Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sinful Colors Orange Cream

Guys, I'm sorry for my diatribe yesterday about learning to read German.  But to my credit, it's been a while since I published a good grad school rant.  Reading German is like a rite of passage for doctoral students in the humanities, and it's just such a huge pain in the ass.  To make up for it I will show you one crappy picture of a new Sinful Colors polish.

Yep, just one picture.  That's all you get.  It's the only one that turned out decently.  I had sort of an issue with this polish because when I opened it I could see that there was some black powdery junk on the lip of the bottle.  Not sure what it is--maybe plastic from the cap?  (Also, if you look hard enough on the internet you can always find someone else sharing your complaints--and here's someone who found black powdery stuff on this polish, too.  What gives, Sinful?)  At any rate, it got into the polish while I was using it and you can kind of tell in the photo.  I'm pretty sure that this was two coats.  It may have been three on some nails because I had cuticle drag.  I really like the color.  It's sort of a cross between coral and cantaloupe.  The spring collection this is from is called Sugar Rush, and I think this color fits well.  It reminds me of a creamsicle, a little.  

On my way home last night I was reading this book on the subway about the Brazilian Imperial Academy in the nineteenth century and I ran across this paragraph: 
"The works of art themselves have traditionally been disavowed as merely derivative copies of artistic styles in Europe and often ridiculed for their tendency to lag many years behind the prevailing European fashion...[S]uch a critique is, of course, based on the kind of teleological reading of the evolution of art towards Modernism which is, hopefully, completely discredited by now.  The multiple and complex ways in which artists outside Europe have responded to European artistic models and translated their formal values into something meaningful to their own cultures is surely what really matters to anyone interested in the development of a unified network of Western art over the past few centuries.  To despise past attempts to come to terms with the all-encomapssing process known as modernisation is indeed a short-sighted, if not a blatantly foolish, cultural strategy" (65).

Sometimes I have serious nerd moments and I guess this is one of them.  I highlighted the whole paragraph and wrote, THIS IS AWESOME.  I love snarky writing like that in academic texts.  Maybe someday I can be a snarky art historian (key word:  maybe).

And with that I'm off to try to insert snarky sentences into an already-mostly-written paper, and then to keep working on another paper.  And by "keep working on" I actually mean start.  So, whoops.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Full-On Monet

So, nail art.  I...can't really do it.  But I had been wanting to try the "watercolor" technique, where you basically just use acetone to thin the polish and then slop it all over your nails, for a while.  I have to say, it was pretty easy.  

with my favorite accessory

The polishes I used were:  OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls as a base, followed by a thick coat of Seche Vite, and then China Glaze Passion for Petals, Mimosa's Before Mani's [sic], and Tart-y for the Party.  I should probably pause for a second to tell you how totally horrified I am by "Mimosa's Before Mani's."  So hey, China Glaze, if you need a copy editor, I have a lot of writing experience, my grammar is pretty fantastic, and I love nail polish.  E-mail me.

Okay, anyway.  I used two coats of MBSW, topped it with a thick coat of topcoat, and let it dry.  The topcoat is important because you're going to be brushing acetone onto your nails, and it'll prevent that acetone from totally eating away at your base color.  Then I grabbed a little paintbrush and poured acetone into a bottle cap.  I placed dots of polish on my nail, wet the brush with acetone, and then sort of smeared the color around.  I did one color at a time for all ten nails.  This turned out more marbled paper than watercolor, but I still really like it.  I saw this and I was all:

I'm probably going to try this again as soon as this manicure chips, so look forward to that.

