2015: A Review in Nail Polish

This year was the year I really came into my own as a nail polish enthusiast. It was in April or May when I started doing my nails pretty consistently and microblogging about them on Instagram. It was only in July that I realized I had a lot more to say than could fit in a caption and so I started Nail Lasagna.

I’m really proud of how far I’ve come with my mani-making skills this year, so we’re going to start from the beginning, January 2015 not only so I can share some more words on manis pre-Nail Lasagna, but so we can see how far you can get when you stick to something you enjoy.

(Feel free to scroll through the images to get to the TL;DR section at the bottom – there’s a lot of words & commentary, I won’t be mad).

thumb_IMG_1568_1024Late January/Early February – there was an impending blizzard and I wanted to try the stamping polishes that I got for Christmas that year; I realized the colors looked really bad ass next to my phone case. 32 likes, used Philly Loves Lacquer Midwinter’s Midnight from the December Beauty Quartet Box (now the Magic 8 Box) and Revlon Color Stay Sure Thing.

IMG_5001Late January/Early February – I had finally watched every season of Psych and was very sad to let the show go. Tried my hand at stamping again and it was rough; originally I wanted the stamping on the accent nail, but I was also using Essie polish to stamp with so I didn’t work out like I planned, hence all of the pineapples on my thumb. 39 likes, used Essie The More the Merrier & Pretty Edgy, Philly Loves Lacquer Gold on the Ceiling.

IMG_5002Early February – My friend works at a local comic book shop and hooked me up with some sweet reads. While I was reading through Fables, I wanted to do something that played on the dark and light of the cover. I also just got these two great polishes from LVX, so I wanted to try them out. 12 likes, LVX in Viridis & Lemon Drop.

IMG_5003February (Valentine’s Day) – This one is just embarrassing. I had some grand plans that I thought were going to turn out wayyyyy better than this, but lo and behold, I just have three different polishes on. 20 likes, Philly Loves Lacquer in Pink Cashmere, Song Stuck in My Head, & I Love You and I Like You.

IMG_5004Late February – I was super pumped about my Cult Cosmetics haul the day before (which I also posted about on the ‘Gram), so of course I used something from it. Also around this time, I was seeing leopard print nails all over the place, so I tried my hand at it. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was super proud of my straight french mani lines. 34 likes, Cult Cosmetics Breakwater, random striper polishes I got for Christmas in black and purple glitter.

IMG_5005March – Wanted to try my hand at another Cult Cosmetics mani and see how that gold glitter did. I was clearly really pumped for spring because why else would I choose a coral in the bitter cold that was March this year? To be fair, I really do love this color combination. 26 likes, Cult Cosmetics Avalon & <gold>.

IMG_5006March (St. Patrick’s Day) – I was really committed to being festive and green for this holiday because I wanted to seem happy and optimistic, even if I was dying inside (I was planning a very stressful event that was happening in a week). I wore this awesome green dress that I got from Target and I remember freezing my butt off. 23 likes, Essie Pretty Edgy & Philly Loves Lacquer <green St. Patty’s glitter>.

IMG_5007Early June – I didn’t do my nails in April or May because I was way too stressed and on edge. But, I did finally cave and buy my first Love, Angeline polishes because I absolutely loved the Chateau Macaroon collection. I wanted to wear them both so badly so I had to figure out some way to do it. So, ta-da? I’m unimpressed with my dotting skills and really should have just taken the time to wear them independently. Also, how terrible is this lighting?! I’m so glad I discovered VSCO; my picture quality may still suck, but at least I can light things better. 20 likes, Love, Angeline Confectionary Yellow & Match-A-Mint.

thumb_IMG_2285_1024Mid-June – I was really feeling the summer vibe and super in love with my new Jeffree Starr Velour Liquid Lipstick in shade Anna Nicole, so I did my nails in a similar fashion. I attempted a glitter gradient, which utterly failed, but all in all this mani was an Instagram win. 98 likes, Philly Loves Lacquer in Annoying Orange & Do Me On It. (PS – help me get to 100 likes by going to my Instagram, @slcastagna29, and liking this photo!).

