Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dior Aloha + new fall TV: "The Mindy Project"

I'd apologize for the lack of blog posts since last week, but blogging is hard when you're moving and didn't bring your computer. (Also, there were a few days when I didn't think I'd brought pants. THAT'S how scatterbrained I've been.) This post originally was scheduled for yesterday morning, but I wasn't happy with it and didn't have the means to tweak it to my satisfaction. However, I will have at least two more blog posts to tide you over until October.

And since fall is officially here, I'm delighted to see that the bright orange trend from this spring and summer is sticking around. Burnt and pumpkin oranges are a seasonal shoo-in, but bright and bold? Yes, please!

You know I love a good bright orange polish.
You also know I really love fall.
More than both of those things, you know I LOVE television.

Not to exaggerate, but I can't trust people who say they hate TV. Like Kenneth from "30 Rock" and Abed from "Community," I love it too much. That being said, you really have to take the bad with the good because there are so many deliriously fantastic shows out there and it's just a matter of finding them. And if you don't have time to find them, then you're lucky you have me! Well ... that might be a stretch, but I'm just saying.

One new Fall 2012 show I've been looking forward to debuted last night: FOX's "The Mindy Project," created by and starring Mindy Kaling, whom you might know from her role as Kelly Kapoor on NBC's "The Office." I liked Kelly, but I LOVE Mindy so much more. Her wit, sense of humor and writing style are so up my alley, I can't even. (Mindy's beloved blog Things I've Bought that I Love lives on through her official site.) There's also the fact that as a young lady of color, it's beyond wonderful for me to see a woman like Mindy at the helm of her own primetime show on a major network. But it's not enough for me to simply support these ladies -- I also have to like what I'm seeing.

The pilot aired last night at 9:30 EST, but was made available online briefly last month on the FOX site, Hulu, AOL, Yahoo!, and Xfinity. You know I watched it! (Three times.) I'll have some thoughts on that after we get through the swatches and "review" for Dior Aloha, a polish that reminded me of the bright orange polish Mindy Kaling's character wore in the pilot. --Because obvs, OB/GYNs wear bright orange nail polish, too. They're just like us. I feel like Mindy (the real-life lady as well as the character) would pay enough attention to designer labels that a polish like Dior Aloha would be something she would have bought and loved.

Three coats with SV.

For what this polish originally cost, I was under the impression that it at least would have to give me super powers or come with the phone number of a gorgeous Canadian TV actor. (Pick one. I feel like they grow on trees.) It's a classic Dior creme with Dior's classic hidden shimmer, bright but not quite searingly neon; based on all but one the swatches I'd seen, I was surprised when this pulled more yellow and less red-orange on me. This shouldn't have been a surprise, because Aloha wasn't quite so red in my self-proclaimed NB skin tone twin Flinty's swatch. As you can see, the bottle also was tinted orange -- I'm not sure what the point of that was now. Was it to protect the neon pigment from exposure to sunlight?

The formula on Aloha was excellent. I usually detest the huge broom brushes Dior adopted in the past two years; however, I found that this one was crazy easy to work with and I barely had to do any clean-up. I think I applied my base coat combo kind of weirdly on my left hand, because the polish on that hand did not really level out. Since my last top coat experiment with a Dior polish was a fail (I think it was Essie Good to Go), I decided to use SV and hope for the best. I'm very pleased with the Dior + SV combo -- it dried a little slower than SV's normal time, but the good news was that the polish leveled out and neither was it tacky the next morning, nor did it shrink horribly. I'll have to try it again with a darker Dior creme. I wore this mani for four? five? days.

Aloha was part of Dior's limited edition Electric Tropics duo from Summer 2011. The other polish was Paradise; both Aloha and Paradise were each packaged along with a bottle of special Dior top coat in what I think was an approximately $30 set. I pounced on the Aloha/top coat duo when it went on sale for something like $15.

What do you think of Aloha? Did you get this one or Paradise, and if you tried using the top coat, did you notice anything different/special about it? I'm so curious. Are you a Mindy Kaling fan? Did you love reading Things I Bought that I Love as much as I used to? (I haven't gotten around to reading her book yet as I've been "book ADD" this summer.) Did you also watch the pilot last month or did you watch it last night?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Skinny Dipping (With Friends): Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge

Welcome to the second edition of Skinny Dipping (With Friends)! Of course I'm not talking about just any friend, but Anna, the business lady behind Business Lady Polish. This post is technically our second coordinated monthly nude polish feature, but this is the first one with an official name, so ... yeah.