This past weekend I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with a friend.  I didn't take that many pictures at all, but it was still nice to walk around and smell the flowers.  Even though it was really crowded.  Even in Brooklyn I can't escape from the crowds.  But it was still a really pleasant day.

cherry blossoms
this little turtle was sun-worshipping
 I don't know what this is; maybe a magnolia?
I loved these little fish
And it was finally warm enough for me to wear my favorite dress!!
Which is this dress:
Anthropologie, Burgeoning Hypericum Dress, spring 2012

Aaaaand here begins a rant.  Last night I had a total fucking nervous breakdown over my German class.  Everyone is frustrated with that class.  It went from like 25 people at the beginning of the semester down to 9.  Each person has begun to show her (or his) frustration in different ways (one person has become openly belligerent toward our teacher).  On Thursday our teacher told us that in order to pass the exam we'd have to be translating German (and this is academic German we're talking here, not stuff like the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog) for three hours every single day.  And she told us all of these things about how it'll be super difficult to pass and even when she has given students take-home exams more than half of them still fail.  But the thing is, you guys, that she gives out SO MUCH HOMEWORK.  And so I do the homework, and then she doesn't go over it.  Or she'll hand out homework in class but then e-mail more homework  that looks the same as the homework she already gave out but is slightly different grammatically or something.  So I just have piles and piles and PILES of German homework that I have done but we haven't gone over.  I don't know if it's right or wrong and I don't...know anything.  Yesterday we had an extra review session where we went over a translation, and I basically just shut down.  Like, confronted with this wall of never-ending work that rarely gets checked or corrected, then I have to translate for a minimum of three hours a day for a test I probably won't pass?  Why even try anymore?  

I had told my teacher at the beginning of April that I wanted to drop the class because it's just too much for me with a full-time course load plus fellowship working hours (I do about 18 a week).  But she convinced me to stay in the class.  And now I regret it.  So I told her yesterday that I thought I just wouldn't take the final.  Because why not just remove that source of stress?  Why put myself through this?  She told me to just relax about it.  BUT I CAN'T.  It's like, you can't tell someone that it'll be fine and they need to relax but then dump HEAPS AND HEAPS OF WORK on them and threateningly inform them that they need to be practicing something for a pretty unreasonable amount of time EVERY DAY.  I'm sorry, but I'm not a scholar of German literature.  I just need a basic knowledge of the language to be able to decode the occasional German text I might read.  And, real talk:  I cry on the subway on my way home from German almost every Monday and Thursday.  Because it's horrifyingly difficult and the time commitment is just too much right now.  What I really wish is that someone had told me that I should NEVER take a language during the semester, but that I should devote summer to it.  But no.  I was told it would be "manageable."  MANAGEABLE FOR WHO?

And yes, I could have spent the time it took me to write that rant translating one German sentence.  But writing that rant was better.

Okay, I'm out.  I have to try to survive my second-to-last Monday before school's over.  I don't even know if I can do it.  I wish I could skip Monday and go straight to Tuesday.  But until I figure out how to do that, I'm just going to drink massive amounts of coffee.  As per usual.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

China Glaze Sunday Funday

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that blue polishes are generally not my favorite polishes.  So color me surprised when I fell hard for the two blues in the brights half of China Glaze Avant Garden.  The first one was Fancy Pants, and I used it for some chevron nail art here.  This next one is Sunday Funday, and it looks like a cloudless blue sky.  But I couldn't leave well enough alone because cremes on their own bore me lately.  So, this:

I did two coats of Sunday Funday on my pointer and pinky finger (also my ring, middle, and pinky on the other hand).  Then I took Shimmer Polish Linna, which is a predominantly green glitter embellished with red, silver, gold, and blue glitter, and used three coats on its own on my middle and ring finger (and ring and thumb on the other hand).  Oh, and then I also threw some glitter down by my cuticles.  It's not exactly a gradient because I only did one layer, but it looks neat.  The whole effect actually looks better in the shade than in the sun, at least in photos.  I think in the sun it's too blingy and the camera didn't like it.  

The formula on the China Glaze was great.  Very easy to work with and very pigmented.  Linna was also easy to work with, and it built up to a decent opacity on its own.  I was really pleased with this combination!  I couldn't stop staring at my hands yesterday.  Sadly Sunday Funday chipped on my thumb pretty quickly, so I think this manicure isn't long for this world.

