Random Sunday: New Addiction

I blame Louise, mostly.

Back in the day I had a spate of painting my nails various office-unfriendly colors — glittery, fire-engine reds, mostly — because … well, because I could.  I have super-hard nails (nobody appreciates things unless they don’t have them) and I can grow them to ridiculous lengths if I’m not paying attention.  Sort of, damn, got to cut those claws down.  Yes, I know you soft nailed people are reeeaaallly feeling my pain on that one.  Anyway, then I got a real job and had kids and blah blah blah and painting my nails became one of those things I did before, say, going to a wedding, using some monumentally boring pale pink like Essie Ballet Slippers.  The other 360 days of the year I kept them clean, short and varnish-free.

Then I was going to Chicago and figured, why not?  So I borrowed some random cafe latte-looking deal from the girls, and in a fit of creativity painted fuchsia glitter on top, and whoa Nellie.   It was really fun.  It looked great.

Then Louise gave my girls a bunch of fun, hip colors she was weeding from her collection, and now I am going to hell, because not only am I stealing colors from them, and hissing when they try to take them back, but I sort of skipped the fun, cheerful intermediate stuff and went right to Full Goth.   I am pale, and I ask you — if you aren’t going to wear something Scarlet Whore-ish, why not something almost black?  Every deep, dark shade provides a wonderful contrast with my skin.  This week’s favorite color combination (yessss, my pretties!!  Already layering!!!) involves OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark, a vamp-y scab-colored red-brown, on top of any random shade of mid-blue or green — resulting in something the color of a deep, dark bruise.  Go ahead, shudder.  It’s beautiful.  No, seriously.

Only sticking this up here today (I have to go slap on another coat of OPI Russian Navy and pick up my father) because I’m sensing some interesting parallels with my perfume addiction.  First: years of playing it safe/lack of interest.  Then: for some random reason, noticing that nail polish comes in fun colors, not just dusty rose and beige — and since I’m not arguing a case before The Supreme Court tomorrow, who cares what people think? (After all, if Chanel is making navy and black, it just can’t be that outre any more, outside of my stodgy little neck of the woods.)  The result:  my teenage daughter looking askance at my nails and saying, “wow, mom… that is really … dark.”  Voila — the nail equivalent of their not infrequent comment that my perfume is really strong.

My current infatuation with extreme colors reminds me of when I started to sniff fragrance — first, a little niche-y stuff like L’Artisan, and then more oddball stuff like Messe de Minuit, and then I only wanted to sniff the darkest, ripest, skankiest, leatheriest, most rubbery, civet-infested … you get the picture.  It was like playing Fragrance Fear Factor. I’m not sorry I’ve moved on from that phase of my sniffage, but gosh, it was fun while it lasted.   There’s something very addictive and perverse and strangely intense about that level of infatuation with fragrance.

images swiped from eBay: OPI Russian Navy (top) and Lincoln Park After Dark (bottom.)


  1. I am soft-nailed, old…and my hair is too curly to pull off any of those colors. Plus, the minute I would put on a ‘color’ I would have to pick up a piece of steel or something that would chip the heck out of them. Blast it! But you look wonderful in them and I wish I could see you in Navy!!!

    I, too, can see the parallels in fragrance (though mine was the reverse in nails; I went to pale nude-y pink from heavyduty reds). But I went from citrus and flowers to the skankfest of Yatagan……and never looked back!

    Rock those nails, baby!


    • You are not too old. Because we’re pretty much the same age and if you’re old, you’d just be dragging me along with you!

      • I know….I was just looking at myself in the mirror the other day (not as frequent an exercise as you might think) and I said “hmmm…y’know…you’re not doing TOO bad)….. of course, Kathleen, you are in GREAT shape – I’ve seen you!!!!!! I need to get back in the gym. Nothing like a bit of exercise to tone and cheer a gal up!

        Now that this brochitis is easing up I’m feeling a whole lot less fragile – so while I probably won’t do the fingernails beyond the pale pink I adore (doesn’t show the chips as much) I can certainly play with the peekytoes!!!