As usual, I was unsure which polish I wanted to wear so she stepped in and chose for me.


Three coats with SV.

I don't purport to speak for all Asian girls, but I know for a fact that one of the most challenging beauty issues for us is finding the perfect foundation shade. I swear, nothing stateside is made for us. Likewise, finding the perfect nude polish is equally annoying as fuck. (Also, the fact that RBL creator Ji Baek is Korean isn't lost on me, though I think I might be a bit darker than she is.) There is no way for me to sugar coat this, so how does Grunge stack up?

Pretty well, actually! I have a hard time wearing pink- and lilac-tinged nudes, which is why I kept OPI Tickle My France-y but got rid of OPI Barefoot in Barcelona. Grunge falls in with that same color family, yet for some reason, it works beautifully. It also has a very faint silver shimmer that doesn't show up in most lights, so it's practically a creme to me. Grunge is hardly a unique color by today's standards, but in 2008/2009, it was a fairly big deal.

The formula on this polish was good, but certainly not $18 good.*** Let me clarify: It was not as easy to work with as RBL Chinoise was, but it was worlds better than RBL Faraway. Two coats of Grunge is all you need for opacity; it levels out and dries quickly with SV. I remember when I was getting into polish, Grunge and OPI Tickle My France-y garnered many comparisons. I don't have my bottle of TMF right now because of my move so I can't compare it, and while I love both Grunge and TMF, I think Grunge dried faster, required fewer coats and had the better formula. Also, there's the subtle shimmer of Grunge vs. TMF's creme finish, but Grunge might as well be a creme. I haven't tried any of the Zoya Touch collection, but the idea is the same as Grunge, only with a more visible pearly shimmer. --Again, this is just my $0.02. You might find that your bottle has a perfect formula or that the color pulls differently on you.

Grunge is currently sold out on the RBL site, but according to this official RBL post, it should be returning sometime this month along with Coral and Moulin Rouge. These three polishes along with Chinoise (which I posted here) and Plié‚ make up RBL's core collection.

I bought Grunge in February of last year when I preordered RBL Recherché. I can't remember why I purchased Grunge specifically at that time, but I'm really glad I have it. Even my mother complimented me on it, which is a huge deal. I can see it as a killer pedi shade for me since my feet tend to be redder than my hands, so I can't wait to try that.

Even if this polish had been a flop, I'd still be intrigued by the name. Anna and I had a conversation on the phone last week, one of our many subtopics being The Music of Our Childhoods. Although I was born in the mid-to-late '80s, it's obvious that I'm 100% a child of the early-to-mid '90s. For some reason, some of the rock genres and sounds of that time are really comforting to me, despite the fact that I didn't truly listen to them until '97. One such musical movement of my childhood was grunge, and two of the biggest grunge bands to me were Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Both "Ten" and "Nevermind" are spectacular albums (I haven't listened to the legacy edition of "Ten" ... I really need to get on that). Here's one of my favorite grunge songs, which also is one of my favorite songs to play on Rock Band.

I need you to know that my ex-roommate and I named our band "Army of Skanks." Up top.

Do you have any feelings about Grunge, the polish and/or the genre? Any Asian girls care to share their foundation and/or nude polish frustrations? What about your Rock Band band names? I hope you're enjoying Skinny Dipping as much as Anna and I enjoy planning and writing it! Should she/I/we establish a more consistent blogging rhythm, I'm open to the possibility of this becoming a bimonthly feature -- what do you think?


*** When you are a frustrated Asian girl looking for your perfect nude polish, you will try almost anything ... and that includes $18 anythings.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

China Glaze Fast Track

Thank you for the birthday wishes! Honestly, it was an OK day. Moving and trying to get the apartment straight messed with me and I wasn't in the frame of mind to ~celebrate myself~ in a more meaningful way that did not involve buying things (or having my BF buy me things, bless him). The night after my birthday was better. Tara and I went to the local second-run theatre and watched "Magic Mike" (which, I informed BF, was just as magical the second time); we're now 2 for 2 on Channing Tatum movies there. I hear he's got a new movie out, so we'll wait a few months for it to show up at our preferred venue. As my friend Matt says, ain't no party like a Channing Tatum party 'cause a Channing Tatum party don't stop.