The other day (Tuesday) I was working on a paper (and I mean, we're talking nascent stages) when my computer was like, hey girl, you should probably plug me in.  I have six minutes left.  So I got my charger, plugged it in, and...nothing.  I tried another outlet.  Still nothing.  So my power cord died.  I was "stuck" not working on anything all night because I didn't have my computer available, so Tuesday was kind of a wash.  Then yesterday I woke up and went to the Apple Store for a new cord.  I meant to do work after that, but I walked through Central Park instead.  I walked through Central Park for three hours.  I think I'm just totally checked out, guys.  Somewhere along the line I decided that my mental health was more important than my academics.  And I should have realized that long, long ago. I did come home late in the afternoon and work on my medieval paper for a few hours, but my dedication waned, and here I am writing this blog post instead.  I don't know how to motivate myself to do everything I have to do.  I know why I'm so apathetic, but it's not time for me to divulge this to you all yet.  That will come in June when plans are more solid.  But for now...yikes.  I'm in trouble.

But I took this picture yesterday and I kind of like it.

It was such a nice day.  Just barely jacket weather.  I set a goal for myself that by Sunday I will be totally done with my medieval paper (edited, footnotes formatted, bibliography done, images formatted).  That way I can basically totally forget about one class.  Maybe I'll feel better about it things then if I feel like I have less to do instead of having all these plates spinning at the same time.  Yeah, we'll go with that.

Now I'm rambling so I'm out.  I hope you guys are having nice weather where you are, too.

Disclosure:  products in this post provided for review consideration.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

OPI Play the Peonies

This is not a polish I would have chosen for myself.  Ben actually picked it out because he's really into mega-girly colors, and he mentioned that he thought it would look nice on my toes.  He likes participating in this hobby and I think the effort is sweet.  But anyway, this color really does remind me of pink peonies.  I also embellished it a little because I couldn't resist.

So Play the Peonies is a pearly very, very light pink.  I was worried that brushstrokes might be an issue but they didn't turn out to be.  This was three coats.  I received a bunch of Shimmer Polishes to consider for review quite a while ago, and so I decided to do a glitter gradient from the cuticle with Tiffany, which is a blue and pink glitter.  It's very cute.  This is the first time I've done a gradient starting from the cuticle instead of the free edge, and I have to say that I'm pretty obsessed with it.  It looks a lot better IRL than it does in these pictures, and the pink on pink with touches of blue looks so adorable.  The gradient effect makes it look ethereal and princess-y.  

I like peonies.  My parents have a bush in their backyard and in the springtime my mom used to give me a pair of scissors and tell me to cut some for a vase in the kitchen.  But she always had to tell me to shake the ants off first.  I guess ants particularly enjoy those flowers.  Anyway, that's a spring memory I like.  I've thought of incorporating peonies into my wedding bouquet, but I'm not sure.  It's too early to think about that stuff anyway.  I find myself thinking about that stuff a lot.  Ben and I picked out our little save-the-date cards this week, and that felt nice.  I got to cross something off my list.

It's the end of the semester now but it's not like the very end of the semester, and yet I still feel like this:

I expect it has a lot to do with my depression, which still hasn't lifted.  I seem to be feeling it more acutely this week.  Lately I sleep all the time and never want to go out or socialize at all.  Maybe "sleep all the time" isn't right.  I'm in bed all the time.  I have trouble sleeping.  And lately when I do I have really fucked up dreams, which is unusual for me.  Or at least it's unusual for me to remember them.  Anyway, complain complain.  And I'm done now.

Maybe I just need some peonies to brighten up my apartment.

Disclosure:  products in this post provided for review consideration.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Revlon Just Tinted Victorian (Jelly Sammy)

Months and months ago now, my pal Ange sent me a care package of coral and pink goodness because she knows how I roll.  Also last week Rach was basically like, hey y'all remember ChG White Cap?  And I was all, holy balls yes.  So I dug it out (it's one of the few polishes I brought with me from CLE and one of the only polishes of which I own a backup).  I used Revlon Just Tinted Victorian from Ange to make a little sandwich with White Cap, and I think it turned out really nicely.  Reminds me of a good sunset.  Observe.

one of my paper topics for this semester, Martin Johnson Heade's hummingbird paintings, which I love.  Isn't he cute?