        • Toes are fun. When (ahem) someone we know and love has completely vanquished her one fungus-toe, about which we will speak no more :-$ , she is looking forward to toenail polish. She thinks she has kinda cute feet, with chubby little toes. :”>

    • I see you in red and in bright colors like golds … I think navy on you would be like a nude lip on me. It’s not the best choice. (I do admit I wonder what a pale, shimmery blue would look like on you though…)

      PS No you are NOT too old. [-( Another blogger has this whole thing about nail polish being one area older women can do some zany stuff and not look ridiculous, and having thought about it some, I have decided I agree (I didn’t, initially.) I guess I should give her credit too. 😕

  2. I rarely paint, because of working out with weights and the inevitable chipping. I do like the new colours for the odd occasion. I have the 2 OPIs above. Plus Midnight in Moscow & Light My Sapphire which are equally dark & wonderful. Lest I forget, I’ve also indulged in Chanel’s Black Satin & Vamp.

    • Ooooh, I was lemming either Moscow or Sapphire … Sapphire. I want one that’s a little lighter than Russian Navy, but I want that soft shimmer rather than actual glitter. You recommend?

      How do those Chanels hold up? I really want Kaleidoscope but $20 seems stupid (says the woman who owns a gazillion bottles of fragrance.)

      • Dude, get the Kaleidoscope. You’ll spend the same amount of money trying to get dupes that won’t be quite right…sort of like trying to replace an Exclusifs with a similar, but not right scent. As for Sapphire and Moscow, page me 😉

        • You’re right. Once you throw some logic it at! 😉 And as much as I love the Rouge Noir, you gave me several colors that are sorta like it (oddly, that general color concept seems not to appeal to the girls, they gave me all the Vampish ones.) Kaleidoscope, on the other hand, is unique-looking. After D’s review below I think I have to have it!

  3. That sounds like so much fun! I’m inspired and that Lincoln Park After Dark is looking pretty tempting. My favorite OPI color from last fall (matches the silk robe my boyfriend brought me back from China) is sealed shut. I can always go get another bottle, but it’s irritating because there was plenty left in it. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to unseal it? My toes are sad:(

    • I imagine that you have already let hot water run around the seal? That usually does it for me

    • Hey, no contributing to my new addiction without mentioning the COLOR!! What color is your silk robe? I bet it’s gorgeous.

      • The bottle is at the office (I was running late as usual and it’s handy, or in this case, footy, heh heh, to do touch ups when the computer stalls, that’s my kind of multi-tasking!) and I can’t remember the name of the color. Kind of a silky plum/rose, probably much too mild for your wild streak:o I guess you could layer it on black though!

      • The color is “Paint Your Toron-Toes Rose”. It’s quite lovely. Seems like a color anyone could wear.

        I’m going to try hot water method again then the remover soak if water doesn’t work. Thanks for the advice!

    • Try dousing the bottle upside down in remover for 15 minutes-if it opens, great-if not, repeat. Usually works. Also a quick chill in the freezer may work ; )

    • i’d try dipping it in some nail polish remover and see if that cant loosen the gunk around the seal

  4. March, you’ll always be ahead of me on all of the curves…only recently did I find it necessary to add buffing to my fingernail “regimen” of regularly clipping and usually filing. And boy, did I think that this buff shine was the cat’s pajamas! I, too, have strong and fast growing nails, and given my inclinations (or lack thereof), figure I’m fortunate to more or less come out looking like I’ve had a french manicure.

    But I did get some sparkly black polish in anticipation of Halloween; Musette tells me I’m going to be “glam.”

    The advantage of this low threshold is that the one time a year I do apply color, everybody and their cousin notices and asks what is up. Come to think of it, I put on make up for a wedding the other night…a friend looked askance at me and asked why I looked different…. (Go ahead, guess which descriptors apply to this friend: male | straight | married | all of the above.) Of course, before I get too snappy, I might want to check the pictures; I might have applied mascara to the wrong hairs, or done the eyes unevenly, or something like… 😕 8-| #-o

    • Buffing makes gorgeous nails. Unfortunately for me, my age has produced some ridging in my nails, and when I buff them smooth I almost invariably end up with wretched splits, although they start off looking amazing. Burying the ridges under polish seems to work better.

