What a Flake!

Stop Flaking Fingers

Not that I objected to having someone else hold the creative reins for the past month of the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, but there’s a delightful sense of liberation that has come with knowing that I can paint WHATEVER I WANT (at least for the next month until September’s 31 Day Challenge begins.) And what I want right now, nail art-wise, is something simple with major kick – something pretty, glittery and beautifully eye-catching.

Stop Flaking Hand

And so to accomplish just that, I looked to a favourite rainbow flakie polish, Polish Me Silly’s Stop Flaking On Me. I have sung its praises before, but it’s a sentiment worth repeating – Stop Flaking On Me is a fabulous polish, aesthetically and, almost more importantly, in terms of its formulation, which is flawless. Stop Flaking On Me applies beautifully, to be sure, but most impressively, it also removes well – just like the creme polish you most likely layered it over (here OPI’s Fanta-hued A Grape Affair from their Coca-Cola Collection.) That’s the beauty of the colour-shifting chromatic flakies – they do not stick to your nails during (and after) removal like iridescent flakies will. And what of that fun, chromatic colour-shift? Well, it’s awesome, of course! To say nothing of Stop Flaking On Me’s native state, which I think looks like many, many, many rainbow-coloured foils ground up in a blender and added to a bottle of suspension base (for anyone curious, that’s a good thing!)

Stop Flaking Collage

Vanilla Coke-Glazed Ham

Vanilla Coke Hand

That sounds so delightfully nutty; I can hardly believe it’s a real thing (along with other 1950s-style “miracle foods” such as mayonnaise chocolate cake and aspic anything.) For the Vanilla Coke logo on my two middle fingers, I used a couple of wonderfully fitting polishes from last year’s Coca-Cola Collection by OPI, classic Coca-Cola Red and cream-coloured You’re so Vain-illa, while my remaining fingers sport three coats of Vain-illa topped with one coat of my favourite homemade glitter polish, Hawaiian Ham.

That the Ham, my first attempt at making homemade polish, turned out so well has come as a completely delightful surprise. I wasn’t expecting the glitter mix to blend so nicely, I wasn’t *really* expecting the suspension base to actually suspend anything and I certainly never thought that nearly two years to the date of its creation, it would still be performing beautifully (no glitter curling, no colour bleed.) And that’s saying nothing of the wordplay possibilities that exist when you’re dealing with a polish with “ham” in its name! I actually wanted to paint a bone-in ham on my thumb, but then held back at the very last second – that seemed like an excessive amount of nail art theming for one hand. 😉

Vanilla Coke Ham Bottle

Electric Circus

Electric CircusShow of well manicured hands if you were a Canadian teen in the ’90s who spent at least a portion of your weekends listlessly hate-watching cable channel Much Music’s Saturday night bump and grind-o-rama, Electric Circus. Actually, to be fair to the Circus – on which I was featured in about 1995 regrettably not as a dancer, but as a nabbed-off-the-street interviewer of of-the-moment R&B “sensation” Tony! Toni! Tone!, which really makes no sense because I was super into grunge and quite openly snobby about it – there was very little bumping and grinding. The dancers featured on Electric Circus every Saturday night in Much Music’s retrofitted and black-lit studios were well trained, intense and FOCUSED (very busy work is being a dancer up on one of the boxes, THE sign that you had made it in the ’90s club dance scene.) Even the kids who lined up every week to be chosen as one of the evening’s 50 or so regular, on-the-floor dancers brought their A game, and there wasn’t a whole lot of that gross thing that guys did in the ’90s where they just come up behind you on the dance floor, sock their crotch against your butt, bellow something completely inarticulate and Labatt Dry-scented directly into your eardrum before attempting some pelvic-a-licious dance maneuver, at which point you fake an aneurysm and you and your friend decamp to the bar two blocks down, which is actually just fine because you left your coats there earlier so as to avoid having to check them at the bar up the road, even though it’s -25 degrees out and you’re in your very tiniest, and tightest, baby tee, which isn’t actually yours, but you’ve worn it out so often, your best friend really ought to just give it to you out of the goodness of her heart, because it makes your boobs look really great. True story.) Ah yes, kids, improbably enough, it was a more innocent time!

