Category Archives: Fun stuff

Miscellaneous things that don’t fit anywhere else

In the winter…. The Fall

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Such a quiet time of year.  Recovering, for better or worse, from the holidays.  No news.  No new polish.  I’d like to hibernate for about six weeks.

Since I have nothing germane to the blog, I’ll ramble.  Quelle surprise.  If I can’t talk about polish, I’ll talk about color.  I’ve mentioned many times over the years about the use of color in movies, how it’s used for symbolism, for attention, and so forth.  It’s interesting to see how others use color and how we can use it ourselves in our polish and makeup.

One of my all-time favorite films — and my #1 favorite when it comes to use of color — is the little-known The Fall from 2006.  Starring Lee Pace as Roy, it’s set in a California hospital in the 1920s, and it introduces Catinca Untaru as the little girl, Alexandria.  Both Catinca and her character are Romanian and since her hospital scenes were shot in chronological order, you can literally see and hear her English improve.

Roy is confined to his bed…. but he wants something.  To get it, he convinces Alexandria to be an accomplice by telling her a fantastic story but parcels out the “chapters” to keep her on the hook, à la the tale of A Thousand and One Nights.  What’s fascinating is that what Roy says is not always what Alexandria understands.  For example, when he says “Indian” he means Native American but she pictures a person from India.

The dark, shadowy hospital scenes contrast perfectly with some of the brightest, most saturated colors you’ll ever see.  It’s the reason to have an HDTV and a Blu-ray player.

The Fall characters

The Fall woman

(Ooh, bright red polish!)

The Fall has some of the most gorgeous and striking scenes I’ve witnessed in any movie, any time.  Stills don’t do justice to them.  I was lucky to see the film in the theater, and bought it as soon as I could.  Here’s the trailer:

Direct link:  http://youtu.be/4YIEjqOzyP8

The Fall is rated R for violence and violent/frightening images, but there is no nudity or offensive language.

For 2016, Shut Up and Dance

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Happy New Year!  The last few years I’ve written well-meaning posts along the lines of New Year’s resolutions, mostly about being better and kinder to yourself, which will result in your being better and kinder to others.

For 2016, my motto which I also recommend to you is going to be Shut Up and Dance.  This of course is the title of Walk the Moon’s extreeeeemely addictive pop song.  The official music video on YouTube has something like ten trillion gazillion views.

Direct link if the embed does not show up:  http://youtu.be/6JCLY0Rlx6Q

This video is so retro.  Besides a cute lead singer, it was shot with a total nod to the 1980s — the hair, the clothes, the makeup, and especially the video style of clunky, computer-generated special effects.  Remember those early CG efforts?  Funny to watch now.

So what does this have to do with a new year?  I don’t mean that you or anyone should literally shut up and not say anything, but I will recommend to stop complaining.  I do it, you do it, we all do it.  What really bugs me is that I find we tend to do more of it as we get older, and it’s a major downer.  A turn-off.  A party pooper.  A wet blanket.

I hang around very few older people, meaning my age (57) and older, because they do so much **** constant complaining.  Bitch, bitch, bitch.  It’s wearing and draining and a huge negative weight that I neither want nor need.  Sadly, the stereotype of the crabby old man/woman can be true.  Don’t be that stereotype; be upbeat.  And if you can’t be upbeat, be quiet.

Weeellllll…. good in theory, right?  I know it’s impossible.  We don’t want to be insufferable Pollyannas either.  And sometimes we do want or need to vent.  But maybe tone it down?  One thing I hope to do is stop harping on negative personal things.  For example, I have a minor foot issue that’s sometimes painful.  My family and close friends know about it, so there is absolutely no need for me to keep bringing it up.  They know.  It hasn’t changed.  So drop it.

Now the more fun part of my recommendation — dance.  Either literally dance, or at least get moving.  The sedentary lifestyle — says me, the mouse potato — is a killer and we need to move our bodies.  Dancing is more entertaining than walking on a treadmill, which I find boring as hell.  If an exercise is boring, you won’t stick to it, or you’ll hate it every second.

Maybe you have an issue with your knees or whatever and cannot actually dance.  You can still move to music.  A very fun video game is Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, in which you “conduct” music to various trippy special effects.  It can be a ton of arm exercise, and face it, haven’t we all wanted to conduct an orchestra like Mickey Mouse in the movie Fantasia?  I like rocking out to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody or Bruno Mars’s Locked Out of Heaven.  I bought the game when it was new, a little over a year ago, and the price has come down a lot since.