thumb_IMG_2326_1024Mid-June – For this mani, I was super ambitious. I finally snagged a few Harry Potter stamping plates from Jolie Polish, I was ready to do a three color gradient, and I was feeling really springy and girly, so I went for it. I really do like this mani despite the gradient being meh and the top coat pulling the stamp, blurring it. Also, how could I forget, the pink polish had one random, long, strand in the brush that kept messing up everything and I didn’t have scissors to fix it; that was the worst! 41 likes, Cult Cosmetics Belmont Shore & Breakwater, Revlon Color Stay Gel Envy Black Jack & Coastal Surf.

thumb_IMG_2381_1024Late June – Finally got a hold of the minis from the Springtime in Philly collection from Philly Loves Lacquer and that blue/green was half of the reason I bought it, so I needed to try it ASAP. I paired it up with a neutral nude so the accent nail would really pop. Still love this combination. 29 likes, Philly Loves Lacquer Schuylkill Banks & Cult Cosmetics Joshua Tree.

thumb_IMG_2441_1024Late June – The week after the above mani, I was still super obsessed with the Springtime in Philly collection, so I had to rock another polish from it on my accent nail. I actually adore this color combination and can’t wait to do something like this again… or just wear Sakura Sunday on its own. 17 likes, Philly Loves Lacquer Sakura Sunday & Cult Cosmetics Avalon.

thumb_IMG_2488_1024July (Independence Day) – I was soon excited to go to the beach and be super New Jersey and American with my red, white, and blue nails out in the sand down the shore. That being said, I was a little disappointed in the lack of love from Insta. Loved this mani and that’s where I fell in love with that red (we were star-crossed lovers though. I broke the bottle 3 weeks later). 16 likes, Philly Loves Lacquer Midwinter’s Midnight, Colores De Carol Red Blue and Stars, Smokey Mountain Lacquers Better Shape Up (RIP; June BQB Exclusive).

thumb_IMG_2553_1024Early July – Not a mani I did myself, but this picture is bad ass – those rings, the Vera in the background? I’m a picture taking genius. The really story here is that I took my little sister to get her nails done for her 8th birthday and we bonded over polish; she helped me pick this one. The guy essentially had to file off the glitter polish that I wore for the 4th, which was a hilarious experience. Shout out to Viva Nails in my hometown for always having the best prices & quality work. 23 likes, Essie Go Overboard.

IMG_2679Mid-July – The mani that kicked off my blog. I am so, so, so proud of this one. My chevron vinyl application was crisp, I had some great inspiration (Vera, always Vera) and these colors screamed summer. 28 likes, Smokey Mountain Lacquers Orchid You Not & Too Hot To Handle.

IMG_2932Mid-July – I saw this awesome mani on Instagram that I just had to recreate, only with holos from the Smokey Mountain Lacquer Oh My Eyes collection that I just got. This was my first dive into free handing anything on my nail. While it didn’t come out like I expected, I’m really proud of this one. 36 likes, Smokey Mountain Lacquers My Cup of Teal, Twilight Twist, & Grape Expectations, Revlon Color Stay Gel Envy Black Jack.

IMG_3052Late July – I was house sitting for my Dad while the whole family went on vacation to Bermuda. It was pretty chill. I was definitely jealous of the whole vacation thing, mostly because I wanted to spend a week down the shore at a beach house. This mani was a bit too busy for me, but I love all the pastel colors and definitely need to wear them individually in the future. 24 likes, Love, Angeline Meringue Tango, Wagashi Style, & Almond Darling and Philly Loves Lacquer Wooder Ice.

IMG_3128Late July – I finished taking pictures of this mani literally 5 minutes before my family walked through the door. I had just gotten this brightly patterned journal from Vera Bradley which was my inspiration. In theory, the polish combo was a great idea. In execution, not so much; I’m not a fan of texture and the chevron glitter caused ridges. 23 likes, Philly Loves Lacquer Pink Cashmere & Delancey Place.

IMG_3273Early August – I’d know about Femme Fatale Cosmetics for a while but this mani showed me what I was missing. I loved the thermal Glass Coffin and had fun playing around with Love, Angeline’s Stuck on Love Nail Shields. 30 likes, Femme Fatale Cosmetics Glass Coffin & Her Imperial Majesty.

IMG_3321Early August – This was the nostalgia mani. Band of the Hour just came out with a hype video for their halftime show and oh, man did I wish I was an undergrad again. Miami will forever and always be a source of inspiration for me. 25 likes, Love, Angeline Meringue Tango, Summer Sorbet, & Match-A-Mint.

