Monday, April 29, 2013

Talking about talking: haphazard hypercorrection

We all know that the way we speak is just as important as what we say. Your speech can tell others a lot about you--like your age, gender, ethnicity, place of origin, socioeconomic status, and more. We all know, too, that different ways of speaking carry different levels of social prestige. In school, we're taught to write (for example) Standard American English, because it's the variety expected in professional white-collar life. Your ability to speak "correctly" (remember, "correctly" always means "following a standard"), with a newscaster's vaguely Midwestern accent, can give you an air of education, wealth, and authority.

We're all aware of these facts at some level, and most everybody has made a conscious effort at some point in their lives to use a standard form of language over a more natural nonstandard form. But what happens if you're not totally sure what the standard form is supposed to be? Let's imagine a scenario that might feel uncomfortably familiar (continued after the jump):

Today's mani: stamping with Essie and Color Club

My second attempt at stamping turned out pretty well! I just love this stamp pattern.

The base color is Essie DJ Play That Song, from the new neons collection. (I cranked the color temp way up to get the color accurate for you!) The stamping is done in Color Club Twiggie, using plate W111 from this set. Then I mattified everything with Revlon's matte topcoat. This mani feels very summery to me!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Swatch: L'Oreal Berry Nice and Miss Candy Nail Lingerie

The products in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Miss Candy is L'Oreal's spring/summer limited edition cosmetics collection, and the polishes are all jellies! I'd been keeping my eye out for them with no luck, until Jess at Love for Lacquer pointed me to Rite Aid. Sure enough, there they were, along with a bunch of other stuff I hadn't seen elsewhere! I walked out with two L'Oreal jellies and a set of Miss Candy Nail Lingerie (plus some other stuff...).

OK, now one of these products I really like, the other not so much. Can you guess which is which?

L'Oreal Berry Nice, 3 coats. One coat Zoya Armor topcoat. L'Oreal Miss Candy Nail Lingerie.

Berry Nice is a beautiful purple jelly. Note that once again my camera is confused by blue-toned shades: this color is a bit more red in real life, true to its name. (Maybe we should put a new camera on our wedding registry??) Since it is a jelly, you can expect some visible nail line unless you put a ton of coats on. I was happy with three.

The formula is a little runny, so the polish will run all over your cuticles if you're not careful. The brush is pretty wide (almost the same size as my pinky nail) so you can cover the nail in 2-3 strokes. You can see I did get some bubbling; I guess I didn't wait long enough between coats. I also got some sheet marks (whoops! lesson: take pics before going to bed), so it stayed squishy for a while.

Now, as for the Nail Lingerie: these looked sooo cute in the package. They're just stickers that you stick on and then file off the extra length. It seems to me that there's an inherent problem with attaching a flat sheet to a curved surface: you will inevitably get creases and bubbles. Then, you fold the excess over the tip of your nail to file it off, and that causes even more creases. Maybe if the material was a little stretchy it would be easier to get it to lie flat. (Having a friend with two free hands could also help.)

The Nail Lingerie comes in white, pink, or blue. Each set contains 9 sizes of sticker, 2 of each size. Several of the sizes were bigger than any of my fingernails; I guess this is so you can stick them on your big toe (or if you just have giant fingers). Here's a shot:

Obviously you can only get one full mani from this set, or a few using different accent nails. You could probably trim the bigger ones down to fit. I think if I use this set again, I'll put some on my toes, as I'll have two free hands to attach them. But I probably won't buy them again.

Oh, and one more thing: these are labeled as "3D stickers", but I'm not sure what the 3D part is supposed to be--unless it's the creases??

The verdict: Berry Nice is great, just watch for bubbles and slow dry time. Nail Lingerie: meh.

I bought both of these at Rite Aid ($6 for 11.7 ml polish, $8.95 for the stickers).

The products in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today's mani: resistance is futile

Today is the one-day-only theater showing of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes The Best of Both Worlds, parts 1 and 2! For you non-geeks reading, in these episodes Captain Picard (aka The Best Captain) gets temporarily assimilated by the evil Borg collective. I'm not nerdy enough to dress up, so I did my nails instead!

Polishes I used: the index and pinky finger are Zoya Storm, because it looks like deep space! The middle finger (Picard's uniform) is Revlon Red Carpet, Revlon Stiletto and Julep Harley. (I don't have a good shade of "command red", which is almost a light maroon--any suggestions?). The ring finger (Borg laser eyepiece and misc. cables--Borg are always covered in cables) is Revlon Supernova, Stiletto, Carbonite and Red Carpet.

What's your favorite Star Trek episode?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Swatch: Julep Jill

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The polish in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Polish makers have been jumping aboard the textured polish train for the past several months, and Julep is the latest. They call the finish "sea salt" and released a Mystery Box containing one of three new polishes. I generally like textured polishes, so I grabbed a box and ended up with Jill.

