Stay Normal, Peeps

Peeps Collage

Is it still spring out there?  We’re still in 2020, right?  And this IS Planet Earth, yes?  Show of hands if you, like me, have found the last two weeks to be wildly disorienting.  I woke up this morning and had NO idea what day it was, or how far into the month of March we were.  To deploy a favourite Buffy-ism, time’s gone all David Lynch over here.

So in the midst of the March that will not end, I was tending to a bit of what-season-is-it-anyways? cleaning when I ran across this cheery old KB Shimmer polish, Where My Peeps At?  Rummaging around, I discovered that a number of my KB polishes – mostly the three-quarters empty, glitter-packed ones I’ve used time and time again – had completely dried out.  I guess I just loved them too hard.  The move was also not terribly kind to them (the move was not terribly kind to ANY of our possessions.)

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But Where My Peeps At? was still standing strong.  And since merely staring at its sunny yellow hue was cheering me up, I thought I’d go the extra mile and give myself a nice little manicure.  Then, if I was feeling so inclined, I’d maybe go outside and take some pictures for the blog, find a nice spot around the side of the house where the lighting is good and the neighbours won’t see me standing there in nothing but my jammies and a really bitchin’ mani.  Then I’d go back inside because of, you know, that whole troublesome end of times thing.

And so that is what I did!  And it felt great, better than I’ve felt – more normal than I’ve felt – in weeks.  So if you, like me and probably 95 percent of the world, feel like life has gone completely bananas and you’re just a little lost, try returning to an activity you have not indulged in for quite some time, even if it’s as simple as just painting your nails.  I think you’d be amazed at how comforting and soothing a hesitant attempt at normalcy can really be.

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Stickers for Adult Beauty Nerds

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Yep, that’s nail polish strips for you – stickers for grown-ups we put on our nails as opposed to inside a photo album.  And because they come in generously-sized, multi-use packs, you can even trade them with your friends – hey, wanna swap your pink heart camos for my polka dotted reindeer?  (Parenthetically, here inside these very parentheses, I friggin’ loved sticker-collecting when I was a kid!  And my collection was THE SHIT – fuzzies and holos and googly eyes and puffies and smelly stickers for DAYS, and all of it housed in an officially licensed Sandy Lion hardcover binder with custom photo pages…and I might have just legitimately drifted off for a few minutes there as I remembered how much I loved that book and my entire sticker collection.) 😉

So it’s no surprise that I love these stickers, too, a lovely gift from the wife of one of my husband’s online gamer buddies (they’re like penpals who communicate through swapped boxes of Canadian and American foodstuffs, and midnight games of Ghost Recon.)  She’s a nail art aficionado like I am, and she’s into these nail polish strips from Color Street that she was kind enough to send along in one of the guys’ boxes.

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Here I’m sporting Color Street‘s very Valentine’s Day-appropriate Crush Hour, a glittery pink camo design that, upon closer inspection, is actually made up of overlapping hearts.

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These double-ended nail strips are made from nuthin’ but nail polish, so they’re thin, flexible and dead easy to apply – simply peel, pat down and then file off the excess.  And if you’re really careful and your nails are quite short, like mine, you can absolutely get away with using one strip for two nails, as the designs are printed on both ends of the strip.  That leaves some of these fun beauty stickers to swap with friends – now, you were saying something about a trade for a polka dotted reindeer? 😉

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Creeping Darkness

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Yeesh, doesn’t that sound final?  Also sounds like an affliction a Jedi might suffer from.  Emo Ren, for instance?  Now, there’s a dude who is ALWAYS suffering from a major case of Creeping Darkness.  Hot, tantrum-y weirdo.

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Ahem!  Sorry, we’re not here to discuss the light and the dark side.  Rather, we’re here to discuss this fun polish that morphs from the light to the dark, and back again (hey, just like…!)  This is Colores de Carol’s Blackest Soul, a duo-thermal holographic topper that morphs from an ethereal, silvery nude, to a deep, rainbow-speckled charcoal.