      Yes, great point about the nails/make up! I can see how if you never use it, people might notice more. Alternately, one of the things I always look at first on Louise is what fab polish she has on…

  5. Heh, heh…I love sharing/creating a new addiction 😮

    So terrific and evil that you’re stealing the girls’ polish…I have more temptations for you for our next date, including some brighter blues. I’m wearing a lovely sparkly charcoal tonight, way goth :d/

    • HEY, wait a minute…*charcoal*….[eyes light up with interest]… :>

      • Misa “Wishing on a Star”. I wear charcoals when black is just too…black for work. This one’s a beauty.

        • Those slightly metallic dark grays are gorgeous. The girls wound up with a couple from you and I am eyeballing them for the next polish change … I think they’d be great on. Plain matte black is a bit much even for me.

          • Oh, okay, “Misa”…will try to Google and find a retailer…. Hey, WAIT a minute! [stamps foot] You know two are already highly responsible for me falling into the rabbit hole of scent? What is happening to me??????

            I suppose if in the course of my adulthood my spouse can become a football fan, I can become a girly girl. Sort of. ;))

            I think maybe I’ll go dig in the dirt some more…plant a few things…get a handle on the balance between polish, perfume, and plants. #:-s :-j

  6. I love funky nail polish and have taken to lurking around the MUA nail board and blogs like All Lacquered Up. NP is an affordable little splurge oftentimes where perfume is not. I can’t wear polish during the work week as it’s a health violation, but I frequently do my nails on Friday night as a relaxing ritual that signals the weekend has begun, and I paint my toes wild colors year round. Walgreen’s has a line of polishes called Sinful that come in a zillion colors, cost less than $2 and are pretty good quality, but my favorite line is the ubiquitous OPI. Royal Navy is gorgeous! You’d like Yogata Get This Blue, too. 😡

    • I now have All Lacquered Up bookmarked — love the name. I like the way polishes are reviewed and divided on there, and almost everything is available somewhere (eBay etc) if I look. Compared to rare fragrances, they are relatively easy and cheap!

      I was looking at that Yoga Blue! I want one slightly lighter than Russian Navy, which (on me) looks almost black indoors. I want one that’s an obvious blue but still a NAVY blue.

  7. i adore nail polish, OPI in particular. ink is an amazing glittery blue/purple/black and electric eel is an iridescent translucent lime green. edin-burgundy is the perfect shade of red (for my skin anyway, but i have a feeling that it looks great on anyone) and i also periodically do a crayon orange called osaka to me orange or translucent glittery shades of blue and orange called can’t you sea and going ape-ricot respectively. i love lincoln park after dark too, but i dont own it (had a manicure in it once) and have lemmed russian navy for a long time, but never got around to getting it. they also have a new luxury sub-line (i dont remember what its called) with some really prismatic glittery silvers and blues. if you could find a dupe of that chanel (or something even crazier) thats would be the place to look, in my opinion.

    • I’m such a virgin in this area, but OPI really appeals to me, I like their brush a lot. The Claires/Icing stuff is cute but tends not to last as long. China Glaze makes some great colors. And maybe it’s just my bad luck, but the Milani brushes seem to screw up and end up with these hairs falling out or sticking out to the side… I am sure there’s a hierarchy and I haven’t figured it out!

  8. I’ve become very lazy about painting my nails — also, most of my day is spent banging away at my keyboard, for which I need to keep them short, otherwise it drives me crazy. As does the least tiny chip.
    My toenails, ah, that’s another matter. Even in the dead of winter, they’re usually a Louboutin red. But! I got this new Chanel colour at a Chanel do (the premiere of a documentary on the Karl): it’s called Kaleidoscope, it’s this weird metallic silver shot through with bronze. It goes on thick and perfect with just one coat. I have the toes of a robot now! The one coat thing is the clincher — I might just try it on my fingernails and have little jewels at the tips of my fingers!

    • Okay, you and Louise (above) have sold me on Kaleidoscope now that you’ve talked about how it wears. It seemed to me (newbie that I am) to be a really unusual color and you are confirming that. Gold looks terrible on me, and silver is a little dull, but this! The color is perfect for my skin tone.

      Haven’t even gotten to my feet. :”> At this point they are indoors for the winter, but I can see some fun with that next year.

