Archive | February 2022

Another magnetic polish, another disappointment

Magnetic polishes look so pretty in other people’s swatches. 🙁

These are polishes with ferromagnetic particles in the polish. You paint them on, then when they are still wet, hold a strong magnet over them to attract those (differently colored) particles in an appropriate pattern until the polish dries. The result is a cats-eye effect, where a stripe or curve or shape shows up and appears to move as you move the nail around. This lets you get cool chatoyance and galaxy effects.

In theory. In practice, I rarely get it to work. The result is weak or off-center, or just doesn’t look good, or I dunk the magnet in the wet nail polish, or whatever. I only remember ever getting really convincing results a couple of times. Usually it’s a fiddly, time-consuming disappointment.

So, uh, meet today’s PWI: The Lycurgus Cup, by Heather’s Hues!

Sure, why not.

If you look closely, you can see the brighter gold stripe down the centers of some nails. That’s actually the polish, not a reflection, but even moving it around under the light I can barely tell. I gave up and did the other hand without the magnet:

Huge difference is lacking!

Basically indistinguishable.

To trouble-shoot: I could get a stronger magnet. I could build up a little stand so I could hold it near my finger without trying to hover it in midair. I could let it dry longer. I could use a different top coat. (Top coats partially dissolve the polish under them, so more magnet-ing is necessary at that stage.) I could have more patience for extremely fiddly shit. However, of all of those, the last is the least likely.

So now I am wearing a not-terribly-chatoyant bronzey-greeny-gold color, which is quite unobjectionable but does not do anything for me in my current mood, and I am disappointed. Bad Friday night time investment.

Also, my wordpress tag cloud has stopped updating. I don’t wanna debug my blog. I wanna drink something girly and go out with friends. Double bah.

My favorite white, because class prep sucks

A couple of years ago, I spent a few semesters teaching remotely. It suuuucked. I mean everyone knows this by now, nobody liked that part. I was trying to work remotely while also proctoring virtual kindergarten part of the day, and it was a very serious hit to my productivity and my teaching quality, but what could we do?

Anyway, when kids are actually in school and I’m not teaching, working from home occasionally is nice, so now we both do it one day a week. Last semester we did it on Thursdays, now we’re doing it on Wednesdays out of deference to my teaching schedule. Unfortunately, I handle change about as well as your average three-year-old, and I cannot stop thinking it’s almost Friday when we spend the day at home. Which means I forgot I have to teach tomorrow. And now that I’ve remembered, the strength of the don’t wanna vibes would also put the average toddler to shame. So I will talk about nail polish.

White nail polish is a classic, not to mention being a nice underlayer for all kinds of shiny toppers and nail art. (It’s also usually a pain, and tends to be sheer, streaky, or both—this is three coats.) Unfortunately, stark white looks terrible on me, like I went nuts with a bottle of correction fluid. So I was a little surprised and very pleased when I discovered that OPI It’s In the Cloud looks pretty good:

Kinda white! Kinda. I think the little decoration stickers are from Kiss.

It reads as white from any distance, but it’s really a beigy, greigy off-white that is somehow usually quite flattering on me. Today I have had lobster hands (possibly because it’s finally warming up), but I’m still enjoying it, and it makes a pretty base for all kinds of little rhinestone-type embellishments. (I originally typed “whinestone,” which I frankly kind of want to keep in deference to where my head is right now.)

Now I guess I have talked about nail polish. I guess I’ll go do at least some minimal class prep before morning. I guess. Ughhghhgghhg.

Edited to add: Looking through old photos, I’ve used this polish as the base for various nail art additions at least 3 times before:

I don’t think the photos need another whole post, though.
Pretty sure I did these with individual rhinestones and studs and tweezers.
I really like the combo, apparently.

PWI: Harbour Island is a pretty name!

