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

Advertisements

New Job, New Neutrals

Remember when I was really stressed out?

Oh, wait. That’s a perpetual state of being for me. Never mind.

But anyway, that’s an entirely different kind of flying altogether.

Today, I start a new job. Auqwkeujdfvjhqklqerhotjs. Starting new jobs is always a little stressful, and by a little, I mean I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest and this morning I put on about triple the amount of deodorant I normally use. However, I’m confident – hell, more than confident! – in my Grown-up Professional Nails.

As soon as I heard that I had gotten this job and that my dress code had changed from “Just…just don’t wear jeans, please” to “Business Casual, but seriously, Business Formal would be nice too,” I realized that I had to take stock of my life and my choices and especially my nail polish collection. Gone are the days when I can wear mismatched Joker glitter hands to the office. Gone are the days when writing the word “Marvel” on my hands is a good way to start a conversation with a client. And gone are the days when I can wear a dress that’s just a tad too short and kind of hope that cute guy in Contracts notices…wait, different story (and for the record, I usually refer to that guy as The Boyfriend, and yes, that’s actually how we met).

I decided, then, that I needed to do a serious organization of my entire polish collection. Up until now, I had been keeping them in an old ModCloth box, all scattered about so that I had to seriously hunt for whatever shade I was looking for. This had to change so that I could work with my new office’s more buttoned-up dress code, in addition to my current goal of “Mary, please get your freaking life together.”

Step One: The Sorting

Dear GOD I have a lot of nail polish. This isn’t going to change at all – I’m still a Julep Maven, of course. However (and readers, help me out on this in the comments!), I’m considering switching my Maven profile from “It Girl” to “Classic with a Twist” so that I can get some more work-appropriate polishes in the mail each month. Might be worth my time.

I began by buying a box from Target. It had a lot of compartments, and wasn’t particularly expensive, so I thought it might be an upgrade from the previously mentioned cardboard box.

unnamed

 

From there, I began the tiring process of sorting my polishes by color. I realize now that I tend toward the cooler colors; I’ll wear just about any shade of blue or green or purple on my nails and feel pretty happy about it. Here’s what it all looked like when I had it separated out by color:

unnamed (1)unnamed (2)

Step Two: The Realization:

I kept the largest compartment separate from the others. If a color was kind of a reddish, or kind of a pinkish, or kind of a pastel, or just a nude of any sort, I placed it in what I’ll now refer to as the WORK COLLECTION. I’ve written that in all capital letters because that’s the way I’ll be referring to it from now on. However, I ran into a bit of a problem…

unnamed (3)

I honestly have way too much nail polish to be able to fit in this box. When I tried to fit all of my blues into a little side compartment, for instance, the box almost broke under the weight, were forced into the WORK COLLECTION box out of necessity. Some of the bottles from various brands were just too big for the box to be able to close when they were inside. I also had neglected to take my tools into account: I have toe separators and striping tape, seen in the picture above, in addition to my tiny brushes, stamping plates, and dotting tools.

I think everything’s going to end up back in the cardboard box, honestly. But if having too much nail polish is a problem…it’s a problem I’m willing to accept.

Step Three: The Painting

For the pièce de résistance, I present the nails that I’ll be wearing on my very first day:

unnamed (4)
Presented with my coffee table as a background. And with horrible cuticle stains.

Yeah, compared to what I normally post, they’re pretty boring. I think so too. But I’m moving from a young office full of newly-minted college graduates to one of the largest companies in the world, so conservative is the name of the game when it comes to my fashion from now on. The color is a fun nude with peachy undertones, Essie’s Perennial Chic. I had to go with this one because of the name – I grew up on Perennial Street, and I appreciate the symbolism of continuously-blooming flowers that literally and figuratively remind me of my roots (I was an English Major; I look for symbolism in everything).

I don’t think I’ll be using this color again, though – even though it’s a great nude for the office, it smudged like crazy even after an hour and an application of Seche Vite. You can even see the smudges in the pictures.

Smudges aside, I did manage to sneak in a little bit of fun! I decided to sprinkle a little China Glaze Fairy Dust on top of the nude, and in most lighting you can barely see it. It’s there for no other purpose than to make me happy, which I think is a necessity for what will surely be a stressful week, but it’s not so bold or noticeable as to make a statement to my new employers.

unnamed (5)

Well, as I guess you can tell, I’m officially off to work!

Wish me luck,

Mary

Am I blue? Am I blue?

Ain’t these tears in my eyes telling you?

All right, I got that from an episode of Justice League – that’s right, my superhero obsession goes far beyond The Avengers, and truthfully far beyond Marvel. Here’s the YouTube of Batman singing. I still laugh every time, proving that I am not the most mature of the 24-year-olds.

Anyway, yesterday my mom and I went out for an absolutely lovely Mother’s Day brunch, and we followed the day up with shopping for…new corporate clothes! That’s right, I’m moving a step up from business casual and starting a new job at a very large company in my area. I put in my two weeks’ notice today, which has fueled my anxiety to no end. I’m leaving my first “big girl” job out of college, and while going to a new company is a great step in my career, it’s also an end of a saga in my life that I enjoyed to no end – I met The Boyfriend at this company, I networked and learned from amazing people, and I met great friends who I hope to keep in my life even if I can’t see them every day anymore.

The blue, then, is twofold. I’m a little bummed to be leaving my job, so I could say I’ve got the blues. However, more importantly, on my shopping trip I acquired the Baby Beats set of mini bottles from China Glaze’s Electric Nights collection, which are some of the most gorgeous summer neons I’ve had the privilege of owning. Seriously, every single one of them makes me think of dancing the night away to some techno music under blacklights, or eating a snow cone on a boardwalk just as the sun begins to set. Basically, picture a hot summer evening full of color and energy, and you’ve got this collection.

Electric Nights
And then I ruin it with the horrible photo.

At the register at Charming Charlie’s (not where I got the collection – that was at Ulta – but I knew at the time I would be painting my nails that night), I asked an employee to pick a color, any color. Between all the craziness in my nail polish collection, I could have worked with anything. But she said blue! I think it was a sign – blue was exactly the color I was feeling.

I started with DJ Blue My Mind, one of the Electric Nights polishes in my new mini collection. It’s GORGEOUS, and I’ll definitely be featuring it in some upcoming summer nail art – it’s just such a cool, pure blue that makes me think of skies and seas.

But then…I was struck by some inspiration. Why paint one blue when you can paint two blues (and sound like Dr. Seuss!)? I scoured my collection for one of my favorite Essies, Aruba Blue. While DJ Blue My Mind reminds me of skies and seas in the daytime, Aruba Blue reminds me of the two at night – the vibe together is fun, funky, and perfect for a party feeling to take away some of the stress I’m under with the job switch. I used a technique I saw in a magazine sometime in high school, before my nail obsession began, and painted a dark blue stripe down the middle of each nail.

The final result:

 Funky blues

Since I probably won’t be allowed to have such crazy colors on my nails at my new job (don’t worry; posts about spicing up neutral nails are already being drafted!), I’m taking advantage of being fun and funky while I still can. I’ll worry about maturity in a couple of weeks; for now, I’ve got the blues and I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Have fun, guys,

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.