Thursday, February 23, 2012

Funky Fingers Cottage Stripes

I've been on the go a lot lately (leaving my place at 8am and not getting home until between 11 and 1am), so I haven't had a lot of leisurely time to take pictures with, say, a regular camera.  Or near sufficient light.  Or at a good time of day.  Basically, I'm not a great blogger.  But here are some [iPhone] photos of Funky Fingers Cottage Stripes, anyway.

The background here is a dress I have from H&M with a painterly all-over flower print.  I got no less than ten compliments the day I wore it; most of them were something about wishing it was spring and living vicariously through my clothing.  Which is weird, but I'll take it.

And with my ever-present cup of coffee.

None of these photos is really color accurate.  I'd call Cottage Stripes more of a dusty cornflower, but here it looks really bright.  It's definitely more muted.  This swatch is way more color accurate.  The formula was watery and I needed three coats.  It also only lasted about a day and a half before it started to chip, but that's par for the course with polishes for me lately.  Maybe it has something to do with winter dryness?  I'm not sure.  I do like this color, though.  But I have better cornflowers (namely Sally Hansen Pacific Blue and Essie Lapis of Luxury).

So my job at the museum in curatorial often requires me to go digging through old periodicals in search of esoteric articles.  I enjoy this endeavor for a couple reasons.  First, as with hard to find nail polishes, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt.  I like feeling like I'll never find something and then finally getting my hands on it.  Second, the advertisements.  I'm working on material from the 1940s-1960s in the United States (my field is American art, but a bit earlier than that...c. 1860-1920ish.  I don't think I've ever really talked about that on here!).  Yesterday I got a huge bound volume of several issues of House & Garden from 1947.  I took photos of these two adverts, so I thought I'd share.

I love this one because of the obvious implication of Lucy and Ricky beds.  This is also what I call the twin beds in a room at my parents' lake house.  Look at her, wearing red lipstick to bed and reading her book so comfortably.  And her red nail polish!  (see, totally relevant)

And this one I just thought was beautiful.

I really like looking at commercial stuff from the 40s and 50s.  Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade.  Confession:  I also have this weird Leave It To Beaver-esque housewife fantasy where I can stay home all day, wear poofy dresses and red lipstick, and for some reason vacuum the house wearing four-inch peep-toes and pearls.  Of course I know that there are all sorts of gender issues at work there, but I think it's something I semi-fantasize about because it's so different from the life I have now.  I can't really cook, I clean when I have time (ha), and I'm not a great hostess.  But I am a great researcher, writer, and compiler of information, so I guess we all have our skills, huh?

Well, that was a giant tangent, wasn't it?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Black Label: OPI Home on the O-Range

Another treasure from my reader-provided goodie box of black label OPIs (thanks again Gail!).

This is Home on the O-Range, and it's really more of a coral than an orange.  I like how I took a few photos and it looks totally different in all of them.  The color in reality is closest to the color in the second photo.  Anyway, this polish, named with a ridiculously heavy-handed pun, is old.  Real old.  Old enough that I couldn't immediately find swatches in a basic Google image search.  But it's an orange-leaning coral with gold shimmer.  The formula was nice, as old chemical-laden OPI formulas are wont to be.  I had no problems with the old skinny brush, and the opacity was lovely.  What wasn't lovely was the dry time.  My nails are all dented; thankfully you can't see that in the photos.

Now maybe you're thinking:  Steff.  Buddy, pal.  Why would you show me a black label OPI that is practically non-existent on the intarwebz and make me want it?  Why?  Why would you do that?  Well, calm yourselves, because when I saw this one in sunlight I couldn't shake this weird feeling of deja vu.  You know why?

This is Home on the O-Range on the left and I Eat Mainely Lobster on the right.  And as a refresher, here's a macro swatch of Lobster:

Not dupes, but PRETTY SIMILAR.  So rest easy, friends.  Home on the O-Range is actually a lemming that is easily slayed.  Lobster might not be an exact match, but they're close enough.

Okay, so one more thing.  I wanted to try out orange lipstick.  So I slapped on a lipstick I've never used but was excited to buy at one time, MAC Morange.  

I like to think that with a little confidence I can rock any lip color, but I'm not sure about this one.  What do you guys think?  These photos are from Friday; I had a lot to do that day, and no one said OH MY GOD YOUR LIPS ARE ORANGE, so I consider this a win.  Maybe?  I don't know!

So, opinons on the polish?  Has anyone ever heard of this old OPI?  I don't think I had myself until I opened my big box o' black labels.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Revlon Whimsical

I swear that in real life my cuticles do not look this bad.

The winter has really not been kind to my skin.  But anyway, this is Revlon Whimsical.  You probably all know it.  It's the drug store dupe of Lippmann Glitter in the Air.  As soon as I saw Glitter in the Air I wanted it.  In fact, it's the only Lippmann polish I've ever really wanted.  Really, really wanted.  But I couldn't drop the dollars on it.  Then Revlon Whimsical happened.  But of course it's one of those difficult to find polishes and I just didn't have the energy to go from Walgreens to Walgreens looking for this.  So I asked you guys if anyone could pick me one up.  And Sarah from See Sarah Swatch had an extra bottle so she generously sent this to me.  Thank you, Sarah.

