Transformation Tuesday!

Oy. That’s a trend I’ve never gotten behind on Instagram. Nobody particularly wants to see pictures of me with my glasses and braces in the early days of high school, followed by a picture of how gorgeous I look now (that was sarcasm). I would like to reassert that I’m still a dork. Or a geek, if you prefer to call me that, and/or if you’d like to talk about Star Wars with me.

I do look cute in this picture though, so I’ll throw it in. If you’ve seen my face elsewhere on the blog, you can use it for comparison. But that’s not the point.

picture of me at age 2

The actual point is that, because I’m an addict who can’t help herself, I jumped on the Julep promotional train and ordered a few extra not-in-the-monthly-box colors just so that I could take advantage of the free Metamorphic Trio. There’s a pink (Tyra), a green (Tilda), and a blue (Bjork) transforming top coat, and I was determined to try all three of them.

These top coats could create about a billion looks, but I decided if I was going to do a true Transformation Tuesday, I’d have to really transform – I needed to start out with a color that I wear only rarely, a color that’s the opposite of my oh-so-beloved blue, a color that invites the fashion doll comparisons that I so desperately avoid…

Yeah, it’s pink. I decided to try out Tyra.

To start, I’m still not sure if these colors look better over similar shades (Bjork over blue, for example), or different shades (Tilda over blue or purple, for example). The promo email  suggested that the top coats should be used over bases that were at least in the same color family…

Photo belongs to Julep, not me. I took it from one of their promotional emails.
Photo belongs to Julep, not me. I took it from one of their promotional emails.

 …so, okay Julep, I defer to your expertise.

While I’ve still got some summer sun going outside, I decided to bring back an earlier favorite from my China Glaze Electric Nights collection: Glow with the Flow. It’s the brightest pink I own, and since I’ve recently gone through a total reorganization of my nail polish (more on that later) it was easy to pick out from the pastels.

Here’s what Glow with the Flow looks like on its own. I used three coats for maximum brightness.

glow 1

glow 2

And then…the pièce de résistance…the mighty morphing (coughPowerRangerscough) Tyra Top Coat!

tyra 1

tyra 2

I…I guess it made it shinier? And it added a vague light pink shimmer? Overall, I’m not impressed. Maybe I should have gone with a darker red or magenta instead of a bright pink in order to truly transform the color – I think my choices were a little too similar here. I’ll post some other transformations (should I put air quotes around that?) on some other days and let you know whether I think the Metamorphic Top Coat Trio is really worth it or if it’s something I’m glad I got as a free gift.

In the meantime, I guess I’m wearing fluorescent pink nails at work today, so that should be pretty funny if nothing else.

Take care,

Mary

Advertisements

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

Monday Macabre Masquerade

Wow, there is something about Mondays and M-named manicures that I just can’t resist. Maybe it’s that M is my favorite letter, for obvious reasons.

This post features something entirely new: The Roommate’s nails! This past Saturday, The Roommate came over to me while I was sitting on the couch and watching the recently-added-to-Netflix season of Doctor Who, placed her hand on the coffee table in front of me, and said “Hey, do my nails.”

(I think she was actually a little nicer about it, but the story’s funnier this way.)

I inquired as to the occasion for the nails, and she informed me that she had been invited to a friend’s going-away party, which was themed as, you guessed it, a Macabre Masquerade. I know, The Roommate has awesome friends.

First, she made sure to dress accordingly…

katie macabre 1
My friends are gorgeous.

And then I asked her to pick out the colors of nail polish that she’d like me to use on her. She ransacked my collection and returned to me with Julep Lilian and Julep Ellen. When I asked what she wanted me to do with them, she looked me straight in the eyes and said one thing:

Blood.

Well.

I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so if it’s blood she wants, it’s blood she’ll get. I did the base coat of Lilian, and then got out my trusty dotting tools – seriously, is there anything they can’t do? Both The Roommate and I were over the moon (you can interpret that in a werewolf way, if you’d like) with the final results:

katies nails 1

Once Lilian had dried enough, I painted a VERY THICK french tip in Ellen on the ends of The Roommate’s nails. Using my dotting tools, I made two or three or four little red dots at various points further down the nail – the more uneven the better.

katies nails 2

Then, using a thinner dotting tool, I dragged some of the wet polish from the french tip down to meet the individual dots, creating this dripping blood effect. I had no idea how it would turn out, and I was kind of blown away when it was all said and done. Let’s hear it for experimental gory nails!

katies nails 4

I would definitely use this manicure again for a Halloween party, a season premiere of Game of Thrones (you know you can’t argue with me on this one), or any other somewhat-spooky event. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing what The Roommate did, which was forget to take her nail polish off before a fancy dinner with her boss. Oops.

