Hidden Agenda

Hidden Agenda Collage 1

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? 😉

Yosemite Sandra

Yosemite Sandra 1

Before I get to the part where I explain that this is a mani done in the style of the granite that makes up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – that random enough for ya?! – have you guys seen The Dawn Wall or Free Solo?  They’re documentaries ostensibly about rock climbers – with all the gut-churning, straight-down photography your frayed nerves can handle – though really they’re examinations of man’s own relationship to man, nature and the very universe itself.  It’s real triumph of the human spirit sort of stuff.  With a higher than usual chance of watching said human plummet to their death off the side of a gigantic geological feature.  Super lightweight stuff!

And I’ve been obsessed all summer long.  The Dawn Wall, a Netflix release, follows professional climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson as they scale the infamous Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite.  Spend the summer low-grade haunting the online rock climbing world and you too will come to learn that what Caldwell and Jorgeson do – or did; The Dawn Wall was filmed in 2015 – is called free climbing, meaning they use ropes and clips and a buddy belay system, all necessary things when you’re attempting to scale 3,000 feet of one of the world’s most intimidating rock formations.  Beset by crap weather, unexpected media attention, a mid-point bitch of a pitch that just refused to be bested and their own considerable demons (early on in his career, Caldwell and some teammates were taken hostage whilst climbing in Kyrgystan; upon returning home, he lost most of his left index finger – one of those crucial bits of anatomy if you’re a rock climber – to a table saw) it took the pair 19 days to summit El Cap, much of it spent pinned to the side of the Dawn Wall in frighteningly flimsy-looking tents.

Free Solo, a National Geographic movie and winner of 2019’s Best Documentary Feature Oscar, follows professional climber Alex Honnold as he also attempts to scale El Capitan, this time in 2017 whilst following a slightly less vertiginous route than the one set by Caldwell and Jorgeson, but without the benefit of ropes, clips or a buddy.  That’s what makes Honnold a “free soloist” – he’s free of a rope and climbing solo.  I haven’t actually seen Free Solo yet, but I’ve watched a terrific number of videos of Honnold – a really funny, bright and articulate guy – talking about his sport, his charitable efforts, his diet, lifestyle and drive.

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It’s all utterly terrifying – anti-social tunnel vision taken to its most extreme limits – and yet also completely compelling.  If I wasn’t opposed to living destitute out of a 1991 Dodge Caravan, or partaking in any activity many thousands of feet off the ground that will surely lead to my death, or if I had any aptitude whatsoever in the area of climbing or outdoor sportery, this would be quite attractive to alt-world me.  Me-me is hiding under a blanket on her couch (me-me also attempted to hang from her fingertips off the kitchen door frame the other day, in imitation of a climbing training exercise.  Probably don’t need to explicitly point out that it didn’t go very well!)  It also goes without saying that both of these films are about 1,000 percent easier to hack as a viewer once you know that all parties involved achieved their goals and are now safely on the ground.  Oh, who am I kidding – all of these guys got back to climbing just as quickly as they could, and are probably out there right now, spidering across the face of some 2000-foot-tall granite monolith, scouting handholds and footholds and plotting their next record-breaking ascent.

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Anyhow, using that ultra easy, brushed-on polish technique I keep promising a tutorial on, I painted this manicure that looks like the granite walls of El Cap.  Apparently it’s a total bitch to climb, something I’m really going to have to take their word on!  It’s also a very pretty type of stone, burnished orange in hue and streaked with black fissures.  I tried to capture all of that here, using a mess of KB Shimmer holographic polishes, including bronzed terracotta, Men Are From Mars-ala, burnished orange, Rust No One, and chocolate brown Oh My Ganache.  I then added in those veins of black using Lilypad Lacquer’s Rainbows in Space.  I really like how the holographic polishes mimic the glittery look of granite.  I bet when the sun hits it just right, the whole rock face twinkles.

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Really lovely, and so long as I don’t rip my arms off trying to hang from my kitchen door frame, it’s a look I’m absolutely going to try again.

That’s S’more Like It

Smores Collage 1

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

Best Buds Collage 1

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!

Best Buds Collage 2

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!

Regal-ize It

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It has been an absolute donkey’s age since I’ve purchased a treat for myself (been lean this spring and summer as we recover from all this reno business) and even longer since that treat was nail polish.  I think the last new shades I purchased were these Polished For Days lovelies in April of 2018.

But in the aftermath of the renos, I binned a ton of cruddy, dried-out old polishes, some duds I never quite found a use for, but also a few discontinued favourites that simply couldn’t be salvaged.  The kind of glitter-intensive polishes I favour don’t hold up very well to the rigors of time and use (and BOY, have I used the heck out of those polishes!)  I was sad to see them go, but excited to re-organize my polish collection in this sweet little rolling cart my mom nabbed from IKEA.

Rolling Cart Collage

Anyhow, it was time to call in some reinforcements on a couple of fallen comrades (been watching Stranger Things much?), so I placed an order with Kitchener company Harlow & Co. for a trio of KB Shimmer polishes, including this indigo blue stunner, Regal-ize It.

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Pretty, isn’t she?  This polish is Finger Candy catnip, from the lush jelly base, to the rich violet hue, to the smattering of golden holographic glitter that glimmers within its squishy, jewel-toned depths.  Brings out in the romantic in me, too. 😉  I also just like KB Shimmer polishes.  They’re of really great quality (I tossed just one KB in The Great De-Polishing, and that’s because it was five years old and a dried-out quarter full) and they’re always trying something just a little bit different.  Which includes an update to their branding and packaging.

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Regal-ize it is just lovely, and a lot more subtle than I was expecting from a golden glitter-studded purple jelly polish.  A bit of a chameleon, too, changing from a clear, indigo blue to a velvety purple depending on the lighting conditions and the time of day.  So more bang for your buck, and another winner from KB for me. 🙂  Looking forward to sharing the other two with you soon.

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Twas the Day After Pinkmas

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I love the pastel approach to Christmas; my dream Christmas tree is actually a rosy pink artificial behemoth covered in soft white twinkle lights.  One day, my pretty, one day.

But for now I’ll content myself with my admittedly pretty dope, food ornament-covered tree (also a bit of a behemoth, though getting on in years) and this festive glitter polish, KB Shimmer’s Merry Pinkmas (also getting on in years; you can see a bit of the separated whitener that’s settled at the bottom of the bottle.)  I think it looks a bit like Strawberry Shortcake in a bottle, and it’s one of my favourite old glitter polishes to bust out around the holidays (it also sees a bit of action on Valentine’s Day; can’t ever go wrong with that pink and red combo.)

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Sweet and Simple

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I got a bit screed-y in my last post, and while I stand behind the sentiments expressed therein (TL;DR – Canada Post sucks) I don’t care to continue lingering in that frame of mind.  Since my kitty passed away not quite two weeks ago, I’ve been mired in a sea of fretful unhappiness, and I desperately need a break from the heartbreak.  I don’t need to make it worse by freaking out about the mundane and expected (that Canada Post sucks.)

So that’s what led to this simple manicure, my first attempt at any sort of nail art-ing in about a month’s time – I just needed to get out of my own riled-up mind for a second or two.  Here I used nothing more complicated than the polish brushes themselves to swipe on first one stripe of KB Shimmer’s Blush Money and then one stripe of KB’s glittery Turning Pointe over a sheer nude base.  Pretty in a monochromatic sort of way and not too difficult, ideal for my first foray back into some more arty, less teary and rage-inducing, endeavors.

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