Long tangent short: These nails, Dance Legend’s neon glitter topper, Rio #1, over OPI’s silver foil, My Signature is “DC”, remind me of the vibe and look of Electric Circus – lots and lots of neon and shiny, dancing stars.

A Personal Choice (OMD2)

Hawaiian Ham BottleThe final day’s theme in the Oh Mon Dieu nail art challenge was personal style (well, signature style), and what’s more personal than nail polish you made yourself? I would never consider myself an indie polish maker, more an acetone dabbler (just not that kind of dabbler – please don’t come and arrest me, meth-watch programs.) I make polishes for my friends and family and, of course, for myself when I’ve got something in mind that just doesn’t exist in either real or online life. That’s how I wound up with this polish, my first foray into make-yer-own and a favourite amongst a becoming-difficult-to-contain stash. Her name’s Hawaiian Ham, and she’s a mix of rose, chocolate, red, yellow and copper hex glitters in an ultra sheer pink base. Why Hawaiian Ham? Because the glitter mix I cobbled together reminded me of one of those frightening 1950s-type ham dishes covered in pineapple and maraschino cherries (which would be called Happy Ham Surprise or something equally un-descriptive) and hams are damn funny. That’s just good comedy there.

For this manicure, I topped a cream soda-esque gradient (fitting, seeing as I used two of the colours from OPI’s Coca Cola collection) with one coat of the Ham. Glitter topper aside, pink and cream are two of my favourite colours to decorate with (our first bedroom was this gorgeous, warm, rest-inducing rose pink), so I suppose this manicure does qualify as personal style, for my home at the very least.Hawaiian Ham

Zero Frustrations

Zero Accomplished

I was originally going to title this post “Less Than Zero,” but then I realized that aged me by about a billion years (give or take.) Less Than Zero is a movie that was released in 1987, starring Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, kids!), Andrew McCarthy, James Spader and a bunch of other floppy-haired olds who were collectively known as the Brat Pack. It was also based off the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name (his first published novel, actually.) I’ve never seen the movie, being just 10 when it came out and not all that fond of films about the depressing circularity of young adulthood (see also St. Elmo’s Fire), but a minor detail like that isn’t going to stop me when the opportunity for a corny pun presents itself.

Those of you familiar with my acetone-enhanced ramblings will already know that I don’t review polishes and other nail art products in the strictest sense of the word. Sure, I’ll let you know if a nail polish is great, and if I’m feeling particularly magnanimous, I might even share the treasure map to Mystery Nail Polish Island (that’s where all the polishes you covet online and can never find in the real world live, didn’t you know?) But I’m not much for calling out a polish or a particular manufacturer for less than stellar wares, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately, beauty isn’t the only indicator of a good nail polish. Things like ease of application, durability and cost are also factors.

So in light of all that, let’s take a look at this polish, OPI’s Today I Accomplished Zero from the recently released Coca Cola collection. Calling back to the actual title of this post, I’ll note that it’s in reference to the frustrations I had with this polish, not that there were no issues to be had. Because man, were there issues.

For starters, my bottle came as part of a 10-piece mini set, which, while adorable and chock full of colourful choice, is not the best format for all polishes. Thirsty glitter jelly polishes in particular (“thirsty” just means it seems to dry out really quickly and eats up tons of topcoat) don’t seem to fare very well in mini bottles. It’s almost like there’s not enough fluid in the bottle to keep things flowing smoothly.Zero Accomplished Mini Bottle

That dryness, of course, made application difficult. These photos show four coats of Today I Accomplished Zero with one thick coat of Seche Vite, and they’re still lumpy as all heck, to say nothing of my husband’s comment that I must have done a gradient with it, because the polish seemed much darker at my nail tips. Um, no, sweetie, that wasn’t on purpose, as every subsequent coat just stripped off more of the stuff beneath it, depositing it lumpily at the edges of my nails.Zero Accomplishment Lumpy

I generally don’t mind a difficult polish. By going slow and steady, I can usually find a way to make it work. But OPI’s a pricey brand, and this polish was just way, way too much work. I doubt I’ll use it again (which is good, because taking into account the mini bottle and the four coats necessary for this one manicure alone, I used up most of the bottle.)