IMG_3380Mid-August – I give credit to being down the Shore for all the awesome hashtags and getting me likes on this mani. Regardless, this was one of my absolute favorites from this year. The stamping was super easy, the polishes were wonderful compliments, my nails were long, strong, and on point…*sigh*. I’m ready for the beach again! 44 likes, KBShimmer A Touch of Glass & Jolie Polish Purple Berry Flower.

IMG_3446Late August – Another wonderful mani where my nails look gorgeous. This one is simple, but another one of my favorites from the summer. This is when I realized I’d been missing out on KBShimmer’s amazing creme polishes. 21 likes, KBShimmer Shore Thing & Philly Loves Lacquer Gold on the Ceiling.

IMG_3506Late August – I was clearly dying to get through all of my awesome KBShimmer cremes, so I attempted an inverse of the mani I did two weeks prior. I also go to use more Harry Potter stamping plates for it, so my inner nerd was geeking out. 25 likes, KBShimmer Hugs and Wishes & Jolie Polish Turquoise Blue Flower.

IMG_3615September – I didn’t put this one on Instagram because I knew I was going to be posting about a million pictures, but I really enjoy the chaos of it. This was the first “inspiration” post I did on Nail Lasagna. Not on Instagram, KBShimmer My Life’s Porpoise, Jolie Polish Blue Lagoon & Brick Red Cushion Flower.

IMG_3626September – The second mani in two days during this weekend and my second “inspired” post – camo nails for my brother’s going away party. I don’t think they came out too well, but as long as you looked from a distance, they looked pretty alright. Not on Instagram, Revlon Color Stay Tradewinds, Dominate, & Black Jack, Essie Pretty Edgy.

imageSeptember (Labor Day) – This was the third and final mani of the weekend that I did post to Instagram because it was Monday. Labor Day celebrations always remind me of the shore, so I used two Jersey Shore (the place, not the show!) inspired polishes from Philly Loves Lacquer. This simple mani is growing on me and I may draw some inspiration from it later down the road. 17 Likes, Philly Loves Lacquer Island Beach & Under the Boardwalk.

IMG_3744Early September – The first successful water marble! These nails were great, but they chipped so fast, so I ended up having naked nails at the actual Death Cab for Cutie concert (my inspiration). These aren’t on Instagram because I knew I was going to be making a few posts and selfies/videos of my favorite band definitely trumped nails for the evening. Not on Instagram, KBShimmer My Life’s Porpoise & How You Dune?, Cult Cosmetics El Porto, & Smokey Mountain Lacquers HTC.

IMG_3786Mid-September – I was really milking those summer colors because technically it wasn’t fall just yet! This is probably one of my most successful (looking) gradients. On top of that (ba-dum-tssh), the Ultra Wax Top Coat turned out to be a super cool addition to the arsenal of top coats and I really need to use it more. 16 likes, Love, Angeline Confectionary Yellow, Summer Sorbet, & Baiser de Mousse.

IMG_3877Late September – ugh, this day. It was a long rough one and on top of that, I didn’t even listen to the water decal instructions. The water decal was really cool but I really just didn’t like this Zoya color, it was a miss for me. 19 likes, Zoya Happi & KBShimmer Floral water decal.

IMG_3897Late September – My first fall mani that worked out way better than I thought it would (I’m still really bad at glitter gradients, but this one was meant to happen, apparently). This was also the Monday I unintentionally wore two Philly based nail polishes. 31 likes, Jolie Polish Dahlia Orange & Philly Loves Lacquer Sakura Sunday.

IMG_3918Early October – My first slactivist post! I was actually disappointed I couldn’t wear more pink that day though. On the other hand, I was very excited to finally have my hands on that Let’s Grab a Drink collection from Love, Angeline. There’s really nothing special going on here, but I got a lot of likes because the actual photo I posted to Instagram included another Jeffree Starr Velour Liquid Lipstick in one of his newest shades, Masochist. 58 likes, Love, Angeline Champagne & Philly Loves Lacquer Do Me On It.

XIKT0538Early October – I knew I had to pounce on the Halloween & Fall manis because they were going to pass me by, so I tried my hand a recreating a mani I did in 2014. This gradient still sucks and I did the candy corn colors in the wrong order, but creating this mani just solidified how much I loved the Love, Angeline Let’s Grab a Drink collection. 34 likes, Love, Angeline Bourbon & Shandy, Dainty Digits Polish Candy Cornucopia, & Digital Nails Special Snowflake.

