Archive | May 2014

Whinging, plus PWI: Sinful Colors Enchanted

Posting’s fallen off lately because a great number of other things are coming to a head.  I’ve been interleaving tasks, rather than trying to finish one off and take on another; this is more to do with respective timings than preference.  (I’ve gotten better at task switching in grad school, but my switch cost is still, I think, rather high.)  The main effect so far: I am behind or very-behind on everything.  Including but not limited to:

  • run one final user-study on a robot
  • work out details for moving 2800 miles
  • find someplace to, you know, live
  • make conference plane tickets ×2 (done!)
  • make family reunion tickets ×2
  • finish thesis
  • defend thesis
  • start thesis

And probably other stuff, I dunno.  Also, if you want to, you know, found a college or whatever: quarters can be good for undergrads, but grad students neeeeed semesters.  10 weeks is not long enough to explore, internalize, and do a research project on a topic.  (Dissenting commentary?)

Painting my nails has even fallen off, which is unusual.  But it not died!  So without further ado, I present:

Sinful Colors Enchanted.

photo 1

Direct sunlight.  Purple!  It’s only not shiny because for some reason the concept of “focus” is alien to my mind/hands/camera.

photo 3

Indoor lighting.  Quite dark, but purple.

photo 2

Indirect sunlight. (Pretty literally. This is in my own shadow, in direct sunlight.)  Now it’s blue!

This was part of a limited edition, although I haven’t the faintest when or why.  It’s dark, but still purple in most lighting instead of black, although only just.  It’s too muted (and a bit dusty) to be a true purple, as well as leaning a bit bluish (in some lights).

Not something I see myself thinking “Oo!” and reaching for, but it works ok!  Especially on my short nails.  Other people can pull it off, but when my nails get longer than about 2mm, super-dark colors make me think I look… hm.  Something.  Maybe just like I’m trying too hard?

PWI twofer: Zoya Shawn and Pure Ice Saddle Me Up

Side note: I’m not reviewing Zoya Anne.

Again.

Why would I mention such a thing?  Because I keep trying to.  Anne has been, thus far, such an exquisitely balanced mix of promising color and horrid formula that I end up doing this Sisyphean thing with it.  And this week (or possibly quarter or more), I do not have the patience for that kind of diva behavior.  I’ve started and stripped it at least three times, maybe four.

Today was less panicked and more mildly grumpy.  Mr. Fix-it’s out of town all week on business, and it definitely reduces my Fun Human Quotient.  A lot.

ANYway.  Please meet Anne’s actual well-behaved sister, Zoya Shawn:

photo n

Here it looks truly green, not olive. This is one of its maybe 4-5 faces.  Also, between yellowland and greenland I cut my nails to nubs again.  They just don’t do so well inside a robot when they’re longer.

It’s an interesting chameleon.  Unquestionably muted army-olive in some lights, obviously green in others, oddly in-between and grayer or browner in yet others.  But every single one of the color variations suited my fishbelly-white complexion. -_< ?

And, as usual, after a day of looking at it I was bored, so glitter happened.

Pure Ice Saddle Me Up.

photo 3

Pix, showing Shawn being olive, indoor. Noticeable but somewhat subtle.  Also… “Saddle Me Up”??  wha..?!

Still boring.  It’s too close, color-wise!  But to repeat:  Every single shade of Zoya Shawn on my pasty engineer skin was amazing.

photo 5

Pretty real-life accurate, which is a nice surprise!

Direct-sunlight pix are worse, FWIW.

Summary!  Zoya Shawn is very well-behaved, excellent beside Autumn/Winter colors; Saddle Me Up is a very close match for it and reasonably opaque in 2 coats.

PWI: Sinful Colors Pull Over

I went out for dinner with a bunch of my lab mates tonight, advisor accompanying (and paying, apparently from grants – I wonder if I’ll be that well-funded?).  We went to a bar + food place, whose main attraction is bocce ball, which is apparently a game where you throw balls at other balls, and either try to hit them or try not to, depending.  It’s completely one of those games where you know people were playing its predecessor with rocks, thousands of years ago.

I am not, as it turns out, good at bocce.

So I wandered off and started plying my advisor with questions about advising and choosing students, plus a certain amount of “augh what am I doing”.  It was a convivial setting, with beer, so he answered pretty openly, and I talked a bit more openly about my current struggles and fears.

You guys, it’s starting to feel like I’m really doing this.  It’s actually going to happen.  O.O  I’m going to go be faculty.  I alternate between wildly giddy and feeling like I might vomit.*

So I paint my nails.

Sinful Colors Pull Over (plus cat):

photo 1

Glossy Yellow  Mustard
Chromium Yellow  Pull Over??

Man, that’s yellow.  It’s… oh!  Here we go!

School bus yellow is a color which was especially formulated for use on School buses in North America in 1939. The color is now officially known in Canada and the U.S. as National School Bus Glossy Yellow and was originally called National School Bus Chrome. (emph mostly mine)

Thanks, internet!  I heart you!