Long story short? Give serious thought to those mega tiny mini packs, because I believe you’re sacrificing quality for choice (although you could also argue that I’d be worse off had I bought a full sized, $14 bottle, and you’d probably be correct!) Informed polish choices, yo – rock the vote and all that stuff. 😉 Also, before I’m accused of being a big old downer, I’ll note that once you’ve actually applied this polish, it looks absolutely gorgeous in lower lighting, like embers smouldering away after the fire’s been doused. Being an indoor kitty is actually something of an oddity for a glitter polish, as they typically do their show-offy thing best under direct light. There, that’s about all the positivity I can handle for one day!

Zero Accomplishment Indoors

Frenching Beetlejuice (OMD2)

Frenching Beetlejuice

French nail tips, you perverts. Get your minds out of the gutter, please. :\

This manicure, featuring a colour palette inspired by one of my all time favourite movies, the immensely twisted and delightful Beetlejuice, was prompted by day 14’s theme of funky French in the Oh Mon Dieu nail art challenge. French manicures are one of the basics in nail art, and involve painting just the tips of your nails an alternating colour from the base. White tips on a nude base is the standard, and the type of French mani you’ll see most often, so it’s nice to have a chance to colour outside the (nail)lines with this theme.

Here I laid down a base of two polishes from OPI’s recently released Coca Cola collection, Green on the Runway, a greeny-pink duochrome, and A Grape Affair, a dark purple cream, polishes which don’t particularly remind me of their inspirations, Sprite and Grape Fanta, but do apparently remind me of Beetlejuice (this is actually not so surprising; most things in this world remind me of Beetlejuice. It’s the movie that taught me that life (and death) is an insane goat rodeo, and you either adapt with grace or perish. And also that black and white striped anything is AWESOME.) Then, using striping tape for a nice, crisp edge, I taped off the bottom quarter of my nails, painting out just the tips in white before adding those Beetlejuiceian black stripes. Once dry, I removed the tape and smoothed everything out with a high gloss topcoat. And just like that, one fun-kay French mani for folks not totally enamoured of the all nude-and-white thing.

Shiver and Shimmer (OMD2)

Peter Pan CollarsHere are some frosty, shimmer-infused Peter Pan collar nails for the theme of – you guessed it – shimmer in the Oh Mon Dieu 2 nail art challenge. Peter Pan collars are adorable (the very best collar, I think we can all agree, unless you’re allergic to the terrifically twee) and the design is so sweet and cute, especially when paired with a sparkly, shimmery silver foil like this one, OPI’s My Signature is “DC” from the recently released Coca Cola collection.

I was just sitting here musing on what sort of hideous clothing could be born of such a horrendous fabric when I remembered that I’ve actually seen this nail polish in action before as clothing, on Daniel Johns, the lead singer of Silverchair, in concert somewhere towards the end of the ’90s. Per the alt music grapevine at the time, he was sick – anorexia – and looking at him, there was no denying his illness. He was nothing but skin and bones and – somehow, amazingly – this ferocious death metal howl that instantly made me fall in love with the kid and want to bring him home and shove buttered pasta down his throat until he was “better.” It was a hugely high energy show, one of the best I’ve ever seen, with Johns whipping back and forth between a kind of growly, snarkling bark and pure, clear, beautifully sustained notes, the likes of which you typically don’t hear at an outdoor concert at a racetrack. And through it all, he sported this GIGANTIC, has-to-be-100-percent-unnatural, silver foil shirt that made him look like the world’s tiniest, angriest, most musically-inclined pimp. It’s actually the memory I called up when I saw this nail polish for the first time (now, my friend with the Diet Coke obsession? SHE’D probably be able to identify it as “Diet Coke silver” from about 100 paces, but I’ll stick with Silverchair silver.) 😉