Nanny Nails

Luminous Owl Light Sun

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about my grandmother.  At 90 years old, after a full lifetime of absolutely stable, overwhelmingly positive health, she’s finally beginning to fade.  I don’t like to think about this too much, both because she’s doing a tremendous job of being brave, as should I, but also because I have the luxury of living close to her and being able to see her often, which is when I invariably note that she hasn’t yet given in to the fade, as evidenced by her desire to continue dressing in nice clothes, surrounding herself with pretty things and, as per her lifelong custom, painting her nails.

My grandmother (I call her Nanny) is a woman of few vanities.  She’s always worn makeup, set her hair and visited the salon for occasional touch-ups, but I think this is more a function of being a woman of “that generation” (namely ladies who really knew how to turn it out) than an overwhelming love of and for certain beauty rituals.  But her nails?  She’s ALWAYS loved doing her nails (long, strong ovals to this day), particularly in shades from the muted pink-mauve-brown end of the colour spectrum.

So a couple of weeks back when she gifted me with a bit of birthday money, I exercised zero restraint and, taking a page from her handbook, immediately ordered up two polishes on my perpetual wish list, Cirque’s holographic Luminous Owl and Sky Woman, both of which arrived yesterday.  I started with Luminous Owl, drawn to its vaguely rusty-looking hue and gorgeous holo shimmer.  Here’s the Owl twinkling prettily under my kitchen pot lights:Luminous Owl Pot Lights

After I took all the necessary pictures for this blog, I sat around staring at my new find in a kind of dumbfounded stupor (come on, we all do it!), this stupor made all the more perplexing by the deja vu I was experiencing – as in, I have owned this polish before.  Which I must say is simply not possible, for as beautiful and unique as I find the colour, it’s not a polish I would ever, ever, ever think to buy (until, of course, I actually bought it.)  Coppery-pink polishes with brown undertones are generally not my jam, and besides, it’s Finger Candy financial and organizational policy to never buy two of a too-similar polish.  So where on earth had I previously run across this lovely gem?

Suddenly it dawned on me – my grandmother.  I can think of only one lady powerless to the lure of a beautiful browny-pink polish like Luminous Owl, and while I can say with total certainty that she’d never buy a Cirque polish (would be SCANDALIZED by its price tag, actually), she has worn some variation of it nearly every day of her 90 years, which is surely where I’ve “seen” this nail polish before.  It’s a Nanny polish, no doubt, and simply sporting it on my nails puts a smile on my face, as sometimes these things truly are genetic. 😉

So in the interest of filling her in on what I purchased with my birthday funds, I’ll show her these pictures and then whip out my bottle of Luminous Owl, see if she’s in the mood for a mani with what I’d dub “the good shit” (though I’d never say that to her – it’s sage life advice to never swear around your grandmother.)  It will be delightful to share in a common interest, even if that interest is something as prosaic as silly old nail polish.  And anything that takes her mind off the larger issues at hand by prettying up her hands can never be considered a bad thing. 🙂

Punky Pink

Awesome Blossom 1

I’ve been playing major favourites with my nail polishes this week, choosing a couple of glitter toppers I’ve turned to time and time (and time) again to set against some recent not-so-basic polish purchases.  Here I’ve shown one of the first indies I ever bought, Candy Lacquer’s matte glitter topper, Licorice Allsorts.  It’s fabulous stuff, and more than meets my personal criteria for a favourite polish with its unique colour mix and abundance of random matte shapes.  In a jelly sandwich, it takes on an almost glazed and sprinkled effect, but over just about every other colour, its geometric black and hot pink (and yellow and green and white) glitter gives every mani it touches a girly punk look that’s hard to resist, no matter your age or the last time you stepped on a skateboard (1997) or attended the Warp Tour (never, although I very much wanted to, long past the point of it being an okay thing to do for an old broad such as myself.)

I layered Licorice Allsorts over a new polish, Serum No. 5’s glow in the dark Awesome Blossom.  It’s an eye-searingly bright Barbie pink that glows purpley-pink in the dark (which I could not capture in any form with my rapidly-becoming-an-issue photography setup) and dries to a lightly textured finish.  In the bottle, Awesome Blossom displays the faintest hint of pink shimmer, but on my nails it was totally undetectable, even before dousing them in two coats of Licorice Allsorts.Awesome Blossom 2

Beam Me Up, Scottie Dog

Beam Me Up, Scottie Dog

Groan all you want, it’s still funny. 😉 Here I took punny inspiration from the red plaid nail strips I used on my index, middle and pinkie fingers, a punky yet sophisticated design by Incoco, and added a little pop culture twist in the form of one beamed up Scottie dog. It should be noted that this fella is the first canine to grace my nails (I’m one furry pink bathrobe away from being a crazy cat lady) and most likely the first AND last appearance of a Star Trek joke, because despite my husband’s better efforts (like downloading “Learn to Speak Conversational Klingon” to my iPod), Star Trek just ain’t my bag. Sorry, Trekkies – I like the concept, but none of the series have ever really spoken to me.

A note on Incoco nail strips: They’re awesome! Not only are they ridiculously easy to apply (lightly buff your nails, apply the strip just like a sticker, smooth down the edges to ensure a good bond and then buff off the excess) but they’ve got longevity on their side (they only began to show wear and tear after about five days of hard livin’) AND they come in a wide range of fun designs and trendy colours. So have I shilled hard enough? Apparently not, because I forgot to tell you that this weekend, Incoco is offering its usual free shipping with a $50 purchase AND a free set of nail appliques with a $30 purchase. So go make it rain and get creative with some of Incoco’s offerings, and you too can come up with horrible, groany puns about your nail art that would make even your grandpa roll his eyes.

