Manicure Tuesday: Plum Opal

Hello, reader! I had an awesome Fourth of July weekend, and that’s why I’m posting a mani in the middle of the week. I hope yours was just as good! I like this mani, so even if it is late, I’m excited to share it. I’m using one of the Chanels I treated myself to for my birthday and a gorgeous flakie topper! This is Chanel’s Provocation and Finger Paints’s Symmetrical Symphony mattefied with Essie’s Matte About You matte top coat.



I loved the Finger Paints flakie collection from the other year. I was actually pretty lucky and scored most of them from the Sally Beauty Supply sale bin. It was the most exciting thing. I love this one because the colors contrast; some flakies glow golden, others glow blue-violet, and they bring out the best in each other. I had to mattify them for the full effect. The colors are very strong. I used two coats to get this much coverage.



As beautiful as the flakies are, though, I’m the most excited about wearing Provocation. Deep plum polish always makes me feel glamorous, but having it be a Chanel polish really ups the glamour factor. There’s still a part of me that feels guilty for buying these, especially since there’s no real difference between mid-end and high-end polish. I just remember seeing Chanel’s Vamp in so many magazines as a young teen that I knew one day I’d have to own a Chanel polish. I might have a little buyer’s remorse, but I feel posh as hell with this polish on.



In the sunlight, you can really see the opal effect the flakies have. It’s really mesmerizing! The matte coat makes it possible to see all the colors at once, and the colors are really vivid outdoors. Provocation looks red for some reason. These photos were taken in direct sunlight outdoors.





Chanel polishes are available wherever Chanel cosmetics are sold; mine is from Nordstrom. Finger Paints is sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Floppy. Hoppy. BUNNIES!

Welcome back to Manicure Monday! Today, I’m wearing a favorite from my collection, Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Floppy. Hoppy. BUNNIES! I’m wearing three coats with Seche Vite top coat and Essie’s Matte About You matte top coat.



I love this polish so much; it’s so whimiscal and cute I could die. It’s one of my favorite indies, and it’s one of the cutest polishes I own. I like to think it might also be pretty hard-to-find, and that kind of excites me. It was the gift with purchase the first time BEGL’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer-inspired collection came out, and when it was re-released a couple years ago, it was replaced with a holo that was actually pretty stunning. It’s kind of sad to think it might never come back; as much as I love having HTF polishes, I feel bad that so many people missed out.



I needed a new matte top coat, so I finally decided to try Essie’s. The last time I looked for this, I was buying my first matte top coat ever, and they were just becoming popular. I ended up with the Revlon one because it was the only one my Walgreen’s had. I’m still struggling to embrace the matte finish, but I really like how it looks with this polish. The glitters still shine despite not being glossy, and the milky blue crelly looks like porcelain. I actually do have a few matte looks planned in the coming weeks, and I feel weird that I’m looking forward to them.



Sunlight photos! The pale blue got washed out in direct sunlight, looking more like a cool white in some photos. The glitters stand out very well though!





Floppy. Hoppy. BUNNIES! has been discontinued by Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer; other BEGL polishes are available from their online shop. My bow charm is from Claire’s.

This is also one of my most frequently used polishes, as you can see.

This is also one of my most frequently used polishes, as you can see.

This polish was a gift, but was not sent for review. Third Year Anniversary Post!

Happy Friday, reader! I don’t typically post on Fridays, but today is a special day: it’s the third anniversary of! This is a huge day for us, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring you this post. It’s been quite a ride, and I’m so glad you’ve been a part of it.

On March 11, 2013, I posted my first-ever Manicure Monday post. I think I’d posted a few posts before that, but as became more nail-oriented, I took them down and began to focus on nails exclusively. I’d been experimenting with nail art for a couple of years by the time I started the blog, and actually starting the blog helped me get better at it. My nails look and feel healthier, my application skills have gotten better, and I think the quality of the blog has improved, too. Three years is a lot of time for improvement, after all.


In honor of the anniversary, I’ve decided to recreate the first manicure I ever posted. Just like last time, here’s a gradient done with Disney Villains’s Cruella de Vil with a Maybelline mystery red, along with a coat of Seche Vite top coat and Ciaté’s Mattenificent matte top coat.