Many Scares,

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

A Day on the Lake

Hello, dear readers. I’m terrible at updating with any consistency – who would’ve thought a high-powered corporate job involved so much neutral nail polish? That’s definitely not worth posting about!

Either way, I do get some breaks from corporate life, and I took a trip a few weeks ago that was just what the doctor ordered in terms of relaxation with good food and fun friends. I joined a group of my college gals this past Saturday in order to spend an afternoon at Lake Anna, which I had heard about but never visited in person.

Strangely enough, this is the only picture I found where you can see everyone’s faces. And I’m the one making a funny one.

When you don’t have enough time in your schedule for one of those week-long beach trips to the Outer Banks or something that you see popping up on your Facebook news feed, a day trip will definitely do the trick in a pinch, especially with amazing people to back it up. The Roommate, who is pictured above although she would rather me not specify exactly which one she is, even took an impromptu photo shoot of me in my odd-looking one-piece bathing suit (cut outs and crazy tan lines FOR THE WIN), which I’ll share if only for the hilarity factor. I mean, Lifestyle bloggers do these kind of shoots all the time, right?

Note: This is why I don’t call myself a lifestyle blogger.

 

Displaying IMG_2105.JPG
You may think I’m striking a pose, but it was just REALLY bright outside.

 

 

Displaying IMG_2113.JPG
Proof that I was actually at a beach.

 

 

Displaying IMG_2121.JPG
And that I actually went in the water.

 

As for the manicure, I happen to have a fantastic polish that’s exactly the right color for this sort of thing. You can see in the picture that my nails were orange on Beach Day, but if I had to choose again, I would have worn Julep Libby, a beautiful teal that would have perfectly matched my wonky bathing suit.

 

 

Julep Libby

That’s another item checked off of my Summer Bucket List, on which I’m admittedly very behind. Well, I’ve got 27 more days until the challenge is complete. Let’s see if I rise to it.

Best wishes,

Mary

He’s a what? He’s a what?

And more importantly, she’s a where?

Yep, that’s right, somehow I’ve manged to go the entire month of July without updating this blog. I wish I could say that I had better excuses than work, but I haven’t. I could say I’ve been busy, but I just haven’t been able to manage my time as well as I’d hoped recently, and for that I apologize.

One of the things that’s kept me busy these past few weekends is attempting to see Sterling Playmakers’ production of The Music Man as many times as possible during its run. I was in a production of The Music Man myself a few years ago…

I'm the one on the left, and I'm not sure what the Mayor's Wife is going for with her hand there...
I’m the one on the left, and I’m not sure what the Mayor’s Wife is going for with her hand there…

…so obviously this show is very near and dear to my heart. More importantly, The Boyfriend has a pretty large role in the Sterling Playmakers’ version – he plays Marcellus, who sings the fabulous Shipoopi while wearing a plaid wool suit that I swear I’m going to acquire photographic evidence of before the show closes. For the record, I didn’t kiss him on the very first date, so I suppose I’m not usually a hussy.

He's pictured here with Sara, aka Ethel, with whom I had a stern talking-to about their onstage
He’s pictured here with Sara, aka Ethel, with whom I had a stern talking-to about their onstage “romance.”

And of course, I won’t leave you hanging about what I did with my nails for opening night. The band uniforms are always depicted as red and white in this show, so I thought it was appropriate to do some red and white stripes on the majority of my nails using Julep Ellen (which is far more of a red in real life than the “deep berry creme” described on its page) and the classic Julep Brigitte.

The black music note accents were done with Sinful Colors’ Black on Black and my trusty dotting tools – I used a larger dot for the two notes themselves, and then a very thin dotting tool to draw the staffs and the connecting bar. And I was SO MAD when the note smudged a little when I put on the Seche Vite top coat – seriously, isn’t that the exact opposite of what Seche Vite is going for?

Smudged and chipped, but the effort is there.
Smudged and chipped, but the effort is there.

Either way, if you’re in the Norther Virginia/DC area, I’d recommend stopping by Potomac Falls High School and seeing The Boyfriend in his ridiculous suit, as well as one of the happiest and most uplifting musicals of all time (and this is coming from someone who loves things like Les Mis and who can’t stop listening to Fun Home, so enjoying a happy musical is rare).

Goodnight, my someones,

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.

Displaying IMG_2046.JPG

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).

Displaying IMG_2060.JPG

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.

Displaying IMG_2055.JPG

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.

Displaying IMG_2063.JPG

Have a lovely day,

Mary

It’s a Wednesday, and my nails are broken.

I really don’t have much more to say about it than that.