This is two coats of Rescue Beauty Lounge Bikini Bottom and two coats of Whimsical.  Side note:  I am amazed at how often I use Bikini Bottom.  My bottle is rapidly depleting and that is SAD because RBL is EXPENSIVE.  Anyway, Whimsical is a milky blue sheer with small silver and blue glitter and larger copper and blue hexagonal glitter.  Very sheer.  

This is really pretty.  I like it over Bikini Bottom.  What about you guys?  Do you have horror stories about not being able to find this polish?  Did you find it right away?  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

China Glaze Lasso My Heart

I'm not really a Valentine's Day person, but I will admit that I like getting flowers and feeling special.  My boyfriend brings me flowers for no occasion at all, though.  Because he's great.  Regardless of how I feel about Valentine's Day, I decided to do a bit of a themed manicure.  First, China Glaze Lasso My Heart from the Rodeo Diva collection (which I've worn every February 14th for the past three years).

Purple-y/mauve-y/pink-y.  Purple, pink and gold sparkles.  It's a pretty great color.  Two coats.  Good formula.  No complaints.  Holding my China Glaze White Cap bottle because my Rodeo Diva collection is currently living with a friend.  I did this V-Day manicure at her house while we were watching The Walking Dead.  Yaaaaaay zombies.

And then I taped some diagonal lines on top of Lasso My Heart and used Color Club In Bloom (two coats).  Peeled off the tape, sealed with a coat of topcoat, and I was good to go.  Easy enough.  

I wore pink too!  Except this was yesterday, the 13th.  But that's okay.  It's not like I was wearing a pink skirt with flamingos on it or anything (I was).  

That's it.  I hope you're all having a nice day and that you are eating chocolate or those little heart-shaped candies.  I'm not, because I'm at work doing research.  Ain't no candy allowed in the library, folks.  Ah, the life of a grad student in the humanities.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Nail Color Blocking

Last week I was having trouble picking out an outfit for Thursday.  I always pick my clothes the night beforehand because I am too tired in the morning to make choices.  I was debating trying the orange and pink color blocking trend that was really popular last spring and summer, and remained popular into this past autumn.  Observe:

In particular, I have been seeing #4 (from H&M) everywhere for the past year or so.  I took a chance and wore a poofy red/orange skirt with a bright pink top (as opposed to the more bubblegum pink tones shown above).  Regrettably I don't have any photos, but I will tell you that I was complimented all day long.  By women, by men, and most notably, by a four-year-old boy who excitedly ran up to me while I was eating my lunch  at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and said very sweetly, "You look like a pwincess."  Clearly this retina-searing color blocking combination yielded good results.  So the next logical step was doing it to my nails.  

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  As soon as I was finished doing this I was in love with it.  The pink has less of a blue tone to it in real life, though.  This is two coats of Wet n Wild Candy Apple Twist for the orangey-red, and two coats of Color Club In Bloom for the pink.

Left hand.

Right hand.

I just love how this looks.  You see tipwear in the photos because I have had my nails this way since last Saturday night.  They're holding up pretty well.  For those of you who are hesitant to try the pink/orange trend in clothing, a manicure like this might be a good trial to see how you like the color combination.  Accessorizing my outfit was fun, too.  I figured I could either keep it simple or use an accent color, and I wound up wearing what can only be described as cascades of turquoise jewelry.  While my boyfriend and I were having dinner that night he looked across the table at me and said, "Are you...are those three necklaces you're wearing?"  Yes.  Yes, there were three.  And they looked fabulous :)  

In conclusion:
Pink and orange:  yes.
Pink and orange nail polish:  YES.
And do I love clothes?:  Y.E.S.

If you guys are interested in seeing the outfit I can recreate it and try to get some pictures taken.  Just let me know.  Any adventures in color blocking to share?  Any ideas?  I'd love to hear them.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Jason Wu and Zoya Kennedy

A few weeks back Zoya had some sort of promotion going where if you entered a code you could get two free polishes.  I distinctly remember that my boyfriend and I were watching something on Netflix, and when he got up to go to the bathroom I opened a new browser window.  By the time he got back I had two polishes in my virtual cart and all I could say to him was, "PLEASE GET ME MY WALLET THERE IS NAIL POLISH INVOLVED."  It took a while for them to ship to me, I assume because lots of people ordered.  But here is my first one, Kennedy.