Early OcIMG_4013tober – This mani goes right to my top five. Not only are the colors beautiful and complementary, this one holds so much meaning for me. I love my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and our Blue & Blue. This aspect of my life connects me to so many other women around the world, and I really couldn’t be any luckier. 44 likes, Love, Angeline Cosmo & Jolie Polish Turquoise Blue Flower.

UVOY8140Mid-October – I was crazy busy at work this week but wanted to do something cute and simple with my mani that was also festive so this is what I did! The Jack O’Lantern face didn’t come out as best as it could have, but it was adorable and I loved it. I also wanted an excuse to wear Exuberant Polish more. 17 likes, Exuberant Polish Pumpkin Puree & Revlon Color Stay Gel Envy Black Jack.

IMG_5053Mid-October – This mani came out way better than I thought it would; so much so, I actually sneak previewed it on Snapchat to some of my friends. It never got a blog post because I didn’t really have the time, but it sure went up on Instagram and is one of my favorite fall manis. 26 likes, Love, Angeline Red Wine, Bourbon, & Shandy and Cult Cosmetics El Porto.

ASUQ2667Late October – Back to the Halloween inspired manis for this week. I had an interesting time working with this particular What’s Up Nails vinyl as well as Smokey Mountain Lacquers Fallin’ for Holos collection. Turns out, holo gradients with a holo overly pretty much just looks sparkly. I’m not upset, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. Surprisingly, it was reposed by someone who was like, “wow, I never thought to gradient holos,” so I guess I did a thing? 23 likes, Smokey Mountain Lacquers Smokey Mountain Fog, Denim Diva, Blackberry Jam & Koko 2.0.

KHEW4267Late October – Another slactivist post, hooray! I finally received my first Hella Holo Customs order from Philly Loves Lacquer. This pink is off the chain and I’m glad my buying this polish contributed in some small way to a donation towards breast cancer. I’m not in love with this mani, but I am certainly looking forward to wearing both colors again. Not on Instagram, Philly Loves Lacquer Rock On, Harriet! & Gothic Gala Wop Bam Boom.

IMG_4302Late October (Halloween) – This is my favorite mani from 2015, hands down. I super struggled with the gradient (which you wouldn’t know from looking at the photo) so I was pretty worried it wasn’t going to turn out like I wanted it, but it turned out great! The eyes were obviously done freehand and I even was able to accomplish the same on my right hand. This all being said, I totally should have gotten a million more likes on Instagram for how awesome this is, but it’s okay. 27 likes, Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Black Jack and Black Dahlia Lacquer Ivy Vines & Yellow Rose.

IMG_4396Early November – I was dying to post my Miami water marble mani, but just didn’t have the time to write about it between work and packing and traveling. I was really excited about how successful this manicure was, especially with the Love, Angeline polishes (who knew they worked great for water marbling?!). 21 likes, Love, Angeline Meringue Tango, Bourbon, & Margarita.

QWJQ1437Mid-November – After taking some time to decompress from everything, this was the mani I wanted to do. I just got Jolie Polish Rose Gold and wanted to pair it with something I’d never used before (in addition to wiping out some nail vinyls I hadn’t used in eons). This was the result. 17 likes, Polished for Days Purple Haze & Jolie Polish Rose Gold.

HQLE4783Late November – Having already been prompted by the owner of Jolie Polish to wear the Rose Gold polish on it’s own, that’s what this mani was originally about. Then with the Paris attacks, I knew I wanted to do something to show solidarity so I used a fleur de lis water decal. They were such a pain in the butt, but the mani looked great and I’m glad I was able to do something to honor and support those in France (again, slactivism at its best). 27 likes, Jolie Polish Rose Gold.

IMG_4584Late November – I made my resolution to try out polishes in my collection that I hadn’t worn before, and by golly, I was doing it! I was trying to do a gradient with the glitter polish but I still super suck at those, so this failed pretty epically and I just painted the accent nail with glitter. That Nars polish though – yes! 23 likes, Nars Thasos & Sincerely Polish Pocahontas.

IMG_4712Late November – I kept on trucking with trying polishes I had never used before. Best comment on this photo was, “Looks like a rainbow jizzed on your nails lol.” Thank you, that is exactly what happened. 15 likes, Sincerely Polish Anna.

IMG_4720Late November (Worksgiving) – Still working on trying out polishes I’d never worn before. You’re pretty basic mani; nothing much to see here. Not on InstagramLayla Nail Polish Ceramic Effect in CE12.