When I go back and read about the early version of this manicure, it sounds like I had a hard time with it; my mystery red was thick as molasses and cleanup was a challenge. I had just as much trouble with it this go-around. I’d thinned the mystery polish — polish thinner is something I’ve discovered since I did that manicure — but I still had trouble sponging it on. I didn’t get the contrast I got last time. I ran out of foam eyeshadow sponges I usually use for gradients and had to use the foundation blending sponges, which not only made my hands look like I’d committed a horrible crime, but made cleanup a huge ordeal. On top of that, because I did the mani from memory before I looked at the old post, I see I got the colors in the wrong order. I’m not even mad about that, because meh, close enough.



What really gets me is that the matte coat left those white spots on my nails again. The manicure looked great — exactly like the first time should have looked — until I applied the matte top coat. I was so frustrated and upset that I just threw it away. I hate tossing a nearly-full product, but I just can’t let it ruin any more manicures. I thought about redoing them, but decided I’d just leave it, as a sort of humble reminder of where I came from as a blogger. No matter how long I keep this blog, I’ll always have room to improve. Maybe on my fourth anniversary, I’ll finally get it right.



Here are some sunlight photos; it rained the last time I did this mani. In the sun, the glitter is a bit invisible, but still manages to sparkle a bit.





On my past anniversaries, I’ve posted graphs and little data tidbits about the blog and what I’ve covered. I’m not going to do that this year, but I will share a few figures:
I’ve done 216 swatches.
Between swatches and Manicure Monday looks, I’ve worn Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers 108 times. Essie is my most used mainsteam polish brand at 42.
Blue is my most used color.
I now own more than 1,400 bottles of polish.

Thank you so much for making it this far with me. Thank you so much for making this blog more than a hobby, but a means to cultivate friendships, foster creativity, and strengthen a community where we all can grow together. Thank you so much for being a part of the last three years.

One polish was purchased myself. The other was a gift, not sent for consideration or review.

Manicure Monday: Neon Satisfaction

Manicure Monday is here again! I kind of can’t believe how fun my manicure is today. It’s adorable and obnoxious, but I think it’s a great combo, if I may say so. For this look, I used American Apparel’s Neon Violet with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Self-Satisfied, along with Seche Vite top coat and Ciaté’s Mattenificent matte top coat.



So I’ve swatched a bunch of American Apparel neon polishes, and I have to say, they’re some of the best I’ve ever used. They have great coverage and they don’t require a white base for their neon-ness. The only downside is that they’re not always 3-free; this one contains formaldehyde. It’s a great polish, though. I love the color, brightness, and product formula. When I picked this for Manicure Monday, I knew I needed something equally as fun and bright to balance it out.



Self-Satisfied is one of my most-used glitter toppers. I’ve used it in three different manicures now and it’s about half-empty. It looks fantastic over everything, though I love it best over bright colors, especially orange. I love to pair complementary colors, so I knew this would be best for the Neon Violet. Not all of the colors in the glitter work well over the base; it’s hard to see the red hearts and dark pink hexes, but I still like the match. I really love the way this turned out.



The only real downer to this manicure is the matte top coat. I’ve used Ciaté’s Mattenificent matte coat a couple times now, and I don’t know if it’s user error or not, but it kind of sucks. I mean, it does a great job being matte; look at how velvety the color is. What’s not cool, though, is how it splits. It makes these lines like crackle polish. Also, for some unknown reason, it created these white marks on my nails. Look at my pinky nail. Where did those come from? There was no white polish used in this manicure, so why there are there white spots? I actually had white brush strokes on my thumb. Here’s the kicker: the super glue I used to secure the studs left a bit of shine, so I put down another coat of Mattenificent; the white spots and lines went away. Seriously? They didn’t all go away, obviously, but the unsightly white brush strokes on my thumb are gone, as well as some other marks on other fingers. I am just so confused. At least the mani looks fine, that’s what counts! Here are some outdoor photos, taken in direct sunlight:




American Apparel doesn’t seem to sell nail polish anymore, at least not on their website, because I couldn’t find it there. Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer has discontinued Self-Satisfied; other BEGL polishes are available in their shop. Ciaté is available at Sephora. My bow charm is from Claire’s, and I forget where my studs are from. Sorry.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Monster Polish’s What’s Wrong With This Jumper?

Happy Sunday! I’m excited to show you today’s polish, because it’s from a new-to-me brand calledMonster Polish. This is one of the first two polishes I ever got from them, and I’m pretty floored by it. This is What’s Wrong With This Jumper?; I’m wearing three coats with and without top coat.





