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Plum Gold PWIs

Have you noticed the longest posts are ones where I whine about having nothing to say?  I’m going to try to back off on that.  Not that I feel like whining today: it’ll be a while before the high wears off.  A long while.

News from last night’s celebratory/goodbye dinner: brioche donuts are amazing and should probably be illegal for the public good.  (Or, at least, my good.)

This is two colors from Sinful Colors’ current limited-edition releases, which I guess are for fall?  Both have been in LEs before, so I may actually have one of them somewhere.  In a box.

Sinful Colors 24 Karat:

gold

Gold!..ish yellow.  With plenty of visible nail tip.  You can see clearly how nubby my nails are without the free edge; comes of chopping them down so violently all the time (or so I’ve heard, maybe it’s actually genetic).

This is a very pretty, IMO very classy, very sheer yellow gold.  This is… maybe 4-5 coats?  Too many, and you can still see the nail, which for this color is fine with me.  I like it this way, but it’s clearly meant to add a gold sheen over something else.  However, I went the opposite direction, adding French tips with…

Sinful Colors Fig:

plumgold

With bonus fig-colored cuticles!  This is probably the longest my nails have been in years, because I’ve been writing instead of robot-ing for the last couple of months.  Poor robots.

This was made possible with nail art brushes (Thank you, Mama T!!).  I still got Fig all over myself, but I’m getting there.

I really like this, you guys!  I like both colors and the combo, I like the French tips, I don’t even particularly want to frantically hack off my weirdly-long nails yet.  Neat!

PWI: Born Pretty Holo Polish, plus adornments!

Quarter’s drawing to a close.  Good riddance.  I’ve finally piloted my user study on the robot (thanks MK!).  It still needs work but in most ways it’s pretty deployable.  I really need to figure out why the robot’s verbal responses are delayed almost 3 seconds; that part’s just not working.

Stupid robots.

Anyway!  I have been painting my nails, just not blogging as much.  Just busy.  Well, and also Tachyon discovered that if I play console games instead of sitting at my computer, I make a really comfortable lap:

cat

I mean… what am I supposed to do?  I’m no monster.

So that’s been something of a showstopper.  Yeah, my life is hard.

Anyway, I got nail-mail yesterday from the Born Pretty store, a source of cheap stuff that’s based out of Singapore.  (My last two packages had customs labels describing them as “cell phone case” and “electronics misc,” so that’s definitely legal.)  Shipping to the US is free.  All of this means it takes arbitrary amounts of time to arrive.  I basically place an order and forget about it, and whenever it shows up it’s a nice surprise.*

If you’re anything like me, when presented with new toys, you have to try them out right noooww.  This is how I came to be sporting Born Pretty Holo Polish:

rb

It’s magically delicious.

This is a “linear holo,” meaning the holographic excellence shows up along lines defined by the curve of the nail, rather than being randomly spangled about.  I am very excited about future polish!

Unfortunately, the above is about the best holographic presentation I got.  It was taken in the weird cold fluorescent elevator of my 100-year-old apartment complex.  Below is what it mostly looked like in practice.

gray

Gray’s a color.

It was still interesting.  Also, this is a rather low-end holo polish;** I may step it up to an expensive one.

In the meantime, since I still had new things to play with and less-than-exciting nails, I promptly bunged on a ton of stuff.  Behold: stuff.

ad6

Indirect (and failing) sunlight.  This is the closest I came to getting things in focus.  I choose to believe that this is not my camera’s way of opining on the tackiness of just slapping everything on together.

Left to right:

  1. Silver… errr… crown? sort of? stickers.  They were fine, they stayed on, I’ll use more.
  2. Silver rhinestones.  Also fine.  I got to use my new teeny-thing-picker-upper tool!
  3. A black-and-clear 3D sticker.  Iffy.  It tore when I tweezed it off the backing, and subsequently came off the nail in blobs.
  4. Water decal of some generic part of a clock.  If you haven’t built models of aircraft or tanks or (in my case) giant space robots, you probably didn’t know that water decals are the devil.  But I was prepared for it, and I love the designs on this sheet.

Then a bunch of stuff fell off.  But hey, toys!  TOYS.  Expect rather more… er… reasoned adornment pix in the near future.


* Actually this is how I cope with almost all shipped goods.  We order so much stuff from Amazon that we get several packages a week… so why track?  Mr. Fix-It will ask me what’s in an incoming box, and I’m all, “Clothes?  Toiletries?  Electronics?  Cats?”

