Manicure Monday: Last Mani of 2013 Green Gradient Celebration

Happy almost-New Year! I accidentally have sparkly nails for New Year’s Eve!

I used three polishes to get this look. LA Colors’s La Creme is the pale nude you see at the bottom of the gradient there. Man, was it impossible. It was very sheer; the first coat was horribly streaky, and the second coat didn’t even anything out. The lacquer itself was very thin and tended to pool in my cuticles. It was only until I started sponging on the gradient that the color began to even out. Because this foundation coat was so uneven, the gradient took more time and more polish to get right. Usually I can get away with two rounds of sponging; some of these nails took four. The glitter here, the real star of the manicure, is Sinful Colors’s Call You Later. I prefer those big in-your-face glitters to these fine ones, but as long as it sparkles, it’s good in my book.


LA Colors’s La Creme, Revlon’s Posh, Sinful Colors’s Call You Later

Stay tuned for a New Year’s Eve post tonight or tomorrow. Spoilers: my New Year’s resolution is to blog about more than nail polish.

Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Galaxy

The swatch for this week is American Apparel’s glitter topper Galaxy. All photos were taken indoors with natural lighting. Galaxy is shown here applied by sponge over two coats of black polish, and with three coats of top coat.




Galaxy contains basically every color of glitter in a clear base. Brushing the glitter on had not been successful; I’d get two or three pieces of glitter with a whole lot of cuticle-flooding clear polish, so I took the sponge route, and got more coverage than I expected (or wanted). You should be able to see the colors and glitters here. I think a few of them curled a little, but I’m not too put off by that.





The photography had been a challenge. I thought that since this one didn’t glow in the dark, I wouldn’t have nearly as much trouble getting good pictures. There was a thunderstorm, so I didn’t get as much light as I wanted, and whatever light I did get seemed to just bounce off the glitter and ruin the photo. It took me a long time to get these right.

Overall, I like this polish. Maybe now that it’s been used some, it will brush on a little easier than before. I like the glitter, so I see myself using this frequently in the future.

Manicure Monday On the Road: Bah Humbug Nublets

I never do holiday-themed nails. Sometimes I want to. I saw them pop up this year right around November, and I love the candy cane nails, the snowfall nails, etc. They’re so friggin’ cute. I love them on other people but I feel weird doing it myself because a) it doesn’t snow in Florida, b) I don’t really celebrate Christmas, and c) I’d already picked out these polishes like months in advance because I’m obsessive and crazy over this stuff.


This week I used Black Mesh from China Glaze, which is the black crackle you see here. I had to use really thin coats of this stuff for it to crackle; I put thicker coats on some nails and it didn’t crackle at all. I had to redo them. I’m wearing Black Mesh over Julep’s Bunny, which was also somewhat of a disappointment. In the bottle, it has this gold shimmer that totally didn’t translate to my nails. I saw it on the pointed cotton swab I’d used to clean up my cuticles, so I know it’s there. It just doesn’t show up on the nail at all. I could have gotten the same look from a white creme polish.

It’s the day before Christmas Eve, and I’m spending it with my mother. Whenever we meet up for the holidays, we always just end up painting our nails together. Here’s an obligatory photo of her chickens.


Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Moon

I almost don’t even want to post these today. I have the saddest nails right now, and I’m a little ashamed of them. I had a nasty break over the week and had to cut my nails short. In what is surely to be the saddest swatch of all time, I give you American Apparel’s Moon, the last of the glow in the dark polishes I bought there for my birthday. All photos, except for one, were taken with natural light indoors, and with three coats of Moon and three coats of Seche Vite.



Compared to the other two I’ve swatched, this one is the least wearable on its own. Even with three coats, it’s very sheer, and looks like I’m just not wearing polish at all. There’s a slightly greenish appearance in natural light; in fluorescent light, that color isn’t there. In some photos, the bottle seems to glow; that color is representative of what the glow looks like in the dark. As you’ll see below, I tried to take a glow photo and only half-succeeded. I honestly have no idea how I got those great (by comparison) glow photos for my Neptune review. I haven’t gotten any that good since, and I don’t know what I’m doing differently.





I am so sorry about the appearance of my nails. I didn’t realize how uneven and jagged the edges were until I photographed them with the macro setting. That is just terrible and I’ve been pounding the biotin in the hopes they’ll at least be fingertip-length by the end of the year. It’s weird feeling my actual fingertips on the keyboard keys. My hands look like baby hands; my fingers look like fat sausages. I can’t wait until I have nails again.

Manicure Monday: Bronze Glitter Gradient

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


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.


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.


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.

Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Jupiter

Today’s Swatch Saturday officially ends my streak of blue nails. This orange sherbet shade called Jupiter will take us through the weekend. This is a second polish I got from my American Apparel haul in October. Here I’m wearing three coats of it, topped by three coats of Seche Vite. All photos are taken indoors with natural lighting.



After three coats, it’s still somewhat sheer. The color also varies on the lighting source; in natural light, it looks more yellow-orange, whereas in fluorescent light, it looks like a sheer nude. The glow in the dark effect is comparable to last week’s swatch of Neptune, only more yellow than green. I tried getting photos, but I just couldn’t make it work this week, for whatever reason.



I’m a little disappointed by the opacity. It’s buildable, so I could probably achieve complete opacity in another coat or two, but I didn’t feel like it.