What’s Wrong With This Jumper? is a black holo with blue and purple shimmers. Application was very smooth; the product consistency was thin, but not drippy or watery. It was sheer on the first coat, but even out by the second; I had full opacity in two coats. The polish dries with a satin finish reminiscent of leather. When top coat is used, the holo effect and shimmers really come out, making it look like a completely different polish.



I really struggled on whether to wear this polish with top coat or not. Usually, I put top coat on without question; I’m not a huge fan of satin and matte finishes, so I put on top coat because that’s how I would normally wear it. I’m actually shocked that I like this polish with its original finish. You can see the holo effect and shimmers and the dimension they create quite nicely with the satin finish. I was really impressed with it.



However that didn’t stop me from putting on the top coat. I had to see what it looked like, and holy cow, I couldn’t believe it. The shimmers and holo effect are so much more brilliant, the dimension even more intense, I couldn’t believe it was the same polish. Honestly, I do prefer it with the top coat, because after I put it on, it was like I breathed life into my manicure. I don’t want to say that the original finish looks dull or lifeless, because that’s absolutely not true. I’m saying that the top coat is like icing on the cake. It makes the polish way more appealing to me.





What’s Wrong With This Jumper and other pretties are currently in stock in the Monster Polish online store.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Walk Through the Tulips

It’s the first Manicure Monday of the year! We’re doing it up right today by wearing a very special polish, a custom polish made for me by Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer. This isn’t the first time it’s been on the blog, but I’m always excited to wear it. This is Walk Through the Tulips; I’m wearing two coats with one coat of Seche Vite and one coat of Ciate’s Mattenificent matte top coat.



I did a proper swatch of Walk Through the Tulips way back in 2014, so if you want to know some of the particulars about the polish, take a look at that post. Not much has changed since then; I still cherish this polish because it reminds me of why I love indie polish and how much fun it can be to work with the person making my polish to ensure I get exactly what I want. That, and it’s still freaking pretty.



This time around, I used only two coats instead of three, and I used a matte top coat to make it a little different from the swatch. I like it at two coats; it’s just shy of opaque. I can still see nail lines, but just barely. The glitter isn’t as dense as I would have liked, but it gives a cool speckled effect. The matte coat gives it a unique finish. I am having a ton of fun wearing this, and I’m not looking forward to taking it off.



Walk Through the Tulips was custom-made for me by Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer; BEGL does not currently accept commissions for customs, but their full line of polishes is available from their online shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Opal Sandwich

Happy Monday! I’m excited and nervous to show you today’s manicure. It didn’t turn out quite the way I envisioned, mainly because I expected to have longer nails when it was time for it. However, I get to tell you about a brand new Wacie Nail Co. polish, and that’s cool! For this manicure, I’m wearing Revlon’s Heavenly between layers of Wacie Nail Company‘s Whitewash, topped with Seche Vite top coat and Hard Candy’s Matte-ly in Love matte coat.



Heavenly is one of my favorite glitters, and if you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve seen it on the blog like five times. It’s just the right topper for when you want a little iridescent sparkle. It looks great all over or as a gradient, and its appearance changes over different colored polishes. It’s truly a versatile and beautiful polish.



I made Whitewash because I wanted a white jelly polish. I actually made this quite some time ago as a franken, long before I’d even really started Wacie Nail Company. I checked a lot of etsy stores and didn’t see any, so I just made one for myself. Today is the first time I’ve used it. It’s still on the creamy side, and maybe it’s just not possible to have a true white jelly, but I quite like the way it layers over glitter. I hope to have proper swatches of it alone soon.



Heavenly and Whitewash, along with the matte top coat, create a look that’s soft and opalescent. I really love the look, but I wish some things were different. Maybe I should have used an opaque white base. I used three coats of Heavenly to ensure I had a good glitter cover, but it’s still very translucent; I can see where my nails are still stained from a lime green polish I wore a few weeks ago. I wish my nails weren’t so short, because the whiteness and the shortness make my hands look grubby. It’s still a cool look, but today I don’t feel like it suits me.

Revlon is sold in stores nationwide. Whitewash will be available soon from the Wacie Nail Company etsy shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Red Luxe

Welcome to Manicure Monday! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that I got off my duff, got the dotting tool out, and did some real nail art. I still kind of suck with the dotting tool, but I’m really pleased with my results. For this look, I used Maybelline’s Red Relic as my primary color, Ciaté’s Gold Digga as the secondary color, and caviar beads in Gleam, also from Ciaté. I also used Seche Vite and Hard Candy’s Just Matte top coat.



