Konmari, nail polish, flower vases, and all the rest of it

No swatches.  No news.  Ramblings ahead.

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting a lot lately.  Nothing’s wrong; in fact, everything is great.  Sometimes when I look out my windows — especially my second-floor sewing room window, where on a clear day I can see all the way into Glacier National Park — I think life is so beautiful I could cry.

Part of the silence and rumination has been the insidious, imminent arrival of the annual holiday commercialization, which every year is coming earlier and earlier.  I am partly to blame.  On this blog and on my Facebook page, I’m posting, “OMG, look at this deal!”  “Check this web site for a BOGO sale!”  “Hey, Acme Nail Polish has a new collection!”  It’s buy, buy, buy.  Acquire, accumulate, and hoard.  This is not how I really want to live.

The other part of the change is that I have just finished reading the popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.  As of this writing, it’s been out for over a year and is still #1 in motivational self-help books on Amazon.  You may have heard of it under its more common name, the Konmari Method.

Already a very tidy person, I put off reading it.  Thought, “Nah, don’t need it.  Don’t wanna.  Can’t make me.”  I generally abhor trends.  But then I thought I’d like to read it, because although my house is neat and clean, the decluttering never seems to end.  I’ll clean out a big closet, and a month later it has to be done again.  Why is that?  I got in the long virtual line at my library and put a hold on the book, both the paper version and the electronic one, happy to get whichever one came in first.  Finally got the physical version.  Brought it home, started reading it, and…. as they say, dawns the light.

We’ve all heard the common decluttering mantras over the past years and decades:  If you haven’t used or worn something in a year, get rid of it.  Don’t keep any clothes that don’t fit your current body.  When you declutter, do a room/closet/drawer at a time.  For some of us (many of us?) that doesn’t work.

Konmari says to tidy by category, not room, and to do it in a specific order.  Clothes are first.  Without going into too much detail, the main concept boils down to this:  Don’t decide what to throw out; instead, decide what to keep.  And keep only those things that spark joy.

If that sounds too silly, bear with me.  Think how wonderful it would be if you opened your closet and you loved every single thing in it.  Imagine being in a room in your house and loving every single item in it, and being able to actually see/use/enjoy all those items.  We’re often surrounded by things we don’t particularly care for, if not outright dislike, but we keep them out of habit or laziness.

Just glancing at the rack in your closet or scanning your bookshelf will not do.  No, you have to physically pick up each individual item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”  If the answer is yes, keep it.  Be honest.  Are you keeping a shirt only because someone gave it to you, even though you hate it and never wear it?  Are you keeping a framed photo of an old boyfriend only so you can get it out once in a while and torture yourself?  Do you keep an old outdated textbook from college because…. well, you can’t even remember why?

Kondo says that if you follow her method, you’ll reach a point where it will click.  That happened to me when I opened a cabinet that had flower vases in it.  There were five, ranging from a tall, wide-mouthed one to a tiny bud vase.  I kept them all just in case.  In case I wanted to, you know, put flowers in them.

Reality check.  When I actually cut and display flowers in my house, guess which one of the vases I use?  You guessed it, none of them.  Instead, I always use an old, off-white, chipped cream pitcher that belonged to my grandmother.  Because I love it.  Because it sparks joy.

Cream pitcher

When this one thing hit me, I realized how much I own that I don’t love.  I am practically buried in nail polish and supplies for various hobbies, none of which I can ever possibly use in my lifetime, and I’m going to start letting go, freeing them to spark joy in someone else.  The local shelter for homeless teens is going to get one big honkin’ box of nail polish.  When you (that is, I) have so many things that you don’t even know what you have or where it is, it’s time to let go of some of it, if not a lot of it.

An essay about one woman’s experience with Konmari can be read here.  It’s really good and I recommend reading it slowly.  I want that kind of peace.  Haven’t felt it for a long time.

Now, I’m not saying that Konmari will solve all your problems, clear up your skin, and make you win friends and influence people.  Parts of it are IMO beyond obsessive, and other parts don’t fit me culturally.  You also need to realize that she’s not talking about throwing out your necessities such as medications and so forth.  I don’t know about you, but I cannot go through my medicine cabinet and honestly say, “Oh, aspirin, you spark such joy.  Toothbrush, how I love you.”  (Although I do think you should have a toothbrush you enjoy using re: color, bristle softness, and handle comfort.)

American Thanksgiving is this week and I want to spend it happily and quietly, not tearing my hair out looking for ads to buy things I don’t need with money I don’t have.  I’m not going to push that on you, either.  Have a wonderful holiday.  Eat enough but not too much.  Go outside.  Be joyful.

More spring news. Yep.

I know, I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving.  The other day when I was in Wally World they were playing Christmas music already.  I don’t mind seeing Christmas things now but I’m not ready to listen to carols and “Jingle Bell Rock.”

So here I’ll make things worse by showing you spring polish news.  Hey, I hate to be scooped by other bloggers too much!

Orly’s Spring 2016 collection is called Melrose.