I actually wore, swatched and re-homed this polish last month but never posted it -- I was preoccupied with packing for my move, job-hunting, actually moving, Family Birthday Week, more job-hunting and the general move-related flurry of activity I'm sure many of you know a thing or two about. I'm still job-hunting and as this post goes up, we should be getting our internet hooked up today, so I guess it's a good thing I saved it for a boring Sunday. (Not really boring for me. Today is Moving Day, Part II. At this point, this move is going to have more parts than the freaking "Godfather" Land Before Time. LITTLEFOOT!)

Fast Track is the fourth of my six picks from China Glaze's "Hunger Games" tie-in collection earlier this spring, and the second one that didn't wow me in the end (Smoke and Ashes was the first). This polish is supposed to represent District 6 and its principal industry, transportation. I'd read the books, but I didn't even remember what District 6's principal industry was when I saw the movie because I was so busy not being wowed by either (no shade). The thing is, you don't really know how you're going to feel about something until you try it, right?

Three coats with SV.

I wasn't sure I wanted to buy this polish at first, but after seeing it in person at Sally's in late February, I decided to go for it. Fast Track is a really stunning polish, a creamy nude base threaded with gold glass fleck particles. The base color has an element of a warm-toned mauve in it that you can glimpse in the third and fourth pictures. The glass fleck just dances in low light. It's beautiful, and my only quibble is that I would have preferred the particles to be a WEE bit smaller than they were -- when I was outdoors, I felt like I resembled a sparkly leper, or even worse ... a Cullen. Maybe it's my skin tone, I don't know, but I sure as shit wasn't having it. No way.

The formula on this one was not my favorite. It was a little thick and runny in the same way Smoke and Ashes was, and I had a few bald spots after three thin-medium coats. Some people find it sheer, and I guess I would too if I weren't a compulsive three-coater. The dry time was slower than I would have liked it to be, even using SV, though sometimes that's par for the course with runny glass flecks. I have to stress that this didn't bother me as much as the size of the glass fleck did (what is wrong with me?!?), but I'd still recommend this polish to anyone who is a glass fleck lover, or anyone looking for a neutral polish with a twist.

Fast Track is part of China Glaze's Colours from the Capitol collection based on "The Hunger Games" movie, and you might be able to find these on clearance at Sally's and Ulta at this time. It's very easy to hunt down online through Amazon, eBay, various e-tailers and even swaps. In fact, I swapped this one for a Cult Nails polish I'm super excited about.

In conclusion, Fast Track: love it, hate it, somewhere in between, or still in your untrieds? Do you find it super weird that I would be crazy in love with this polish if the glass fleck particles were smaller (is that even possible)? Did you buy "The Hunger Games" on DVD/Blu-ray last month? Like I said, I didn't care for it ... but that's cool. More for you guys.

Two more "Capitol" polishes left! Any guesses to what they might be? Stay tuned tomorrow for another coordinated nude polish post with my favorite business lady!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Belated birthday blue: butter LONDON Scouse ... and tits?

My 26th birthday was on Monday, the 10th. By no means was it THE ABSOLUTE BEST BIRTHDAY EVAR!!!!!1!, but I'm pretty convinced any birthday is better than my 23rd was. 23 was a bad, bad birthday -- but 24 sort of made up for it: I saw Liza "Sally Bowles/Lucille 2" Minnelli in concert, and then saw Garrison Keillor and the crew of "A Prairie Home Companion" on tour the night before.

I took the pictures for this post last week and originally hoped to have it written and posted on Monday, but my move got in the way. I had no time to write or draft anything, then my moving day arrived and things just snowballed after that, not unlike a game of Katamari Damacy. (Go play that shit. I never got very far with it, but it's great.) I opted not to bring my computer in the first round of the move, which ultimately didn't matter because our internet won't be set up until this weekend. So I made the executive decision to live my life, buy myself a few non-apartment gifts, and let BF take me to lunch ...