Red Relic is a fun little polish. It’s a red jelly with iridescent pink flakies that dries matte. I was a little disappointed when I first tried it out, because I’m not a huge fan of the matte finish. I supposed then that it wasn’t anything top coat couldn’t fix, so I kept it. The finish has grown on me, though. It’s actually the reason I made the whole manicure matte. Gold Digga has a metallic shine, and I needed to even it out with a matte top coat, so the finish you’re seeing is actually the matte coat, not the original Red Relic finish.



Gold Digga and the Gleam beads came together in a caviar nails set that was in the sale bin at Sephora. Gold Digga is a pretty nice polish; it’s a burnished gold with a rich metallic finish. It also looks fantastic mattified. The matte coat hides the brush strokes and evens out the color. It’s rare that I think a polish looks better without a glossy finish, but this one definitely does. I feel like it helps emphasize the luxe feel Ciaté was going for.


The two colors together are gorgeous. I got the elegant and opulent look I wanted. I’m just a bit unhappy with all the nail art horrors my camera captured. In the photos you can see just how uneven the crosses are, you can see all the gaps in the caviar, you can see the glue spots where I put the studs down. I know nobody probably noticed them until I mentioned them, but when I look at these photos, they’re all I see. In person, though, this mani is perfect.

Red Relic was a limited edition and has been discontinued by Maybelline, though you can find it if you look around the internet. Gold Digga and the caviar nail kit are available from Ciaté’s website. Hard Candy’s matte coat is from Walmart. My studs are from an outlet store.

I bought all of these products myself.

Manicure Monday: Skating French

For Manicure Monday, I wanted to do something different. I love Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Skating in the Snow alone, but since I’ve already worn that it way before on the blog, I felt like I should try something new with it. Enter the french tips. I’m wearing two thin coats of Skating in the Snow over tips painted with Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get, topped with Ciate’s Speed Coat Pro top coat and Hard Candy’s Mattely in Love matte top coat.



When I swatched Skating in the Snow a few months ago, I really loved the way it looked at one coat, and I wanted a look like that, something sheer and delicate that still retained the glitter crelly spirit of the polish. One coat was too thin, but two are too thick, and the tips don’t show through as well as I’d have liked. You can see the differences, though; you can see how opaque the color is at the tips, and where the crelly is most obvious. It’s not too apparent in photos, but in person the distinction is much more noticeable. You can also see where my cuticles are STILL stained from Cruella de Vil, but that’s neither here nor there.



I don’t know why I chose a matte finish for this. It’s something I thought of at the last minute. I think it was an extra effort to make this manicure different from the swatch. That, and I rarely use matte top coats. I just kind of felt like it.



Skating in the Snow has sold out since the last time I featured it on the blog, but you can buy other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers from the BEGL shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Pottery-Inspired Gradient

For today’s Manicure Monday, I got my sponges out and did a gradient for the first time in months! This particular mani was inspired by a piece of pottery I saw in a museum. This is Sally Hansen’s Hard to Get with Disney’s Villain Varnish in Cruella de Vil, topped with one coat each of Ciate’s Speed Coat Pro top coat and Hard Candy’s Mattely in Love matte coat.



Hard to Get is a white creme. It’s my favorite of the white cremes I’ve tried so far, and I use it so often I’m on like my fourth bottle. I actually emptied my current bottle on this manicure, so maybe I’ll pour a little of something out for it. Or maybe I’ll just another bottle. My feelings on Cruella de Vil aren’t so firm. I love the way this polish looks, but I don’t like the formula. It smears when top coat touches it (exhibit A: the thumb smudge), and it stains cuticles (exhibit B: pinky). It is an absolutely gorgeous polish, but sometimes I hate using it.



As I mentioned, the gradient was inspired by a piece of pottery. I was in the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia on my birthday a couple of years ago, and I saw this lovely vase that was a deep red at its curved bottom, then faded to white at its fluted tip. I immediately “I am going to do this on my nails” and took a surreptitious photo with my phone for reference. I’d planned to keep it around and show it on the blog once I finally did the mani, but then I lost my phone in Philadelphia (long story) and the photo is gone. I guess that means I have to go back and take another photo.



This is not my best gradient, not by a long shot. It’s pretty tough doing a gradient with a bright color and white, and when you use a smudgy red like this one, it’s even tougher. I was really looking forward to this mani, and I’m disappointed it didn’t turn out so well. I will definitely try this again.