Orly Melrose banner

Orly Melrose display

Here’s the official blurb:

Take a stroll down the famous and funky indie shopping mecca that stretches from Silver Lake to Santa
Monica.  Here you’ll find designer couture, funky indie shops, restaurants, and one of L.A.’s most popular
flower shops.

An acid mixture of bubble gum, coral, raspberry and minty turquoise softened by pinkish nudes in a
variety of effects from matte to ultra-glossy, and foamy or gelatinous translucents.

Um, “acid mixture” and “gelatinous translucents” sound a little gross.  Why does the word “gel” sound so much better than “gelatinous”?  Anyway, color names are:

Beautifully Bizarre (pearl shimmer)
Vintage (creme)
Trendy (shimmer)
Feel the Funk (holographic glitter)
Hip and Outlandish (creme)
Window Shopping (creme)

Orly Melrose dots

Very spring-like!  I love all the pinks.  The greens are pretty too but may not suit my skin tone.

Polishes will be available separately, in a full set, and in a 4-polish mini set.

Orly Melrose set

Orly Melrose minis

Release date unknown.  Polish colors, names, and other details are subject to change.

P.S.  So… Melrose in California, huh?  Darn.  I was hoping they meant Melrose, Montana.  Population 138.  Elevation 5,467 feet.

Another Mineral Fusion — Amethyst

Some quick swatches today.  Yesterday I had my first post about the brand Mineral Fusion that I picked up at Ulta so please read that one if you’re curious about size of bottle, price, etc.  I showed the beautiful red-brown polish Brownstone.

Here’s the other MF polish I bought, Amethyst.

Amethyst bottle

Application and formula were great and most other details such as the brush are like I posted yesterday.  Amethyst, though, was a sweet one-coater.  It’s a plum-purple shimmer that’s slightly red-toned.  With no top coat and under indirect cloudy outdoor light, you don’t really see the subtle sparkle:

Amethyst outd

But you do with the flash:

Amethyst flash

I’m sure you’d also see the shimmer in bright sunlight.

A close-up:

Amethyst closeup

Gorgeous!  I love dark, inky colors like this when my nails are very short.  Fashionable without being witchy (I hope).  The one-coat advantage makes this a highly recommended polish, and now I want even more Mineral Fusions!

The last of the autumn leaves

It’s that time of year — sunny days of autumn, complete with blue skies and bright leaves, are in the rear view mirror, and winter is saying, “Hey, remember me?”  I’m less about light jackets and more about heavy coats.  And of course, seasonal polish.  The holiday collections are calling to me but I can’t quite say goodbye to my favorite fall colors just yet.

Look here, a new-to-me brand!  Mineral Fusion is a brand that, while not exclusive to Ulta, I’ve only seen at that store.  Previously I always walked by the display without really seeing it, but a few weeks ago a big “SALE!” tag caught my eye, and I browsed the brand for the first time.

Mineral Fusion polish comes in an ovoid bottle with a tapering oval handle.  It’s not what I’d call full-size but neither is it a mini.  Each bottle contains 0.33 oz/10 mL, and the SRP is $7.99.  With the sale and a coupon, I got mine for about $4.25 each.  Mineral Fusion is 100% vegan and is 4-free; that is, free of formaldehyde, camphor, DBP, and toluene.  Here’s one of the two colors I bought, Brownstone.

Brownstone bottle

Brownstone looks copper-bronze in the bottle and I got a nice surprise when I found it looks different on my nails!  Because after I brought it home I thought, shoot, I have enough coppers.  A little buyer’s remorse, doncha know.

The brush stem and brush are good size, the oval handle is surprisingly comfortable, and the brush holds a lot of polish, almost too much for my newly-shortened nails.  Polish smell was average as was dry time.  The first coat was sheer and patchy and showed obvious tip shrinkage, but the second coat covered well.  No visible brushstrokes.

My pleasant surprise was that Brownstone is a lovely shade of dark red-brown on my nails.  Under indirect outdoor sunshine and then with the flash, dig it:

Brownstone outd

Brownstone flash

I just love this color.  Doesn’t make my skin look weirdly colored, although perhaps a bit pale.  If you did want more of a copper color, MF has one called Pretty Penny that might fit the bill.

I’d buy more Mineral Fusion polishes but probably not at full SRP, considering the smallish bottle size.  But next time they’re on sale, and armed with a handy Ulta coupon, I want to try Azurite and perhaps a berry or pink shade.  The other color I bought is the purple Amethyst — want to see it?

Cosmo with a Twist

Woo, got a new holiday shade to show off!  Recently — well, a month ago already… time flies when you’re waiting for your local stores to get new releases in — Canadian beauty blogger BeautyGeeks swatched the entire Starlight holiday collection from OPI, all 18 shades.  Quite a few beautiful ones there, but the only one I was dying to have was the blue-purple shimmer Cosmo With A Twist (CWAT).

Finallyfinallyfinally my Ulta got the set.  I almost bought the deep red shimmer Let Your Love Shine, picked it up and put it back twice.  Really don’t need another shimmery red, though.  I have enough to paint Santa’s workshop as it is.

