but I’m so glad I didn’t. I love this look.