This manages to escape the Curse of the Yellows, possibly because it’s halfway to orange (which also explains why it doesn’t look godawful on me).  This is three coats, which I disapprove of somewhat, but it looked nice afterwards instead of still streaky.


* Ever bought your first house?  This feels very similar.

PWI twofer: Sinful Colors Love Nails and OPI Sedona Seduction

Okay, this gets pretty complicated. 🙂 You see, Mama T bought me a set of nail art tools!

I find nail art intimidating.  For one thing, I keep my nails SO short; for another, I fear it sneaks into an “even a grad student can’t get away with this,” even though I cheerfully wear disco balls and neon colors to work.  Also? It seems scary and hard.

But… those are dumb reasons.  I paint my lips non-earth colors all the time,* just not at work.  And being scared of nail polish is a bit mental.  I mean, really, what’s the worst thing that can happen?  Thirty seconds of acetone?

So.  Step 1 is yet another SC teal, Sinful Colors Love Nails.

photo 2

Pretty blue glowy things!  There
beginneth and endeth the joy.

This color and me, we are gonna love-hate fierce.  It’s really very pretty, and it kind of has a deep internal glow that sunlight catches beautifully (and cameras don’t).  But the deep internal complexity comes because this is six coats.  I don’t have time for six coats!  Nobody has time for six coats! >:-( THPT.  I’m wondering if I could get a similar look by layering it over a more polite teal, which I certainly have in abundance.

Anyway, next up, I grabbed OPI Sedona Seduction, a cold ice blue, and a dotting tool (least scary).  Also, Zoya Mosheen.

mosheen  left
Right hand: Sedona Seduction dots over Love Nails; Sedona Seduction alone; dots; Mosheen
over Love Nails; dots. Left hand: dots; dots; Mosheen over SS; dots; dots.

So yeah!  Love Nails is a beautiful PITA.  Sedona Seduction is a very icy, almost-silver blue, opaque enough to make dots with.  Mosheen is a very fine glitter; it’s hard to tell here, but it’s paler over Sedona Seduction.   I need to experiment with it further before I declare it PWI’d.

And… I can make dots! ^_^


* Speaking of:

lips

Lipstick color is true, achieved with lighting that makes the rest of my skin look grayish. I swear I’m not a Yuki-Onna.

I recently placed an order for a large number of inexpensive samples with the Portland Black Lipstick Company.  This is Artificial Amethyst, which Mr. Fix-it doesn’t hate.  (He kind of does hate some of the other weird ones.  Sigh.)  Also, their swatches are terrible, look for other people’s if you’re interested.

PWI twofer: Sally Hansen Red Carpet & Sinful Colors All About You

I have to say, I picked up the red here under the belief that it was a glitter.  In the fluorescent store lighting, believe me, the shimmer was a lot more prominent.  On hands?  No.  It’s a deep, shimmery, vampy red, but it’s not glitter.  I do like it; I don’t much like the three-coat minimum for opacity, but I’ve heard it layers well.

Sally Hansen Red Carpet.

red

After dark and taken, unusually, with flash.
Reds mostly go deep and sexy at night.  Mostly.

And then, partly because I wasn’t really having a True Red day and partly because I had tip wear by morning, I did half-moons with Sinful Colors All About You:

photo 5

Sorry, crap picture. It’s what I got.  You can
see the red is much brighter in daylight.

This whole thing was just a mess.  The red’s an insta-stainer, so where I got it on my cuticles, it stayed.  (Usually I scrape it off before it sets; in this case it didn’t help.)  The index finger flaked off about 20 minutes later (note clever pose above), and the gold is not remotely opaque at three coats.  I like the idea of the red-and-gold combo, but… not this red, not this gold.

Nothing really terrible or hall-of-shame-worthy by itself, but I ended up taking the whole thing off pretty fast. :-/

PWI: Rimmel London Red, Steady, Go…

Punctuation in nail polish names is so strange.  I would have said that Ready, Steady, Go…  (Brit for Ready, Set, Go!) obviously needed an exclamation point.  Even a period probably wouldn’t have raised my eyebrows.  But an ellipsis?!‽

And on the interrobang front, kindly allow me to share a dork poem:

  < > ! * ' ' #
  ^ " ` $ $ -
  ! * = @ $ _
  % * < > ~ # 4
  & [ ] . . /
  | { , ,  SYSTEM HALTED

Or, read aloud.  (Really!  Say it out loud!)

  Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
  Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
  Bang splat equal at dollar under-score,
  Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
  Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
  Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

So yeh I’m a huge dork.

ANYWAY.  Rimmel London Red, Steady, Go…:

photo 2

A very tomato-y red, but it works! Maybe, as well as being unexpectedly coral-friendly, I am unexpectedly tomato-friendly? That would be ok. Tomatoes are delicious.

I meant to use this as a base coat for a new red glitter, but I ran out of time.  This is one coat!  Although a second doesn’t change the color noticeably.  You can see my teeny tiny free edge (nail blogger for “the part that sticks out past your quick”), but I don’t actually mind VNL (nail blogger for Visible Nail Line).