This is a pulled pork bbq sandwich with mac & cheese from one of my favorite downtown dives.
Feel free to judge my embarrassingly simple palate.
When I need comfort food, I do not seek out the food of my people. I seek out southern comfort food.

... and to Ikea, where I picked up a few little things I wanted, but not the big things I Really Needed. Had we known that Ikea was open until 9 p.m., I think we would have been able to sneak in a viewing of "Robot & Frank," which I've been dying to see for at least a month. We did watch "Bernie" the night before (it was great), and B DVRed the PBS "Great Performances" broadcast of the documentary "Wagner's Dream" for me. If you are an opera buff or a performing arts/staging enthusiast, this documentary is worth your time. Everything I know from watching opera broadcasts doesn't exactly make the content mind-blowing for me, but I love watching behind-the-scenes of telecasts and sometimes I miss working in that capacity.

Although I failed to get wasted, my birthday ended with a nightcap of burgers and this Paulaner weizen -- I walked into the bar at 11:55 p.m. This summer, I've come to the realization that I do love my weizens. Don't hate.

If you follow Stuff's Facebook page, I did tease you with the name and one picture of this polish. And if you saw that post, you'll know who is my preferred celebrity birthday twin: this fine actor in the foreground.

Confession: As much as I love British literary costume drama, I have never seen "Pride & Prejudice." But that is my least favorite of Jane's works, so I don't really care. "Persuasion" FTW.

Quite a few of my friends didn't care for "The King's Speech," but I love it. I've been watching it a lot lately. It's got so many of my favorite character actors, I love the themes, I love the depiction of the time period and broadcasting technology history, and last but not least ... royal corgis. You even get a bit of the Edward/Wallis scandal -- the very same Wallis who is the namesake of the butter LONDON shade.

According to the butter LONDON site, "scouse" is slang for a person from Liverpool. As far as I know, Colin Firth has never portrayed a Liverpudlian, nor does he seem to have any ~real affiliation with the place. The Wikipedia page for "scouse" is a pretty solid starting point if you're interested in looking for celebrities, bands or fictional characters from the Liverpool area. (elbee: Paul McGann is listed. I repeat: Paul McGann is listed!) Nothing I've read on the scouse page seems particularly complimentary, and I don't know what this color is supposed to represent. The footie? Hell if I know.

Three coats with SV. In my experience, SV is not the best top coat to use with butter LONDONs, so I'm wondering if using the bL Hardwear top coat makes a difference. If you use Hardwear, I'd love for you to weigh on this and tell a girl what's up.

Moar pictures:

When I saw Scouse on Sparkly Vernis, I knew it was going to be my birthday polish. This is described on the butter LONDON site as an indigo color, but I see it as royal blue with bits of dark cornflower and periwinkle in it too. It has a smoky, sheer bluish base, and the glass fleck shimmer particles reminded me of Orly Stone Cold mostly in size. In terms of color, this glass fleck is bombass. It's a duochrome, mostly blue/cornflower and sometimes faintly teal, though it gets a purple/violet and pink look around the edges of the nail in most lights. Other times it can gleam teal, but that's mostly in low or really bad incandescent lighting. I don't know if this is dupey to Orly Lunar Eclipse or Sally Hansen HD Laser because I don't own those, but I'm guessing those are a bit darker, and I hear the Orly has the superior formula.

The formula on this polish was ... confusing. Since it's got a sheer, smoky base, it's thin and sort of watery, so you're going to need at least three coats to get this nicely opaque. However, take care to wait between coats and spread the polish around evenly, else you will end up with some bald spots on the edges of the nail. Another word of warning: when you use this polish for a second manicure, the formula is a thick, lumpy BEAST that would benefit from thinner and patience. This dries to a smooth finish and I wore it for four days with SV. I did get some shrinkage and unsightly tip wear, but that's par for the course for me with SV and butter LONDON.

I don't know if Scouse is limited edition, but I DO know that it is a Dillard's exclusive and costs the usual $14 there. Scouse also is available for purchase from the butter LONDON site, but I'd recommend going to Dillard's if you have a store near you to avoid shipping costs on either site. I bought this at Dillard's at the end of last month. The story of how I came to buy it (and two other polishes) is a story for another day, but I can sum it up in two words: shame spiral.

