EPISODE I: SPEED OF LIGHT

So, if my calculations are correct, we are exactly six weeks out from the new Star Wars movie. Apparently there has been an awakening. I have felt it.

Seriously though, I’m more excited about this movie than I’ve been for just about any movie in the past few years. Avengers who, amirite? (Unless you’re the Marvel Studios executives, who I’m sure are reading my little blog, in which case oh my god I love you I love you can I have a cameo in Infinity War???)

Shameless plug in the hopes of getting into your good graces.
Shameless plug in the hopes of getting into your good graces.

Anyway, because few things are as important to me as this movie, I obviously had no choice but to buy the entire Cover Girl line of Star Wars-inspired nail polish. It was a business expense, of course, and I’m sure I’ll file it that way on my tax returns (that was a lie). I’ll be posting a review of each of the six Star Wars shades every week until the week of December 18, a.k.a. the day we’ll be telling our grandchildren about when they watch Star Wars and we describe the hardships of having to actually, you know, drive all the way to the IMAX theater instead of having the movies beamed directly into our brains.

So, we begin, a long time ago (or last night) in a galaxy far far away (or at my kitchen table) with…

star wars episode 1 crawl

P.S. I found the coolest website in the world, the Star Wars Crawl Creator, which is how I made all of these kickass crawl pictures. Check it out sometime. Put it in your work presentations. Your bosses will thank you.

Let’s start by going over the Star Wars collection as a whole. It’s nice, I suppose. I mean, it’s fine. It’s CoverGirl nail polish, which typically isn’t my thing when I’d usually go for an OPI, Essie, Julep, or Indie of some sort.

But anyway, I had to get my hands on some of the collection, and that began with Speed of Light, a tan-ish, green-ish, grey-ish high gloss polish.


I only say green-ish because that’s how it looks in the pictures; it’s really more of the blandest grey you can imagine.

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It even matched my bedspread.

I can’t even think of good things to say about this color. I could definitely get away with wearing it to work, I guess? But really, my biggest problem is that the name is so misleading – absolutely nothing about this color reminds me of the speed of light. Even less about it reminds me of Star Wars, or does anything to increase my excitement for The Force Awakens.

Maybe it’s the color of the Millennium Falcon on a bad day, but even that’s pushing it.

There are also about 10,000,000 comments on the Cover Girl Website about how the bottles don’t have the Star Wars logo on them despite the website showing it in their pictures, but I would have forgiven that oversight if it were even a little bit more interesting of a color.

Verdict: Speed of Light might as well be bantha fodder.

Tune in next week for more reviews, and may the Force be with you.

Mary

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Hello, Daddy. Hello, Mom.

I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch….CHERRY BOMB!

And more importantly:

mushu i live

Wow, what a month. I’ve officially survived the sleepless nights, hard deadlines, and crazy stress that came with my first product launch at work, and I hopefully escaped with some of my sanity intact. But, for obvious reasons, I haven’t had the time I would have liked to devote to this blog. For that, dear readers, I apologize.

Anyway, I’ve had a minor obsession with the song “Cherry Bomb” ever since I saw the Great Planning Montage in Guardians of the Galaxy, which remains one of the best movies I’ve seen in many years. I don’t like to brag, but I can recite every single line of dialogue that Groot says through the whole film.

i-am-groot

And of course I’ve loved Joan Jett ever since I was a little girl and my dad let me listen to his Hit Ladies of the 1980s cassette tape whenever we were in the car. That tape introduced me to some of my favorite music of all time, including hits from the Bangles, the Go Gos, Tina Turner, and even Pat Benatar, whose songs I continue to sing on the karaoke stage to this day (no, seriously, I won my matchup in competitive karaoke when I sang “Heartbreaker” as Miss Piggy lamenting the end of her relationship with Kermit. Don’t you mess around with moi). So hearing some of Joan Jett’s earlier work in the form of a Runaways track, during a superhero movie no less, was a particularly wonderful moment for me.

Now that the weather is getting colder, I’ve decided to shelve my bright nail polish colors for…a certain amount of time. I can’t promise it’ll be all fall and winter, because come on, I’ve got neons and I’m not afraid to use them, but for now, let’s see what I can do with the earth tones, jewel tones, and deeper colors that always accompany this particular change of seasons.

I follow OPI on YouTube, to the surprise of no one, and I recently came across a tutorial for some deeply vampy nails that I couldn’t help but fall (season pun?) in love with. I even bought these three particular colors (not a wise move, but I’ve recently been told that I can call it a business investment due to the blog, and I’m completely ok with that) so that I could try and replicate the tutorial exactly. Here’s the instruction video, for reference:

Oh, and I forgot to mention: the style in question is called CHERRY BOMB. How unbelievably perfect.