Cosmo With A Twist is a sheer grape purple base with loads of blue and purple sparkles.  OPI always has such good sturdy brushes and handles, too.  The first coat was sheer and streaky, and the second was still patchy in spots so I used three.  With no top  coat under indirect cloudy outdoor light:

Cosmo waT outd

This looked more blue than I thought it appeared in person, so I moved closer to the window and snapped this:

Cosmo waT outd2

Hmmm, still looks more blue than purple but I see more purple in the bottle.  With a fill flash:

Cosmo waT flash

Ooh, aah.  Starry night sky!  I wouldn’t call CWAT a duochrome because the color does not change at different angles.

I decided to try one quick coat of my Butter London matte top coat and got this.  Indirect outdoor light:

Cosmo waT mattified

Doesn’t look super-matte but I love it anyway.

CWAT and the other OPI shades were $9.50 at Ulta, but they are having a sale of two OPIs for $16 if you’re interested.  Plus if you buy at least two you get a gift with purchase, which in my store was a little pink scarf (participation may vary).

Cosmo With A Twist isn’t the most Christmasy of colors, but when it comes to blue-purples, what can I say; I’m a pig.  I must have been deprived of blue and purple crayons in childhood.

Spring? Spring.

Having a dearth of other news to post, and no new polish I want to dig out and swatch today, here’s some Spring 2016 news and pictures.  Yes, we just got our first snow of the late fall/early winter, but the fashion world lives and operates in the future.

The big twelve-polish set for next spring from OPI is called New Orleans, keeping with their country/city/region theme for such sets.  Cut the chatter and let’s see:

OPI new orleans

OPI new orleans display

Color names:

  • Let Me Bayou a Drink
  • Humidi-Tea
  • Suzi Nails New Orleans
  • I Manicure for Beads
  • Spare Me a French Quarter?
  • She’s a Bad Muffuletta!
  • Got Myself into a Jam-balaya
  • Crawfishin’ for a Compliment
  • Take a Right on Bourbon
  • I’m Sooo Swamped!
  • Rich Girls & Po-Boys
  • Show Us Your Tips!

Typical groan-worthy and sometimes fun puns.  I’m only disappointed there’s no reference to beignets!

I think this looks like a great set, very spring-like.  Loving the blues, which, now that I think about it, also sounds very New Orleans.  There will be a mini set of four which I’m liking except for the grasshopper green, a dreadful shade for my skin tone.

OPI new orleans minis

I know, I know, I’m rushing the season.  Enjoy fall and winter first!  Colors, names, etc. are subject to change.  Release date unknown.

Build your own Naked Manicure kit from Zoya

Back to talking about the Naked Manicure system/polishes from Zoya!  These came out in June and have been promoted rather heavily by the company.  Besides being able to buy the products separately — base coat, tinted perfectors, top coats — you could buy several pre-made kits.  But now you can build your own!  You’ll get the Naked Base, Satin Seal Topcoat, and any two Perfectors of your choice for $30.  Plus you’ll get the Glossy Seal Top Coat, Fast Dry Drops, and free shipping.

Zoya build your NM kit

Here’s the official blurb from Zoya:

Your nails – your kit – your way! Make your own customized Naked Manicure Women’s Starter Kit and you’ll be on your way to flawless, healthy looking natural nails in no time. In your kit you will receive the Naked Base, Satin Seal Topcoat and any 2 Perfectors of your choice. PLUS as an added bonus you will also receive the Glossy Seal Top Coat and Zoya Fast Dry Drops FREE + Free shipping with purchase!

Click HERE to get started!

Important: Do NOT remove the coupon code that is added automatically to the shopping cart. This deal requires that it is not altered in any way shape or form. We also ask that you do not add any additional items to your order in attempt to streamline and speed up processing. Valid for only 1 custom kit per order.

*Terms and Conditions
Valid online only at www.zoya.com through 11/22/15 (11:59pm EST). Limit one custom kit per order – no limit on number of orders per account. Not valid in conjunction with other coupons, codes or promotions. Continental US & Canada ONLY. Art of Beauty is not responsible for incorrect addresses, credit card entry errors, web related issues or any errors associated with declined credit cards. Returns or exchanges of promotional items not permitted. Code must not be removed from cart . Please allow up to 4 weeks for processing if volume warrants it.

Zoya Nail Polish is the world’s leading brand of nail polish. Known as the “Healthy New Color of Fashion” Zoya is always a step ahead of fashion trend with the longest wearing natural nail formula. From creams, mattes, satins, metallic and texture finishes there are over 300 shades to choose from at www.zoya.com.

©2015 Art of Beauty, Inc.  All rights reserved.

What do you think, been waiting for a deal like this?  I would have been all over it when NM first came out and in fact asked for this exact build-your-own option.  None of the kits appealed to me so when there was a good sale I bought some of the items.  My full review is HERE.

Overall I wasn’t thrilled but my nails did look better; in particular, the white parts of my nails were whiter and not at all yellowed, plus the finish felt very smooth.  As I opined, perhaps I’m not the best person to try these products as I would rather wear colored opaque polish if I’m going to spend the time and money.  But if you’ve been wanting to put together your own combo of the NM products, this is a great chance.  Be sure to read the offer’s fine print very carefully and follow directions.


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