Blackest Soul Collage

Two coats over any base polish will give that colour a neat, ombre-type effect as it darkens to black towards the tips of your nails, but I like Blackest Soul as is – it lends your manicure a very cool, sooty-and-smudgy kind of look.

I nabbed Blackest Soul from Polish Pickup during their October pre-order, along with this quartet of cuticle oils from Northern Star Polish that smell like all your favourite Halloween treats (with the exception of Clown Tears; that one smells like cinnamon hearts, which is DEFINITELY a Valentine’s Day thing.)  They’re nice and nourishing, a good blend of oils to keep your hands happy and your cuticles calm.

Cuticle Oil Set Collage

Hidden Agenda

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Not-so hidden agenda for this nail art blog?  To get back to some actual nail art!  Or, to paraphrase King of the Hill’s Hank Hill, to get back to nail art and nail art-related activities.  Groundbreaking, I know!  But first the move, during which I will surely re-break all of my nails, and then we’ll be right back here again. 🙂

So while my nails are long-ish (hahahaha!) and not breaking off every two seconds, let’s take a look at this fun thermal polish I purchased from Polish Pickup, a new-to-me vendor that stocks all sorts of cool indie beauty wares.

This is KB Shimmer’s Hidden Agenda, a duo-thermal lacquer exclusive to Polish Pickup for the month of October, and inspired, if I’m not mistaken, by Area 51.  Or more specifically, inspired by that silly Storm Area 51 non-event that never actually, you know, evented.  I thought for sure we were going to see footage of people getting tased out on the outskirts of the Nevada desert, but nope – more rational heads prevailed.  Smart.  Storming secretive military installations never works out well for anyone.  Just ask Bob of Stranger Things.  Oh, wait…

Like the other KB Shimmer thermals I own, Hidden Agenda is super responsive, morphing from a shimmery, peachy pink, to an icy metallic blue.  And just like the other thermals, this one wears like iron.  Sans topcoat, this manicure has lasted chip-free for a week, even in the midst of my packing-intensive activities.  Very impressive.

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But unlike those other thermals, I don’t care for Hidden Agenda’s texture when it’s in its un-topcoated state.  Not quite textured, but also a long way from smooth, it’s a shimmery matte that applies a touch too thickly, and dries down to a slightly pebbled finish.  It actually reminds me of very, very fine gauge sandpaper.

But I suppose the true secret about Hidden Agenda is that it’s a glow-in-the-dark polish, albeit a very, very weak one.  I wasn’t able to snap any photos of it in this state, though, as the weather’s been cruddy and overcast, and its glow powers are simply not strong enough.  Shame – what else is going to light my way as I’m Naruto running through the pitch black desert? 😉

The Underdogs

Underdogs Collage

Here’s a couple of polishes I forgot I even owned (renos, man – you’ll misplace every single thing you ever owned, and then spend the next three months trying to hunt it all down again) Dance Legend’s Sun Still Sleeps from their Candy Flakes collection, and Layla’s unfortunately-named CE52.  Both of these polishes are OLD – at least four years – but relatively unused (because I keep forgetting I own them) so they’re still in excellent condition.  I can’t even remember where I bought these (think I got the Layla one from Nail Polish Canada, and I know the Dance Legend one was an import, because DL is a Russian brand.)  I’m sorry, I’m becoming a really crap nail blogger in my advancing years – too many polishes that all vaguely look the same!

Like these two!  The only thing that separates these two polishes, aside from the companies that produce them, is one is blue and one is purple.  Otherwise, they’re both jelly bases (that’s what gives them that squishy sort of look, even when topped with a matte topcoat) loaded with red-to-green iridescent flakes.

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That red/green combination is a popular one in the world of nail polish, because when it’s paired with darker shades, like this blue and this purple, it creates these incredible linear rainbows that run alongside the bottle, and the edges of your nails.  It’s such a pretty look.

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But a MESSY look.  After taking this polish off, I remembered why I don’t use these flakie-type polishes very often – because when you do take them off, the acetone will strip off the colour immediately, leaving you with nothing but flakes, all of which will be resolutely stuck to your nails.  So get ready to put some elbow grease into it, because these polishes do not remove easily.

If you’re in love with either of these long-in-the-tooth, probably discontinued polishes, you can recreate this exact look with a blue and purple polish of your choice, topped with an iridescent flakie topper.  Just about every manufacturer has at least one of these fun, colour-changing “effects” polishes, even the drugstore brands, so there’s lots of choice out there.  Enjoy!

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That’s S’more Like It

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Here’s another one of those super fun tri-thermal polishes from KB Shimmer, this time That’s S’more Like It, a brown-to-red-to-berry-to-pink colour-changer shot through with golden shimmer (and yes, I realize that’s more than three hues, but that’s just what these polishes do – the three “base” colours are just a jumping off point for half a dozen or more different looks depending on the temperature of your hands.)

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Like its collection mate, Best Buds, That’s S’more Like It changes from one colour to another, and then one more colour beyond that, in hot and cold temperatures.  With Best Buds, a blue-to-purple-to-mint green colour-shifter, I found the polish most often showed on my nails as the warm-leaning mint green, with streaks of just-starting-to-cool-off plum.

But That’s S’more Like It was alllll over the place, in the very best kind of way.  For those of you who polish seasonally, this is a nice seasons-bridger, with That’s S’more Like It showing on my hands as everything from an almost frosty bubblegum pink, to blushing peach, to strawberry, to fiery cinnamon hearts (oh cripes, I’m getting hungry here!)  My nails were also a tiny bit longer when I swatched That’s S’more Like It than when I swatched Best Buds, so I really got a lot of that edge-of-the-nail, French mani-type action with this one.

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Right after completing this manicure last week, I fell sick.  Just a cold, but it pretty well took me out for the week.  But one thing it did not take out was this mani – a week and a half on, it was still wearing like iron, with virtually no chips, dings or pulls.  Very impressive!

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As always, I purchased this KB Shimmer polish through Harlow & Co.  For a little while there they were out of stock – of these tri-thermals, and just about everything else as well – but everything is back in stock now, so go get you some.  This is a good one. 🙂

Best Buds

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Here’s a wicked fun and versatile polish for those of you looking for something a lot a bit different, KB Shimmer’s blue-to-plum-to-green tri-thermal, Best Buds.  How neat is this?!  And perfect for the upcoming Halloween season.

I nabbed mine from Harlow & Co., and you can, too, but best of luck choosing a hue (or three hues) from the tri-thermal collection, because they’re all lovely (and they all might unfortunately be out of stock at the moment, too – between writing this yesterday and going to the site today, they have completely sold out of KB’s tri-thermal collection.  Harlow restocks their KB polishes frequently, though, so despair not.)  But I loved the way Best Buds would morph from an inky purple, to a blackened plum, to a gorgeous, clear mint green, sometimes all at the same time.  It’s very witch’s brew, or that every-Slurpee-flavour-in-one-cup kind of thing!

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As per their name, thermal polishes work by reacting to your body temperature.  To invoke another ’80s concept outside of Slurpees (bet you anything their stock rose just based on the many, many mentions in the most recent season of Stranger Things, no?) they’re the mood ring of polishes.  So if you tend to run a bit hot, as I do, whatever polish you choose will show on your hands most often as that warmer colour, in this case the shimmery mint green.  But if you’re a member of the Cold Hands Club, then it will most often display as the blackened purple.  And if you’re somewhere in between, or simply running in and out of the heat and air conditioning a lot, it will be all over the place – little green here, smudge of purple over there, and a sweet plummy streak running straight down the middle.

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Or you can just cut out Mother Nature altogether and grab yourself a glass of cold water, a glass of hot water, and simply have fun, like I did in this little video I posted to my YouTube channel, Park or Perish!  P or P! (the exclamation point is very Panic at the Disco, who I once saw in concert when they still had the exclamation point in their name) is normally the home of our Disney adventures, but just this once I thought it would be fun to bring my Finger Candy over into the world of moving pictures.  Enjoy!