If you’re too lazy to watch the video, the colors in question are:

Side Note: How does OPI even come up with these names? I get that they’re Venice-inspired (let’s pause for a moment while this Italian-on-her-mom’s-side girl swoons a little bit), but the names don’t seem to have much to do with the colors. Oh well. The colors are gorgeous anyway.

I began, as instructed, with two thin coats of Amore at the Grand Canal. I couldn’t help but compare it to Julep Ellen and Julep January, which are usually my go-to reds. I also couldn’t help but lament the fact that I was painting my nails red. I hate it when I do that. I’ll post funny pictures of my red-stained nails when it’s time to take this off.

Then I pulled out my makeup sponges. I’ve had…less than stellar luck with makeup sponges in nail art before, but that’s because I’ve always used them to do gradients and I can’t seem to get the hang of it (dear readers: if anyone here can do a decent gradient, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS). I started as they suggested by slowly dabbing My Gondola or Yours about halfway up my nail, and then I finished with the purple.

Yes, if you were paying attention, I did it BACKWARDS. I blame how tired I am, because…wow. It did not look good, and I took it off before I took any pictures because I was too upset with the final results. Since the polish was still half wet when I attacked it with my cotton balls, and since Amore at the Grand Canal is such a deep red, and since red stains like no other, I looked like I had just returned from committing a bloody murder.

I stomped my feet in frustration and then tried again the next day.

As instructed, I began with two coats of Amore at the Grand Canal, and desperately prayed it would behave itself this time.

Then, I used my sponge and dabbed on two layers of O Suzi Mio, the purple, and I did it before the black color. Freaking finally.

And I finished with a little bit of My Gondola or Yours?


Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with it until I put on a shiny top coat, but then I found that it looks PHENOMENAL if you do it right (and please note that I did it passably, not right!). My roommate Liz said that the mix-up wasn’t even that bad in a Halloween sense, but wow, this is the first ombre I’ve ever done, and I feel like I’ve gone through a Nail Artist’s Rite of Passage. Now I just need to, oh, I don’t know, figure out my perfect nude, work out how on earth to use stamping plates, and get over my fear of the striping tape that’s been gathering dust in my collection for months now.

I’ll post again soon,

Mary

The only people who haven’t seen Star Wars…

What can I even begin to say about Star Wars? These movies have been some of my favorites for as long as I can remember – some of my fondest childhood memories are watching the first halves of all three Original Trilogy movies before I fell asleep. Actually, I’m not entirely sure if I ever saw the end of a Star Wars movie until I was about six or seven and old enough to stay awake through the whole thing.

I remember having male friends in kindergarten, despite the fact that boys had cooties, simply because they needed a female to play Princess Leia on the playground and I was more than happy to step into that role. My first “boyfriend” played Han Solo as we chased each other over the jungle gym shooting imaginary blasters at our enemies. In the late 90s and early 2000s, I eagerly queued up in front of the movie theater with my dad in order to see and be disappointed by the Star Wars prequels. In fact, a discussion I had with a very terrifying 8th Grade English teacher about the pros and cons of Revenge of the Sith was the first time I realized that scary teachers didn’t have to be so scary.

This brings me to a few years later, and an episode of How I Met Your Mother:

the only people who haven't seen star wars

Apparently my friend Helena (yep, she’s the one who writes the kickass newsletter that I wrote about before) lived them. She lived the Star Wars.

We’ve been having this conversation for about the last ten years we’ve known each other. We’ve known each other for eleven years. And I’ve always thought it woefully sad that my best friend, who I always consider so up to date on pop culture (again, read the newsletter), has never seen what I think is one of the most genre-defining epics in cinema.

There was only one way to fix this, and that involved Trilling It Up (a.k.a. watching the entire Original Trilogy in one sitting with plenty of snacks). I ordered the DVDs especially for the occasion, and also because there was no way I was going to live the rest of my life without owning these DVDs in case other such emergencies should arise.

helena with star wars
Here, Helena majestically poses with the DVDs in anticipation.

This also fit well into my 2015 Summer Challenge – I was required to spend an entire day watching old movies, and by “old” I count anything that was released in cinemas before I was born. I know, I know, I’m young. Or at least that’s what the people at work keep telling me.

