Speckled Sandwich

Speckled HandI’d typically tell you to beware the sandwich that’s speckled in anything (except for that crunchy munchy flax stuff; it’s delicious) but this isn’t your usual sandwich (besides, I shouldn’t have to tell you NOT to put it in your mouth. What, are you a toddler?!) You all know I’m a real sucker for a jelly sandwich manicure, not just because they’re quick, easy and effective, but because they really allow you to stretch your creative, create-a-polish legs and cobble together some fun, Designer Imposter-type looks (I just lost everyone under the age of 25. Are Designer Imposter perfumes even a thing any more? Think cheap body sprays described as “Like CK One” or “Sunflowers-esque.” They were super popular in the ’80s and ’90s. Then again, so was Exclamation and Love’s Baby Soft, which smelled like diapers before the aforementioned toddlers got to them.)

Take this creation, for instance, a combination of Mentality Nail Polish’s red glaze and Sally Hansen’s glittery Over the Rainblue. I saw a similarly composed indie polish on Instagram the other day – simple and striking, but maybe not something I needed right that very second. Especially not when I thought I could maybe create something very similar with a couple of polishes I already had at home, which is precisely what I did. And while the inspiration for these nails was actually a holographic polish, I think the slight shimmer of the cherry red glaze and the tiny holo bars in Over the Rainblue are perfectly acceptable substitutes in this basic glitter-over-polish manicure (or, more accurately, glitter-over-AND-under-polish manicure.) I especially like the way the holographic blue glitter shines through the red glaze, making these speckled nails look as though they’re lit from within.Speckled Hand Collage

16 Candles For My 600th Post

Sixteen Candles HandAnd also so I can talk about the movie Sixteen Candles, because I love it. But mostly in celebration of my 600th post! As always, hitting this milestone feels pretty great, and I wouldn’t be here – 700 or so manicures and about eight kabillion words later – if you weren’t kind enough to stop by and read my ramblings in the first place, so many thanks for your continued support and interest. 🙂

Now back to Sixteen Candles. The best John Hughes movie. Pretty in Pink is sad and mean, The Breakfast Club is depressing and Weird Science is just weird. That leaves Sixteen Candles, the ultimate ’80s party movie, which also happens to include a ridiculous(ly quotable) Asian stereotype, a high school dance, a massive house party and a wedding in which the bride is tripping balls on muscle relaxers. And a lot of other shenanigans in a teen movie that would never pass muster today with the ratings boards. It’s basically ’80s movie gold. Heeeeyyyy, sexy girlfriiiiiieeeeeeennnnnddd!

Mixed and Matched

Mix and Match CollageI might be deluding myself here, but I like to think that my nail polish procurement issues veer more towards charming quirk as opposed to worrying pathology, a tenuous distinction made and tempered only by the fact that I really USE my polishes, even – especially – those of the pricey and/or hard-to-find variety. The kid in me that used to keep a small collection of Au Coton bags (Canadian gals who grew up in the ’80s will recognize that name – it was kind of the American Apparel of its time, and your purchases came in adorable, multi-coloured carrier bags) feels that pull to hoard pretty items, especially those that are, like so many nail polishes, limited edition or otherwise special in some way, but the adult that I actually am (or pretend to be) demands that I get some real utility out of this stuff, no matter the price tag or an item’s perceived awesomeness.

I offer that by way of explanation for these three mix ‘n match manis I did this weekend, a red-to-purple and then purple-to-red gradient using two new Enchanted polishes, the latter of which I later topped off with a glittery Emily de Molly, an audacious move, according to some good natured grief I received on Instagram, as apparently you DO NOT defile an Enchanted polish with anything else, not even another Enchanted polish. I guess you’re supposed to swatch it once, post the photos to Instagram whilst obnoxiously referring to it as a “baby” (eeeugh) and then stare longingly at it until the day it all just dries up? Sounds productive.

And so instead I choose to actually use my polishes – all of my polishes – in gorgeous, single-colour manis or in combination in nail art, mixing it up and maximizing my purchases for all they’re worth, regardless of a polish’s pricetag or pedigree. That seems like the best way to get the most out of my not huge, but also not insubstantial, stash, all the while making room for more (see, worrywart Instagrammers, there’s your silver lining)!

