Unfortunately I am bearing bittersweet tidings, so I'll just come out with it: We have come, as Boyz II Men sang, to the end of the road here on Stuff.
This was both a difficult and an easy decision to make, for various reasons. First, both of my camera phones' batteries died early last autumn, and I wasn't sure what to do (continue replacing outdated technology? start using an actual CAMERA?), but replacing those batteries wasn't an immediate priority. I've said that not having to photograph every polish I've ever worn is such a novelty during every blog hiatus I've taken; that remains true, but now I am woefully out of the habit. I also didn't realize how much time I was spending doing something for the blog! As someone with lifelong time management issues, this hobby of mine was a little more demanding some days than others, particularly since I like things done a certain way. Occasionally I would run later than I should have to events, or I would be slower to complete or perform other more important tasks as a result. (I am working to curb this behavior, but who knows, I probably am trading one vice for another.)
China Glaze All Glammed Up, from this summer's Summer Reign collection. I am sure it has dupes, but I couldn't tell you what those would be. Stayed on longer than I thought it would, given my bottle's inconsistent formula.
Second: (2A) a lot of your and my favorite old brands are no more, and the brands that have soldiered on spend more time putting out lackluster collections or investing in gel ("gel"?) lines. All well and good, until you realize that very few companies consistently do anything compelling in the ways of colors and finishes, and you need a little something more ... more. I'm still not really into indies apart from the usual suspects (Pretty Serious, Pahlish, Cirque Colors) since I tend to favor products I can walk into a store and purchase. I will say that I regret not documenting more of my expansive and ridiculous stash, but I highly doubt that would be as interesting now as it would have been maybe five years ago. (P.S. I tried the CND Vinylux system for the first time almost exactly a month ago, and I actually quite liked it. I did, however, use my double base coat combo of Instant Artificials + Gelous, although Vinylux instructions say you don't need base coat at all. It dries SO FAST, you guys!)
(2B) Virtually no one blogs any more, which is vexing when you want AN ACTUAL REVIEW of a product and not an Instagram post that says "This color is AMAAAAZING!" So many of my friends and some of my favorite bloggers have stepped back or completely retired! I know interest dies down from time to time and that hobbies and free time are cyclical and can be picked up again later, so never say never (even B was surprised that I've chosen to stop blogging) -- but for now, rather than subject you to hiatus after hiatus after hiatus, it's time for me to call it a day. I knew it for sure when I went back in my phone photo albums to look for a facsimile of my signature nail pics for this post, and came up pretty damn empty. When I started Stuff, I thought it would be something fun I could do until my life got back on track, which brings me to my final point:
Third: Real Life, man. When I last posted, I was still coming to terms with my grandmother's death, and I had to let the blog sit for a while. Once I started feeling a little better, the presidential election took place, and frankly, I was -- and still am -- extremely unhappy with its outcome. The personal has become inherently political, and I didn't want it to bleed over into this blog because this is supposed to be a place of respite both for readers and for myself. But to prattle on about cosmetics the way I do seemed absurd and silly, and so again I let the blog sit. Then the Saturday morning after the election, one of my favorite aunts suddenly passed away; a few family members and I basically traveled straight from her memorial service in Montreal to Thanksgiving in New Jersey. Unlike my grandmother, I was in fairly regular communication with my aunt, and I really miss talking to her, especially since she and I were at a point where we were able to talk on a level that was woman-to-woman. I don't know how else to describe it. I miss her. Anyway, two weeks after THAT, I succumbed to a next-door-to-pneumonia case of bronchitis (according to my doctor parents). This wiped me out for the entirety of the holiday season, during which I was so horrified at the prospects of our electoral leadership that I stopped dithering and started applying to grad school as soon as I returned from Thanksgiving. There's no need to argue about politics -- I only mention the election because I truly believe it was the kick in the pants I needed to jump start the grad school application process, whatever that says about me.
Flipped through the post-inauguration Style Weekly while letting my sister do a final read-through of my essay, and IT DID NOT LIE. (Also, AFAIK, the Stoliles bromance is still on.)
My health improved in time for me to participate in the Women's March in D.C., submit my application, and to start an online grad school prerequisite class probably all in the span of 4 days. That class, which I LOVED, whipped my butt to the point where I was just going to repeat it, until I got an acceptance letter from grad school saying my acceptance was pending successful completion of that course. My immediate reaction was of wanting to vomit, but I was not sure if that was more of my subpar performance in class and severe academic anxiety, or the weird Wendy's sandwich I had just eaten. What I'm saying is, my spring SUCKED. In addition to the nagging feelings of "Oh my god, did President Covfefe drive me to take on potential student debt?" and what I think is the more common grad student question, "What if I am setting myself up to fail again?" , I continue to have conflicting feelings about school. I know I was accepted into a fantastic program, but I also feel like I should be pursuing writing more seriously, and hopefully I can figure out how to do that anyway. My self-doubt and academic anxiety is so bad that I still haven't told my extended family and a lot of my friends that I'm going back to school, or that I applied at all. I've also been dealing with a bunch of other ongoing personal shit I'm not even going to get into, but it will suffice to say that this maelstrom of events has left me thoroughly overwhelmed and confused.