Um… still talking but content ran out.  I stop now.  More red next time.

Dear splodey-head (a love letter)

Wandering around the flat, turning off lights, lowering blinds, turning monitors as dim as I can; turning my own to inverted colors so it’s darker.  (Ctrl-Option-Cmd 8, if you have a mac.)  It doesn’t actually help, but it’s something I can do.

Cluster headaches[1]: go away.  We hate you.  You are not welcome here.  Leave.


[1] “The term “headache” does not adequately convey the severity of the condition; the disease may be the most painful condition known to medical science.”

PWI: Zoya Blu

I have menny menny nail polish.  (I think we’ve talked about this.)  And much of it suits me gloriously.  Yay!  Some of it, however, doesn’t.  What colors I should wear is an empirical question, in my mind.  Do things look good on me?  Which things?  Why?  What are the closest choices for doing better?  I am, to such a degree that it damages my publishability, an empiricist.  So when Dr. P got me a rainbow of Zoya colors, I was thrilled!

Zoya, by the way, apparently names their polishes after women.  I say “apparently,” because some of them are… non-obvious.  Blu, Piaf, Kaufda?  Livingston?  Jade?!  (Possibly the first ever red nail polish named after a “this means green” word?  I mean what the hell.)

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying that Zoya Blu

photo 4xphoto 1
Blu blu blu blu!  It would lose its meaning on repetition except that’s not a word anyway.  Also, rose sticker!

…did not suit me at all.  The pictures, as so often happens, are deceitfully flattering.  In person, this pastel looks like it was photoshopped in.  I’ve said it before: a bad color match looks weirdly superimposed in real life.

But in and of itself, it is a gorgeous color,* and the formula was a nice two-coater, especially for a pastel.  I may not approve of Zoya’s marketing strategy but I have to say, so far, they make amazing nail polish.

“Nail stickers” can mean two things: little stickers, or water decals.  If you’ve ever made a model of any kind, you know the latter are six kinds of bitch to work with.  The little rose is the former; you just sticker it on.  (Things I have learned. 1, use top coat, or the gold will wear off, leaving a sort of white rose outline. 2, use peel-off base coat, or you’ll be trying to figure out how to get nail polish remover under a sticker for a long time.)  I really like these, and I’ve ordered some variations… I like EASY nail art.


* On the whole “Reasons I am loathe to move” front: I spent a good 30 seconds trying to decide which part of the blue, blue sky in this fair city was the closest match for my nails.  Sigh.

PWI twofer: Sinful Colors Opening Night & Wet n Wild Slap the Bass

This is one of those posts where I chose a color based on the glitter I wanted to put on top of it.  I have a remarkable number of toppers to get through, given that we’ve established that I’m all weird about mismatched glitter.  I mean… okay.

As far as I can tell from some casual research, the “nail care market” has been undergoing insane growth since about 2008, with a 32% increase in profits in 2012.  Analysts were upset because 2013 was “only” showing 19% growth (I’m playing a bit loose with dates, but roughly).  The market is starting to saturate, with some people declaring the nail polish fad to be drawing to a close, although in actuality if the market stabilizes at its current sales rates there’s a hell of a lot of nail polish going out into the world.  In fact, since 2008, nail polish recession sales outpaced the famous “lipstick effect” that I had never heard of.  (Short: during recessions lipstick sales rise, as women put off bigger pick-me-up purchases.)

Meanwhile, there are only so many colors the human eye can differentiate, and even fewer that most people care about.  The number of nail colors is further limited by chemistry – there are only so many body-approved, stable, acetone-soluble, mutually compatible, etc. pigments.  So, there are only so many nail polish colors.  Hence, finishes.  Glitters, shimmers, cremes, glass flake, flakies, textured polishes… I know I’m missing a zillion variants.

Why the economics lesson?  Because there’s huge money in continuing to produce nail polishes that differ from previous ones.  (Well, and also because I’m something of a pedant.)  Anyway, even given my sharply limiting preferences, there’s always something interesting to buy, and often it’s new toppers.

Enough lead-in?  Yeah, I thought so.  Here’s Sinful Colors Opening Night.

photo 1

Which, all things being equal, is a very nice, very shiny, very dark teal.  I don’t think I have anything similar.

photo 4

I wouldn’t call it a foil, but those are the trees outside my apartment window, so maybe I have to?

Nice, anyway.  In indoor lighting it’s much darker, but not so much that you can’t see flashes of color.  Chosen, as I said, to complement…

Wet n Wild Slap the Bass:

photo 5

Whiiiich is actually there. Although you might have to take my word for it.

While the glitter is almost invisible, it does make the polish quite a bit brighter.  Mostly it makes it look like a very well-lit Opening Night.  I really liked the effect on myself, especially as the light failed.

If you’ve ever wondered why it’s sometimes Wet-n-Wild, sometimes Wet n Wild, sometimes Wet’n’Wild, and so on: it’s because they themselves are inconsistent; I mostly just copy from the bottle.

