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.


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,


“I’m Not Really a Waitress” this Mother’s Day

Hi all!

It’s a bit of a somber Mother’s Day for my family – in the year 2014, I lost both of my grandmothers. Don’t worry; they both had great lives and were well into their 80s and 90s, respectively. They had families that loved them, lots of grandchildren (don’t get me started on my cousins), and overall full and happy lives. Losing them both in the span of a few months was rough, what with the family drama that always comes with a death, but I’d say my family and I made it through, and we’re stronger for it.

The purpose of bringing this up on Mother’s Day is this: my grandmother on my mom’s side, my Nonna, Marcella Sciamanna Brehm (and for all you non-Italian speakers out there, that’s mar-CHELL-ah she-MAHN-ah), loved nail polish almost as much as I do. I remember her taking me to the nail salon right before Christmas or other family events so that my nails could look half as good as hers.

I change my polish a LOT – you’ve figured that out by now – but Marcy (I couldn’t say “Grandma” as a kid, so we decided that we were on a first-name basis from the time I was a year old) had one singular color that she chose week after week. It was a deep, vampy, sophisticated red: OPI’s I’m Not Really a Waitress. We used to play a game based on this funny polish name:

Marcy: The color is “I’m Not Really a Waitress.”

Me: Yeah, Marcy, I know you’re not a waitress. But what’s the polish color?

Marcy: “I’m Not Really a Waitress.”

Me: I never said you were a waitress! Could you just tell me the polish name?

…and so on. We found it far more amusing than we should have.

Her funeral and burial were held in Florida, her home state of over 20 years, in August, 2014. My sister and mother and I all decided that, between the tears and many glasses of wine, there was one thing we had to do to pay our last tribute to the force of nature that was Marcy. For the funeral, all three of us painted our nails in I’m Not Really a Waitress.

Marcy Nails

If you can, give your mom the biggest hug in the world, and give anyone else – grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, other maternal figures of any type – a call, an email, a card, a gift, or anything to say you care. Let’s celebrate the wonderful women in our lives today and be eternally grateful for everything they’ve done for us. I know I am.

Lots of love,