Archive for November, 2008

Adventures in Acquiring Lacquer: Suits & Shoplifters

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I go to law school in small town in North Florida. Our local beauty shops are pitiful so most colors I either buy blind or based on online swatches. Even the chain beauty shops are severely lacking so there’s really no hope for seeing new collections in person. This is one of the reasons I was so excited to return to my native South Florida to do my summer internship for the State Attorney’s Office. South Florida is like the nail polish promised land, really.

I stayed with my parents this summer. My mother has come to accept and, even, take pride in my nail polish collecting so she would on occasion humor me by stopping at malls on the way home from work (we carpooled). Most of the time she would go run other errands and let me traipse through beauty shops on my own. For me, beauty shops that carry nail polish are like magical wonderlands, I can easily occupy myself for hours literally – this ability, I’m sure, seems really suspicious to shop attendants. And that’s where the story that prompted this post begins.

Like I said, my mom would drop me off at these beauty shops on our way home from work and since I worked for the State, I wore a suit and a yellow very ‘official’ looking name tag. If anyone had bothered to look closer, they would have seen that my title was “volunteer”. But no one did, so I just walked around looking like someone important. In my suit, I could browse beauty shops forever unimpeded. I rarely buy anything, only because I pretty much refuse to pay full retail for nail polish with few exceptions. But I definitely do buy when there is sale so I like to visit beauty shops often. Most of the time, shop attendants would either be annoyingly attempt to be over-helpful (which is silly, of course, not to sound like an jerk, but beauty shop sales associates are NOTORIOUSLY uninformed  when it comes to nail polish and well… uh… I’m disgustingly well-informed) or they would just smile and leave me to my own devices.

One particular shop, which also happened to be the shop that had the most nail polish and required the most browsing, was attended by a small boy with a wispy mustache and red highlighted hair that dangled over his eyes. Think: beauty shop emo.

The first time I went to the store in a suit, he smiled and let me browse. The next time, he asked me, “What do you do for a living?” I replied, “Actually, I’m just a student now, I’m interning with the State Attorney’s Office.” He didn’t know what the State Attorney’s Office was or what they did. Despite my best efforts to explain that State Attorneys prosecute crimes, I don’t think he really understood the purpose of the office or my role at the office. He asked, “Okay, I get that you want to be a lawyer but, like, what do you do right now?” I explained that I interned for the homicide and major crimes division and that my boss was responsible for trying high profile homicides in our area. Shocked, he said, “So uh, you have to look at pictures of dead bodies and stuff?” I said, “Well, yea, crime scenes and autopsies.” Then I looked away back to nail polish.

I wasn’t so much annoyed by the exchange as I was interested in discontinuing the communication in order to further pursue my nail polish browsing. I didn’t really understand why he was talking to me, I figured that he was bored, and that was fine, but my mom would be back soon – the clock was ticking on my browsing time. Then he said, “You know, I could never do that… .” “Do what” I thought as I looked back at him. He said, “Oh no, looking at dead bodies, no no no.” He looked around, then he whispered in an ‘I see dead people’ sort of way… “I’m a… a… sensitive.” My inner monologue was as follows: “You’re a WHAT? – Where is this conversation going? Oh, for Pete’s… geez, really? I just want to look at nail polish – why does something like this ALWAYS happen.” So I let him tell me about his ‘gift’ and I politely listened. He was harmless enough and I told myself I could just come back on another day to browse some more.

And I did, this time, not in a suit because it was a weekend. My mom and I were shopping for sensible work shoes because the ultra high heeled ball-crushers I had been wearing were only cool for about a minute. It took just one walk from the court house to the office to convince me that something less fierce would be more pragmatic. I was wearing my typical weekend type stuff, jeans, shirt, sweater, sneakers, etc. My mother wore something similar. I didn’t look like a complete ragamuffin but it wasn’t one of my more fashionable days. The minute, and I really mean, the exact minute we walked into the store the same attendant moved from behind the counter, where he had stood for the entire duration of our previous exchange. My mother and I made our way to the OPI kiosk and he quickly made his way over to us and began to hover. I worked retail all throughout high-school and part of college so I knew exactly what he was doing – he thought we were shoplifters.

This was offensive to me on so many levels. First of all, I was with my Mother. MY MOTHER. Who on Earth would steal cosmetics in the presence of their MOTHER. Especially my poor dear wonderful Mother, the hardest worker known to man, so innocent in her existence that she gets upset with me when I blaspheme even though we’re not religious. Second, I’m a nail polish is my hobby – why would I ever steal nail polish? Third and most importantly, he hadn’t treated me this way when I was wearing an expensive suit, heels and a fancy yellow name tag. So what the hell?

It occurred to me that he might have reacted that way because of my race – maybe he couldn’t get passed my dark skin unless I was wearing a suit. I attempted to dissuade him by explaining that I like to compare colors because I own so many and I smiled. He gave me an eat-shit-and-die look and continued to hover. Well, at that point he wasn’t hovering anymore, he was just standing over us, staring at us. I understand that guarding against merchandise shrinkage is part of his job. After all, in the past, it had been my job. However, his demeanor was so incredibly offensive and rude that it actually made us feel uncomfortable. I felt like I was doing something wrong. I left the store, feeling almost ashamed of my existence.

Later, I told my Supervising Attorney about the experience, and explained that I’d had a similar experience at a Chanel counter even though I was actually making a purchase. I told him that I felt that if I were white, I wouldn’t be treated that way. He didn’t think it was a race issue – “When you’re in your suit, high heels, and those Gucci sunglasses you have, you’ll never be treated that way even though you’re Latin.” “I know” I said, “that’s because social class trumps race.”

