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

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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.

AVENGERS (AND NAIL FANATICS) ASSEMBLE!

Hi guys!

Welcome to Movies and Manicures, which is a blog that may or may not focus on those things in the title. Unless you live under a rock or are nowhere near as nerdy as me (both likely options; I won’t hold either against you) you know that the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming out in the US TODAY, Friday, May 1.

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD

I’ve been waiting for this movie since…well, I suppose I’ve been waiting for it since Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out last May. No, wait, maybe since Guardians of the Galaxy last August? Either way, I’m a Marvel movie fanatic. When I was seventeen and only had a crappy Internet connection on a computer that was older than I was (and which I pretty much used only to read/write horrible fanfiction…ah, the teenage years), I waited up to 15 minutes (a LIFETIME, I tell you!) for the Iron Man trailer to buffer so that I could watch it again and again and again.

Well, now we’ve come to the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2. I think we’ve all done some growing up in the meantime. I sure have – I’m a college graduate now, and I bite my nails way less than I did back then. However, that doesn’t stop me from doing some crazy things to them, and this weekend was the perfect opportunity.

Please ignore the terrible claw position I had to use.
Please ignore the terrible claw position I had to use.

Okay, okay, I’m new at this nail art stuff. While I got into painting my nails pretty consistently a few years ago, I stuck to solid colors with the occasional glitter or accent nail. I’m just happy you can read the letters, to be honest!

Anyway, AVENGERS. The Boyfriend and I are going to see the movie tonight (Friday) because a) we’re old fogies now and can’t handle midnight premiers when we both have work at 8:00 the next morning and b) I absolutely have to see important movies on their opening weekends so that I can guarantee a seat in a packed theater. Empty movie theaters make me sad – the collective laughs and gasps and overall energy of a crowded theater make the movie-going experience infinitely more fun. In fact, my very favorite movie theater moment was when I saw Inception on opening night and the entire theater gasped in unison at the ending.

The picture above is of my right hand, which I based off of the Marvel Studios logo. I’m right-handed, so I’m not even going to attempt complex designs if I have to paint with my left. Letters, luckily, are easy enough. I started with one of my tiny brushes, but I found that it made too thick of a line to accurately get a letter on my nail (see my wonky M for an example). I switched to my smallest dotting tool, which did the trick…passably. One of my goals from now on is definitely to work on my left-handed stability.

I wish I could tell you the name of the red polish I used, but it is a few years old and in a mini-bottle I got in a kit from Sephora. It’s OPI by Sephora, so I’m going to guess it has some relationship to OPI’s Big Apple Red, but I may be mistaken. The white lettering was done in Julep Brigitte (link below).

Want to see what I did on my left hand?

Check it out!

Tiny Iron Man wanted to hang out too.
Tiny Iron Man wanted to hang out too.

In order, we have the Avengers logo on my thumb, Captain America’s shield on my index finger, Iron Man’s arc reactor on my middle finger, Thor’s hammer on my ring finger, and Black Widow’s hourglass on my little finger. They’re a little iffy – Cap’s shield in particular – but for a beginner, I think the idea comes through.

This took forever, just so you know. I knew it would be complex, so I broke it up over the course of a few days – I did all of the base coats on Wednesday night so that they could completely dry, and I did all of the designs on Thursday with my set of tiny nail brushes and dotting tools. The colors involved are as follows:

If you couldn’t tell, I’m a Julep Maven because they just send me nail polish. It comes in the mail. I don’t even have to pick it out or anything. I’m sure I’ll talk about my undying Julep love in future posts, so stay tuned.

I’ll be back this weekend with my thoughts on the movie. In the meantime, send me links to your own Avengers (or other superhero) nail art in the comments!

Talk to you soon,

Mary

P.S. I also wanted to show off my shirt. I got it at Target for way less than I usually pay for clothes, so I’m pretty proud of it.

photo