Thursday, October 1, 2009

A twinkly September


Earlier this month I put up a poll asking which of five colors people would like to see swatched.  Each of the colors got a vote this time, with Scherer’s Blue Frost getting one vote, OPI’s Time-less Is More, Del Sol’s Heartbreaker, and Nubar’s Forest all getting two votes, but the clear winner was from this little Kleancolor company, who out of the blue I’m starting to see more and more of, called Twinkle Heart.





At first I thought I’d swatch this both alone and over a color (since it is, ultimately, a top coat).  But the thought of putting it on, and then having to take it off quickly thereafter – especially after so recently being brought to my knees after removal of one of China Glaze’s new glitters – quailed me.

So for this mani, I decided to put it over another polish.  But which one?  I wanted to make sure this one would stand out.  I opted for an off-white.  I’m not entirely sure why, that’s just the color that was calling to me.  I decided on OPI’s Pearl’s Night Out, which I recently picked up at Trade Secret for 60% off.





As you can see, it’s a pretty sheer frost – this is one coat – but for the base of a top coat, I was perfectly fine with it like this.

I’d never worked with this kind of top coat before, where there are large specially-shaped glitters hidden throughout the bottle.  I’ve read about them on blogs like Nail Juice and Body and Soul, though, usually about OPI’s offerings.  Those bloggers would often use tools, like toothpicks, to get the confetti out, though I doubted I’d have the patience to do that.

As such, I decided to let the cards fall where they may, and simply brushed the glitter on.

Well, that was my idea, anyway.  It took only two attempts to do my nails in my traditional manner to discover that this was NOT the way to accomplish application of this lacquer.

First off, I quickly learned not to try and remove excess polish from the brush before applying.  If there were any hearts, this was a sure-fired way to put them back in the bottle.  As such, I put on two to three very thick and somewhat uncomfortable coats.  This was all to the good, because ever the small glitter is pretty sparse, as you probably surmised from the open varnish shot above.




As you can see, a lot of the hearts made it to the tip of my nails.  It took extra going-over with the brush to get the hearts anywhere convenient; often they’d get brushed along until they were practically dangling off of the tip.

However, I was able to get at least one heart on each nail, even if I did have to dip my brush in and out of the bottle a few times before I applied a fresh coat. 


006 (A rare “claw” shot so my thumb could get into the act.)


The good news, however, is that with a clear top coat added on, this dried relatively smooth, and pretty quickly.  The bad news is that this was a pain to remove.  Almost literally, as my nails are now getting really thin again (I have no idea why that’s so), and so having the cotton with remover pulling on the edges of the confetti wasn’t all that fun.  But a little elbow grease, and I was eventually able to get this off my nails.

So, when all is said and done, this was an interesting polish, but I don’t know that I’ll ever wear it again.

I’ll have another poll up in a few days’ time, but first I have to enter some new acquisitions into the database – I’m getting behind!

And here’s some good old Richard Dawson.  He always struck me as a minor player, what with him always giving the lady contestants a kiss, but I do rather miss him.  This is the most out of control that I’ve ever seen him on the air – and I think the only time I’ve seen him completely ignore the clock.



Happy October, everyone.  And to my friends in the UK, “White Rabbits!”  (Though I guess that should’ve probably gone on the top of my post. . . .)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A little kindness – and a little slow


Hello, all!

I wanted first to apologize for my frequent silences, both on this blog and in comments on other blogs.  I am trying to get all of my mom’s stuff taken care of, which is a huge emotional drain, as well as a little like digging those tunnels in a sand box or on the beach.  Every time I take a scoop out, more sand falls in.  It’s miserable.  But it also takes up a lot of my time, and what time I spend doing it is also extended by my emotional healing time afterwards.  Currently, that’s running along the lines of reading fiction – any life but my life, if you know what I mean.

Also, last Saturday, I was down with my father going through his mother’s old things that my uncle had taken, as my uncle died just a few weeks before my mother did.  (Has anyone else noticed what a crummy year 2009 is?  I can’t tell you the number of people that I know that have lost loved ones, and my father is scarcely the only one I know who has suffered multiple blows in a very short time span.) 

Anyway, we found a huge number of photographs from early in the twentieth century, and it was awesome (meaning it caused awe) and a little sad to see all of these people that lived and worked and trudged on through life, and now we have absolutely no idea who any of them are.

It was also fascinating to see what people took pictures of in that age before the instant gratification of digital feedback, and even before Polaroid.  Remember then?  When you took photos and wouldn’t find out for, at best, days what the end result was?  I’m sure personal cameras and film were also probably pretty pricey back then.  The really early photos were, I think, professionally done, as they were all on thick cardstock, rather like cardboard.  Fascinating.