Christmas before last, I got some mostly-indie* I Love Nail Polish goodies from my sister. This was wildly exciting, because I love I Love Nail Polish! Unfortunately, I haven’t used most of them much (or at all), because I go through long cycles of not really doing anything with nail polish. So renewing attention to this blog gives me an excuse to pull out, use, and show off some lovely things, like ILNP Harbour Island.

Direct sunlight, in the car on the way to anywhere. (I wasn’t driving, of course.) Giant pic because it’s hard to see the lovely holo sparkles without it.

This is a beautiful scattered holo teal jelly, which means it’s sort of a deeply colored transparent polish—this is three thick coats and you can still see the free edge. “Scattered holo” means the holographic sparkles are all over the place, rather than being all lined up (a “linear holo”). Jellies are a pain if you want full coverage, but they let the glitter sparkle through, and since they are showing through varying depths of polish you can get some really deep, lovely effects. So I’m not sorry I pulled it out, and I’m going to keep it on for as long as possible.

And I was going to talk some more, but it’s time for movie night with Mr. F, and it’s been a few weeks since we actually managed to watch a movie (because some weekends are more packed or more exhausted than others), so I shall go do that. The internet is not really experiencing a shortage of blog words anyway.


* I’m never sure when something crosses the line for being an indie. ILNP maintains a robust web presence, including through Amazon, but AFAIK aren’t affiliated with something like Sally Hansen. Is Holo Taco an indie? Definitely. Deborah Lippman? I have doubts about something readily available in department stores, but they’re not owned by a cosmetics brand, I don’t think. I am confused. We’ll call ILNP indie. Sure.

Shiny green things – a PWI of sorts

Sally Hansen Color Foils came out with much fanfare when I was graduating from grad school, and I bought the set of 7 as a graduation gift to myself. (I skipped the silver, which AFAIK is identical to OPI Push and Shove.) These are a very weird polish that goes on looking like a normal polish, then gradually dry down to a very shiny, almost chrome-y finish. There are no true chrome polishes—anything shinier than this is some form of nail wrap or powder—but they are unexpectedly shiny when freshly applied. Weirdly, they are dulled by top coats, so they don’t last long, but overall it’s a fun, geeky effect.

Up close you can see how uneven it is, but from any distance not so much. I’m pretty sure this is Cutting Hedge, unless they’ve changed the names. I could go check the bottle but it’s way over theeeere.

I’m teaching a required undergraduate class this semester, and it’s definitely a different experience from teaching grad students. I find I worry more about being taken seriously when I have painted nails or don’t choose my work outfits carefully. It’s been a stressful semester, partly because I haven’t taught this class in seven years, partly because we’re still doing intro stuff and haven’t gotten to the fun content yet. Teaching can absorb an arbitrary amount of time, so it’s always a calculation when to cut off the time spent on it in order to focus on the things we’re actually, you know, incentivized to do. I try to put in enough time to be fair to my students but not so much that it’s unfair to me, but that’s not an easy heuristic to actually apply.

So… I dunno if I’ll go to class with really shiny nails or not, but ultimately that shouldn’t be a first-order consideration. On the other hand, that kind of thing has an outsized effect on people’s perception of you, which is dumb. I have had several students tell me over the years that I’ve inspired them to paint their nails, or explicitly that I make them feel okay about painting their nails. It wouldn’t be such a strong effect if I had more female colleagues, I suppose. Sigh.

A sleepy PWI: Bluz Cruz

I had to use Microsoft Teams this morning. It went about as well as you’d expect (nobody’s slides worked, people kept freezing up), and it kinda set the tone for another fun day in the life. I was going to cope by painting my nails something shiny and fun, but my munchkins really wanted to help choose the paint color, leading to…

This perfectly unobjectionable bluish creme. Perfectly fine formula, I flooded my cuticles all on my own.

This is fine. It’s Sinful Colors Bluz Cruz, and it’s a completely unexceptional periwinkle creme (which means it has no glitter, shimmer, or other oddments—just a solid color). I am not excited about it, but it gets it off the list onto the other list. And I am excited about my kids being interested in my random hobbies, because I love sharing things with my kids, so. Net win.