IMG_4725Late November (Thanksgiving)– You always have to do something special for the holidays! I took a cue from the pumpkin pie I attempted to make that morning and did this. 23 likes, Smokey Mountain Lacquers Golden Maple Leaves & Exuberant Polish Bark.

IMG_4742Late November (Black Friday) – I wanted the gradient to be so much better but it just didn’t happen. Either way, I was just happy to be sports spirited while I was at the Devils’ game collecting coats. This mani solidified my love for Dream Polish Ultra Wax Top Coat. Finally, a post where I actually did something instead of just sitting behind the computer calling other people to action! 13 likes, Revlon Color Stay Gel Envy Black Jack & Red Carpet.

IMG_4770Late November – Holiday flavors like pumpkin and peppermint are my favorite, so I was really excited to find this peppermint glitter crelly, but also find this from an indie polish maker in New Jersey! Noodles Nail Polish is out in Vineland and my boyfriend lives about a half hour from there, so it was really cool to buy so super local. I won’t bore you with how much I love this polish since I wrote about it three times already, but I will say that the Indigo Bananas polish surprised the crap out out me and I really love it – they’re a brand I’ll have to keep my eye on in the new year. 16 likes, Noodles Nail Polish Peppermint Twist & Indigo Bananas Everybody Say LOVE.

IMG_4589Early December – I don’t actually remember when I painted my nails this color, but I didn’t post on Instagram or Nail Lasagna until December. It’s a pretty basic, but I love when the colors match something Vera that I have and I can put it as my background. 18 likes, Ella + Mila From Rio XO.

YoureAGreenOne copyMid-December – More Noodles Nail Polish paired up with another indie polish on the accent nail. I solely bought this Noodles Nail Polish color because of the name and then it was perfect for that awful Monday I had. 24 likes, Noodles Nail Polish You’re a Green One & Smokey Mountain Lacquers Sinful Lime.

WinterWishes copyMid-December – Surprise! Another Noodles Nail Polish. I’m still really upset that there hasn’t been any super cold weather or snow, so I’m all about this blue hued Winter Wishes polish. 18 likes, Noodles Nail Polish Winter Wishes & Black Dahlia Lacquer Blue Ice Blooms.

IMG_4943December (Christmas Week #1) – This is sloppy and I really just don’t like it, but I needed to get a #ManiMonday out to the world. 22 likes, Jolie Polish Stamping White & We’re Redhead, Not Vampire! and Black Dahlia Lacquer Ivy Vines.

IMG_4960December (Christmas Week #2) – I loved this one! I just wish I had longer nails to really get better looking antlers. Definitely one of my favorite manis from this year. 17 likes Northern Star Polish Reindeer Games and Jolie Polish Stamping White, Stamping Black, & We’re Redhead, Not Vampire!

IMG_4965December (Christmas Week #3) – Another quick and easy favorite; it’s just so classy (and my boyfriend even said he liked this one!). Also, my friends were impressed. It was an all around good mani. The original plan was to do a mani for every day leading up to Christmas, but I liked this one so much I just keep it. 20 likes, Love, Angeline Meringue Tango & Red Wine.

IMG_5055Late December (Last #ManiMonday of 2015) – This one was inspired by one of my best friends and used no indie polishes (a little sad, but Mary Kay Nail Lacquers are pretty awesome). I ended up recreating this mani on my mother’s talons nails the next day. It looks even better on her. 25 likes, Mary Kay Berry Stylish & Revlon Color Stay Trade Winds.

IMG_5079Late December (NYE) – I wanted to keep these simple and awesome, hence the black and gold glitter gradient. I knew I had set myself up for a rough time, but finally a success! I give credit to actually using one of those make-up applicator sponges. Fun fact, my nails didn’t dry completely before I showered so I had to re-do them. 13 likes, Revlon Color Stay Gel Envy Black Jack & e.l.f. Gold Star.

I’ve shared my nails over 60 times in 2015 – that’s just a bit more than once a week (and I even had a few month hiatus there in the spring!). I can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring in nail polish, creativity, and of course, manicures.


TL;DR – I’m really proud of all the manicures I’ve done as well as the new skills, dexterity, friends, patience, and polishes I’ve gained from doing them. In summation, this what Instagram said people liked the most from my nail art in 2015:

slcastagna29_2015 best 9

Me and my nails – we’re ready for you, 2016!




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