Image from Second City Style.

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Reader Requests: OPI I Only Drink Champagne & OPI Don’t Know… Beets Me

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

OPI I Only Drink Champagne is a very light frosty champagne gold. This is 3 coats plus top coat. It’s a very flattering color, I’d say… neutral with an oomph. It’s been recently discontinued along with a few other colors from the Night Brights collection so grab it while you still can.

OPI Don’t Know… Beets Me! is a vibrant mid-range hot pink. I bought it because it’s sort of the half way point between OPI Koala Bear-y and OPI I’m India Mood for Love. I’m a little baffled by the name… beets… are dark red? If the people at OPI have access to genetically altered hot pink beets, personally, I’d like to know. I believe this is 2 coats (I forgot to write it down haha) plus top coat.

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More Obama Love & The Frankenpolish Contest Winners

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

There is something seriously wrong with my email, sometimes it just eats up my correspondences. Consequently, I  missed a really great Obama mani. It’s okay though because Election day isn’t the only day we can show our support for our new President-elect.

Can you BELIEVE she did that free-hand! E. used OPI Birthday Babe for 9 nails then hand painted a Hope sign on her pinkie using acrylic paint, which is pure genius. She covered the art with Essie Carnival. Thank you for sending this in to me.

And finally, the Franken Polish contest: I’m not just saying this gratuitously, it really was difficult picking a winner because we had so many truly great entries. Every polish entered was a color that I would, personally, love to own. Ultimately Scrangie, Dami, and I chose individuals winners and then I tallied all our votes and these are the results.

The runner-up is Sminkan with her amazing entries “Updated Color Club Groove Thang” and “Divine Purple. Sminkan’s prize will be the Color Club Best of the Best Mini Set.

And drum roll please…

The winner is… Weedita! Entering a green was a nearly sure fire way to win this contest and Weedita did just that with her to-die-for creation “Green Tea Sparkle“. Weedita used 75% Color Club Naughtycal Navy, 20% Pure Ice Heartbreaker, and 5% Color Club Explosive. (For recipes to all the entries, please see the comments section of the “The Frankenpolish Contest” post.) Weedita’s prize will be the entire Color Club Glitter Vixen collection.

I want to thank everyone who participated, it was so much fun checking out all your entries.  : )

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My Failed Attempts at Konad

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Siobhan over at The Nailphile has almost completely forgone regular manicures for what she calls konadicures. Konad is nothing short of awesome but there is definitely a learning curve and it takes several failed attempts before it finally looks right.

As you can see from my two poor konad attempts, I’m still on the low end of the curve. I love the konad but, sadly, it does not love me back. One.. day… one day… my konadicures will look right. I don’t use my konad very often only because I really love unadulterated nail polish. That’s the reason why you don’t see me layering very often either. The first time I wear any color, I like to wear them in their pure form, then if I get bored I might pull out the konad or a layering polish.

If you’re konad deficient like I am check out these links (Mastering the Konad and How to use a Konad stamper) for helps hints and instructions.

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Color Club Haute Browns Collection

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

I’m back-tracking a bit to show you guys the collections of yesteryear. Color Club released the Haute Browns collection a few seasons ago. In my eternal search for wearable browns, acquiring this collection was a no-brainer. The collection is composed of what I would consider three professional work appropriate colors and three colors with a little more pizzazz.

Color Club Urban Edge is a pinkish tan. It’s not hard to apply but it has a chalky consistency and it’s definitely a thee to four coater. Three of the six colors in this collection are pink toned tans that get incrementally darker and less pink. When I saw the three colors (the other two are pictured below) I immediately thought of OPI Dulce De Leche. The difference between these tans and Dulce de Leche is the pink tone, which Dulce de Leche does not have.

Color Club Diva in Brown is slightly darker and deeper than Urban Edge. The application was better than Urban Edge but it took four coats to reach opacity.

Color Club Out and About is slightly darker and deeper than Diva in Brown. This one had excellent application, it’s a two to three coater.

Color Club Golden Girl is probably my favorite from this collection. It’s a gorgeous tannish gold with a slight pink undertone and very complex shimmer that flashes mostly gold and green but you can see bronze as well. I think this color would work really well for people who feel that they can’t wear true golds. It’s very flattering. This is three coats.

Color Club Black-ish is a deep plummy reddish brown with the same complex shimmer found in Golden Girl. This is three coats but it applies very well, I think most people could get away with two coats.

Finally, Color Club Haute Couture is a vampy plummish brown. Gorgeous. This is a 2 to 3 coater, this swatch is 3 coats.

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Disclosure: This collection was sent to me for review by Color Club.

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Barack Obama Nail Art, Continued – UPDATE – CNN JUST CALLED IT FOR OBAMA!

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As promised, here are some nail art images from other nail polish loving Obama supporters. First up, Luckypenny’s Hope symbol mani. I stole the idea for my own Obama mani from her. I really like the combination of colors she used. China Glaze Blue Sparrow and China Glaze Ruby Pumps look really great together.

Next is Soaper1. She used China Glaze For Audrey and custom printed Hope symbol decals. I’ve been hearing so much about these custom printed inkjet decals in the comments section and I keep seeing consistently great results using the clear inkjet waterslide decal paper, so I’m definitely going to give this a shot. (Thank you Kayce for alerting me to this.)

If you have your own Obama nail art, send it to me. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. I’m planning to update periodically throughout election day with new Democratic-themed nail art.[1. If you're doing a McCain/Republican mani, send it to me too. I might be willing to put aside partisanship and reach across the aisle for nail art. Maybe. lol.]

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