“Beyond the Tartan” – An Exploration in Priorities

I got that first bit off the Carnegie Mellon website.

I was in Pittsburgh this weekend because The Sister, who is seven years old and who will forever remain that age no matter how many times she makes me do the math to prove she’s 21, graduated from college. She officially has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I’m sitting here writing a blog about movies and my fingernails. You can tell who the smart one is.

Anyway, if there’s one thing that Carnegie Mellon kids are proud of (I mean, besides their ridiculously talented alumni and the crazy stuff they’re doing in the sciences), it’s their Scottish heritage. The actual school mascot is the Tartan. That’s a form of plaid. Compared to my UVA Cavaliers, I can’t seem to take it too seriously, but I digress. Tartan Plaid has a long and storied history, which I know nothing about.

It makes a pretty cool nail design though!

INSERT PICTURE HERE

No, that’s not a typo.

When I drafted this post, I had every intention of doing my nails in Carnegie Mellon Plaid in honor of my sister’s graduation. Then, I went to my friend’s house to celebrate her birthday. I got up far before my preferred time on a Saturday in order to make it to Pittsburgh. I attended my sister’s diploma ceremony, and went out with my family to a fabulous French restaurant (shoutout to Paris 66 in Pittsburgh for a steak that made me want to congratulate the cow it came from), and generally spent time with the people I love at the expense of painting my nails for the fourth time in a week.

I panicked at first, when I realized I simply didn’t have enough time to do a creative nail design. I’m trying to build up a blog readership here, so how could I possibly slack on my nail art? Would anyone read a post that didn’t have a ton of nail pictures or a fun review of a new summer color? Would I have to wait days to build back the momentum I’d lost?

Then I realized something: I was in Pittsburgh, a fun city that I don’t often get to explore. I was with my family, who I love and don’t see much since I moved out. I was celebrating The Sister, who has worked so hard to earn her degree. I had a chance to have fun with the people I love. My nails weren’t the priority. My blog wasn’t the priority. I had to focus on my sister this weekend, and as I type this on Monday morning, my nails remain bare. And I’m perfectly okay with that. Sometimes, you have to realize that family comes first.

So, I’m sorry(ish) for a post without some fun manicure pictures. To make up for it, here’s a picture of the graduate herself posing with some insane person. I’m ridiculously proud of The Sister and love her to bits and pieces.

Here’s hoping your weekends were as great as mine!

Mary

Advertisements

Rocking Reds, Pretty Pinks, Electric Nights

Happy Friday, everyone!

I have a confession to make: I almost never wear red nail polish.

I know, right? It’s THE classic nail polish color. Someone who can rock bright red nails is someone who can rule a boardroom by day and be the belle of the ball by night. It’s a power color that matches the vibe of the powerful woman I’m trying (with mixed results) to be.

So why don’t I wear it? Because it’s such a pain to take off! I guess there’s something weird about my nails, because I can scrub and scrub them with acetone, but it takes up to a week before the red stain on my fingers is totally gone.

That’s why, when I decided I was going to do my next manicure with more colors from my new Electric Nights Baby Beats collection (what can I say? I’m obsessed!), I was a little hesitant to use Red-Y to Rave. I know it’s not quite the type of bright red that would stain my nails (it’s more of a neon orange), but even having the word “Red” in the title is off-putting.

I settled for a compromise based on a classy French-inspired manicure my coworker was rocking today, and decided to incorporate Red-Y to Rave into a French with a safer – but still electric! – base color: Glow with the Flow, a bright pink that’s so vibrant it practically screams. I’m not a girly girl by many standards, and I have a rule against wearing pink clothing because I’m a blonde who has suffered too many Barbie comparisons over the course of my life, but sometimes pink nails are a great, breezy way to let a little more brightness into my life.

AND BOY ARE THESE NAILS BRIGHT!

pink and orange overview

pink and orange closeup

I’m loving the edgier look that the reddish-orange tips give the pink base – the almost-blinding neon appeal of Electric Nights is all still there, but it’s more my style, and not quite as reminiscent of a certain fashion doll. And the colors definitely matche the temperatures we’ve been getting here in the DC area – earlier this week, my car thermometer was reading 93! It’s the perfect occasion for red hot party nails…or at least as close as I’m willing to get.

Stay cool,

Mary

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