This is a nice, neutral creme.  It's a peachy-beige that looks sort of dirty or grungy in some lights.  If it looked in all lights like it does in the first photo, I think I would really love this.  But in the shade and in some lights it ends up looking kind of washed out and almost entirely beige.  Maybe it has to grow on me.  But I'm pretty happy with this purchase...I MEAN I'm happy with this polish I got for free.  I haven't gotten a new Zoya in quite a while, so I don't know how their formulas have been lately; I did not like the formula on Kennedy.  It was thick.  And hard to get even.  I did only need two coats, but they seemed like a laborious two coats.

But when all is said and done it's a neutral that looks pretty and elegant.  So maybe the application pain is worth it.  I'm happy to add it to my collection.

So it feels really good to say that I had a great weekend.  After having so much trouble with so many things at the end of last year, I finally feel genuinely happy.  On Saturday I started studying for my qualifying exams, which was scary.  But at least I started.  Then my boyfriend took me out to dinner at one of my favorite Thai places.  Then we watched one of my favorite movies, Brick, in bed (he didn't like it as much as I do).  At 2:30 I finally fell asleep, and the next morning I was up at 6:30 for the Jason Wu for Target release.  Let me tell you about my adventure.

The collection had me at black cat (I have one, Raven).  

No makeup.  Hair wild.  Giant sweater.  Welcome to my Sundays, folks.

The pieces are all based on elegant, clean lines, which appealed to me immediately.  I knew the second the lookbook was released that I needed this dress:

My friend Sam and I got to Target at 7:55, 5 minutes before the store opened.  Our Target has two entrances on the bottom floor, and about 15 people were lined up at one of them, while 5 or so were lined up at the other.  We headed for the less crowded entrance.  Luckily, due to a particularly boisterous Wu enthusiast waving her arms at the employee opening the doors, he came over and opened our set first (Thanks Brent at University Heights Target!).  He cautioned us not to run, which was funny.  Because we of course all ran.  But the 30 seconds between when he opened our doors and the other set of doors allowed me to grab this dress in several sizes, as well as a couple other pieces (including the cat tee, which I didn't end up getting).  It turned out that an 8 was a perfect fit, so 5 minutes after the doors had opened I already had my prize in-hand.  I only encountered one semi-aggressive person, and we had this conversation:
Her:  Hey, do you have that blue dress in a 6?
Me:  No.  I have an 8.
Her:  Are you sure?  I have an 8 too.  I need a 6.
Me:  ...Yes?  Yes I'm sure.  What?
I was confused by this, and literally scampered off to the dressing room to avoid eye contact.

And then the accessories.  Ah, the accessories.  The employees ended up bringing the bags out in, I kid you not, a huge bin.  Seeing women scramble for them was pretty funny.  I managed to score a couple (without damaging my dignity) because my friend wanted one, so that was fun.  It was a whole barter system happening of women grabbing whatever they could and then trading.

Anyway, I'm glad I went.  It was fun, and getting exactly what I wanted within minutes gave me a weird shopping adrenaline rush that I suspect is unhealthy.  Target was followed by breakfast, a lecture at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and hanging out in a coffee shop.  

All in all, I'm completely content.  And that makes Monday not look so bad.  Did anyone else score anything J.Wu?  I'd love to hear about it if you did :)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

China Glaze Sneaker Head

I don't know how I feel about polishes making repeat appearances on the ol' blog.  I've done it before, of course.  I know I've posted about China Glaze Sneaker Head within the last six or so months.  But the other day my friend was wearing this bright candy pink/red-looking polish and all of a sudden I wanted that look.  I wanted it real bad.  So I opened up my Helmer, saw Sneaker Head and thought, "This will be perfect!"  Then after the manicure was all done and dried I remembered that I featured this polish here, when I was waxing poetic about lobsters and New England (yes, that's right).  But what's important is that I got the look I wanted.

I don't know what it is about this one that drives me crazy (in a good way).  The formula is okay for an early B3F polish, maybe a little runny.  But fine in two coats!  And the color is this crisp almost but not quite berry-toned red.  There's a little pink thrown in there that makes this not-just-another-red red.  I have used a lot of Sneaker Head.  At least for me.  The bottle is about 25% gone.  If I had to purge my stash and I could only keep ten polishes, this one would make the list.

And I may have matched my sweater to it yesterday.

The sweater is a bit more orange-red, but you get the idea.  Looking at this picture I realize that I went a little crazy with color.  Orange-red cardigan.  Puke/booger green dress.  Turquoise accessory.  What you CAN'T see in the photo is my leopard belt.  And no, I'm not kidding.

Other news...well, nothing really.  Nothing concrete, anyway.  But you know what's the best?  When my boyfriend randomly calls me in the middle of the day to tell me he loves me or hi or to ask how what I'm doing that day or if I'm happy.  The other day he called while I was having lunch all alone-y on my own-y and it instantly made me smile.  Both because I love hearing from him when we're not together and because he always knows exactly what to say to make me laugh...

Okay, I guess that's enough warm-and-fuzzy love talk for today.  So, Sneaker Head.  Do you think it's a polish that merits an encore on Short 'n Chic?  As reds go, how do you all feel about it?