Author Stephen King has a beautiful term for this type of type of fire-licked colour: Tango-light. In his short story “1408” published in 2002’s Everything’s Eventual anthology, King’s protagonist, Mike Enslin, a man who writes about real life occult phenomena but doesn’t actually believe, checks into New York City’s Hotel Dolphin in order to spend one night in its rumoured-to-be-haunted room 1408 (and what do those four little numbers add up to?) I don’t think I’m spoilering anything by saying that of course things don’t go well, and by the end of the tale, Enslin is very much a believer. But at one point, while walking around the room recording such mundane facts as the colour and quality of the finishings, Enslin’s eye lights on a framed still life of fruit cast in a sweltering yellow-orange glow that he describes as “Tango light…the kind of light that makes the dead get up out of their graves and tango.” It’s such an evocative term, perfectly describing that almost sickly and sweaty looking hue that falls across the sky in those last few moments before the sun slips below the horizon.
Granted, “sickly looking” and “possibly haunted and trying to kill me” are never terms you want to apply to your nail polish (or your hotel rooms), but if the possessed shoe fits! Here I’ve shown Sally Hansen’s Lustre Shine in Lava, a gorgeous pink-to-copper-to-gold multichrome that reminds me in the very best way of King’s tango-light, just, you know, without all the other unnecessary supernatural unpleasantness. 😉
By the way, don’t rely on the movie 1408 (starring John Cusack) to give you the full 1408 experience. Like nearly all optioned Stephen King properties (oh, am I EVER still smarting from TV’s criminally stupid Under the Dome!) it shares little in common with its source material. The short story is a wee little thing – just 52 pages in paperback! – and so taut, building to fantastic climax that gives a whole new meaning to the term “near-miss.” So do yourself a favour this summer and spend a couple of hours one evening scaring the ever-loving crap out of yourself – your sense of frightened whimsy will be better off for it, and you’ll never look at a sunset the same way again.
I’m deep into the second season of Orange is the New Black (just the finale to go), and so everything remotely V-shaped, including this manicure, reminds me of Vee, no one’s favourite stone cold psycho predator. For a show that seems to pride itself on finding some nugget of empathy for even the most reprehensible of characters (whaddup, Pennsatucky?), there is a remarkably shallow wellspring of goodwill for Vee, mostly because she engenders exactly zero goodwill in the first place. Girlfriend’s just straight up evil. Fans of The Wire will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that Vee and Marlo Stanfield would make an excellent couple – cold, remorseless and wedded to The Game. And somewhere I just touched off some VERY odd fan fic!
For these nails, a simple V-shaped design, I layered KB Shimmer’s glittery white, Full Bloom Ahead, over top of Sally Hansen’s Lustre Shine in Lava, a beautiful pink-to-gold-to-copper multichrome with a fun foil finish. It’s a bit of an odd colour combination, but startlingly pretty all the same.
Here’s a manicure featuring a bottle of homebrew from “promising” “new” “indie polish maker”, Finger Candy Diningroom Table Industries. Free cat fur or furs with every polish nearly guaranteed.
But all joking aside, I made this polish, Sweet Weege, some months back, and after having let it sit around and do its thing during that time, I’m pleased to report that it has held up fantastically well – no glitter curling, no colour bleeding – and still looks pretty great over top of a fun, bubblegum pink polish, Sally Hansen’s appropriately named Bubblegum Pink, even if the little hearts do get a bit lost in the mix.
I’m forever looking for new ways to optimize my nail polish stash, which is neither completely insignificant, nor so large and unwieldy it requires industrial storage. All the same, I occasionally find myself with a polish (usually a glitter) that at first glance appears to have a pretty limited (though still pretty!) range of use. I mean, truly, there’s only so much you can do with a holographic glitter topper, right?
Wrong! Because one of the best alternative uses for a glitter is to layer it between multiple coats of sheer polish, creating a soft and sort of squishy looking nail art animal called a jelly sandwich. I’ve created all sorts of fun dupes of more expensive or harder-to-find polishes this way, with the bonus being you can radically change the look of the glitter depending on the colour of the sheer polish you layer it with.
Here I’ve sandwiched a light coat of OPI’s Polka.Com, a teal-and-fuschia-and-blue glitter, between two layers of Sally Hansen’s icy Sheer Bliss. Normally a bit of an eyeball-searer, the white polish takes the edge off the glitter, creating a delicate, almost dainty effect that would be perfect as the backdrop to some spring-inspired nail art.
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.
Confession: These nails are about as close as I like to get to open bodies of water capable of producing such waves. It’s not the waves themselves per se, because surfing looks awesome, nor a fear of drowning, because I’ve always been quite a strong swimmer, but rather the thought of all the aquatic squishies and biteies that dwell beneath the surface, just waiting for a tender, dangling limb to drift into their zone of attack…*SHUDDER* To quote Xander Harris of much-missed Buffy fame, I’m both tender and delicious! I mean, at the very worst, something large, slimy and hungry could eat you, and at best, something smaller, slimier and just as hungry could eat you…it’ll just take longer! Wait, that doesn’t sound like the better end of the deal…best to stay on land and keep the majesty of the ocean where you can better appreciate it – far, far, FAR away and maybe only in lacquered form!
For these nails I used a clutch of Sally Hansen Gem Crush polishes, a glittery mid-year gift from my husband, including Big Money, the sandy pink on my ring finger, and Blingtastic and Showgirl Chic, the silvery blues surfing the waves.
I Blue It is another homemade concoction, a polish inspired by and made for a friend (hey, guess what you’re getting the next time we see each other?!) It’s a simple but still flashy bright turquoise jelly speckled with silver and black holographic glitter.
Here I’ve shown I Blue It alongside a few nails painted in a new-to-me polish and finish, Sally Hansen’s Crackle Overcoat in Wave Break. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Wave Break is actually a duochrome, flashing both turquoise and purple depending on the light, although I can’t say I’m totally sold on the crackle finish. It’s a temperamental little thing, and I can’t imagine wanting to use it all that often, cool though it is.