The Boyfriend and I went bowling with a few of our friends the other night, and at least three of my nails were casualties. I still haven’t been able to file them into a perfect shape without some pain in the nail bed, so I resigned myself to letting them be and not painting them for a few days. This is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Displaying IMG_2040.JPG
How short…how uneven…how sad. Biting them doesn’t help.

While I wallow in my misery, I’ll share a few pictures from the last couple of weeks, including a few more entries checked off on the Summer 2015 Bucket List:

I took a road trip!

road trip

Admittedly, the road trip wasn’t very long, and it wasn’t to a particularly amazing location, but we had a blast getting out to Tangier Island, in the middle of the Chesapeake bay, to celebrate our good friend Bri’s bridal shower. The picture above contains three of the four BRIdesmaids, and yes, I’m having shirts made.

I’ve seen a bunch of movies lately, which shouldn’t surprise you even a bit. I gave a presentation at one of the most secure facilities in the United States (gulp). I put in an application for a new place to live when my current apartment lease runs out at the end of the summer.

Is that enough for an update, or at least to prove I’m still alive? If you’re still with me, I can’t thank you enough. I’ve got more posts in the queue and coming up super soon.

Love,

Mary

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

How much are you freaking out over Florence + The Machine’s new album? I pre-ordered my copy months ago, and I am now the proud owner of a hard copy CD and a printed booklet of beautiful and ethereal shots of the woman herself, Florence Welch.

Her latest album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, is named after the third track, which she wrote for “someone [she cares] about.” She encourages all of us to share it with the people we care about, and I’m not one to disappoint a musical goddess, so of course I had to provide the link:

Honestly, I think it’s a masterpiece. In honor of this album, I of course had to do an appropriate manicure. My nails have been taking on either a very bright or a very dark tone as of late, so it was fun to use the white to lighten them up a bit. And, as always, making them blue makes me happy and fits in perfectly with the theme of the album.

I promise, I’ll take a blue hiatus for a couple of weeks, seeing as I’ve posted so many blue manicures lately (it’s my favorite color!). At least comfort yourselves with the thought that I used a white this time. And it was blacklight reactive, for reasons I’ll go into later.

The hangnail was unfortitunate…and painful.IMG_1850
The blue background makes it more fun.

The colors are mostly repeats that I’ve used in other manicures: Essie’s Bikini So Teeny and China Glaze’s DJ Blue My Mind. The new blacklight-reactive twist is Julep Dana, which has blue shimmery undertones if you hold it in just the right light. How blue, how beautiful indeed!

But…why the album nails? Well, one of the things that kept me very busy this week was my trip to…SEE FLORENCE IN CONCERT!

My friend Helena and I were able to get pre-sale tickets (which were my main reasons for buying the actual CD instead of downloading HBHBHB) and wound up sitting five rows away from the stage. I swear, Florence and I made eye contact at one point. It was amazing.

I’ll be out of town this weekend, but many new movies and manicures will be headed your way. While I’m gone, I’ll leave you with some cool concert shots I got when I wasn’t too busy rocking out and singing along.

Stay beautiful,

Mary

Shimmery Pool Blues

Happy Friday, everybody!

My apartment complex recently celebrated one of my favorite days of the year: the day the complex’s pool opens! I personally am going to spend plenty of time lounging in a deck chair in my swimsuit, covered in SPF 70 and reading my book of the week. Whenever I get too hot, I’ll do a couple of laps and call it a workout.

Pool-blue nails are always something I’ve wanted to try, and the premise seemed simple enough. I saw them on another nail art blog a few months ago, before I bought my tiny brushes and dotting tools, and figured that if saran wrap and a steady hand were all that was required, I was good to go.

First, I painted my base coat of Julep Moni, which unfortunately isn’t visible on the Julep site. You can find a similar color here. Honestly, I was tempted to keep these the way they are, maybe with a matte top coat, because light blue nails are one of my favorite things – they feel so breezy and sophisticated for someone like me whose personality can’t really pull off the pinks or the reds.

But then…the electric blue! I used Julep Annie for the top layer. It was at this point that I realized that I have waaaaaay too many Julep polishes, and/or I’ve been a Maven for too long, because it was sold out too (I don’t even have a single regret about this). Here’s another similar color. Or, if you want something that’s still on the shelves, you can once again use my beloved China Glaze DJ Blue My Mind.

You have to work fast, and you’ve got to have your acetone and Q-tips ready, because I got pretty messy while I was doing these. After the lighter blue dries, you paint a thick layer of the bright blue on top and dab it with the saran wrap enough to let the lower layer show through. The end result looks like this:

pool nails 2

pool nails 1

And boom. Pool nails for a quick dip on your relaxing weekend.

I’m going to get back to my book now.

Mary