The funniest point of the day, though, was when we got to the bottom of the box, underneath all of the photos and letters (remember when written correspondence was a regular occurrence?), there were three large porcelain pieces wrapped in paper.  The first one I pulled out was a bottle of Jim Beam “100 Day Old” Bourbon memorializing 50 years of the naval reserve – 1924 to 1974.  The next one, as I started to unwrap it, I knew contained more bourbon.  I could smell is even before I got halfway there.  It was a trout or bass, honoring the fisherman’s association, or something along those lines.  It was cracked, and as such, my dad dumped the liquor down the sink.  (I *know* there’s got to be at least one person out there reading this now with a sob catching in their throat!)  The final bottle was a large model of Italy, whose cork had broken off, with half of the cork still inside the neck.  Dad, being Dad, promptly had to test the cork out and, pop!, into the drink it sank.  So then that 100-day-old (“Well, more than that now,” as my dad said) went down the drain.

Now someone’s really sobbing!

And if you’ve ever smelled bourbon, you know it does not “go gentle into that good night.”  Having had several drops spilled on my fingers, and after having to sop a good deal of it up from his desk, I knew that I’d better be good driving home.  If I’m pulled over for a busted taillight and my window gets rolled down. . . .

My dad, being the helpful, paternal sort he is, suggested I “demand a breathalyzer!”  So that was my Saturday.  How was yours? 

Sorry for the long tale.  I thought you’d find it partially enlightening, and partially humorous.  I hope so, anyway!

So now that you know why I’ve been (and, unfortunately, am likely to continue to be) a little slow, let me share my little kindness.

You may recall that I mentioned how Wixbetty was one of the two people that sent random, caring happiness my way when I really, really needed it.  (I now have a new person to add, too, Pushpa, but she will also get her own full story, so I’ll just mention her here for now.)

Back in late May, she wrote a post offering a “Good Neighbor Giveaway” (I love that name).    She basically offered to give away several of Orly’s long-discontinued Satin Hues (one each) to people who were having a hard time.  Boy, was I living in the middle of Downtown Having A Hard Time.  So she let me pick which color I liked, and after drooling for a long time, I chose Satin Finesse.





The first thing that I want to relate is how insanely long the brush stem is!  If you look at the top picture, you have an idea how tall the bottle is.  If you look at the bottom picture, you get an idea why polish bottles aren’t usually designed that way anymore.  To be fair, it didn’t make it especially hard to apply the color, it was just very different. and application didn’t feel as “second nature” as it usually does.

The formula itself went on very smoothly, but I did need to apply three coats.  As I try to make my coats thin, I could see a little bit of streakiness in a few spots after two.






While the Satin Hues have very matte-like qualities, they are also distinctly different.  For one thing, these did dry pretty quickly, but unlike the only mattes I’ve tried to date – Zoya’s – this doesn’t actually dry during application, which makes application much easier.  I don’t know if the recommendation was not to use a base coat when these first came out, but I used one.  However, it’s almost as hard to hide nail flaws with these as with the mattes.  If you look closely, you can find a couple of bumps on my nails in the bottom photo.  (IRL, it doesn’t look quite so black as that photo makes out.)

But there is one major, major difference between the Satin Hues and mattes.  I wasn’t able to take outdoor shots until late the second day (in fact, they’re are near-sunset shots).  Look how well this top coat-less polish held up:






And the best part?  Because I hadn’t been warned of the millions of things that could ruin the polish, like using lotion, I wasn’t afraid to just use my hands without obsessing about what might happen.

By the beginning of the third day of wear, I was starting to notice a little bit of tipwear, so I decided it was time to slap on a coat of Sally Hansen’s Chrome top coat (that I got free attached to other polishes).

As Janice would say, “Oh.  My.  Gahd.”








Did you see the depth?  Did you see the shimmer?  Did you feel like you were looking out, dining at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?



If not, then look again:




I can’t believe how gorgeous this color is!  In both finishes, truly, but the one with the top coat, just – wow.

So I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you again to her, and to anyone that passes along kindness in this world.  You never know how badly people need it, sometimes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fun With Polish


Wanting to have a work-appropriate polish that was slightly different than those Trip-Bs (Band-Aid But Better), I reached for a polish I hadn’t worn before: Sally Hansen’s Pink Promise.






But I wasn’t really feeling it.  This is two coats, and you can see that while it does make a slight (but only slight) difference in terms of color, it also becomes highly reflective – look at my top  nails in the photos above.  In an attempt to tone it down a bit, I added one layer of OPI’s Breathe Life, but even that didn’t help, so I decided to use Nail Tek to tone it down.




It didn’t work.

As such, I left one hand with the Nail Tek, the other without, since I was going to be removing it straightaway, anyway.