If you're a blue lover, a butter LONDON collector, a lover of Liverpool and its people, or any combination of those things, then IMO, Scouse easily is worth the $14. I haven't decided whether I'm keeping it, although that depends largely on butter LONDON's Hardwear top coat and if I decide to get it, do you think it would be worth the cost? Do you think I included WAY too many links in this post? Do you have an awesome celebrity birthday twin?

I'm posting this and two more scheduled ones from my parents' house because I came back to pick up some more of my stuff. Doing my nails and blogging about them has been the last thing on my mind for the past few days (though buying polish definitely has not. I hauled like a madwoman). --Oddly enough, I'm OK with this, as there's something to be said for unplugging yourself for a little while. I'll use this time to concentrate on tidying the apartment, moving the rest of my things, eating healthier, focusing on my search for gainful employment, and plotting how to scratch items off my new 30 Before 30 list. (--Yup, I made one. How whitebread of me! I'll try to link back to it later, but essentially the concept stemmed from a former classmate's list, inspired by this post. I mean, if it doesn't work out, the worst thing that can happen = I made another list I didn't keep up with.)

I think what I'm really trying to say is that 26 will be an interesting year of growth for me, and also potentially for Stuff. So far, it's off to a good running start. I'll do my best to make it entertaining and worth the chronicling. And tits.***


*** For reference, please see Colin Firth's epic rant (or .gifs of said epic rant) in "The King's Speech."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Moving day mani: OPI Hot & Spicy

It's moving day!

As this post goes up, I'm either putting as many boxes as I can squeeze into my car or I'm already on the road while trying not to freak out; I hope to sign the lease, get my keys and complete the walkthrough by noon (or noon-thirtyish) at the latest. I've moved my belongings between two cities eight times in the past seven years and although both the route and the routine are old hat, I can't wait for the day when I have a permanent address that isn't my parents'. I'm also hoping that my next move after this one will be to a new city or even to a place that isn't rented, but that could be a while yet.

The late spring/early summer of 2010 was the last time I moved (alone and in muggy, 98°F temps, one of those days in the rain). I wore OPI Hot & Spicy and in addition to wearing insanely well (I banged a finger against a wall whilst trying to carry a small bookshelf down my building's back stairwell -- no chips, no breakage, no nothing), it brought me good luck in terms of the move being otherwise hassle-free. Considering how the past three years have turned out for me, I am so not a woman to turn down good luck in any way, shape or form.

Three coats with SV.

I'm not sure how to describe this color to a precise science. It's too orange to be peach, and if it contained any more of a salmon pink tone, it would be the kind of orange coral that I absolutely cannot wear. This one is great with a tan. For some reason, I have it with my head that this is the quintessential summertime color to wear to brunch with your gal pals as you gossip over mimosas. (I don't know where this came from. I usually don't have much to gossip about and I'm incapable of waking at an acceptable brunch o'clock hour, but I love mimosas. I really do.)

The formula wasn't the best creme formula OPI's ever done, but NOWHERE near the worst. I say this because although it was easy to apply, I did have some bald spots after three coats. I don't know if that's because I didn't wait in between coats as long as I should have -- I seem to be quite the impatient polisher these days -- but I wasn't terribly bothered by it. I'm easy to please.

Hot & Spicy was from the OPI Hong Kong collection for Spring 2010. I remember being in such eager anticipation for that collection, I decided not to go out with friends on a few occasions so I could pull my pennies together for those polishes -- I was majorly funemployed at the time and socializing was kind of hard for me. Not so fun memories there, really. But that collection was worth it. I don't know if Hot & Spicy made it to the OPI core line, but it shouldn't be HTF at beauty supply stores or online.

Do you share my feelings about Hot & Spicy, or moving? I'm not moving all of my things at once and I'm anticipating at least two more carloads and trips, so my Helmer and its overflow will be moved drawer by drawer. I'm excited for my new place and my new roommate ("roommates," if you count her cat). I can't wait to make this apartment feel like home, and I hope we'll be happy here for a little while.

