Monday, December 31, 2012

Gift of Fab: Essie Leading Lady

A while back on Twitter, Madeline confessed she'd turned into the kind of person who enjoys giving people presents from her pets. I said I would totally love a present from Maeby and Shirley (her rat babies) and that by "I," I meant Sterling Meowlory.

I received her/their package in the mail a couple of weeks ago. My evening had not been off to a good start -- sometimes my dad's "you should become a speech therapist just like Geoffrey Rush in 'The King's Speech'" thing makes me laugh; other times, it makes me rage cry. Guess which one it was for me that night. I totally was on the rag, too, so I was a hot emotional mess. When I came home and saw this package, I almost cried again because ... well, look at it.

These are some of my favorite things: novelty Christmas collars, Clinique Dramatically Different (my HG facial moisturizer), a box of Trader Joe's holiday tea (considering how quickly my store sold out of these last year, it's always good to have an extra box!) ... and a bottle of Essie Leading Lady, straight off my wish list.

Thank you, Madeline, Maeby and Shirley! (And Wolfman.)

Three coats with Essie Good to Go.

As soon as this polish came out, everyone immediately wondered whether it was a dupe for Essie Ruby Slippers, which I think of as Essie's second hardest to find shade (the first being SSN, of course). Several comparisons have been made that show Ruby Slippers is warmer than Leading Lady, so while they're not 100% dupes, Leading Lady is as close as a lot of us are going to get to it.

The formula on this one was sort of gummy the longer the bottle was open. It wasn't hard to work with, but I think it would benefit from some thinner the next time I use it. Since the glitter is a little bigger and coarser, it doesn't dry completely smooth on the nail (but it does dry fast). It's a little bumpy and gritty, but not to the point where China Glaze Ruby Pumps or even China Glaze Blue Sparrow were. I should have put Gelous over it before I applied top coat, though. Next time! BTW, removal suuuuuuucks. You should prepare to foil this one off.

Leading Lady is the eponymous polish headlining this year's Essie winter collection, which is available pretty much everywhere -- my gifted bottle happens to be the retail version, so I guess it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to go retail or salon with your bottles. If history is any indicator, I think this collection will be added to Essie's core line, as previous holiday polishes have been in the past.

I FINALLY sat down and watched the TV version of Ingmar Bergman's 1982 creeper holiday classic (to me, at least) "Fanny och Alexander" recently, and was trying to figure out how to work it into the blog. Since I don't have a Christmas ghost/Christmas spirit-themed polish, I thought Leading Lady would be perfect because Fanny and Alexander Ekdahl's father managed the family theater company. Their mother was an actress in the company, as was their grandmother, in her youth. The movie begins with the theater's Christmas pageant and their Christmas party, followed by the Ekdahl family Christmas party.

Let me say a couple of things about these Christmas party scenes. One, I am forever fascinated with how other cultures celebrate Christmas (shockingly, I remain ignorant of how the motherland does Christmas), and this was a LOT of fun to watch. You think the "Downton Abbey" Christmas dinners are elaborate? LOL ... not even close. Watch this. Two, party scenes are great for introducing characters -- in "Fanny och Alexander," you might as well take notes because there are just about as many characters here as in a Russian novel. Three, all the adults seemed so OLD. The kids' dad was SO OLD. I almost thought he looked older than his mother. And his wife was a total babe. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Is it the lure of the theater? Is it Magic? Is it ... Sweden? No, tell me!

"Fanny och Alexander" is said to be Bergman's "swan song" and his most autobiographical film. However, I've only seen two other Bergman movies in my life, "The Seventh Seal" and "Wild Strawberries," so I can't give you a quick analysis of how "F&A" fits into his ouevre. It's probably not a huge observation in the scheme of film appreciation, but this was the first Bergman movie I watched in technicolor, as the other two I named were shot in black-and-white. It was, however, just as eerie. There are ghosts. There's magic. There are creepy puppets and, well, Ismael. I can't say anything more than that. Just expect THE CREEPS. You'll know when you get to it. IF you can get to it.

Here's the Criterion trailer. It more or less shows you everything that happens in the movie, but ... hey.

If you're going to watch this movie, please do yourself a favor and rent the TV version. Yes, there are two versions of this movie: the 188-minute feature film version, and the 312-minute, two-disc TV version which was broken into four parts and televised as a miniseries in Sweden. (Netflix has both versions available as DVD rentals.) I do feel that the TV version fleshes things out a bit more to my satisfaction than the feature film does. Just be mindful that unless you are dedicated, you are not going to finish watching this in one night.

And so ends another (if somewhat abbreviated) year of Stuff's Christmas polish and movie posts. I hope you enjoyed them! If you have Leading Lady, what do you think? Is it a great polish? Can you live without it? Is it a good choice for "Fanny och Alexander"? Are you a Bergman fan? Do you think that this movie should have been called simply "Alexander" because it's really about him and not Fanny?

Thanks so much again for sending me this polish, bb! <3 It's going to become a favorite, I can tell.

One last thing ... I'm sure you're dying to see Sterling Meowlory Archer in the collars Madeline sent. One of them had tiny jingle bells affixed to the front, so BF and I couldn't get him to wear that one -- Sterling was more interested in playing with the bells than wearing them. Here's best picture I got of him wearing the other collar.

SO HAMSOME. So dapper. Thank you, Madeline!

I am slowly getting back in the swing of eating solid food, OMG YAY. But I'll be spending NYE with my parents at their home. I think I may journey up to see BF, Sterling and a friend of mine tomorrow -- we'll see. In any case, thank you for reading my blog in 2012! I wish you all a healthy, prosperous 2013 full of attainable lemmings.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a 2012 blog wrap-up! You can expect swatches to resume in the next few days. Happy New Year!


  1. I looooooooooooove this on you. Almost as much as I looooooooooove that collar on SMA, but I don't think I can love anything as much as I love him in that collar. MOST HANDSOME CAT, ALL THE AWARDS.

    1. Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu <333333

      OMG Madeline. Almost as soon as B put this collar on him, he went over to hide behind the mirror. I about died laughing. The best part is when he sat outside the bedroom looking at us like, "GOOD EVENING."


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