Wow. I thought I had more to say, but it would just be ranting about work, which isn’t worth the time it would take to type out. I guess I really am just tired. And you know what? I’m allowed to just go to bed if I want to. Good night moon, good night air, good night nail colors everywhere!

Sunday Lazy Sunday

I’m sitting and fiddling with blog settings while Mr. F and both boys sit on the couch behind me and play Mario Kart. Today we got both boys haircuts; Friday night I cut Mr. F’s. hair and yesterday he trimmed all their various and sundry nails. So much keratin removal! We can feel productive even though there’s loads left to do. But when isn’t there?

Typing that block made me feel guilty so I’m going to go load the dishwasher.

~long pause~

Okay, what it actually needed was unloading, so I did that. What really needs to happen is laundry, but that’s a little more involved so I’m stalling. Why am I telling you this? I dunno. Soaking in the enjoyment of my little family having a good time in Mario Kart is warm and contenting, but doesn’t really engage my brain very much, and I don’t feel like working.

Here’s some content, such as it is: How I Store My Nail Polish.

Nail polish stuff! The clear plastic things, obviously, hold polish. The bins to the left contain things like clippers, tweezers, nail glue, a rhinestone picker, stickers, etc. Lots of etc. The stuff underneath is evenly split between additional nail polish-related stuff, and random junk that got stuffed there. I would like to find the right shape of bin to make those more accessible drawer-like enclosed storage, but haven’t done so yet.

I actually have a Helmer (the piece of IKEA furniture most polish aficionados swear by), and I do not like it. It’s too hard to see all the polishes. Instead I have a bunch of these separated boxes (not the exact brand, lots of people make them) that store 48 polishes each, 24 on each side. That way I can pull them out and look at all the polishes contained therein, instead of just having drawers where all I can see is rows of black caps.

When Mr. F and I moved in together, we each lived in a fully furnished house. Shortly thereafter, I went to grad school in an other city, where I proceeded over the course of (ahem) seven years to build up an additional household of stuff, albeit a smaller one. So now we have so much stuff. Taking stuff to Goodwill is a pretty frequent occurrence, and we try to take advantage of Craigslist and (now) Buy Nothing, but it’s really slow. And it’s easier to add stuff than to get rid of it, which is ass-backwards.

Ugh. This post just makes me want to be productive in some fashion. I’m going to go measure those slots for some kind of basket. (Update: oh, they’re designed for letter-size paper. 8.75″x11″x4″, roughly. Not trivial, but I think I found something. We’ll find out in a few days.)

Update, later: Apparently tomorrow is Valentine’s day, which means we have two small boys’ classrooms full of cards to deal with. Mr. F went on a quest to find some, and everyone has already switched to Easter stuff. Argh! So we ended up printing some cute cards, hole-punching them, and sticking lollipops through the holes. Half-assed crafts projects save the day! I have been waiting my whole life to say that.

PWI indie gold, plus random cleanup

Interestingly randomly, I started writing here in early February 2014. Now it’s early February 2022, so I’ve been casually intending to update this blog for eight years, almost to the day. Maybe it’s something about the season.

Almost everything I used to link to from this space is defunct. That’s hardly a surprise. Eight years is basically forever in blog-land, plus a lot of the people I used to follow were students. Students graduate, have life transitions, and move on. It’s actually one of the sometimes-good, sometimes-hard things about being faculty—you form relationships with your students, and then they go. I don’t mind the defunct stuff so much (blogs, not students), but the stuff that now links to “Buy this domain now!!!1!one!” can pretty much piss up a rope. Camping on a used-to-be-popular site name that you aren’t using, in hopes of getting someone to buy it, is one of the many sleazy bits of How It All Works.

