Succulents, Not Succulent

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Well, trust me to take this floral manicure, which I did in service of the theme of succulents for a nail art challenge I’m doing on Instagram, and turn it into a discussion on Brooklyn 9-9.  Actually, I suspect I could turn just about any subject into a commentary on one of my favourite TV shows, I think about it just that often!

Anyhow, there’s this character named Charles Boyle, who’s played by Joe Lo Truglio, who you may remember as the creepy/skeezy/gross guy from any number of Judd Apatow movies (thinking of his character in Superbad here.)  I was definitely not a fan before seeing his work in Brooklyn 9-9, but as beige pants-loving, foodie cop Charles Boyle, he’s an utter delight.  No one loves fermenting mason jars of unidentifiable foodstuffs in their desk drawers more than Charles. 🙂

But Charles’s taste in food runs quite contrary to his ultra beige, Mervins-clad demeanor – Charles likes it weird, Charles likes it gross, and Charles probably likes it best if he kills it himself (he once fought off a rampaging turkey that had penned the squad into a bathroom with naught but a handily repurposed straightening iron.)  He also likes to discuss his foodie pursuits in THE most repulsive manner possible, always using the most descriptively disgusting language he can find – words like “moist” and “mouthfeel” and in one particularly nasty bit, the phrase “Oh, lucky you, you got the toenail!”  Long story short, don’t ask Charles Boyle to bring anything to the potluck, because it’ll definitely be offal.  Or worse.  And with its toenails still on!

At one point, another character submitted a list of words Charles was forbidden from uttering, and “succulent” was right at the top.  I get it, it conjures up the same sort of images in my mind as when I hear the word “moist” (which is apparently one of the most reviled words in the English language, didya know?)  To my mind, it suggests lush, almost juicy dampness.  Which, when I see it all written out like that, IS rather disgusting!

So it’s a real shame that succulents, the plant, have gotten swept up in the wellspring of negativity towards their name, because they’re so, so beautiful – such charming little plants with their heathered rainbow hues.  So I put them on my nails.  Hey, beats the heck out of trying to recreate one of Charles’s culinary nightmares!  You’re welcome. 😉

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Nailed It!

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There is a show on television – you may have seen it, but I haven’t – called Nailed It! wherein hopeless home bakers seek redemption and cash through a reality TV-style baking competition.  It’s hosted by Nicole Byer, who I DO know from Brooklyn 99 as delightful car thief Doug Judy’s baby sister, Trudy Judy (“baby” nothin’ – Trudy Judy takes care of her own business, you simple little barn animal!)  Anyhow, I always see the show’s title and think it’s actually some sort of nail art competition, which definitely falls on the not-so-edible side of things (though apparently so too do most of the baked goods produced by the contestants, hey-oh!)

I’m not sure there’s much of an audience for a show about both baking and nail art, but if there were, this manicure, which was inspired by a gorgeous cake I saw on Instagram, would certainly land me a spot on at least, like, the first two episodes. 😉

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LOVE these nails, gigantic, unwieldy golden charms and all.  If I had any complaints, it would be that the roses are not quite red enough (how very “Off with their heads!” does THAT sound?) and the gold not quite yellow enough.  I used a frosted, almost icy-looking gold here, whereas the original cake used a lush marigold yellow that I far prefer.  Just in general, these nails read far more “edgy tea set” than bitchin’ Queen of Hearts cake, but I love them all the same.

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Yosemite Sandra

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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.

The Ice Wall

The Ice Wall 1

Been watching a lot of rock climbing-related media these days, so presumably that’s why these nails, which I had intended to mimic this sort of gemstone-type look, came out looking less like sapphires and more like an imposingly impassable ice wall.  Except even that’s a pretty tenuous connection – none of the movies I’ve been watching (Free Solo, The Dawn Wall on Netflix) have featured ice climbing, which is fantastic.  Really, who wants to cling to the edge of a geological feature thousands of feet in the air, engaged in a batshit activity that taxes every ounce of physical and mental strength you can muster, AND be freezing cold at the same time?  Not this person!

Yup, these nails are super ice cave-y.  It’s the rich, almost icy indigo blues I chose – it’s a very deep, layered, frosty kind of look.  Very pretty, but not at all a sapphire.  One for the “Try it Again” files, methinks (whilst cold weather climbing in general can go straight into the “Try it Never” files.  Maybe just climbing in general – as much as I’m enjoying these movies, I’m not sure I’m ever going to be on board with any activity that will most likely end in my Wile. E. Coyote-esque death.) 😉

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Clueless About Plaid

Clueless

I did this manicure for the prompt of Back to School in a nail art challenge I’m following along with over on Instagram.  Come by and see me sometime – park_or_perish is my handle.

Having dabbled in Cher Horowitz’s fashion sensibilities for much of the mid-90s, particularly on the first day of grade 13 – come on, all those little velveteen dresses and stacked Steve Madden loafers were AWESOME! – Back to School to me always means Back to Clueless, a place – or is it a state of mind? – I’m never actually particularly far from anyways.  And what’s better than Cher’s yellow plaid outfit she chooses – or is it her computer that chooses? – to make her big entrance at school?  Ooh, Snickers. 😉

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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Amethyst-y!

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That’s a big Buffy-ism – tacking a “Y” onto the end of any word, not to describe a thing, but the general state of a thing.  So this manicure, which looks like a purple gemstone caught somewhere between an amethyst and a tanzanite, definitely qualifies as an entry in the suffix chapter of Buff’s Good Guide to Grammar.  The little round studs up by my cuticles are natural seashell gems I picked up from Daily Charme.  They come in all sorts of colours and mimic the look of natural gemstones.  I liked these blue/purple stones best, so that’s why they came home with me!

I did these nails using exactly the same marbling technique as this manicure from the other day.  I just switched up the polishes, using three purple lacquers (a pale lilac creme, a chromatic periwinkle and a deep purple holo), highlighting the “fissures” with a glittery purple topper.  Aw man, I’m really going to have to do that tutorial now, as these are too easy to keep to myself, but also just a touch too hard to describe simply with words.  You know, in a grammar-y-type fashion. 😉  Keep a look out for that one in the coming days, should you be interested in how to create a super high impact, ultra low effort mani.

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