It’s been a few weeks since I posted. I’ve been painting my nails; in fact, I think they are literally the longest they have ever been, right at the moment. (Usually they grow until one breaks, and I hack them all off. I don’t know why nothing has broken yet. Random chance, perhaps.) But although I have had PWIs to do, I haven’t had anything else to talk about, and I find that just posting pictures of swatches is not really as rewarding as blogging when I feel like I have something to talk about.
It’s not like nothing has been happening. Friends have visited for the first time since very early 2020, work always has something going on, life continues on. It’s just not the sort of thing I’ve been in the habit of talking about on this here blog, or perhaps the spark that makes it fun to write (and, one hopes, to read) has been missing.
I don’t really know, nor do I know what exactly I plan to do about it. Blogging is definitely good for me when I’m in the groove for it. Maybe I’ll just… post about nail polish for a while and see how I feel. Here, have a dump-o-polishes.
More to come, probably, perhaps. It depends apparently, in part, on the muse.
I don’t have much to say about this one. It lives at my parents’ house, along with probably 10 others (I kind of leave a trail of polish when I go places). I used this one when the shiny red holo started falling off after swimming, and I was very pleased to find that I had remover, base coat, etc. all already there and waiting for me. Everyone defines home differently!
Sally Hansen Luster Shine in Azure:
The Lustre Shines are supposed to be iridescent. This one, at least, is not. If anything, it has a very slight purple duochrome effect. Mostly it’s a nice, pleasant blue nail polish. I put it on Saturday and I’m already getting significant tip wear Monday, so it may not make it much longer, but it’s very pretty.
It’s not that unusual to find a polish I can’t photograph for love or money or this blog. Some of it is because polish makers love to play with light and glitter and holographic sparkles, and some of it is my camera skills and setup. However, it’s fairly unusual to find a polish where my eyes can’t even quite work out what’s going on. So believe me when I say these pictures, while interesting are not representative of the sheer weirdness that is Bee’s Knees Lacquer: Jawsome.
Most of the time it reads as glowing pale purple, like a lavender, with a whole lot of little silver sparkles going on. However, it also seems like, no matter how you shift it, you’re not really seeing it—like you just need to shift it around again and you’ll finally catch the angle where you are really getting a good look at it. Mr. F thinks the duochrome shift (mostly gray to purple) is strong enough that your two eyes are seeing slightly different colors, so it always looks slightly hard to see. Of course, if you’re not staring at them, I am sure you would basically just come away with the impression of “grayish purple” and be done.
I dunno. It’s weird. It’s hard to describe. And it is completely impossible to photograph. Better bloggers than I have tried, and they have done better, but really, that shit’s surreal. Well, my next one’s much easier to handle.
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!
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
I’ve gotten some badreally 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:
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!