Here’s a video of how the game works, with the song Let It Go by Demi Lovato from the movie Frozen:

Direct link:  http://youtu.be/D7Xr_4ePyD8

Don’t know about you, but I would 1000 times rather do this than lift free weights.  You can play in “Party Mode” like I do (going directly to the songs) or go through the child-appropriate Story Mode, which unlocks more content.  Btw, Let It Go is another good resolution — let go of stuff that holds you down or holds you back or otherwise clutters up your mind.  But maybe I’ll hold that thought ’til next New Year’s Day!

I’m dreaming of a black Christmas

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A White Christmas?  Dead cert.  We’ve gotten tons of snow in the past week.  Mr. Silver Nail has shoveled so much snow that most days he doesn’t need to go to the gym for extra exercise.

So let me show you my little lump of coal.  Now, I’m not one of those bloggers who talks about her pets much, although I love them dearly and am very involved with all of them every day (except the one who was feral and whose idea of a good day is “Eat, hide, repeat.”)

Here’s the latest member of the family:

Sigyn, 8 weeks old, with favorite toy

She wasn’t a Christmas gift and has actually been with us a few months.  Her eyes have changed from green to gold and she looks like a tiny black panther now.  With humongous feet.  She’s polydactylous on every foot and her front feet look like oven mitts.

Naming her was fun.  My son started a theme of naming his cats after Scandinavian deities and has two named Skadi and Dagr, and I wanted to pick a name from that pantheon too.  Finally decided on Sigyn (SEE-gin).  We all know that Loki is a very popular pet name, Loki being the god of mischief, but how come his wife gets no love in the naming department?  Sigyn.  Often we call her Siggy.  She’s super-mischievous but also a joy too.

What does this have to do with Christmas?  Nothin’.  But I hope that you are all surrounded with the ones you love, human and animal alike.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Check out the blog early this Saturday morning, the 26th, for a preview of a brand new polish collection!

The Christmas Tag

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Other bloggers are doing this and I thought it would be fun, too.  Feel free to chime in with a comment about anything Christmas that you’d like to add!

Off my meds

Favorite Christmas movie?

If I could only pick one, it would the 1985 made-for-TV version of A Christmas Carol.  Although George C. Scott didn’t even attempt a British accent, his Scrooge alternately makes me angry, sad, and filled with pity, and brings me to tears when he pleads with The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.  This is one version where Tiny Tim actually looks like he’s dying.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Many!  Growing up in eastern North Carolina I never had one but I’ve lived almost all my adult life in western Montana and we have one every year.  We just got another 8 inches of the fluffy stuff last night!

Favorite Christmas song?

One of my relatively new faves is Bells Are Ringing by Mary-Chapin Carpenter.  It makes me understand that even if I didn’t have presents and a tree and all that “stuff,” I would still have Christmas in my heart.  Corny but true.  Here’s a YouTube link:  http://youtu.be/wDYnujUdoFw

Do you stay in your PJs or dress up for Christmas?

I stay in my robe until late in the morning and then wear my usual casual clothes around the house.

If you could buy one person a present this year, what would it be?

I’d wish I was ginormously rich and could buy my kids each a house.  Hey, go big or go home.

Do you open presents Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day?

We always open one on Christmas Eve and save the rest for the next morning.

Have you ever built a gingerbread house?

Yes!  When I was in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, my Little Sister and I made one a couple of years in a row for a show at the mall.  Very fun!  I remember one had a University of Montana theme and was called “Merry Grizmas.”

Any Christmas wishes?

Good health for all the family members.  Some recent events have made me realize that that is truly the best gift of all.

Favorite Christmas scent?

EVERYTHING.  ALL OF IT.  Snow, evergreen trees, peppermint, baking cookies, hot chocolate.

Favorite Christmas gift or memory?

When I was about seven years old I wanted a Cheerful Tearful doll more than anything.  I can still remember walking into the living room that Christmas morning and seeing her sitting on a chair with her arms reaching out to me.  My parents didn’t even wrap her so I could see her right away.  Also, my mother, world’s best seamstress, made an entire wardrobe of clothes for her too — pajamas, everyday clothes, a fancy outfit.  I still have the doll and all the clothes.

What tops your tree?

An angel. She’s even older than I am so we treat her with extra TLC.

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Share memories and likes, and Merry Christmas!

I’m No Angel

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Hey, it’s Christmas week!  Hope all my readers are doing well and aren’t stressed over weather, family, or anything else.  I’m pretty much burned out on blogging about nail polish — you may have noticed — and hope that the new year gives me a much-needed reboot.

