Friday, June 28, 2013

Waggin' Tail: Wagon Trail

When Ben was visiting I decided to bust out a favorite polish, long absent on my blog but never forgotten.

If you've been reading for a looooooong time you know of my love for this polish.  It's from 2008 (I acquired it in 2009--and my backup bottle in 2010), the fall Rodeo Diva collection--which I think is the best collection ever.  I cannot think of one color that I didn't like out of all twelve.  I know that some people have beef with Wagon Trail because it looks almost-black indoors, but look how it lights up in the sun.  Wagon Trail started my frenzy for all things olive--olive polishes, olive eyeshadows, olive skirts, olive dresses, olive button-downs--and I will love it forever because of that.  But the interesting thing about it is that it is not olive.  I think it just looks olive because of the gold and red (yes, red) shimmer in the black base.  What I think I'm saying is:

The formula is a little runny/early B3F weird-ish, but I'm okay with it.  For me it takes three coats to be satisfied with how it looks.  So to conclude:  Wagon Trail is amazing.

Tomorrow I'm off to Cleveland to go apartment hunting with Ben and to spend time with my family for the Fourth of July.  I won't be posting during my visit, and my Tess Collection post will be late this month because of that.  But look for a TC post when I return, and I'm sure I'll be updating you guys on all sorts of things soon.

And while I'm gone I expect everyone to buy themselves bottles of Wagon Trail.  Because you won't regret that.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hard Candy Cocoa Smore

I mentioned that I picked up two of the Hard Candy Sprinkles polishes at my last excursion to Walmart, and I have to say...I like Cocoa Smore waaaaaaaay better than I liked Sweet Tooth.

The name of this one is so legit I can't stand it.  It completely reminds me of this scene from The Sandlot (easily in my top ten favorite movies EV-ER):

The base of Cocoa Smore is an odd murky taupe-brown color, but it's slightly milky.  The glitter is silver (I think) and black.  The effect of all of that together is so strangely interesting.  And it's pretty.  From far away it sort of reminds me of smooth river pebbles.  And even though there is huge chunky glitter in it, it still looks sort of elegant in a weird way.  I dunno.  I'M INTO IT, OKAY?  So glad I got this one even though I wouldn't exactly call it a summer shade.  'Cause it's somethin' special.

I'll leave you with these words of encouragement:

And I'm out.

Monday, June 24, 2013


After wearing a really light nude for the past few days I really wanted to just use a straight-up black.  But then I thought, that's boring for the blog.  And maybe it is.  But then I asked myself, is a little black dress ever boring?  No.  No it's not.  It's always classic, but never boring.  And a nice black manicure is nothing but an LBD for one's nails.

two coats of NYC Black Lace with Seche

Hello, black.  It's been a while.

My weekend went really quickly.  Like, crazy quickly.  On Saturday I went to Target for grocery shopping and immediately regretted the seven-block walk because it was really hot. Then I had to carry a backpack full of La Croix (among other things) back because I NEED IT.  Yesterday I went to see The Bling Ring and then hit up the Anthro summer sale.  Last week I was telling a co-worker about my weekend and she said something like, "I'm really impressed at how much you do by yourself."  I was like, "I do literally everything by myself."  Guys, I'm so lonely.  I hate going to the movies by myself.  Something tells me that Ben wouldn't have wanted to see The Bling Ring, though.  I also finished The West Wing, which I've been working on watching since January.  I know I'm like a million years late to the party on that one, but it was great.  So great.

Oh hey, also my debit card number was stolen for the second time since I moved to New York.  After a while at my bank, an even longer while on hold on the phone with customer service at my bank, and then a jolly visit to a police precinct I think it's straightened out (maybe?).  The person who stole it gave themselves away by spending like $60 at a barbecue place last Thursday night.  Thankfully my bank was on top of their shit and was like, I don't even think Stephanie likes barbecue.  At least I like to think that that's what transpired before my card was deactivated.  So, that was fun.  

The bright side is that I only have 40 hours at work and five hours in the gym until I get to go home for another visit.  My last visit.  Let the joy-jumping commence.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

BLACK LABEL: OPI You Cannoli Imagine

It's been a long while since I've thrown up a black label post.  Almost exactly a year ago (weird) I posted about how I wanted a polish called You Cannoli Imagine because of its name and my love for ricotta cheese.  Because, delicious.  A while ago my dear friend Ange sent me a care package, and among a plethora of corals, she also found You Cannoli Imagine for me.  I finally got around to trying it out.

First, my cuticles are a mess and I don't even know why.  Summer is typically the season of okay-looking cuticles.  Anyway, I really like the color of this polish.  It's sort of a pinky-toned beige with multicolored shimmer.  Most of the time the shimmer just looks sort of silver, but in the sun some other colors peek out, like pink and green.  The formula left something to be desired.  It took four coats to be this opaque, and I was actually really worried that it wouldn't dry.  I slopped some Seche on, which then resulted in shrinkage, but it did dry before I went to sleep so I didn't get sheet marks.  I really love nudes and how long and lithe they make my fingers look, so I'm a pretty big fan of this one.  I just wish the formula was better.  BUT that's to be expected with these old OPIs.  And it's totally worth it just for the name.  I loves it.  Thanks, Ange!

It's almost Friday!

Okay, that's all.  Anyone have a favorite old OPI polish?  I don't think I do, but I am partial to this little gem.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sally Hansen Sugar Coat Sour Apple

I've been really slowly trying out the textured trend.  I got one of the OPI Bond Girls polishes, which I still need to show you, and I kept seeing these SH Sugar Coat polishes on my not-so-infrequent trips to the drug store.  Finally I broke down and picked one out.  I don't know what it is about me and mint green lately, but I'm so weirdly drawn to it.  I didn't even like it when it was a huge trend, but now it's like three years later and I'm all over it.  I'm a late bloomer, I guess?

First let me say that I'm dying for this color.  I absolutely love it.  I love how it looks on my skintone, and it's really neither too yellow nor too blue.  I don't think of a "sour apple" when I see this.  I think of those really tasty pastel mint things:

om nom nom

Anyway.  I don't know how I feel about the "sugar coat" finish.  I think these polishes are akin to the new China Glaze Texture polishes, where they're a creme formula instead of a shimmer, like the OPI Liquid Sands or Zoya Pixie Dusts.  I actually really, really like how it looks.  I think it's really interesting.  From far away it just looks like a normal polish to me, for the most part, but then when you get close up you notice the texture.  So, color and appearance:  good.  Buuuuuut I really hate how it feels.  I don't mind feeling it with the pads of my fingers (which I've been compulsively doing since I put it on); what I hate is feeling my nails rub against anything.  Rubbing against each other?  Ugh.  Rubbing against my felt iPad case?  UGH.  Rubbing against my sheets while I'm trying to sleep?  UGH.  

I'm wondering if maybe one of two things will happen:  1.)  I'll get used to it or 2.)  the texture will die down after a few days of wear/friction.  The latter happened to me with OPI Jinx where the grit seemed to lessen after a couple days, like sea glass or something.  But anyway, the formula was fine.  I couldn't tell if I should use two coats or go for a third, so I just used two thick coats and it covered fine.  I think that I like the color enough that I'll probably reach for this one again, despite the weird scratchy-grabby texture.

I had a nice, albeit short, weekend.  I took myself on a date to The Met to see Civil War and American Art, which was wonderful.  Oh, it was just beautiful.  I bought the catalogue and I can't wait to read it throughout the summer.  I also saw the rehung Ren/Baroque galleries, and if there are any fellow New York inhabitants who haven't gone to see those revamped galleries, then you need to go.  I did a Target trip on Sunday but didn't really buy anything fun, which is weird for me.  I tried on like 12 dresses and couldn't find one I liked enough to buy.  Sad.  I do love little summer dresses so much.

Anyway, I'm out.  I hope everyone has an absolutely lovely Monday.

Friday, June 14, 2013

H&M Jungle Me

Last week I got out of work early one day and so I decided to stop by one of my favorite Manhattan H&Ms by Grand Central.  I'm not going to lie, Manhattan H&M stores are brutal.  It's hard to find stuff, the lines are long, and the staff isn't exactly friendly.  But dammit, I just can't keep away.  While I was there I got a leopard skirt that I kind of love, and while I was standing in line (for 25 minutes!!!!) to buy it, of course all the nail polishes were lined up right there for me to grab at.  And grab I did.  (Sorry for my jank cuticles.  I don't even know, you guys)

Okay, so I did sort of enhance this polish a little bit.  In the bottle Jungle Me is a super saturated-looking bright grassy green...with shimmer, which you can see in the bottle in some of the pictures.  But sadly the shimmer really died down on the nail.  I could hardly see it at all so I was a little disappointed.  Soooo I pulled out my trusty bottle of OPI Pirouette My Whistle and avoided picking up any of the larger hex glitter, just focusing on laying down the smaller silver glitter to mimic the shimmer effect that I wish this polish had on the nail.  And I really like how it looks!  Don't get me wrong; this green is beautiful on its own.  But I thought it needed a little oomph.  

The formula was fine.  Not too thick and not too thin, easy to control.  I used two coats here.  I think I paid $4.95 for this polish, but I was kind of in a retail daze so I can't remember.  I'm satisfied with it; I don't very often buy H&M nail polish because the colors rarely appeal to me.  This one certainly did.  But what's with the name "Jungle Me"?  Is it something the kids are saying these days?  I have no idea.

Anyway, no more updates.  I'm just working full-time trying to finish my fellowship hours.  I was so excited when I did the math and figured out that I could take a week off at the beginning of July and go home for my family reunion.  I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to do that, but it turns out that it'll work just fine.  I got my plane tickets this week, so I'm just counting down the days...I fly home the morning of June 29th and I'll get to see Ben for a couple days before he goes out of town for work.  I'm definitely keeping myself busy with work and such, and actually getting on a regular schedule.  I usually have really bad insomnia and anxiety, but I think my mind is starting to settle just a tiny bit.  I still have anxiety about a few key things, but I'm falling asleep at a normal time and waking up early.  I find myself laughing more at work, making more jokes, and generally loosening up.  I still feel like I'm catching up on sleep from all the shenanigans of the past semester, but I think I'm mentally rehabilitating myself.  So that's good.  One day at a time, right?

Any opinions on H&M nail polish?  I have a couple bottles that a friend sent me from Europe, but other than this one I haven't paid much attention to them.  I guess I'm more focused on leopard miniskirts when I'm in the store.  And who can blame me...?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hard Candy Sweet Tooth

By the time Memorial Day rolled around I had been dying to try out the new Hard Candy Sprinkles polishes for quite a while.  Luckily my parents' lake house is near a tiny town with a huge Walmart.  My little cousin had some tooth fairy money to blow through, so we took her up there to nail polish shop.  I may have walked away with a few things too, like Sweet Tooth.

This is a light, airy, jelly baby blue base filled with pink (maybe copper, though?), blue, and silver glitter.  I wasn't sure what to expect from the formula, and this one was definitely a bit sheer.  But buildable.  I used three coats here.  I really liked how this one looked on me.  I think it would probably look great in a nice jelly sandwich with RBL Bikini Bottom.  

Also, the lipstick I'm wearing up there in that picture is one of my new absolute favorites, Milani Hot Pink Rage.  I'm kind of obsessed with their revamped lipstick line, which I believe is called Color Statement.  I just picked one out at random a couple weeks ago and it's gorgeous, wears beautifully, and is a lovely drugstore matte, which I'm always looking for.  I think there are two other mattes in the collection (which is permanent), so I'm probably going to snap them up sometime soon.  There is no such thing as too much lipstick.  Oh, and another bonus (if you're into sweet smells) is that these particular lip products smell like a watermelon Lip Smacker.  Win, Milani.  Epic win.

So, does anyone have a favorite Hard Candy Sprinkles polish?  Aside from Sweet Tooth I also picked up one other one, but I'm totally open to suggestions for my next excursion to a rural Walmart.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around

When I first saw swatches of the China Glaze spring collection pop up, I was probably most excited about Dandy Lyin' Around.  I love a good not-too-stark white, so I was eager to try it out (although clearly not too eager, because it took me like two months).

I am, as Cher Horowitz would say, whelmed.  I read some really great reviews on this polish, but in the end I just wasn't feelin' it.  The formula was goopy, which is pretty much par for the course with whites.  I used three coats in the pictures above, and you can still very clearly see my nail line.  Which I'm not too much a fan of.  I'm not sure why I couldn't get along with this color.  Maybe it was the sheerness, maybe it was that it still somehow ended up looking too stark for my taste, or maybe it's that the shimmer wasn't pronounced enough for me.  Whatever it was, this is the first polish I've worn in a while that I've felt so meh about.  I removed it only hours after applying it, which is pretty unusual.

Here are just a few pictures (of the dozens and dozens taken) from my weekend with Ben in New York:

reading with Hans Christian Anderson in Central Park
 impersonating a penguin at Central Park Zoo

Ben's empty plate at Katz's Deli
 the Brooklyn Bridge on a hot day

 lounging in a TriBeCa park (we lounged like this for at least an hour in the shade)
we walked past the Ghostbusters firehouse about 800 times because I got us lost in TriBeCa (not an easy thing to do, since it's such a tiny neighborhood), but Ben was glad to see it over and over again.  He is what you might call a Ghostbusters enthusiast.

On Friday it absolutely poured down rain all day long, so we went to The Frick (no photography up in there) and then to the movies.  Saturday we walked so much.  Up and down Central Park, then to the zoo.  Then we walked down 5th Avenue all the way to Union Square, stopped at things like the NYPL, Empire State Building, and the Flatiron along the way.  On Sunday we started out day at Katz's, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, walked to TriBeCa for the Ghostbusters experience, and then somehow ended the day in Chinatown.  It was a lot of walking, and, for the most part, the weather seemed to be at either one extreme or the other.  On Friday it monsooned and I could see my breath.  By Sunday it was 86 degrees and a little too toasty for a Brooklyn Bridge walk.  But we did it anyway.  My feet are still sore.  But it was a really nice weekend.  Now I can't wait to go home for my July visit!  

Anyway, I'm out.  I hope you guys all had a nice weekend, too!

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Tess Collection: NYC Flat Iron Green

Out of all of the NYC polishes my grandmother could have had I think it's funny that she had this one.  For a couple reasons.  First, it's vamp-tastic; second, it looks a lot like NARS Zulu (in the bottle/on the nail in low light); and third, because I will tell everyone who will listen that my absolute favorite part of New York is the Flatiron District. 

It looks the best in the above picture.  I took a few in the sunlight and it just made the polish look jacked up because clearly my polishing skills are stupidly lacking.  Observe:

oh HEY Seche scuffs

I had to chop of my nails recently because I just couldn't handle the length of them anymore.  I do a lot of typing in my daily life, and one of my biggest pet peeves is when my nails start to hit the keys before the pads of my fingers.  ANYWAY.  Flat Iron Green is a deep, murky, moss color.  The formula was a little watery, and it took three coats to make it opaque.  Also it's not wearing so well on me.  But, polishes rarely do wear well on me anyway.  I think it's a very pretty color.  And as so many of you know so well, I love dark colors on short nails.  So this is perfect.  

Also, this is probably my favorite photograph ever taken.  I never get tired of looking at it.

Edward Steichen
The Flatiron

I just love that building.  I love approaching it from uptown on 5th and seeing it sort of loom in the distance.  It's just so...old New York.  

Sadly I've run out of vintage photos of my grandma in digital form.  I have roughly a million more at my parents' house, but I have to scan them sometime.  I was going through photos from last year right around this time, and I ran across this one.

This was at the very end of last May after my graduation party.  I look like a damn giant next to her, both because she was so tiny and because I'm a bit in front of her, picture plane-wise.  I thought the illusion was kind of funny.  But also I like how smiley she is.  She normally didn't smile much in pictures, but sometimes you caught that rare, genuine grin.  We had a really nice day at the little party my mom threw for us.  My grandma got to meet Ben for the first time, and (correct me if I'm wrong, mom) she ate tacos for the first time.  Which was pretty funny.  We got those like, Ortega taco kits or whatever, the ones where the hard shells invariably fall apart no matter how carefully you eat them, and she was trying her hardest to get that taco in her mouth.  Eventually I think she just gave up and went to fork-town, but it's the effort that counts.  She was just so cute.

Last month Ben bought her car.  She drove it so little that it is practically new, and he's really excited to have it.  I was glad that he bought it because now it can be ours and not some random stranger's.  When I went home for Memorial Day he surprised me with some pictures he had gotten developed.  I guess he had found a disposable camera in the car when he was cleaning it out.  It was really sweet of him.  He gave me the little pile of pictures after my flight had gotten in, which, if you remember, was super late at night because of airline-shenanigans.  I didn't even have the energy, physically, to get emotional about the photos, but I'm so glad he gave them to me.  They're really nothing special, but there are a few pictures in there that my grandpa took of my grandma on that little disposable camera that are just so sweet.  Like one of her smiling in the passenger seat of the same car that Ben bought, while my grandpa played photographer from the driver's seat.  That photograph in particular is a bit overexposed, but I thought it was so cute that I framed it and put it on my bookshelf.

I've been thinking a lot about what my grandma would say to me about leaving NYC.  Honestly, I think she'd be all for it.  She was pretty upset that I'm here by myself, and she would always say to me, "But aren't you lonely?  Don't you miss us?"  The answers to these questions were invariably yes, but I wanted to push myself to do a year here.  Now I have.  I think she'd be proud that I tried it, but prouder and happier that I'm following my heart and taking a step back.  Which sounds corny but...there it is.

I still think about her and miss her every single day.  Having her gone hasn't gotten any easier, and really, the ache of loss hasn't even started to dissipate.  But sometimes little things like a vampy green nail polish or an overexposed picture can make me feel better.  If only for a little while.