225  (In case you’re having a hard time deciding, it’s the bottom picture that’s matted.)

So, this is why I don’t franken.  I don’t really much care for it, but it was fun to experiment, at any rate!


Monday, September 14, 2009

My armor


Recently, I needed to go to a meeting I didn’t really want to go to; one dealing with my mom’s estate.  Emotionally, I was feeling very vulnerable, small, and scared.

So I needed to get some emotional armor on.

Even though I would not be working, I chose to wear formal clothes, which I never do when I don’t have to.  My favorite pair of plum trousers were even a part of it.  Check.

I don’t often wear perfume, but this is one instance when it was a good idea to.  Some of my favorite Givenchy.  Check.

But what about my nails?

I kid you not, I actually spent a good deal of time debating on what color to wear days ahead of time.  But this thought process was mostly on my mental back-burner.

At first I thought of holographics, as those are my favorite finish.  However, I knew that while looking down at my nails would make me smile, it was also a little more loud and celebratory for the tone of the meeting.

I could wear a StrangeBeautiful - as I’ve said, they make me feel very chic - but I just wasn’t feeling it.

There’s Essie’s Love, Beverly Hills xx, but red just didn’t seem to be the right color.  I wanted something to make me smile, but something that could also be understated.

The final decision?  Chanel’s Kaleidoscope.



I first made the acquaintance of this color on Stephanie’s Polish Addict.  But twenty dollars for a Chanel seemed pretty steep.  (Hah! They’re routinely up to thirty now; what was I complaining about?)  So I hemmed and I hawed, and I hawed and I hemmed.

But the more I read about this color, the stronger my lemming became, As it was released at the same time as Gold Fiction, you often saw the two talked about in the same post.  And people such as Scrangie were often saying the twenty-dollar price tag for Kaleidoscope was worth it; the thirty-dollar one for GF was not.

So, in a fit of madness (and with a rare discount as I had opened a Macy’s card the same day), I bought my first (and, to date, only) Chanel.




And when I first put it on, I was disappointed.  I know, it’s a gorgeous color – what was I thinking?

Well, I think that when I looked on others’ blogs, it looked a lot more silver to me.  On my hands it definitely had more of a golden/olive thing going on.  (Maybe that’s why it’s called “Kaleidoscope”; as soon as you think you’ve got a description pegged down, it turns a bit and changes on you!)  I honestly thought that I had made some kind of terrible error in putting this on because it didn’t look like I expected it to.

Fortunately, I dropped my comparisons and just learned to appreciate the color for what it was.



(That thick, boxy cap comes off; this is the size of the handle you paint with.)


This is three coats, by the way.  It really would have been fine at two, but as I was applying to my dominant hand, I caused a dent in the polish of my non-dominant, so I had to apply a third to try and save it.  The application was very nice, even if I was applying coats a little bit thicker than I’d’ve liked.

This is almost certainly a metallic with shimmer, and it is even somewhat reflective.  Wearing a black top, I can see that color reflected in my nails.  I’m sure it’s not Maybelline’s Mirror Image  by a long shot, but it’s certainly somewhat akin to it.



(You can see the red curb reflected in two of my nails above.)


For those of you who have not heard of this little factoid yet, Chanels are pretty darn famous for their lack of durability.  I honestly can’t remember what the wear was the last time I wore this, but none of my polishes usually lasted long, as I hadn’t yet developed any techniques for applying varnish.




But since I am now (slightly) older and (moderately) wiser, I know to expect chipping, and soon.  Believe it or not, I often leave colors on for anywhere from three to five days (gasp!), so that’s actually an important consideration to keep in mind.

Thankfully, Nora at Nail of the Week did a top coat comparison  on Chanel lacquers.  The winner was CND Air Dry.  So, based on her recommendation, I added a bottle to a recent online order, and that’s what’s gone on top.  It actually worked really, really well, and I only found a slight chip in one nail about day three or four.

I’ve tried finding some image to compare the color to, but I lack the appropriate adjectives to find it.  Humph.  But looking for a clip has yielded just what I need.  Not only is this exactly what it made me feel like – strong and capable of deflecting negativity with my indestructible bracelets, but her crown and wrist guards, while not identical to the color, certainly put me In mind of it!



Well, Kaleidoscope gave me just what I needed it to.  It was my armor that I required, a beautiful color that’s not going to go unnoticed, per se, but also one that’s not going to shout, “Party Time!” either.  A well-made choice, I think.




Looking back at these  pictures makes me long to wear it again.  And you can see how much it changes, depending on the light.  That’s why I compared Molten Metal to it in its inability to be defined.  My favorite shot of it, though, you might recognize as my current ID photo.  It’s taken at sunset.