So, Victorian is a jelly that dries to a satin finish.  This is pretty awesome because that means it dries super quickly.  It's also very sheer.  I did one coat of Victorian, waited a minute, did a coat of White Cap, waited another minute, and then did a last coat of Victorian.  I used Seche as topcoat to really make it shine.  I'm bummed I didn't get any pictures of this one in the sun.  It was one of those semi-overcast days when I wore this and every time I picked up my camera the sun vanished.  Anyway, I think this looks nice and feminine but not at all boring.  There's some visible nail line here because of how sheer both polishes are, but I don't mind.  It's not too noticeable at all.  

I probably don't have to tell the rest of you that last week was a nightmare.  I can't imagine what it was like for those of you in and around Boston.  I woke up on Monday morning to a text message from my best friend, Sam, about how it was Patriots' Day and about how everybody in Boston takes the day off to go watch the marathon.  From that text I was unclear about whether or not she was going...which didn't seem to matter at the time.  Fast forward to a few hours later and I'm at the library reading the news.  I saw the headlines pop up in real time about the bombings.  Immediately I panicked.  In the time it took me to frantically search through my bag to get my phone I saw a message from Sam pop up:  "Someone bombed the Boston Marathon."  When I saw the message I knew she was okay.  Then I could start worrying about my other two really good friends at Brandeis and Tufts (and they're okay).  But I was on edge all week.  And on Friday night when things started unfolding with the manhunt I was glued to a live feed of a Boston police scanner.  When I heard, "Suspect in custody, suspect in custody, medic, medic!" I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Minutes later the major news networks followed.  Relief was followed, for me, by sadness.  Because of the victims of all of this violence.  Because the suspect is 19.  Because he's still a kid.  And who knows what he was thinking and why this happened.  I wanted to write about this because, more than anything, this blog is a journal about my life and what's going on with me.  And this impacted me in a way I didn't think it would, even being so far away in New York.  

At any rate, I found it really hard to concentrate all week last week.  But I was glad to cross this bad boy off my calendar:
yeah, I have a silly cat calendar; wanna fight about it?

The date of April 19 has been haunting me since February, so I was glad to give my ridiculously long presentation and be done with it.  It went fine, and it should have.  Because I spent forever preparing for it.  Taking seminars on an unfamiliar topic is really difficult.  This one is about medieval Jerusalem, and medieval is my least favorite area of art history.  Or at least it was.  The object I'm writing my paper on is Islamic, and I've gotten really into the research.  I like it a lot.  I surprised myself with how interesting I was finding all of it.  Now I have to finish the paper and incorporate comments from my presentation.  I'll be glad when I hand it in on May 10 and I can focus on my other paper for my other class (see bird above).  Things are getting pretty smooshed together now, as they tend to do at the end of the semester.  German final May 9 (and seriously, FML with that one because learning German and taking two other classes and working is not going well for me at all), hummingbird presentation on May 6, medieval paper due May 10.  That's going to be an interesting week for sure.

Anyway, I hope you and your loved ones are all okay.  Senseless acts of violence can happen anywhere, and I know that I would have given anything to have hugged my family members and my fiance when all that scary shit was going down.  Here's hoping this week is miles and miles better.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

China Glaze Blooming Brights Chevron Attempt

Let's talk about procrastination.  I have been in school for a long time.  As a student with third-year standing in a doctoral program (and still doing coursework) I can tell you that I've become good at a couple things.  First, surviving on only massive amounts of caffeine.  Second, procrastinating.  I have a presentation this Friday, which means that Friday is going to come way sooner than I want it to.  I'm doing pretty well preparing, though.  I spent last weekend writing up a storm, and yesterday and today are are also writing days.  Yesterday I woke up all rarin' to go when I thought I would just do my nails instead.  Not only did I feel like doing my nails, apparently I also felt like doing them with a tiny paintbrush.  So, this happened.