The manicure I did for the occasion wasn’t particularly complex, and definitely didn’t involve trying to draw the symbol of the Rebel Alliance (I’m good, but I’m not that good). Instead, I went with some basic Space Nails (that’s Sinful Colors’ Black on Black with my China Glaze Fairy Dust and some Hard Candy Black Tie Optional on top to make the stars) on my index and little fingers…

So glittery!
So glittery!

And then a bright blue (Julep Alyssa) and a bright green (Julep Sam) on the ring and middle fingers for some Jedi lightsaber action. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I think that, should my Force powers ever awaken (yes, that was a reference to the new movie that’s coming out in December OH MY GOD OH MY GOD – I’ll definitely do a different Star Wars manicure when the time comes!), I would almost definitely have to have a blue lightsaber. It’s not even a question.

star wars nails 2

My thumbs received a coat of red, Julep Ellen, because there are two sides to the Force, and the Sith had to be represented here somehow. I mean, they’re the main villains and all. And of course they had to be red; if you’ve read previous posts, you know how much I hate red nail polish and wish it didn’t stain my fingers every time. And it smudged too. That’s just typical for those pesky Sith Lords.

star wars nails 1

And now, a review from the great Helena about what she thought of her first foray into a Galaxy Far Far Away:

Luke Skywalker has the hots for his sister.

But on a more serious note, I really liked Star Wars and I’m glad that I no longer just have a vague understanding of it.

I can live with that.

May the Force be with you, always,

Mary

MERCURY BUBBLES BLAST!

Nail polish can mean so many things to me. It’s how I de-stress when I’ve had a long day, and I’ve even read about the meditative effects of stopping everything in your life and focusing on the one task of polishing your nails perfectly when you need an extra boost of relaxation or creativity. It’s how I get to show off my fun side when I have to dress in pencil skirts more often than I don’t have to dress in pencil skirts. And, lately, it’s how I’ve been connecting to friends and family old and new both through this blog and through my various other nail-polish related social media.

So anyway, about the Mercury Bubbles. Sailor Moon, and more importantly Sailor Mercury, and I have had a long and complicated relationship in the past, and by that I mean I adored the show in the fourth and fifth grades, promptly forgot about it until college, and then remembered its hilarious combination of awfulness and wonderfulness when I used it to bond with my hallmates in my dorm.

In preparation for an ocean-themed party, here is my best friend Bri in the middle as Sailor Moon. I was dressed as Ophelia, because of course the English major dressed as Ophelia.
In preparation for an ocean-themed party, here is my best friend Bri in the middle as Sailor Moon. I was dressed as Ophelia, because of course the English major dressed as Ophelia.

If you’ve read anything on this blog (and if you have, which means you’re one of my dozen or so readers, I can’t thank you enough!) you’ll know that my favorite color is blue. Additionally, I always found myself relating more to the brainy or nerdy characters in my favorite TV shows, mostly because growing up a geek sort of leads to that inevitable conclusion. So when the hallway-wide Pajamas-and-Sailor-Moon parties began, I immediately declared that my favorite character was Ami Mizuno, better known as Sailor Mercury.

In fact, it even got to the point where my one friend gave me a poorly (sorry, Lynda) photoshopped picture of some of us as the Sailor Scouts for my birthday that year.

Im on the left.
I’m on the left.

And even to this day, Sailor Moon is bringing old and new friends together. I’m still in touch with all the girls in the pictures above, and I’ll be a bridesmaid in Sailor Moon’s wedding this fall (sorry, it’s not Sailor Scout-themed). More importantly, I’ve connected more with my cousin over Facebook and through this blog, and she was kind enough to send me some pretty spectacular nail polish when she figured out my love of Sailor Mercury.

Icy Rhapsody - Sailor Mercury Inspired Indie Nail Polish - 15 ml
Pictured: Not my nails. This is the official image from the Etsy shop.

The color is a Mercury-inspired silvery-blue called “Icy Rhapsody,” probably because of Mercury’s Freeze attack (which I accomplished in elementary school games of dress-up by throwing blue beanbags at my opponents). You can find the color on Etsy at this link. The shop is called Yume Lacquer, and I’m so excited to mention them here as they’re my first official Indie polishes! Yep, I’m a full-blown lacquerista now. Or at least I’ll pretend I am.

Here’s how the color looks on me. I’m absolutely in love with it.


I think it’s a great color both for lying by the pool in August and for making my nails sparkle in January, and I can’t thank my cousin enough (she also got me a Final Fantasy color from Yume Lacquer and some Doctor Who-themed perfumes from Fresh&Geeky, which I’ve been wearing daily because, come on, one of them is called Petrichor). It’s a great way to show my Mercury love, and to represent how Sailor Moon has helped me bond with so many amazing people.