As of today I’m wearing Make It Stop, by Quixotic Polish, also a Polish Pickup pickup. This is a slightly difficult one to describe. In the bottle it’s a color-shifting scattered holo, but on the nail the holo is quite lost except in really good lighting:

A hand with nail polish holding a bottle.
The centering and wrapping of captions in my new wordpress theme is rather messed up. 🙁

This was three fairly thick coats. Nice formula, if rather thin, but more coverage would have been nice. It comes across as a sort of a slightly holographic nude color? It’s gold with a lot of green-to-pink multichrome shimmer, so it really depends on the angle at which the light hits it. I do wish the holo was more pronounced.

A hand with gold nail polish with holographic flecks.
See, holo! Only in my bedroom, though.

One of the notable things about nail polish (and nail art) is how different it looks in practice, which is to say, not up close to the camera and holding still. Hands move fast and nails are small, and different polishes come across very differently. Despite its lovely complexity, “in practice” this one looks like a gold nail polish with occasional pink reflections. But it is lovely, and flattering, and I am glad I went to the trouble of stripping off Glass Fish for it (and it was a PITA to remove).

PWI: white sparklies and glass fish

I’ve gotten some bad really annoying news about teaching loads lately, which promises to make my life harder and my research harder…er. I’ve been down and angry about it for close to a week, which is undoubtedly part of why I’ve been polishing madly lately. (Teaching load = how many classes you are expected to teach in a given year. Mine is going up, and as far as I can tell, the formula for who teaches how much is a big, dumb secret—one which I am dead set on unraveling, because although I enjoy teaching, it is neither my primary professional focus nor what I am actually primarily evaluated on, which makes it a poor use of my time. BAH.)

But anyway. Nail polish. Have I introduced you guys to Polish Pickup?

There are only so many colors in the world, and there’s a far smaller set of those colors that can be turned into nail polish. There are only so many affordable, cosmetic-approved pigments out there. There are also only so many interestingly differentiable colors; I just got rid of a bunch of polishes that are arguably different from things I own, but only in a “slightly bluer shade of shimmery teal” sense. And I’m not gonna say I own all the colors, or even all the colors that I would consider wearing, because I probably don’t—but boy, buying new, interesting polish has gotten hard after (wow) several decades. It helps when Mr. F buys me polish, since he tends to chose things I wouldn’t necessarily gravitate towards. (My kids have also been responsible for some recent selections, with wildly inconsistent results. 🥰) It actually makes me a little sad to see a giant display of nail polish and find that my reaction is “Ehh.”

One of the places I can consistently find at least some novel polish is Polish Pickup. This is a monthly event in which a number of indie designers (usually a bit under a hundred) list a polish that they are planning to make a limited run of, only for that month and only for PPU. This tends to be where the weird ones come out to play—thermals (color changing based on temperature), magnetics, interesting glitter combinations, colors that would probably not sell well in wider release. Most of my polish purchases for the last few years have been from there.

This leads us to a polish by ‘Ard as Nails, yclept Glass Fish:

Glass Fish. This one was impossible (for me) to photograph well.

It’s a white shimmery polish, with pink shimmer (ultrafine glitter, like too small to see individually) and larger, but still tiny, iridescent specks. In the bottle it’s gorgeous; on the nail it’s a bit disappointing. This is two coats over white. A lot of polishes are like that—the depth and richness of a bottle-sized amount is not the same as a few thin layers on the actual nail. I don’t regret owning it* but it’s not as distinctive as I had hoped.

I do wish it was at all interested in being photographed! Iridescents and holos are notoriously difficult for the camera, which in my case is still an iPhone held awkwardly in the other hand. You’ll have to take my word for it to some extent, because posting videos is a whole ‘nother kettle of coping, and it’s not that pretty.

Minor edit: It was enough of a glitter to be a hassle to take off, though!

Edit 2: Next time I might try it over a white that’s more flattering on me than stark white. Worth a try!


* You can tell I don’t regret owning it, because I still do! I still have some pangs about the large destashing, but mostly I feel really good about the nail polishes I still have. So, yay!