So this week I’ll be talking Christmas, for an uplifting (I hope) break.  With all the shopping and spending and hustle and bustle, sometimes it’s nice to kick back with a funny movie.  Here’s one you may not be familiar with, 1955’s We’re No Angels.

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What?  Bogart did comedy?  He most certainly did, and I wish he’d done more (1941’s All Through the Night is another one).  This is a very dark comedy, to be sure.  You have to find humor in crime, thievery, and, um, arranged death.

Don’t confuse this We’re No Angels with the 1989 supposed remake.  The latter bears almost no resemblance to this one, which is based on a stage play.  Here’s the story in a nutshell:

Set in 1895, Joseph (Bogart), Albert (Ray), and Jules (Ustinov) are escaped convicts from Devil’s Island prison off the coast of French Guiana.  They plan to hide out in a store over Christmas Eve, kill and rob the owners, then make their permanent escape.  You know what they say about the best-laid plans.  The trio overhears conversations between the married owners — bumbling but kindly Felix Ducotel and his sensible wife Amelie — that highlight their many worries.  They’re in financial straits and dread the upcoming visit from Cousin André (Basil Rathbone at his most despicable) who holds the family pursestrings.  Also, their teenage daughter Isabelle is suffering from unrequited love.

Our three not-so-wise men decide to help the Ducotels just a little, THEN kill and rob them.  As Joseph says, “We came here to rob them and that’s what we’re gonna do — beat their heads in, gouge their eyes out, slash their throats.  Soon as we wash the dishes.”  Do I really need to tell you that the guys find better ways to use their criminal talents?

We’re No Angels has some of the best deadpan lines in moviedom, and the shot of tough guy Bogie in a pink frilly apron alone is worth the price of admission.  Then there’s the pineapple scene.

Well, I won’t go on and on.  If you’re in the mood for something different and, like me, loathe most Christmas comedies, give this one a try.

Where does your nail polish want to be?

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A little followup to my post on Konmari the other day (the Konmari Method of decluttering one’s home and life, from the book by Marie Kondo).

I mentioned that there were a few things in the book that did not fit me culturally.  Ms. Kondo, who is Japanese and who also sounds quite spiritual — she says she was a Shinto shrine maiden for a few years — does a few things that I would be uncomfortable with.  She recommends literally thanking your clothes and shoes at the end of every day for working so hard for you.  She recommends greeting your house — not just the people in it but the actual building — every time you come home.  Nope, not for me.

However, she also talked about some things which I found ridiculous at first but which are growing on me.  Kondo speaks of many inanimate objects as having feelings and wants.  Pshaw, said I.  But… wait a minute.

I was decluttering my kitchen.  She says to clean by category, not by room, but I was following her suggestion since all my food/cooking things are in the kitchen.  I have a metal tea caddy that I bought years ago for its design.  I think it’s pretty and interesting-looking.  But it sits, empty, on a shelf.  In a cabinet nearby I had two boxes of tea bags.  Suddenly, when I picked up the caddy, I had this thought:  It’s a tea caddy.  It wants to store tea.

Now, I do not anthropomorphize my stuff to the point where I think my pots ‘n’ pans run around the house at night, giggling and playing tiddlywinks when no one is looking.  But things usually have a purpose.  While a thing may not be literally happier fulfilling its purpose, is the space perhaps more balanced, more in harmony?  Don’t mean to sound too New-Age-y here.

I put the tea bags in the tea caddy, recycled the cardboard packaging, and now my tea things take up one-third of the space they previously occupied.  The caddy is both beautiful and useful.

Kondo also opines that things such as clothes do not want to be stuffed in a dark moldy box and stuck in a cold basement or an overheated attic for twenty years.  They want to be brought out into the light and be used, be loved.  Makes sense to me.  Taking this idea a little further, where does your nail polish want to be?  I’ll be Captain Obvious and say it wants to be on your nails.  Not, as so much of my polish is, swatched once and stuck in a box in a closet.  It’s not bringing anyone joy in there.

I’ll go further and say not only is it not bringing me joy, it’s stressing me out.  My nail polish collection has become like the title character of the movie The Blob, growing larger and larger and getting downright frightening.  I find myself actually avoiding looking at it, it’s gotten so out of control.

This is just me.  Other people may find joy in a big, bigger, biggest collection, and that’s cool.  Maybe some of your polish wants to be displayed like a beautiful work of art, and I can see that too.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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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.

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