That last picture washed out my hands a lot, but I like that you can see the shimmer in the bottle.  So this is my first attempt at this type of manicure, which is a deviation of the half-moon using chevrons.  A few things went wrong, but overall I'm happy with it.  The base is China Glaze Snap My Dragon (which sounds dirty, but I suspect isn't meant to be) and the main color here is China Glaze Fancy Pants.  So clearly Fancy Pants didn't cover well in some spots.  That's my fault, but it's really only noticeable close-up like this.  I freehanded the lines using a little brush:

It wasn't as much of a pain in the ass as I thought it might be, actually.  Against all odds, my right hand (my dominant hand) looks pretty decent too.  I like the almost art deco feel this has to it, and I can't wait to try it again.  

In terms of the polishes, the formula on both was really nice.  I've seen people describe Snap My Dragon as a red with pink shimmer, but to me it just looks straight-up fuchsia with more pink shimmer.  Fancy Pants is freaking incredible, sort of an indigo color with pink shimmer throughout.  

They came next to each other in the Blooming Brights half of Avant Garden and I thought they really needed to be used together in a manicure.  

So, chevrons:  semi-success.
Procrastination:  EPIC SUCCESS.

Alright, back to the grind.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Not Tart-y For This Pastel Party

I finally dug a bit more into my China Glaze Avant Garden collection and decided that two spring pastels is better than one.

I can't help but be sort of happy when I look at this.  I love the way these colors look together.  Tart-y For the Party (ha) is a bright, cool purple that still manages to look soft at the same time.  The application on this one was absolutely flawless.  I was so impressed.  This was two coats.  As much as I like this purple, I was absolutely enamored with the finish of the sea foam green polish, Keep Calm, Paint On.  First, I love the name.  But I wasn't expecting to love the polish, mostly because I'm not crazy about minty green colors.  As it turns out, I really like it.  The shimmer makes the polish really interesting to me.  The shimmer is so fine that sometimes it makes the polish look like it has a pearlescent finish.  But then sometimes, like in the first picture, the gold really peeks out.  The formula on this one was less wonderful, but still okay.  It was a little patchy.  I did two coats on my ring and thumb nails, but I think that perhaps I could have done with three.  

Yesterday I made this super halfhearted sponging addition.  I dig the way the blue (Fade Into Hue, also from Avant Garden) looks with the purple.  But the yellow (L'Oreal Creme Puffs--which, love on its own) wasn't pigmented enough to do the job so I just kept sponging and sponging until it ended up looking like too much and not integrated enough.  But that's okay.  It all looks neat from not-super-close-up.

On Friday Ben surprised me by having flowers delivered to me after my class for our anniversary.  It was so sweet.

It put me in a better anniversary mood.  Another thing that was nice on Friday was that my parents went to visit the venue where Ben and I want to get married and they both loved it.  So we booked it.  There was something really nice about booking our wedding venue on our year-anniversary.  Also this means the date is official so I'll share that we're getting married on September 20, 2014.  It was my grandparents' anniversary.  We visited the venue right after my grandma died.  When we saw how lovely everything was and that we could get married outside in an enclosed garden, we decided that we should get married in September when hopefully it's not too hot or raining.  I looked at my calendar for 2014 (the previously agreed upon year) and the 20th happened to fall on a Saturday.  I think it was fate.  So you can start eagerly awaiting seeing me in a slinky white dress.  Or is it a poofy dress?  Secrets!  