If you wondered why “Slap the Bass” is a name for a teal glitter, I can’t help you.  I can tell you it’s funnier if you assume they’re talking about the fish, though.**

slap

 

** Yes, this is the part of the post I spent the most time on.  Do you suppose they’re actually going to give me a PhD?  It seems… unlikely somehow.

PWI: Urban Outfitters Cocktail (Or, how I learned to quit worrying and love the coral))

Very short post because I’m behind on bloggage.  As I am on everything else, also.  I am given to understand that the next year or two of my life will be like that and I should get used to it. 😛 Fortunately, this is a nail polish that more or less speaks for itself.

Urban Outfitters Cocktail:

photo 2xphoto 1
Coral! VERY coral, showing off its pinky/orange nature. Both pix in sunlight, but it was
pretty much equally bright indoors, because you can’t keep a good coral down.

Very bright!  Beautiful formula, too (2 coats).

I think of myself as looking terrible in coral?  But this nail polish, one other coral polish, and a flaming coral tshirt I got from StitchFix are all weirdly flattering.  And now I can’t remember why I thought that.  So, experimentation is in order!

Randomly Not Nail Polish

I’ve been meaning to rant about makeup and academia in general. Well, someone else just did, and eloquently, too. Lesson: if you procrastinate for long enough, someone will get exasperated and do it for you. 😀

I am referring to this post by Sylirael of The Painted Rogue, written in cooperation with Auxiliary Beauty – both also doctoral students. Very much recommended reading. The only thing I would elaborate on: I think one of the big things that makes makeup unprofessional is that makeup is girly. Women may have infested the hallowed halls, but the very least they could do is act like men.

Their posts included “what I’d like to do/what I actually do” pix, and in the spirit of solidarity, so shall I.  And what I like to do most is experiment.

First, since I got the OCC Lip Tars largely because you can make arbitrary colors with them… I did!  I love green, but in retrospect a little more muting would have made it look better on me.  This is pretty crayola.  Nonetheless, experiment 1: informative!  This covered as well as the blue and doesn’t look as outright weird as the yellow.

green lips

I failed to take a picture of my lips with nothing on. It’s better for everyone, really.

The reason this took so long to post: I did a coordinated eye look, and it was a total failure.  Specifically, it looked interesting, but it photographed terribly.  That’s what research is, right?  Trying things and having them fail?  I tried to convince myself to post failpix (researchers are terrible about publishing negative results), but in the end, no.  So. Now it’s later.

IMG_1613XIMG_1616

Silver liner, silver shadow with green accents, plus mascara.  It’s hard to show, but it’s VERY sparkly, which is really all that makes it interesting.

Not, I hope you will agree, particularly over the top (despite the sparkling).  But I wouldn’t wear it interviewing or to a conference for fear of the dread Not Being Taken Seriously.  Not because I think engineers are allergic to silver (that would suck for our robots) but because it is quite noticeable that I’m wearing makeup.

Am I saying I want to wear green lipstick to work and have sparkly eyes all the time?  Nope.  Mr. Fix-It dislikes makeup on me, and mornings are always tight. It would be very occasional.  Plus, you know… when I bitch, I always think about Amanda at Pretty Girl Science, who has to wear nail polish (!) that is “conservative and simple,” with no other guidelines.  (Aka, I know it when I see it, and I’ll yell at you then.  Written rules are not always better than unwritten.)  But you know, that’s pretty much garbage too.

In summary, Dear Academia: I’m training up to be an engineer and a researcher, and it annoys the fuck out of me when I’m not allowed to try new things.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.†


* A note on coverage.  I complained that this stuff feathers; the internet’s answer is “you’re using too much.”  I am not.  I can spread the most opaque color so thin you can clearly see skin through it, and it feathers.  Gr!

† Oh, almost.  At heart, I will always be both a costumer and a HUGE ham, and I had tools out, so this happened. IMG_1603

PWI: Zoya Destiny

Another day, another Zoya.  This one is interesting.

“Textured polish” is exactly what it sounds like: nail polish that doesn’t dry smooth.  The first incarnation of it (that I was aware of) was the OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 collection.*  That was 18 months ago, and people are still making them.  I would have sworn it was a three-week fad, but noooop.  My reaction to these was always “Eeuugh,” because I don’t want to feel like there’s lumpy crap on my nails.

Well… as you may or may not know, Dr. P chose almost everything in the recent Zoya haul.  She did a remarkable job.  I had asked for suggestions because I tend to choose similar colors over and over; as she put it, she didn’t know what those colors were, so she went with one of everything, hence the beautiful Zoya rainbow.

I am guessing she didn’t know that Zoya “PixieDust” means “textured.”  (Why on Kerbin would she?)  But I kind of figured, hey, if I’m ever going to try these, why not a beautiful Zoya at the behest of someone making helpful suggestions?

