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? 😉

Zombie Cakes

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Here’s a terrible joke for you – what do zombies use to bake their cupcakes?  A brain pan.  Wah-waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. 🙂

Zombies were the name of the game for the fourth prompt in the nail art challenge I’m participating in on Instagram.  I wasn’t in the mood for your more traditional blood ‘n’ guts design, choosing instead to go with this cutie pie cupcake manicure, which even features two of my favourite zombie-themed polishes, Girly Bits Cosmetics’ Dead Man’s Toe and Dollish Polish’s Look at the Flowers, Lizzie.  Can’t go wrong with brain cakes drizzled in sanguine coulis and snot green frosting, can you?

Zombie Cakes Collage

 

Blue China

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Sort of?  You know, like those ubiquitous blue and white Chinese vases you see anyplace anyone wants to add a touch of “Asian fusion influence”?  Or maybe Wedgewood, another type of blue and white china (English-made, that one.)  Hmm, or perhaps a cross between the two.  Basically, I don’t know what I’m looking at here.

Except for some pretty fly floral nails!  I’m so pleased with how this manicure turned out, particularly as I only used three polishes, a neutral beige base, a dusty pale blue, and that stupendous indigo creme, Londontown‘s Lakur polish in Iconic.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t find nail polish to be the easiest artistic medium to work with – it wants to dry out so quickly, I never feel like I have enough time to putter about, mix up my paints, try new techniques.  But I’ve been attempting to use my nail polish more like acrylic paints these days, and that’s how these lovely nails came about.  I particularly love the sweet little variegated petals on the roses, which were the result of dipping my detail brush first into the pale blue polish and then into the dark blue polish, before brushing the whole pretty, swirly mess onto my nails.  Feels a little more undone than my usual, and a lot more natural, too (you know, if blue roses existed outside of a giant plastic bucket filled with three dozen white roses and a metric ton of blue food colouring!)

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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. 🙂