Destashing

Despite various threats leveled at various mediocre nail polishes on this blog, I have never actually gotten rid of nail polish very much. This is partly because I like nail polish, and partly because if I am going to get rid of it, I want it to go to someone, and not to a landfill. This is not easy to accomplish.

Enter “Buy Nothing” groups (https://buynothingproject.org/). Briefly, they are hyper-local (like, a borough, or small town, or part of a larger town) giveaway groups, largely hosted on Facebook. They are a brilliant way to get rid of small or one-off things that will probably get thrown away by standard donation sites.

Like, you know, 150 bottles of nail polish:

Roughly 150 bottles, just counting the first row and multiplying. Another handful got added after this was taken.

I worry that the person who took these didn’t really quite know what they were getting into, but a lot of people indicated interest, so they can always regift some subset of them.

I have mixed feelings about it and a little bit of remorse. But I have ready storage room for about 700 bottles of polish, and that was getting tight, which is ridiculous. Most were chosen for being extremely similar to others, a few for being minis, a few for being something I won’t use again under any circumstances, and a handful for not fitting in my storage boxes (ahem, Funky Fingers).

And now I am solidly comfortable buying polish again. Going through all my polish bottle-by-bottle also rekindled my desire to paint all the nails, so I am counting it as a win.

Still. It is best if I don’t look at that pic, because it gives me grabby fingers. *mourns slightly*

wot’s all this then

Yaaay!  Let’s see, what’s the last thing I wrote…

When I unpack I might actually pay enough attention to figure out things […] … or I may be swamped with the new life.* Hard to know.

Oh yes!  The ridiculously prescient thing!  Except I didn’t mean quite that swamped.

Well, here I am again. It looks like I’ve started to post a few times in the intervening (good grief) seven years, but generally time—or possibly self-imposed priorities—have not permitted. I don’t know if they will permit going forward, either, but I’m going to give it a bit of a try. I need things to do in the evening that are more self-care than productivity, and nail polish and its attendant musings are a thing. I don’t think anyone still reads this, and that’s okay, because really I am writing for me.

So, couple-three things have happened. I’m up for tenure now. We have a couple of small humans who are at least as charming as cats, if in a less fuzzy way. We have a house. Global pandemic. All kinds of things. I’m not spending as much time on nails, for two reasons:

  1. I don’t need the escapism quite as much as I did during my last year of grad school.
  2. I don’t have time.  (Seriously.  Not even close.)

That first one is interesting.  The last year of grad school – the thesis writing/job hunting part – was so, so strange.  Part of what made it so strange was just how oblivious I was to how strange it was at the time, in retrospect. I enjoyed grad school but I don’t miss that. But nail polish has always gone in waves for me. I’ll paint my nails consistently, get bored, stop for a few months (or years), start again, etc. I don’t think I had painted my nails since the pandemic started, but suddenly I am feeling it again, and that’s good too.

There’s so much I do want to talk about, though.  Nail polish, faculty life, faculty standards of dress and nail polish and beauty, cooking, papers and moving and transitions… and since this is my space, I guess I will just start talking about it.

So… hello again!  Here is some nail polish.

Red and yellow polish on nails

A beautiful thermal polish from Twisting Nether Lacquer, rather unglamorously entitled “Ketchup and Mustard.”

Project PWI may be dead, or I may limp along on it. Life has a way of intervening. But I am still planning to post pictures of polish as I wear it, because it serves a good record-keeping purpose. This one ranges from fairly pure, transparent yellow to true, if somewhat muted, red. I wish I had taken more pictures. Unlike many themals, it changes right around body temperature, so it actually changed a great deal as I wore it, instead of staying stuck solidly on “cold” or “hot” like so many do.

More soon, hopefully. Hopefully not another 7 years from now. But we will see!


* And boy, did I ever not know at the time how literal that was. Faculty interviews while 2-3 months pregnant are not a joke. But it worked out.