Here I did a red-to-purple gradient using Enchanted’s plummy January 2015 over their red rose February 2015. I then did another gradient, this time reversing the colours to purple-to-red, before topping it with Emily de Molly’s glittery Heart Street. Heart Street is a hot pink, jelly-based glitter that you can absolutely get opaque in about three coats, but I prefer it as a single-coater over dark polishes, particularly lush purples like January 2015 that pull and highlight all that gorgeous, fiery-coloured glitter.092

Let’s Turn on the Juice and See What Shakes Loose

Cropped BeetlejuiceBeetlejuice the cartoon-inspired nail art. The difference, you ask, between the 1988 movie and the 1989 television show? A lack of Adam and Barbara, for one, a tighter focus on the Deetz family unit, for another, and absolutely zero mention of the fact that in the movie Beetlejuice coerces Lydia through threats of violence against her friends and family into being his unwilling underworld child bride. Instead Beetlejuice and Lyds are the bestest of undead buds, cutting all sorts of screamy, high energy capers from here to the Neitherworld and back again. And you know what? I actually prefer it that way. Because the alternative is some exceptionally disturbing ‘shipper fan art I ran across this afternoon whilst calling up images of the animated ghost with the most. File that one under “Things I Never Needed to See”!

As a little inside joke, I layered one coat of Whimsical Ideas by Pam’s Head Shrinker over the green and purple gradient on my index and middle fingers. Because if anyone can understand a bit of head shrinking, it’s Beetlejuice, right?! 😉

They’re Heeeere

Poltergeist HandSmall tip for surviving a horror movie: When the adorable little tow-headed girl begins talking to her friends on the other side of the static-covered television in a creepy, sing-songy voice, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOUSE. Do not call in an ineffectual medium, do not deny the existence of that portal in your daughter’s closet, and for the love of all that’s holy, do not smoke the dope as a way of relieving the stress of living in a malevolent haunted house that wants to kidnap your children, because the second you do, one of them’s getting eaten by a tree.

Holy crap, ’80s horror movies were scary!

Let’s Get Physical

Let's Get PhysicalA friend of mine who is a major Olivia Newton-John fan (“Who?” said the kids. “You know, the pretty blonde woman from that weird singing movie about the ’50s with the greasy guy your mom had a big crush on in Pulp Fiction,” said I) celebrated an undisclosed number of fabulous years on this earth yesterday, and so to honour his big girl crush, I whipped up these ONJ-centric nails inspired by the cover artwork to her 1981 pop hit, Let’s Get Physical. If you’ve never seen the accompanying video, it’s more than worth a gander. Nowhere will you find more pelvic thrusting, satin spandex pants and legwarmers (except perhaps an American Apparel store.) And come to think of it, I believe the television show Glee covered Let’s Get Physical, and Ms Newton-John herself was a guest star on at least one episode (back when I used to watch Glee, which really does not account for a particularly long period of my life; off topic, but it went south pretty quickly and I bailed hard.)

But getting back to the topic at hand, I was initially quite reticent to do these nails because real life realness – as in figure drawing or anything that’s supposed to look remotely lifelike – is absolutely not where my nail art talents lie. I’m good at coming up with fun colour combos and painting my nails to look like food and other cartoony, -oid-type things (sheep-oids, rose-oids, what-the-crap-is-that-supposed-to-be-oids), but never real. And I actually told my friend that I’d do this manicure for him so long as he didn’t mind that Olivia N-J would absolutely come out looking like a stout transvestite with elephantiasis of the chin. Which hey, she kind of does! All the same, I’m still pretty proud of the work on my thumb, which took far longer than I’m willing to disclose, because it’s the first time I ever went for the real as opposed to the cartoon, with not totally unfortunate results. 🙂

Rainbow Leopard

Rainbow Spot SignHeh, that sounds like the name of a strip club – The Rainbow Leopard. I once stayed at a (in hindsight) fairly sketchy hotel in Toronto out by the airport on one of those too-short-to-actually-do-anything-touristy stopovers on the way to Florida, and its view looked out on a windowless strip club painted entirely in lavender leopard print. To that point I had never encountered exterior leopard print, and indeed to this day it remains the lone, shining example. I wish I had taken note of the club’s name – you know it would have been something fantastic with a paint job like that! I do, however, remember that there was a LOT of porn available for rent at the hotel, including the memorably titled Hawaiian Sex Fest 4, a film I declined to view given that I’d be hopelessly lost, having not seen the first three, um, installments.