** Actually, at $7/6ml on sale <!!>, it kind of isn’t!  Should have read the description more closely.  But there are companies who specialize in this nonsense and may produce shinier holographics.

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 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: 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.

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 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.

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.

Yipes! Stripes! …and some rough news.

So I was talking to Super Woman a few days ago, and at some point asked her, “Hey, what color should I paint my nails?”

To which she responded, enthusiastically, “Blue with black stripes!!”

Er.  Well… I do have striping tape, which is basically the world’s thinnest masking tape.  (Well, it’s mylar.)  I’ve tried to use it a handful of times, with no success.  But this time I had a Directive, by god.

This is my fourth and final attempt:

Blue!  With black stripes.
Bonus thumbs! …look, it’s hard taking pictures of your own hands.

And I think I got it working!

This is not the shade of blue I was planning to use.  What I’ve read about striping tape is that you need to pull it off when the polish is either really wet or really, really dry; I found that only “really wet” worked, possibly because I had so many layers of polish going on.  Basically I found that I needed something that could be opaque over black in a single not-too-thick layer, and what I found was Physicians Formula Trendsetter Chic #2.  Most of my other blues needed either multiple layers or white undies.*

This is layered over Sinful Colors Black on Black.  I refuse to do a PWI.  It’s… it’s black.  It looks black?  But it IS a one-coater.

So yeah!  I dunno if I nailed it exactly?  But I made stripes, by gum!

In other, lamer news, Interview #3 (nickname: Dream Job) has made an offer to someone else, which he is planning to take.  I haven’t officially been told “no” yet – I have a phone call tomorrow – but right now, smart money’s on “SIGH”.  I have officially set aside time to sulk.


* Yes, this is a nail jargon term…

PWI: RED. (By which I mean OPI Red, plus threefer Jane Megawatt and Pure Ice Bare It All, but whatever. RED)

Soooo, two things about red nail polish!

1. One is always looking for the perfect, flattering, amazing red polish. (And lipstick!)
2. People* are Concerned that red polish may make one look Fast, and, perhaps, Loose.**

That said, one of my oldest polish acquisitions is…

OPI Red.

Red.  This shot makes it look pinkish maybe?  But it’s so primary,
unapologetically red. Maybe a hair blue leaning?  It’s not 3-free
or 5-free or vegan or whatever, and I know there’s a newer version
that is, but this is my canonical and beloved Fast Lady red.

There’s a new post-reformulation red.  I feel like I ought to try it, I guess.  Because I am not completely happy with my existing, classic, vampy, and hot red.

Anyway!  There are only about 4, 5 “nail art” things I’d be interested in?  The simple ones!  So I am interested in the “glitter gradient.”  Basically, you take a glitter polish with medium-to-bad coverage, and paint it in receding layers, so a gradient comes out.  Which is my thing!

The glitter is two things: JANE Megawatt – which is the solid glitter on my index finger – and Pure Ice Bare It All.  They are identical.  Weirdly so – they are both gold glitter with random copper glits.  The PI BiA has thicker coverage, so that’s a difference, the only one.  I’ma get rid of one, probably the Pure Ice, because it’s less usable for gradients.

My index finger is the Pure Ice.  Less gradient-y but otherwise identical.

But anyway: RED.


* To a certain Type of Person, don’t you know.  (The kind that sits on hiring committees.)
** …why? Red? It’s a color? I don’t… even…
Yeah, no, I really am.

Steampunk R2-D2!

Okay, confession time: I really do love steampunk.  Not for any good reason, it just tickles my aesthetic bone.  A lot!  Despite the fact that one of the best definitions I’ve ever seen is “when goths discovered brown” (Jess Nevins).  What can I say?  I want to replace all my light switches with teeny double-throw knife switches.  (Fake ones, because knife switches were always a terrible idea.)

So you can imagine how this little dude from artist amoebabloke hit me.

eeeeeeeeeee you are so cute
(source: amoebabloke’s deviant art page)

He’s quite small – from shots with tools in the background, I make him about 2″/5cm diameter.  And, sadly, nonactuated.  This distressed me until I found… this guy!


He’s not quite as pretty, but he’s actuated and he’s lovely.

Thank you, internet, for giving people a reason to do these things and a way to share them with us.  This is as it should be. ♥