My birthday is on Monday, so I'll check back in to show you my birthday polish before I get my Monday Funday on. If I don't have a good, steady buzz going by 2 p.m., then it's highly possible I went to IKEA.

P.S. Happy birthday to my Virgo soul sister, Jennifer!
P.P.S. It's Madeline's moving day tomorrow, so please wish her a good move, too.
P.P.P.S. Thank you for liking Stuff's Facebook page if you did that already!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

NEW: Sinful Colors Super Nova + Stuff on Facebook

I know I said I wasn't going to be around much this week, and originally I had no plans to post between Monday and Friday, but two things:

(1) After months of hemming and hawing and using the word "experiment," I threw my hat into the ring and created an official Facebook page for Stuff. Please give it a peep and a like (thank you)! I'll consider it your early birthday present to me. ;) ;) I'm kicking around some ideas for Facebook-exclusive content, and those ideas won't see the light of day if you're not interested! --But seriously, let's make my "experiment" successful by having some fun on the page! I think it could be a good time.

(2) I'm kind of glad I didn't say I was never going to buy another Sinful Colors polish again, because frankly, this happened. (Oh me, of little scruples.) I wandered into Walgreens on Saturday looking for ... something (I forgot because it wasn't polish, obviously), saw this on sale for 99 cents, and bought it because I am weak.

Plus, I love this song, this album and the studio albums immediately preceding and following it because it is/they are the epitome of '90s girl rock perfection. More importantly -- and feel free to laugh at me -- this song was on a Buffy/Faith fanmix a friend made on LiveJournal back in the day AND I HAVE VERY. FOND. MEMORIES. OF THAT FANMIX, DAMN IT. (I burned it onto a CD and it is in constant rotation in my car, it is THAT amazing.)

The official music video is [HERE], but they censored a line in the second verse, and censoring isn't very rock and roll to me, I'm afraid.

I detoured by the polishes last Saturday and stumbled upon a new Hot Flash Metallics display of colorful metallic chromes and foils. Here's a link to the display on Steph's Closet. Zinc-ing of You would have been a better match for my skin tone, but my love for '90s Liz Phair prevailed, and Super Nova came home with me. I admit a polish named Hot Hot Heat also was quite tempting. And for the record, I liked "Elevator." That was a decent album.

I'm also afraid I have to admit I didn't listen to "Supernova" on the way home. I rocked out to No Doubt's "The Singles" album. (Still '90s, so there's that.)

Three coats with SV.

Super Nova isn't a straight up gold polish -- it's more of a very pale, very cool rose gold on me, and the most rose gold of any polish I own. I don't own Orly Rage, so I can't say how these two polishes would compare. Additionally, I can't find my bottle of China Glaze Swing Baby right now and I can't compare these, either. My room's been a disaster since I've been packing for my move on Friday, but I will say that I think Swing Baby is a pinch more pewter and more rich in color. But as LeVar Burton says, you don't have to take my word for it.

The formula on this one seemed runny yet workable. I think I would have had an easier time with the application process more if it hadn't been for the brush. Sinful brushes are on the thin side compared to OPI and the bevy of broom brushes out there, but they're also a little flat and almost tapered. Foils tend to dry a little slowly, so wait in between coats to avoid dragging and brushstrokes. Super Nova is opaque in two coats, but I opted for three. It had an average dry time; I woke up with sheet marks on three fingers on my left hand, though in all honesty I turned out the light and went to bed as soon as I finished applying SV. I wore this for three days with no chips and minimal tip wear.

Again, I bought Super Nova on sale at Walgreens for 99 cents, and I'm not sure if this sale is still going on, but if you haven't sworn off Sinful and you want it (or the other polishes in this collection), you should get on that. As much as I enjoy metallics, I'm not keeping this one -- rose gold and my yellow skin don't play well together. (***If you are in the continental U.S. and want to swap, please e-mail me!)

Will any of you ladies giving Super Nova or any of the Hot Flash Metallics a pass or a go? Is Sinful Colors still in your nail polish doghouse? Do you love fanmixes? Any faves? Who or what is your favorite '90s girl rock icon? If you've got any recs, I'd love to hear them -- maybe you can rec an artist or band I don't already know!