Julep Jill. Two coats, no top coat.
Jill is a muted brown, and unlike many of the textured polishes I've seen, has no shimmer or glitter. So it's more toned-down and work-appropriate (note: I'm a grad student and have never had a real grown-up job).

Now, when I swatched this on my swatch wheel, the texture came out perfectly consistent and fine-grained, but when I put it on my nail, I got a lot of "bald" patches--places with no texture. My pinky finger there is the most egregious. I wondered if it might be because I was wearing a base coat (NailTek II), even though I've never before had a problem with textured polishes over a base coat.

So, like a good scientist, I did an experiment: I removed the polish from my index finger and repainted it with no base coat. (It's shown in both these pics.) I do think the texture came out finer and more consistent on that finger, although not perfect. So I would recommend not using a base coat.

The texture is very similar to the Zoya Pixie Dust polishes--you can feel some grittiness if you rub a nail with your finger, but it isn't rough or sharp and won't snag on things.

As for the formula, it was fine as long as I used thin coats. The difficulty with Julep's brushes is that they're longer than normal, so a lot of polish collects along them and drips down, and you have to keep wiping them off to prevent globs. But I really didn't have a lot of trouble. Like all textured polishes I've tried, this dried fast. I did get some chips a few hours later when I was washing dishes and cooking.

The Mystery Box containing the sea salt polishes is no longer for sale, and the polishes aren't up on the Julep site, so I guess they're waiting a bit before releasing them. If you're at all interested in Julep products, I do recommend getting a Maven membership, since everything is discounted and there are always some Maven-only specials. That said, I think even the regular Maven price ($11.20) is too high for a bottle of polish, since they're only 8 ml. So I always buy stuff from them in sets or discounted.

What do you think of Jill?

The polish in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I made food: stuffed onions

Take a look at these bad boys:

Onions stuffed with quinoa, spinach, arugula, and feta! I got this recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything; the only change I made was to add quinoa for extra protein.

The basic procedure is this: cut the onions in half, put them face down in a dish, drizzle them with butter and white wine, then put them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and boil the greens for about 3 minutes. Squeeze the excess water out of the greens. Mix the quinoa, greens and some feta in whatever proportions you want. Take the centers of the onions out, leaving a few layers, and put the stuffing in. Put some panko on top, drizzle some olive oil, and stick them back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Add some bacon bits if you want and you're done!

These were so amazingly good, and filling too (I got pretty full on these two halves). The onions were perfectly sweet. And because of the bacon and feta I didn't need to add any extra salt.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Swatch: DIFFERENTdimension Tubular

The polish in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Today I'm wearing a limited edition polish from indie brand DIFFERENTdimension. Tubular is part of the 80s Baby collection, a set of six neon polishes with a scattered holographic shimmer.

Now, to be honest, I'm probably too pale to wear a color like this, but that doesn't usually stop me! 

Two coats DIFFERENTdimension Tubular. No top coat.

Can you tell I'm already thinking about summer? This is such a cheery shade of orange, and the holo shimmer adds just a bit of sparkle without getting into crazy giant rainbow territory (don't get me wrong, I love that too). My nail line is just barely visible with two coats, so three coats would definitely give full coverage.

This polish had a very nice formula, like other DIFFERENTdimension products I've tried. It did take a while to dry completely; several hours after I put it on, I mushed up my right thumbnail pretty badly.

The color of Tubular is actually kind of interesting--in the sunlight (or with my daylight bulb in the above photos) it's very bright and neon, but in indoor light it almost approaches a caramel color. I tried to take a pic of it indoors, but my lighting is so bad, and my phone camera hates it so much, that the color didn't quite come out correctly:

To my eye it looks more red-toned in real life.

It looks like Tubular is already sold out, but there are still three other colors in the collection available on Etsy ($10 for 15ml) so hurry up and grab one!

The polish in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Today's mani: Earth Day!

Monday, April 22 is Earth Day! I thought I'd celebrate by doing a mani (how else?). This one is a bit special because it involves my first attempt at painting freehand nail art, as well as my first go at stamping! Let me know how I did!

(You'll also notice that my nails are much shorter than in my last pics...I had my first break in two months and had to cut them all short. So tragic...)

On my left hand I did a human footprint along with frog, tiger and bird prints. This was to convey the idea that we are just another variety of life on this planet and depend on the environment for our survival.

The base color on this hand is Essie Sand Tropez, over which I sponged L'Oreal Eiffel for You to try to get a sandy effect. The footprints are done with Julep Meryl.

On my other hand I did a seascape with a whale tail and some holographic fish.

The gradient is done with China Glaze Hanging in the Balance and Orly Shockwave. (Boy, my camera never photographs blue correctly! This should look more green-toned.) The whale is Revlon Timeless; the fishies are Color Club Angel Kiss.

And on the (blurry) thumbs:
The stamping is Color Club Angel Kiss and Beyond, using plate W104 from this set.