Glow Get ‘Em

Glow In The Dark

Hey, the 1980s called – it’s looking for its glow in the dark nail polish.  You seen it?  I’ve seen it, of course, because it’s currently all over my nails.  What can I say, I am perpetually drawn to the (glow in the) dark side where all the gimmicky, “I won’t possibly use this more than once” polishes live. 

Except these polishes, far from being flashy gimmicks, are actually really lovely, with super consistencies, beautiful colours, fun glitter and so much glow pigment, your nails will look lit from within for HOURS after a fresh illumination boost (try to remember this when you do your nails right before bed and then wake up, seconds from shrieking terrified nonsense at the tiny glowing oogie boogies that have disturbed your sleep.)

Here I’ve shown two new-to-me polishes, Lac Attack’s Harry Potter-inspired glitter bomb, APWBD (Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore) over top of Serum No. 5’s white cream, Pure Glow Getter.  I’ve been admiring Serum’s glow in the dark creams, shimmers and glitters for some time now, and their recently released spring collection seemed like a good place to begin what’s sure to become an unhealthy materialistic obsession.  In its native state, Pure Glow Getter isn’t really anything too special – a nice, easy to apply white cream that dries to a low sheen satin finish.  But turn off the lights, as Vanilla Ice would “rap,” and IT GLOWS!  My camera/photography skills have proven insufficient in capturing its opalescent glow, but trust me when I say it’s an incongruous combination of eye-searing brightness and subtle, only-visible-in-the-dark “texture” (it’s not textured at all, actually, but when it’s all lit up, it looks almost furry.)Pure Glow Getter LightPure Glow Getter Dark

And over top of Pure Glow Getter, of course, we have the aforementioned APWBD, a glow in the dark glitter topper packed with purple, blue, green and silver holographic glitter (squares, hexes, bars and, evoking the Headmaster of Hogwarts’ spectacles, tiny little holographic half moons.)  Unique, outstanding stuff – just like Mr. Dumbledore himself.APWBD LightAPWBD Dark

Long Cloverdue

Get Clover It 1

I’ve had this polish, KB Shimmer’s Get Clover It, on my hit list for some time now, and thanks to a recent influx of birthday mad money, I’ve been able to give it a good home.  I have a weakness for glittery jelly polishes, and Get Clover It is one of the best – a slightly shimmery dark green jelly studded with green, gold and turquoise circle glitter.  Its name alone suggests it’s best for St. Patrick’s Day applications, but with its grassy green colour and lush, glittery depths (three coats gives the glitter a super cool embedded effect), it’d be great for outdoorsy-themed summertime manis or, say, as a stand-in for the Emerald City in a bit of Wizard of Oz-inspired nail art.Get Clover It 2

Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up

Gray Skies 1

“…paint a pig on your nails/wipe off that old dingy polish/there’s better stuff you got on sale…”  That’s how that song goes, right? 😉

Here I’ve shown a new polish from KB Shimmer’s spring 2014 line, Make My Gray.  Much like KB’s Full Bloom Ahead – another pick from the spring line – reminds me of crocuses and daffodils poking through the snow, Make My Gray evokes the overcast skies and gray puddles common to this time of year, with tiny, promising bits of blue sky and coral flowers emerging from the mild gloom.  A lovely and unusual springtime pick.

Emerging from the gloom as well are my patented polished piggies!  Pigs don’t hibernate, although mine apparently do, as I stopped painting pigs on my nails sometime last year following a veritable rash of swine-centric manis.  And you know what?  I’m glad to see their blank eyed, off centre, slightly bewildered faces yet again.  Viva la piggies!Gray Skies 2

Peep This

Peep This 1

Here’s a festive pick from a favourite new-to-me polish maker, KB Shimmer’s Where My Peeps At. That I titled a different Peeps-centric post that exact same thing not too long ago is only moderately embarrassing – I regrettably didn’t know this polish existed at the time, and really, how many Peeps jokes are there in this world? (Edit: As it turns out, there are A LOT of Peeps jokes in this world, as evidenced by the Washington Post’s annual Peeps Diorama Contest in which participants arrange the little marshmallow treats into elaborate mini productions depicting famous scenes from movies, history and current events – and what’s funnier than Peeps re-enacting key scenes from, say, Reservoir Dogs or the charmingly named Peepton Abbey?)

But getting back to the issue at hand (and nails), this is a fantastic polish, a fun, Eastery crelly (ugh, there’s that word again) whose rainbow circle glitter reminds me of jellybeans, although, as always, I do not recommend eating said polish. 😉 Peep This 2

Sparkle and Shine

Sparkle and Shine

I couldn’t sleep last night, and so I found myself awake after midnight trying to come up with a not-too-taxing bit of nail art that would inspire me to drift off to dreamland (usually a totally botched manicure that causes me to throw down my detail brushes and stomp away from my work area in disgust.) Failing that, I also would have accepted getting too close to the fumes wafting off my top coat and passing out face first onto my desk. Hey, when you really need to sleep and you just CAN’T, you’ll start looking at anything as a miracle cure.

So that’s the story of how these nails came about, a simple, sparkly star design over top of one of my favourite glitters, China Glaze’s It’s a Trap-eze! Looking at them from a bit of a distance, they almost look like starfish resting atop a shallow seabed encrusted with oceanic treasures. Or something. 🙂