Hence, Zoya Destiny.

photo 5

Orangeycoral sort-of sparkles. Extra sparkles on pinky for… added effect..?

photo 1

Slightly more color-accurate, slightly less texture-accurate.

As predicted, I’m not at all crazy about the texture.  That said, it looks more interesting than I expected.  It looks like certain holiday ornaments,** in a way I certainly can’t capture on camera.

So, for an interesting visual effect, I can certainly see myself going back to it, although I wouldn’t describe myself as a convert.  I like the color a great deal, which undoubtedly affects my opinion!


*As well as having generally great formulas, OPI does lots of promotional collections.  I mean lots, ranging from Gwen Stefani to Bond movies to the Muppets.

**
Untitled

PWI twofer: Elevation Polish Alpine Heights and Sally Hansen Galaxy Green

I really enjoy painting my nails (you probably should have noticed that by now to bother going forward), but I often look at the huge pile of little bottles and go “Buh?” – especially on a Friday night after a long, stressful week.  So, annoyed, I did a “I am going to grab blindly and use whatever comes out.”

The universe is good at calling bluffs.  In this case, what came out was a glitter-and-flakie topper of the subtle sort.  I don’t think any number of coats would make this opaque.  I’m not sure the bottle is opaque.

So I poked around until I found something I should have tried before now, Elevation Polish Alpine Heights:

alph1

Indoor lighting.  Because I paint my nails at night.  Which is when I’m home.  (Okay, okay, sunlight pics below.)

It’s not the Platonic ideal green I’ve been looking for – too blackened and not saturated enough – but it’s a nice green!  Especially in sunlight.  This is three (thick) coats.  It’s thick but not gloopy or hard to control, which is strange.

Also, I think it makes an amazing base for Sally Hansen Galaxy Green.

gg

Green galaxies are hard to photograph.

gg2

The MONSTERRR photographs are a forlorn attempt to show off the sparklies.

The whole concept of “glittering” kind of entails motion, wouldn’t you say?  “The dragon’s hoarde glittered as we walked around it, admiring.”  Otherwise it just… shines, or something.  Bah.

Well anyway!  A mostly green/some gold topcoat with rare green flakes.  I think Green Galaxy is a great name for it; it looks very galactic, especially at night, although that’s super hard to capture.  Anyway, I was pretty pleased with the results of the random-grab approach.  I will probably try it again!

alph3

Bottle pic, so you can see what the universe threw at me for “I’ll use whatever I grab”.

 

PWI: Zoya Neely

I’m not having much luck photographing the Zoyas!  I don’t think it’s anything about them, or anything.  I think it’s a mediocre photographer, with a mediocre camera, in a hurry.  So these are blurry!  That said, the color comes through pretty well, I think.  (This is a creme, so there’s no interesting shimmer to get lost, or anything.)

Also present: Monet, the I-must-have-it glitter that caused the giant Zoya haul.  I think you can see color through it fine?  Plus it’s – sigh – the least blurry shot I have.

Zoya Neely:

best

In overcast daylight. With glitter. And blur. Maybe it’s an artistic choice! (it isn’t an artistic choice)

neely1

Much greener in direct sunlight.

I’m not sure about pastels on me generally.  It seems like it’s rarely a good thing.  That said, I think the grey undertones mute the green in a really good way, making it both more flattering on me and more sophisticated than a purer pastel green like Smush.  I think it has a lot going for it!  In some doses, anyway.  Although I actually think the grey is not so ideal for Monet; it might look good over purer colors.  We shall see!

Sorry this post is kind of lame.  Mr Fix-It is having one of his legendary headaches, so I’m distracted.  In penance, I offer the first of probably many shots of Reasons I Hate Leaving This Campus #3047: ducklings.

duck

First there was the duck with three ducklings, then the one with eight. Then the one with three again. Now
this lady has… eleven? Is she babysitting?  (And if that doesn’t cute you right out, I have videos.)

Duckliiiings.


Big holographic hexes!  Colors!  Orange and green and blue and purple!

blur

The only one that’s deliberately blurry.  See?  Colors!!

PWI twofer: Sinful Colors Unicorn

My delightfully analytical sister asked me yesterday if formulas were consistent across brands – for example, is OPI strictly better than Sinful Colors.  In my experience, mostly no?  Most of my SC colors, and most everything else from a major brand, have reasonable formulas (although OPI is the queen of formulation).  What IS consistent is formulas across colors.  Yellows are notoriously streaky, as are pastels.  Neons tend to be translucent, requiring white undies, and almost invariably dry matte or semi-matte; teals are stainers.  And so on.

So I’m not completely stunned that the pastel yellow Sinful Colors Unicorn

photo 2

Five coats.  Five.  And it’s still a streaky mess.  (Click for the full size if you don’t believe me.)  I have better things to do with my time.  Hobbies are, generally speaking, fun!  This is not fun.

…is a total loss.