But these nails have nothing to do with either strippers or porn, so long as you overlook the fact that they’re rainbow, glittery and covered in leopard spots. So sort of one and the same? 😉

This is actually KB Shimmer’s wicked fun Spot Sign, a clear glitter topper loaded with black circle glitter, black and silver holographic micro glitter and LEOPARD SPOT GLITTER, over a bright rainbow gradient. It’s so ’80s! The leopard spot glitter is so much fun (and I’m not even all that into animal prints) and I can really see myself getting a lot of utility out of this polish once I tinker around with some other techniques and combinations a bit. Formula-wise, Spot Sign is one of KB’s less-dense polishes – I’ve shown two coats here – and goes on smoothly with only a minimum of directed placement. Like all large and oddly shaped glitter, the leopard spots want to sink to the bottom of the bottle. Just remember to give your bottle a little jiggle every couple of nails to redistribute the glitter and you’ll be fine.

Here I’ve shown Spot Sign in the bottle in the shade, and because the day was overcast and wanted to hide all that pretty holographic micro glitter, under the shimmer-inducing pot lights in my kitchen. So tacky, but so pretty!Rainbow Leopard Collage

Bubble Bobble

Mr. Bubble BottleOof, I am definitely betraying my true, dinosaur-like age with that reference, Bubble Bobble, of course, being an arcade and Nintendo video game first released in 1986. Heavens, how frightening – contemplating your mortality through video games come and gone (said the woman who has lived a lifetime of Donkey Kong Country games.)

Tangent aside, this manicure actually has nothing to do with Bubble Bobble the game and everything to do with the amazing glitter topper I used in this matte manicure, Polish Me Silly’s pink, blue and white Mr. Bubble. My favourite colour combination is probably something exactly like this, a lush raspberry pink alongside a cool cobalt blue, and when you add in the tiny bits of white glitter for that extra hit of visual interest, it’s pretty well the greatest stuff ever! A really lovely consistency, too, with just the perfect amount of glitter to provide even coverage without swamping your nails in an inch and a half of solvent-resistant matte paper flecks. Lovety love love!

Here I’ve shown two light coats of Mr. Bubble over two coats each of Picture Polish’s scattered pink holo, Electric Dream, and Pure Ice’s deep blue Celestial. And taking a bit of a nod from the matte glitter in Mr. Bubble, I topped the whole thing off with a matte topcoat, Essie’s Matte About You, for the perfect softening touch.Mr. Bubble Hand

Saved By the Bell

Saved By the Bell

There’s something very 1980s about these nails, a throwback to the title card graphics of Saturday morning teen staple, Saved By the Bell. Being the contrary type, of course, I didn’t actually start watching Saved By the Bell (original sauce and The College Years) until a year or so after I myself had completed my post-secondary education. So long past the point of relevance, assuming it ever had any to begin with. But for a year or so there as I navigated the unknown wilds of new home ownership, “grown up job” jitters and the horrid realization that I really couldn’t cook, clean or care for myself for shit, there was no better way to start my day than with a bowl of Cheerios, a giant glass of milk and two back-to-back episodes of Saved By the Bell.

And while I’d never say that Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski and company were my preferred gang with which to hang (that honour goes to another Saturday morning NBC favourite, the Guys Next Door), there was something supremely comforting about the way life never really changed for the students of Bayside High. Episode after episode, life was little more than Slater’s wrestling matches, Screech’s…screechiness…and Zack’s endless (and one-sided) battle of “wits” with Mr. Belding. And all of it wrapped in a neon-and-acid-wash blanket of major ’80s cheese. Sing it with me now! “When I wake up in the morning and the alarm gives out a warning and I don’t think I’ll ever make it on time…”

For these nails I topped a favourite bright yellow (Sally Hansen’s Mellow Yellow) with a neon glitter polish packed with fine matte glitter (Polish Me Silly’s Freckles.) Then, never really knowing where to draw the line between too much and not enough, I topped that with a neon blue glitter polish (Sephora Formula X’s TNT) and, for that extra special ’80s touch, a black and white glitter topper (Sephora Formula X’s Chaotic.) The pink I used on my index finger is another favourite, Finger Paint’s Louvre This Pink.