  9. Ooh March, how did I miss this post?!? My other addiction!!! Like you, I have very hard and fast-growing nails that are perfect for polishing. I don’t do it all the time, because I work in the health-care industry. As good as my nails are, the polish itself just doesn’t hold up well when smothered in the humid conditions of 8-10 hours a day inside latex gloves. However…….days off are another matter entirely :d I’ve given up the fluorescent greens but I’m a huge fan of dark greens, blues of all shades and purples, particularly iridescent ones. Right now, they’re painted in Butter London’s Yummy Mummy which appears to be a perfectly normal nude-ish beige. But it’s suprisingly subversive when inspected more closely and just darn pretty. The name makes me happy too!

    • Part of what happened for me is that, sadly, my allergies are so terrible most of the time I’ve had to cut way back on the gardening, which is what wrecked my nails for much of the year. Typing at the computer is easier, although I have to change my technique as they get longer. 🙂 (finger pads vs. tips)

      It’s a fun little world, isn’t it? And (per bottle) cheaper than fragrance although I can see it getting out of hand … is there a hierarchy, like Butter is the Malle of NP? I’ve seen some weirdly subversive (as you describe) Butter colors.

      • Hmm, there may be a hierarchy, but as far as I can tell, very little snobbery about it. From my occasional lurking on the nail board, it seems that the same people who have the Chanels and Zoyas also have plenty of Sally Hansen and Color Club.

        • This is a topic I find interesting and want to explore further. Hierarchy but not snobbery … I know, for instance, in Louise’s collection she gave me, there were OPI and etc., but also stuff from Claire’s and the drugstore. At that price point I am sure there is *some* quality issue, but even the cheap stuff is probably adequate. So far the only thing I’ve found to complain about are the brushes. :”>

  10. I wish I could still do my nails. I used to love it, did my own french manicures, but now they’re very ridgy, and nothing wrecks a manicure like doing art work. Now it’s clip and shape and that’s all. But I still drool when I pass the Opi rack at U3.

    • I *hate* the ridgy thing. And I tried all sorts of supplements, etc. Doctor shrugged and said they are normal. 🙁 But it never occurred to me that a coat or two of dark polish would cover my sins. Light matte colors like Essie tend to reveal the ridges. Not sure yet what light metallics do…

      • March, you can do a ‘wrap’ basecoat, even with the pale ones the basecoat is unnoticeable. I get those ridges, too, (Plus my nails PEEL! 😮 I use this stuff called “It’s a Wrap” (or that’s a wrap – one of those) and it really adheres to the nail.

        I had very strong nails for awhile, thanks to Nail Magic – but they went and took the formaldehyde out of it and now it doesn’t work for me. I know it’s not PC to say this, but I miss formaldehyde.

        xoxo >-), your zombie friend

  11. Delurking because two of my obsessions collide in one post – nail polish and perfume! In fact, I turned to nail polish because it was cheaper than perfume; these days, I just flit from counter to counter in department stores and boutiques, sniffing and spraying, and re-editing my perfume wishlist obsessively. =/ I highly recommend the MUA nail board for nail polish tips and glorious, glorious pictures.

    For nail ridges, try an opaque ridge-filling basecoat like Nailtek Foundation II or Barielle Natural Nail Camoflauge. It also provides *some* protection against stains. 🙂

    I have Kaleidoscope on my nails as I type. It’s actually a green gold, like the metal they use in jewellery, which is a combination of silver and gold alloy. 🙂

  12. I’ve been into nail polish since I was 6 years old (unlike perfume, which is a new obsession for me as I leave my 20s behind me). I started out with this dark blue that Wet ‘N’ Wild sold (and still sell, although I hate the color now) because it was the only non red or pink color I could find in the mid-’80s. I wore that color and no others for years.

    Then in my later teen years, new unusual colors started becoming popular, and I was able to find other blues, dark purples, etc. But I recently found OPI, too, and there’s nothing else like them! My HG nail polish is Black Cherry Chutney, a delicious nearly black dark red shade. Lincoln Park After Dark is wonderful, too. I only have a few bottles of OPI shades so far, but I’m sure I’ll be getting more. If I use a top coat, I can keep the color in good shape for a week and a half or more.

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