So, okay, first of all, “five coats and not there yet” is unacceptable.  Among other things, the more coats I do, the more nail polish is going to end up on my cuticles.  (And hands.  And desk.  And, in one memorable incident, cat.)  I don’t do the traditional cleanup with acetone and a brush, because, 1, it’s smelly and a hassle, and, 2, errors are basically invisible when you’re not looking at macro shots.  So I can’t be arsed, I guess.  Second, I look weird and terrible in yellow; I have yet to find an exception to this.

Since this was already horrible, I decided to try something new-to-me.  A “jelly sandwich” is a thing where you alternate layers of a translucent polish and glitter, so that the glitter shows to varying degrees.  When done correctly, they can actually be really visually interesting.  So I poked around and decided on a yet-to-be-reviewed polish.*

photo 3

It looks worse in real life, strangely enough. I *cough* wonder if a nicer camera might fix that.  Which doesn’t matter because I am not getting one.

Not an improvement.  Unicorn is murky, not a true “jelly” (transparent, colored polish), so the glitters don’t glitter.  You can see on my middle finger (touching my thumb) where I tried to do multiple layers.  It just looks like polka dots, basically.

Unicorn, hall of shame!  Hall of shame, unicorn.  Have fun!


* Wet’n’Wild Caught on Sapphire, if you care. I didn’t really process how dumb that name is until I typed it out.

Jobs, and Zoya * many

As happens occasionally, I’m starting to lose it.  o_O  School, mostly.  I have a grad-student-life post, a followup-on-the-shiny post, and several PWIs to do.  I even mostly have pictures!  No verbiage, but pictures.  The good news (at least for me) is, I have a job!  It was my #2 choice while interviewing, but it was a strong choice – great school, interesting city, and (hooray!!) close to my family!  Also, my startup package* is extremely generous; basically, that tells me that they really are determined to see me succeed.

So basically:  WHEEEE, JERB!!!

Oof.  Okay.  Done.  For the moment. 😀

That does mean that I need to figure out moving to another city at about the same time as defending my thesis.  (Oh, and I should write that.  …yeah.)

But for tonight, I’ll just note that my Zoya sale haul** came.

nail polish bottles, in order by color

Codie, Jade, Kaufda, Destiny, Tanzy, Anne, Piaf, Neely, Apple, Shawn, Ray, Indigo, Mosheen, and Blu, plus Monet.
I am a wizard of chromatism and acetone.

Heeee!  Many little bottles!  Names are shown from left to right, with Monet (the topper that I had to have, which started this whole thing) in the middle.  Codie, Anne, and Ray (bold-faced) I didn’t choose, they were gift add-ons.

It did occur to me that Project Wear-It sort of depends on the basic assumption that I’m wearing polishes faster than I am buying them.  Usually I have no trouble convincing myself that that must be true, but… hm.


*Money the school commits to you for getting a new lab set up, buying robots, travel, and so on, until you have grant funding coming in.

**The much-touted “exchange” is, of course, basically just a sale, since they don’t actually care if you send polish back to them (although a tidy way of getting rid of nail polish is nice).  Also, Zoya’s big thing is that they are “5-free” (missing five scaaaary chemicals).  This annoys me mildly because only a few of those chemicals are even worth avoiding, but annoys me substantially because most polishes don’t contain these 5 things.  (Ingredient labels!)  So treating it as selling point is basically a version of this – it’s disingenuous scare-marketing.  For an extremely informative post on the topic, please see this post by Robyn at Brightest Bulb in the Box.  (And then also all her other posts.)

Shinyyy!!! …I mean. Review. Yes. That’s what I meant.

I got a request (I love requests!!) to opine on super-shiny nail wrap things.  As far as I can tell, there are 4 (maybe 3?) options:

  • Minx (the original).  Heat-shrink stickers, applied in a salon.  Lasts: a week or so.  Costs: $50+!  Aaaand we’re done.
  • Non-Minx heat-set nail wraps.  I’d have to try them to know what the hassle factor is (which is why I’ve already ordered them).  Costs: 19¢/nail.  Also, at least in pictures, 100% identical to…
  • These stickers.  These are probably less hassle than heat-shrink nails?  Costs (from this site now): 50¢/nail.  Also, what I’m about to review. 🙂
  • Push-n-Shove, with its concomitant babying and less-mirror finish.

Okay, first, let’s get this out of the way, because it’s going to distract me until we do:

photo 4
ohmigosh so shiny sooo shinyyy I am a cyborg from the future here to destroy you!†    *pant* *pant*  …ok. Done.

What.  As I’ve said before and will say again, I see nothing wrong with wanting to look like I’m from the future.

Okay!  Review time!  (This is gonna get long, so feel free to skip out.)

High Level

I love these.  Love.  They are mirror-shiny and futuristic, and they made Mr. Fix-It say “Wow.”††  They’re priced for special occasions, but that’s okay; sometimes there are special occasions.

That said, here are the nits and the picks.

What you get

Here’s the package, plus the remnants when I was done:

photo 5  photo

 I’m sorry these images are all mis-aligned and weird.  I’m still working on bending WordPress to my will.