How about any of the rest of you?  Do you have a color, brand, finish, or specific polish you use as your shield?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Random stuff about me



I was tagged by the ever upbeat beautyjudy, Nicole, and Nessa  (note new address – hopefully it’s her last move for awhile!)to share ten random facts about myself.  Trying to think of “interesting” things to say always stumps me – like when you’re in a class or workshop and as an ice breaker they want everyone to go around sharing their name, their (major, job title, what have you), and one interesting fact.  I don’t know about you, but all of a sudden my life seems very pedestrian!  That said, I’ll try my best to think of ten of these things!  At least I’m not on the spot, ignoring everyone ahead of me while racking my brains to come up with something!


1)  I was a HUGE Disney fan as a kid.  I could recite the names of the Seven Dwarfs in a heartbeat (still could, actually) and the names and order of all of the Disney feature-length animated features.  I knew tons of trivial facts about Disneyland, too, such as the fact that the train station at New Orleans Square has a Morse code message tapping out Walt Disney’s opening day speech (which I also used to have memorized).  At this point in my life, I would conservatively estimate that I’ve been to Disneyland about 350 times.



2)  I fell in love with the movie The Princess Bride and had a major, major crush on Cary Elwes.  I watched that movie so many times, I could recite every line of dialogue, from the opening notes of the Nintendo’s “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to Peter Faulk’s closing “As you wish.”  Well, except for some of Fezzik’s (Andre the Giant) lines, which I just recited phonetically.  I had no idea “pints” was “prince” until I bought the DVD years later, for example.  A lot of the lines in this scene gave me trouble, too.  I didn’t realize they were naming fencing moves.



3)  I love languages.  Not only am I constantly striving to develop a deeper, richer vocabulary in English, but I love to learn smatterings of other languages, such as Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Dutch, and others.  Not that I’m fluent – not by a long shot – but I have a natural gift for accents, or so I’ve been told.

4)  I never travelled out of my home country until I was almost  30 years old.  (That trip was to Montreal, Quebec, Canada).  Now, however, I take the opportunities whenever they come, as often as possible.



5)  I read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol every December.  After having seen several adaptations of it, I decided that I should read the original about fifteen years ago.  I enjoyed it so much, it’s since become a tradition.



6)  There are certain songs that I’ve gotten it into my head that I should know all of the lyrics to to be culturally literate.  Among those are “Copacabana,” “The Girl from Ipanema,” and “Hava Nagila.”

7)  I can’t stand mushrooms.  Never could.  Every time I try and take a bite, my mind tells me “It’s a fungus,” and, well, there goes the attempt.


Mushroom.jpg image by gardenstew


8)  I am fiercely loyal.  It may take a lot to gain my trust and support, but once you have it, it is very, very hard to lose it.

9)  I always send birthday cards and anniversary cards to my family members.  Sometimes they don’t get mailed until the day of their special occasion, and on rare occasions, afterwards, but they always get sent.  You better believe I have a Hallmark membership card!

10)  I very rarely had any secrets from my mother, at least later in my life.  People would tell me things and then say, “But don’t tell your mother.”  Almost invariably, if it was something I thought she should know, I’d tell her anyway.  And also tell her that I wasn’t supposed to tell her.



Now I’m supposed to tag ten blogs myself that I love to read.  Truth be told, though, I think that most people have already done their own Random Facts.  The blogs I haven’t seen this on, yet, and would love to see it from are:

Concrete and Nail Polish

Violet – Tales on an Ingénue


I think I caught everyone (well, except Brooke, who is busy, and Lucy who doesn’t have her own blog – yet), but if I missed you, I assure you it’s an oversight.  Anyone else who wishes to share, please do!  having time to create the list takes the pressure off, I promise!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Holographic happiness


What feels like a very long time ago, but in fact was only a month, I tried to come up with a “Top Three” list.  On that list was one of my new polishes from the China Glaze Kaleidoscope collection, the first one I’d tried, It’s My Turn.




I tell you,  pretty much from the moment I opened this bottle I couldn’t wait to get it on my nails!  I am a sucker for holographic polishes, without a doubt, and you don’t see gold colored ones very often for some reason.





This is one of those colors I can’t stop looking at.  It made driving a whole new kind of adventure!  I put on two coats, and it glided on like a charm.  I wore this for three days without any chipping evident.





I even attempted one of Colette’s patented “multi-holo” views.








I don’t know if any picture could adequately show how beautiful this color is.  All of the collection is stunning, in fact.  You can find bottle pics of it here.




Sigh.  Isn’t it wonderful when something as minor as lacquer can bring such happiness?

Every time I think of “It’s My Turn” I think of Bon Jovi’s, “It’s My Life.”



I got these from Victoria Nail Supply, and they still have them in stock.  Make sure you check out Mary’s blog; if you mention it, you can get free gifts added on!