Mercury Power,

Mary

Monday Mad Max and Mixed Metals

Wow, I’m so proud of myself for that alliterative title I can’t even tell you.

I’ll tell you this: starting a blog a few weeks before starting a new job is definitely not something I would recommend. I’ve been loving both of them, but it’s so hard to keep to a regular posting schedule when I could be called to the client site at any point and when I sometimes have to give presentations at top secret government facilities (and that last part is almost true!).

But anyway, you’re not here for apologies, and neither is Max Rockatansky. More importantly, neither is Imperator Furiosa, whose name I always picture as being said by Emma Watson (It’s Furi-oh-sa, not Furio-sah!).

Their movie, Mad Max: Fury Road, was the inspiration for today’s metallic manicure.

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I started with the silver chrome,  the pretty holographic Julep Angie, because what else does a War Boy do when he knows he’s about to enter Valhalla (hint: it involves silver spray paint)? These nails live, die, and live again indeed.

I followed it with a metallic gold, Julep Savoy, that I got this past winter in a Julep box. I want to say I’ve used it for a Christmas manicure before. Now, it reminds me of the metal on the cars, and in Furiosa’s prosthetic arm. I’m also loving the mixed-metal look, which I love to incorporate into my jewelry on an almost daily basis (more on that in a second).

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The finishing touch was something I didn’t know would work, but I’m in love with the results. I dotted on a thin line of black polish, Julep Ledi, and then drew my brush across the dots to connect them in an uneven way. If Furiosa could unevenly brush motor oil over her head in order to make herself look a little more fierce, the last thing I wanted for this was a well-defined line. I’m willing to say my hands look almost as badass as Furiosa herself.

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As for the movie? I loved it. It was basically one giant car chase, full of explosions and sandstorms and gender politics and emotions and pretty much everything else I adore in a movie. I’d love to go see it again, even though Jurassic World took priority this past weekend. I won’t go into much further detail, partly to avoid spoilers but mostly because everything that can be said about this movie has already been said by much better writers, and I encourage you to check out what they have to say.

I would also like to add one more piece of metal onto this post – I’ve started a subscription to Rocksbox, and it’s been a blast! My favorite new piece is this triangular gold necklace from my first box – I wore it when giving the aforementioned top secret presentation, and I definitely felt more put-together. And hey, let’s give it up for daily mixed metals: I wore it with a silver Tiffany’s bracelet that I wear daily and felt like I could conquer the world…or at least Immortan Joe’s citadel.

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Have a lovely day,

Mary

We can’t always be as cool as the Avengers…

So today, my nails are bedecked in one of my favorite spring/summer polishes, Essie’s Bikini So Teeny. The way they describe it is “Cornflower Blue,” which always makes me think of a line from Fight Club:

It must’ve been Tuesday. He was wearing his cornflower-blue tie.

Bikini So Teeny
Let’s just ignore the fact that it’s a Monday.

BUT NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT THE AVENGERS!

Overall, I thought it was…pretty good! It wasn’t as good as the first one, but few sequels are (a notable exception is one of my Two Very Favorite Movies of All Time, which I’ll talk about later). I’d rank it about in the middle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – better movies include the original Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Worse movies include The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor: The Dark World.

The action scenes though? If you’re in a movie theater to see something with explosions, robots, magic, and flying people (as I often am), you will not be disappointed. The fight choreography was just phenomenal, and the scenes that they teased with the Hulkbuster were pretty much everything I had hoped for in my wildest superhero dreams.

I won’t spoil too much more of what happened, but the new characters and the character development they brought in made me so happy too, despite the changes to the canon. The character that surprised me the most, though, was Hawkeye. I had read a study a few years back where they determined that Jeremy Renner’s character had only had 12 minutes of screen time in the first Avengers movie. Let me tell you, they more than made up for that one in Age of Ultron. He completely stole the show.

The only thing that kind of got me down? The villain, Ultron, started out warped from Day One. He just kind of…appeared. And BOOM, he was evil, despite having been created for “world peace” or something. I didn’t quite get the whole logic behind his destroy-the-world plan – usually you know something more of the villain’s motivation than “puppets.” I might have gotten caught up in the action of it all, and the character development, and the way that they tried to ramp everything up from movie one with mixed-to-positive results, and therefore I might have missed something important about his character or motivations…but still, Ultron rubbed me the wrong way.

Either way, though – Avengers: Age of Ultron is a part of the MCU, and it’s better than many of them. I’m probably going to see it again. And again. And again.