So.  16 stickers.  I only needed to cut two to size (my index fingers were between sizes).  These are long and my nails are short, so I could probably have cut them in half lengthwise to get 2 applications; that said, if you decide to do that, do it before you pull them up and get finger grease all over the long ends.  Unlike me!  Which is why I only have 6 left that I could cut into useful shapes.

Application

They’re stickers.  You know how to use stickers.  So, pretty easy?  My hands are shaky – sleep dep, caffeine, rhinovirus, stress, you name it – so it took some time, maybe 20, 25 minutes at my usual slow-loris pace.  This involved a fair amount of carefully re-placing stickers until it looked right, which will affect longevity.

You have to cut off the extra length, which they suggest doing with teeny scissors.  After experimentation, I eventually settled on using scissors to get it close to the end of the nail, but nail clippers to cut the rest off.  They’re shaped for exactly this problem, it turns out!  I left a good 2-3 mm overhang, so there was a big chunk to poke out of my clippers with a toothpick, instead of tiny little pieces.

Still, no matter how careful I was, I ended up with wrinkling at the tips.  Nails bend lengthwise as well as widthwise (imagine putting a flat sticker on a globe), and the wrinkles caught on every little thing.  You can see it in that first picture above.  The instructions suggest stretching it to make it smooth, which makes the problem so much worse, why do you lie to me.

What eventually worked was cutting my nails to the quick when the sticker was already on.  If, like me, you trim your nails to nubbins semi-weekly, this is a good answer; otherwise, it is not.

So here’s the post-trim, no-snag version:

photo 2 photo 5

 same sad disclaimer 🙁 augh WordPress augh 🙁 dangit

Cleaner, tidier, much less prone to snags.. and still shiny enough to apply lipstick with. 😀

Longevity

Well.  I only put them on tonight?  So this review is probably a little premature.  (But I was so excited!)  So, I will post new updates with back-links, if it helps.

The instructions say to “trim the cuticle” and “buff your nails.”  This is two things you should never do!  Ever!  (Rant coming soon, probs.)  You’d probably have equal luck cleaning your nails with an alcohol wipe beforehand, anyway (without the “screwing with your body’s immune system” issue.)  Of course, I didn’t do either, leading to…

I’m a terrible person to ask about this.  Playing with nails is a soothing nightly ritual for me. I very rarely wait for peeling between changes (younger-me is having an amazing belly laugh right now).  I am enabled by peel-off base coat.  But with something specialty like this, I think “makes it til morning” and “makes it to the following night” are valid benchmarks.  I will keep you informed on status when I (gasp) don’t avoid things like washing my hair anddoing dishes.


† I am pretty sure future cyborg destroyers won’t say ohmigosh, if it helps.

†† YMMV, depending on spouse.

PWI twofer: Sinful Colors Citrine and Sally Hansen Pixel Perfect

I haven’t much wanted to paint my nails lately.  Which is a bit alarming, since I normally paint my nails at the pace of a slow loris asked to clean the toilet, generally while reading web comics.  It’s not a lot of effort, is what I’m getting at.  I certainly haven’t much wanted to blog – writing things that people see is exhausting.*  (For some reason I had the energy to bash things out with WordPress?  I dunno.)  I can tell I’m feeling better today, since I actually did want to both paint and blog.  But I am starting up slowly, using pictures from early this week when I was just coming down with the plague.

Behold: Sinful Colors Citrine and Sally Hansen Pixel Perfect:

photo 3 photo 4

Indirect daylight; direct sunlight.  My notes
on this just say “Ornj.”  Fair enough!

I took a few shots of Citrine alone, but it was in indoor lighting and my camera kinda bugged out.  I think you get the idea: it’s a very bright, tomato-ey orange, pushing orange-red.  Nice application, two coats.

The glitter† topper has an interesting backstory.  One of the early (ish?) indie polish-makers was Lynnderella (again, mostly glitter mixes).  Too expensive for my tastes, although some of her mixes are tempting.  She got a lot of internet commotion for her black and white nail polish Connect The Dots (swatched here by Posh Polish).  And to be fair, it was super unique!  But, being super unique, it got so much attention that it quickly collected a huge number of dupes and near-dupes.  This Sally Hansen polish is only one of many iterations.  (And  she eventually got involved in internet drama and blah blah, so you see it around less now.)

I like it!  The white keeps it from looking like tiny bugs, even at arm’s length.  Next time I’ll use more coats, though.


* Yeah, YOU think I’m whiny?  Talk to Mr. Fix-It.  When sick, he prefers to crawl into a hole and die alone.  I, however, turn into Ms. Whinypants McSnerksalot, announcing at random intervals how awful I feel and expecting people to make sympathetic noises.  We’ve slowly worked out a system: I do my best to leave him alone when he’s sick, even though I want to fuss, and he mostly doesn’t murder me mid-whine.**

** Okay, he takes excellent care of me. He is a better person.

† It kind of bugs me to describe non-sparkly stuff like this as glitter.  I mean, what does the adjective “glittery” mean to you?  But I don’t have a better word.  People occasionally say “matte glitter,” which I guess will do.  …feh.