I’ve actually worn this one before: I went to a Halloween party and wore Neptune and Jupiter over Maybelline’s Dotty and Blue Marks the Spot. These polishes are great toppers, and maybe I’m defeating their purpose by trying to get them opaque. Also, these polishes react to UV light as well; here’s that Halloween party manicure, glowing in the black light of a Tron arcade machine.


Well, that’s it for this week. See you next time!

Manicure Monday: Shine of the Times

Oh my holy crap. I’m really excited about this week because I got to use a polish that is well-loved and sought after by basically everyone. Yep, Shine of the freaking Times!



This is one of my favorite purchases. I mean, it’s obviously a gorgeous polish, but I scored it on Amazon, and only paid $1.41 because I had a gift card to cover the rest. I think this was also my 200th polish, so it’s significant to me for that reason, too. Yeah, I care about that stuff for some reason.

The iridescent flakies shift from red to green, and even though it’s easy to see with the naked eye, but a little more difficult to capture with a camera indoors. I managed to get a few that do, but I also went outside to see if I could get better results (not really). It didn’t occur to me until just now to try to use the flash, but I think what I got is good enough.


The blue I used this week is Blue Me Away from Sally Hansen. I’ve used this before (you can see the bottle is already about 1/3 empty), and while it’s semi-opaque after one coat and ready to go after two, it stains my nails blue every time. I used a double dose of base coat under it this week, so hopefully that takes care of that.

Sally Hansen's Blue Me Away, Essie's Shine of the Times

Sally Hansen’s Blue Me Away, Essie’s Shine of the Times

I can already tell this is going to be one of those manicures I’m going to stare at all week. I can’t even tell you how excited I am.

Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Neptune

Okay, so I’m starting a new thing for the blog this week. This started somewhat out of necessity; my Manicure Monday mani would start to show signs of wear: chips, cracks, peeling, and some would have to be totally redone. At the same time, I would have a new polish or two or five I’d want to try, so I’d scrap the mani altogether at the end of the week and try out something new. I’ve come to the point now where I have nearly five hundred polishes, and if I polish my nails once a week, it would take me almost ten years to use every polish (a number that increases every week or so). This new feature, Swatch Saturday, is a way for me to use some of these polishes that I wouldn’t get to use in my normal manicure routine for quite some time, and to represent them more accurately, away from the confines of nail art. I’m going to start at the top of the polish list and work my way down.




This inaugural Swatch Saturday kicks off with a glow in the dark polish from American Apparel called Neptune. I bought it when I was Atlanta visitng my boyfriend for my birthday. For whatever reason, my city doesn’t have any American Apparel stores, but I’ve seen their polishes all over the nail polish internet, so when I went in, I didn’t even look at the clothes. I went right for the polish, bought six bottles, and walked out.


All photos were taken indoors with sunlight.

All non-glowy photos were taken indoors with sunlight.

Neptune is shown here with three coats, covered by three coats of Seche Vite. As you can see, even with three coats, my nail line is still visible, and another coat would probably have given me more opacity. Apart from that, the color is really nice for a glow in the dark polish.

Monster teeth.

Monster teeth.

I kind of ashamed of these.

I am kind of ashamed of these.

You get the idea.

I read the manual for this.

I had a hard time getting these glow in the dark action shots, but I had to try. I shut myself in the darkest room in my house — my bedroom closet — with my camera. Well, first I had to read the manual to find out how to change the shutter speed. Then I locked myself in the closet. Then I got a bunch of horrid pictures. Yeah. I even got the tripod out for this, and they’re still bad. It doesn’t matter, though. You can still see the glow. I got it close enough.

To be honest, I just really missed having glow in the dark nails. I wore this once over a blue glitter polish for a Halloween party (with orange accents, we’ll discuss this next week), and when I went to bed that night, my boyfriend just laughed. “Your nails are foolish,” he said. I don’t care what he thinks. It’s fun waggling my fingers around in the dark. Also, I think I like them best when it’s only sort of dark, when I can still see the blue, but they’re just slightly glowing, like I have uranium on my nails. I love the novelty of it. Thankfully, I have like two more of these to do.

Manicure Monday: Neon Orange Dotticure

Nothing says December like neon orange!


Those bows are freaking cute.

I had a lot of fun doing these. It was a lot of work; first I needed three coats of white polish to make a underwear layer without any bald spots (I still had some), then I needed three coats of the orange to make that color solid. Adding the dots was tough; left hand looks awesome, right hand not so much, my toes are even worse (no, you don’t get to see them). I then put on three coats of Seche Vite for rigidity, a matte coat for a finish, then applied the bows with a healthy dot of super glue. Yeah. I didn’t finish these nails until like eight o’clock last night. I started them at noon. Overall, I like the look I got. And I thought a dotticure would be boring.

Sally Hansen's Hard to Get, LA Colors's Spat!, Julep's Bess

Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get, LA Colors’s Spat!, Julep’s Bess

The orange is LA Colors’s Spat!, which is an awesome orange so long as you have the appropriate white coat beneath. The formula is so watery and thin that it would be pretty tough to get the neon effect without it. The blue is Julep’s Bess, which dotted better than I thought it would. I thought it was going to be watery and thin, too, but this one held up quite well. I got the bows from Claire’s, and they made it through the night and this morning’s shower. I wonder how long they’ll hang on before they get snagged on something and come off.