K, happy Monday.  Over 'n out.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sally Hansen Salon Resurrection (Prabal Gurung)

I think it's finally spring in New York.  Last weekend, even though I was still really sick and hopped up on DayQuil (DON'T WORRY, mom; I only took it a few days), I was struck by this insatiable desire to walk.  So I did.  Last Friday afternoon after my class I walked about 30 blocks down 5th from the upper east side to midtown.  I walked without my jacket on and I got my first frozen yogurt from a yogurt truck with fresh fruit.  Saturday I had to really focus on research, but on Sunday I again walked from the upper east side way down to Grand Central.  Then I took the train back to Harlem and walked all the way through its east side back to my apartment.  On my way I stopped at a Duane Reade to get a salad for dinner, and I of course checked out the nail polish.  And there I found the spring 2013 Sally Hansen Salon designer collaboration collection.  I had no idea which polishes were associated with which designers, but I immediately wanted Resurrection.  I was about to talk myself out of it when I noticed a coupon on the display for $2 off.  That sealed the deal and the polish came home with me.

I later learned via Google that Resurrection is a Prabal Gurung polish.  It's a beautiful, moody sort of slate blue.  Application and formula were flawless, and this is two coats plus NYC GCS.  My fancy camera's battery died in the middle of taking pictures of this one, so I had to make due with my iPhone camera because I just wanted to get it done.  Regardless, the photos are decently color accurate.  As you can see, it does dry on the nail a bit darker than it appears in the bottle.  I put this one on my toes, too.  I'm really glad I bought it.  It reminds me of those it's-about-to-rain April skies, so it really is perfect for springtime.

This past week I had some bright spots.  The biggest one came on Tuesday when my boss took me out for a night on the lower east side.  I have been talking to her a little about how unhappy I've been, how I miss Ben, how I'm poor, etc etc, and she planned a night to cheer me up, which was incredibly thoughtful.  We went for drinks at a sake bar after work (I had [almost] THE BEST Bloody Mary there--my dad, of course, makes the best ones).  Also that day it got up to like 80 degrees in the city, so walking around without my coat and with bare legs was awesome.  She also took me to Economy Candy, where I got a bulk bag of Sour Patch Kids (that is something that always brightens my day--favorite ever candy).  She got us reservations at Mission Chinese, which was named one of the 10 hottest restaurants IN THE WORLD by Zagat, so it was kind of a big deal that I got to go.

The food was phenomenal.  The company was great.  The conversation was lovely.  I laughed and drank and ate and ate and ate.  And also, NBD, but we ate dinner next to Anne Burrell.  Mission Chinese has less than twenty tables in it and there she was, chilling with who I assume was her partner. Cue awkward picture:

Although it was dark in there and sort of blurry, it was definitely her.  Trust.  And she raved about the food to the waiter, so I guess, aside from my own taste buds, that's how we REALLY KNOW that Mission Chinese is the awesome.

The next morning I was returning something to the New York Public Library and had a really nice stroll down 5th.  It was 70 degrees and sunny.  It was a small joy.
 flowers on 5th with the perpetual backdrop of cabs, cabs, cabs
And last night I saw a little girl and her dad with a huge bunch of balloons on the subway.  Which was just cute.
So, this week had its moments for sure.  It also had its stressful moments.  I'm going to be bummed out all day today because it's my anniversary with Ben.  It's our anniversary and we can't see each other.  And we probably won't really be able to talk to each other.  He's still working out of town and can't really talk during the day, so our communication is staggered at best and non-existent at worst.  Missing him is so much worse when I can't even say hey how's your day and expect a response within an hour. Of course that isn't his fault.  It's just a shitty reality right now.  At least we'll have many more anniversaries to come.  The date will change, I suppose.  We're planning on getting married in September (of 2014).  But maybe we'll always celebrate April 12 as the day he and I became us.
This is probably my favorite picture of us even though it's grainy and Facetime-y (hey look, there's my forehead; long time no see).  It's from the beginning of last July when we went to a wedding together.  The memory of this moment is vivid for me.  Right after we took this picture they started playing Kiss From A Rose and he sang it to me.  And I laughed and kissed him.  And I was so happy in a way that I had never been before.  

Anyway, today will definitely be a struggle.  But all I can do is get through it.