Welcome to Cats Nails Robots on WordPress!

Lookit, I done moved this here blog!  I’m still working on the looks; it’s a little embarrassing to have construction dust around, but ah well.  The more I published on my old site, the more of a hassle migrating was going to be, so I’m biting the bullet.  So, here’s why!

#1. Google (through blogger/blogspot) is, anecdotally, prone to casually deleting all your stuff if they decide you’ve violated the terms of service. 

(I mean yes it’s just a silly little blog, but I created that content for a reason.)  And speaking of terms of service, get this:

#2. “When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

(Just a silly little blog, but..!  MY content!)

But the absolute, most important deal-breaker:

#0. Privacy.

Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish, privacy-wise.

  • Obviously, if you know me, then reading this makes it crystal clear who I am. I’m not trying to change that.
  • But!  If you know me IRL – say, from work – I would like it not to be trivial to Google me and find this page.  (That’s why I’m not naming schools I’m interviewing at, for example; too easy to set up a Google alert for your own school.)  This page is for different people.

Meanwhile, Google has a strong preference to link everything you do on the web to everything else.  The whole “Permanently link Gmail to your YouTube account” thing made people really mad.  For excellent reasons!  People use different services in different ways, and Google’s determination to make “anything you can do on the web” into a monolithic, real-world-linked entity is appalling.

WordPress is, comparatively, a hassle.  But it’s worth it for me to maintain some damn control over my content and identity.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled posts!  Meanwhile, here’s how Gossamer felt about moving.

Cat with tongue sticking out

My own feelings are considerably more negative.

Life decisions, jobs, robots, sickness, … just stuff is what I’m sayin’

I’ve been spending a truly inordinate amount of time getting the Parallel-Universe-O-Blog (wordpress) set up.  Mostly it’s hard to make it meet my aesthetic standards?  I mean so was this, but I had no audience when I started, so I could take arbitrarily long (and I did!).

Also, Mr. Fix-It is getting over a horrible cold.  Being the loving spouse he is, he shared!  He’s recovering now, but I’m sick as a dog.  A sick dog.

All of which is to say: I meant to make you a cookie but I eated it blog post?  Instead, for reasons that are a mystery to me, I made a picture of the Vitruvian Man doing cartwheels.

collex

whee! …I have a fever. Shut up.

So… yeah.  There’s nail polish and new posts and new site and, oh, my future to be decided tomorrow.  But for now, I give you cartwheels!

…what.  Cartwheels are awesome.

 

 

PWI Twofer: Julep Cassie and Sally Hansen Sparkling

Julep… Oh man.  Let’s talk about Julep.

For one thing, their polishes were originally mostly/only available in a beauty subscription box, which is a thing that mostly means “overpriced and mediocre” but whatever we can talk about it later.  Which, fine.  Don’t care, you can get them elsewhere now.  But even so… they are so expensive per actual nail painting!  I mean I know I said I don’t really care about price/oz but I do not like to be insulted.

But I wanted to be objectively fair, so, inspired by my favorite beauty blog and/or my actual background as a researcher,  I did some data analysis, based on: (1) what was within arms’ reach, plus (2): what prices I roughly remembered paying and/or Google suggested ish.

 
Brand $USD ml $/ml
Sinful Colors 2 15 $0.13
Pure Ice 2 15 $0.13
Sally Hansen Xtreme 2.5 15 $0.17
Wet’n’Wild Shine 2.2 12.7 $0.17
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails 2.5 13.3 $0.19
Urban Outfitters 5 15 $0.33
Rimmel London 60 second 3 8 $0.37
Rimmel London lasting finish pro 5 13.3 $0.38
Orly 8 18 $0.44
Sally Hansen Triple Shine 5 10 $0.50
O•P•I 8.5 15 $0.57
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri 6 9.2 $0.65
Revlon 6 8 $0.75
Julep 14 8 $1.75
 Sorted by $USD/ml.  Also, “formatting” this table makes
me feel better about the impending move to wordpress.

So yeah: Julep is officially insane.  They have sales all the time, but, but… I mean come on.  Julep I can do basic math!  Surprisingly many adults can do basic math.  Plus your stupid long skinny bottle gets knocked over easily.  But then my friend N came over with her enormous collection of Julep polishes, two of which she insisted looked better on me.  So now I have some Julep nail polish after all.  Ehn.

Julep Cassie:

polished fingernails

Indoors. Blurry but faaiirrlly color-accurate?

I actually liked the color, both indoors and out; I rarely wear pink, but this is a warm-toned and (IMO) atypically sophisticated variant.  The formula was somewhat sheer… this is three thick coats, and it could probably have used another but I ran out of patience.  Of course, the next morning I got interested in…

Sally Hansen Sparkling:

photo 2

Pink glitter! With a Cassie accent nail, just so you can see it in (overcast) daylight.

I think they work together really well, actually.  I was really pleased with the effect.