Are you also of the opinion Madeline and I share in which '90s Liz Phair is the only one who understands us sometimes? I will leave you with this piece of advice: Do not sing "Fuck and Run" in front of your significant other, ever, because she/he will either start laughing at or worrying about you, and you might not end up with all that stupid old shit like letters and sodas.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rescue Beauty Lounge Chinoise

Hope y'all in the U.S. are enjoying your Labor Day weekend! I wrote this post two weeks ago and I forgot about the holiday entirely -- between work, Family Birthday Week, my latest "shame spiral," job-hunting (which caused said "shame spiral") and my move on Friday, I've got a lot on my mind. Aaaaaaaanyway.

Last month, I added a poll widget to the blog asking y'all to help me choose among a red creme, a red shimmer, a red foil, and a red glass fleck. 80% of you voted for the red creme, so this post's for you!

The official description on the RBL site is as follows: Chinoise "makes your nails look as if they've been lacquered like a Chinese screen" and is dedicated to Diana Vreeland. Fashionista friends, please don't turn up your pretty noses at me for needing to ask myself, "Who is Diana Vreeland, again?"

And then I realized I HAD heard of Ms. Vreeland before. You know that scene in "To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar" where Patrick Swayze's character, Vida Boheme, gifts the stuttering thrift store owner with a book? That book was Diana Vreeland's memoirs. So the good news is that if you also saw that movie, then you've also heard of Diana Vreeland (the "hats for career girls" quote? That's her, too). She was born into high society in Paris, and is mainly known for her work first as a columnist, then fashion editor for Harper's Bazaar before serving as Vogue's editor-in-chief for eight years until 1971.

Even then, I wasn't sure what red had to do with D.V., so I pulled up her Wikipedia page and discovered that she'd had one of her New York City apartments decorated entirely in red. She was famously quoted as saying, "I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell." As the kids say these days, achievement unlocked.

All of this red also turns out to be very strawberry social.

So is this RBL shade as epic as its inspiration (D.V., that is)? Hells, YES.

Three coats with SV.

Noxie wants to know ...


(And LOL FOREVER @ Michael Vartan. He is beautiful, but he was unbearably boring on "Alias," sry2say.)

Everything everyone has said about this red is true. It is BOSS. If Chinoise were a fictional character, it would be the Dread Pirate Roberts (it takes no prisoners). The weekend I wore this, I started out feeling sickly, but this did help perk me up a little. This is a warmer red that looked a lot warmer on me in artificial light than it did with natural light.

The formula was excellent, too. It's got that jelly-creme texture, a wee bit squishy but also wonderfully opaque. Chinoise is perfectly pigmented and applies like butter. If you use a careful touch, you can get this on in one coat. I don't understand the fuss with one-coaters -- that's probably because I need at least two to get everything nice and even, and then three usually makes for wonderful color depth, hence my three-coater habit. Very minimal clean-up was needed, which is pretty liberating for a red. I don't know what it is about reds, but I can never do a clean-up-free manicure with one.

I'm not sure when Chinoise was originally released, but I vaguely remember word of its return back in Spring 2008. It is currently available on the RBL site for $18 (the link at the top of the post will take you to the page for Chinoise) and it is part of the core RBLs, two more of which I plan to share here next month. I know I paid full price for Chinoise in 2010, and if you're wondering whether it's worth the $18 ... I made you this thing.

Is Chinoise a must-have for your collection, or does this hot red leave you feeling cold? Have you been influenced by Diana Vreeland or any great woman of style? Who's your favorite character from "To Wong Foo"? It's hard for me to choose among Vida, Noxeema and ChiChi at any given moment, though Vida gives some of the best advice, IMO. I remember posting this particular Vida Boheme pearl of wisdom on Facebook on the day Patrick Swayze died:
"Now, you listen to your Auntie Vida. I want you to believe in yourself, imagine good things and moisturize. I cannot stress this enough."

I hate inspirational quotes and anything that masquerades as an inspirational quote (when people continue to post quotes on Facebook, it gets a bit trite) but these words absolutely are words to live by. To borrow from Noxeema Jackson, I think we'd all do well to make Hollywood wherever we're at. When you've got a red like Chinoise, you've got substance and style -- you're practically there.