And if I'm being honest, I'm still overwhelmed and confused, which is why, on Stuff's sixth birthday (!), I'm shutting down my baby blog. I've loved writing, brainstorming, and connecting and sharing parts of my last six years with you, but after this month, I simply won't have the time to devote toward Stuff. Even more surprising was my realization that I don't seem to need the blog now the way I did when I started it (I think Instagram definitely helps scratch that itch). This time next month, I will have moved much closer to school. I will have multiple roommates again for the first time in years. I will have to adjust to being a student after a 10-year absence from academia. I. AM. TERRIFIED. I will need to focus on funneling my nervous energy into doing everything I possibly can to get my shit together. I'm not getting younger, and even if this new career path is not where I ultimately end up, I have so much to learn and experience and I should just go for it because I feel like I've wasted so much time. Until that point, though, I fully intend to #yolo the fuck out of what's left of my summer, and it seemed like my sixth blogaversary was the right time to say goodbye.
My sister and I went on a mini-vacation to the National Spelling Bee because we are bee nerds. We had a blast.
A few days after the bee, I went to see Feist and I am still coming down from it. Really enjoying her new album, and posting this pic because I think it looks rad.
I know no one asked, but my only real advice to future bloggers is this: Do it for yourself. Post, with reason, whatever content speaks to you. Make friends! Try to write the blog you would want to read. Don't worry if it's not perfect -- you'll figure it out as you go. And when it comes time to stop, you'll know it. While I certainly would have changed some things and not even made attempts at others, I also learned a bit about myself that I might not have thought about until later (how I process things in my mind and/or in writing, and what I've come to regard as self-care, behavioral patterns, impulses, aesthetics, etc.) and honestly, that knowledge been instrumental in considering the kind of person I want to be and how I want to conduct myself, online and off.
I'll always have a penchant for nails, and I probably always will have some sort of online presence -- so feel free to email me at rachswatched@gmail if you want to talk, if you want to send me blog recommendations or have started your own, if you want to know if I'll ever have a destash or blog sale, if you want to find out how SMA is doing, or what I'm wearing/watching/reading/listening to/eating/generally just being extra about. (If you're a reader and you follow me on Instagram, PLEASE TELL ME because sometimes I don't know.) And if I ever pop up again as a nail blogger in any fashion, trust me ... you'll be able to find me. :)
You know, that #mynailsandmydrink steez. Sinful Colors Thera-pewter. I LOVED it. 10/10, absolutely would wear again.
To all of you who have found this blog, read it for a time, or have continued to read during the last six years: THANK YOU. Thank you for your clicks, comments, emails, swaps, RAOKs, pins, follows, subscriptions, likes, tweets, and general enabling. Thank you for entering my giveaways! To my readers who I've gotten to know better through your emails (Jess, Marija, Leissa), keep them coming!
If you blogged or still blog, THANK YOU for saving a space for Stuff on your blog roll! Many of the ladies who I turned to for advice when I was getting started and who guest posted for me in 2012-3 no longer blog, but thank you for sharing your time & talent with me! (Mad respect to those of you who've blogged while pursuing a degree AND working. I couldn't do that!)
To those ladies who I never would have befriended without this hobby: THANK YOU for becoming my friends and for putting up with my multiple-part texts alone! I want to shout out so many of you but I will limit it to Janice, for the laughs, educating me and hunting down lemmings; Steff & Anna, for being the best & loveliest of friends & feature collaborators; Madeline, for the book/movie/music recs & choosing a shit ton of my NOTDs; Courtney, for sending me hilarious memes & for our honey mustard lunches; Ashley, for keeping me somewhat tuned in to the world of nail art & for our meet-up in L.A.!; and Tara, for being my roommate for a year and a wonderful friend.
To my friends & framily who have made appearances on or who I name dropped here: THANK YOU for still beng my friends even after I dragged you to the ends of the earth or you lost me in the beauty section while I was looking for a polish, for letting me use your computers to post, and for not yelling at me when I was late for something because I was working on this instead. I am so sorry. I love you for humoring me and for just being you. Please never stop! Just know that you will never NOT lose me in a Target beauty section. ;)
Thank you for all your love and support over the past six years. Stuff and the friendships that have stemmed from it were a wonderful distraction, and helped make a pretty lonely part of my life significantly less lonely. For that, I'll always love it the way we love the China Glaze Rodeo Diva collection (which is SO MUCH, FOREVER).
I'll just let Blossom Dearie say it: