Tag Archive | academia

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.

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!