Hope you like! And if you have some money to spare, please consider donating at!

All polishes in this post were purchased by me; all opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Flavor trippin'

Yesterday some friends of mine held a "flavor-tripping" party that was a ton of fun. It's not as sketchy as it sounds: you eat a tablet of miracle fruit, and for the next half hour or so, it makes everything sour taste sweet instead.
Some foods we tried:
  • lemon and lime slices (still a bit sour, but more like lemonade)
  • sour gummy worms
  • green apples
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • beer
  • tamarind
  • vinegar
  • pure citric acid in water!
It was a super bizarre experience. You could still feel that tingling sensation on your lips and tongue that you get when you eat something sour, but the taste was sweet. The dissolved citric acid really tasted like sugar water.

And then we all had heartburn.

You can get miracle fruit tablets on Amazon!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Swatch: DIFFERENTdimension Emily

(The polish in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.)

Today I have some pics of a polish by indie brand DIFFERENTdimension. According to its maker, "Emily is a beautiful light blue base polish with several different colors of glitters inside (green, periwinkle, white). Full coverage in 2 coats!"

DIFFERENTdimension Emily. Three coats with one coat Zoya Armor topcoat.

I'm not always a fan of big chunky glitters--they sometimes remind me of a third-grade art project. This kind of polish is more up my alley: the glitters are small and uniform so the overall effect is a subtle pattern. I also love the "hidden glitter" effect you get from this kind of milky base.

Note that I needed three coats for complete opacity; if you have short nails or don't mind some visible nail line, then two should be fine. You can also see that the surface is a bit rough; if that bugs you, you'll need a few layers of topcoat.

The application was great--it wasn't runny or goopy, and the glitter is packed very densely so you don't get any bare spots. 

I should also note that the base color is a little less green in real life than it looks in my photos. Silly iPhone!

You can buy Emily on DIFFERENTdimension's Etsy site ($8.50 for 15 ml).

(The polish in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trudy picspam

You may be wondering why my Google+ picture seems to be a giant mouth with ears. That is, in fact, my dog, Trudy. She's a three-year-old pit bull mix. We adopted her from a local shelter almost two years ago.

Her hobbies include chilling on the couch...

...standing in water...

...rubbing herself on the grass...

 ...looking cute at mealtime...

...and displaying her goods for all the world to see.

Trudy is shy of strangers, but very loving. If I'm on the couch, she has to be in my lap; she sleeps under the covers with me every night.

Pit bulls are probably the most misunderstood dog breed in the world. To learn more, visit Trudy says

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I made food: bulgur wheat with peppers and goat cheese

Oh yeah, that's good stuff.

What's in it:
  • bulgur wheat
  • scallions
  • sweet peppers
  • goat cheese
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • and I threw in some chia seeds 'cause they're good for ya!
And the best part is, no cooking required (just soaking the bulgur). I wonder if it might be good with some pomegranate seeds or maybe some apple?

(This recipe is slightly adapted from The Illustrated Quick Cook.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Talking about talking: wing, wang, wung?

I'm a grad student in linguistics, so I can't help noticing cool little quirks in the different ways people talk. I've been catching up on old episodes of The Tolkien Professor podcast (HIGHLY recommended if you're at all interested in Tolkien), and I heard a seminar participant say, "I wung it" (meaning "I improvised it").

Why did he (or whoever he learned the word from) use wung over the standard English winged? If you think about it a second, you might be able to guess why. Historical linguists (people who study how language changes) call this kind of development analogy, just like those annoying SAT problems I had to do a million of: A is to B as X is to __ . Analogy is a way of making one part of your language more similar to another part.

What might be the basis of the analogy this speaker used to create wung? I think there are a few possibilities:
  1. fling - flung, sting - stung, and also similarly hang - hung. So the analogy might be "fling is to flung as wing is to wung".
  2. Verbs with three different forms, like sing - sang - sung, ring - rang - rung, also drink - drank - drunk, stink - stank - stunk.
The problem with option (2), at first glance, is that the analogy doesn't line up: since the past tense of sing is sang, and so forth, the past tense of wing should be...well, wang. I can think of a few good reasons to avoid using this form. But there might be an actual linguistic reason too.

I've noticed other people (and myself too) using the u-forms (the past participles) of words like sing in the past tense instead of the a-forms. How do these sentences sound to you?
  • We all stood up and sung the national anthem.
  • That stupid dog rolled in poo and stunk up my whole house!
To me, they're not all that bad (although I recognize them as being non-standard). I think these three-form verbs like sing might be slowly simplifying to two-form verbs, like fling. After all, it's one less form to worry about (most English verbs only have two forms anyway) and there are very similar verbs like fling to base the analogy on.

Another possible example: you're probably familiar with thunk, as in "Who'd a' thunk it?" This verb seems to have been formed by analogy to drink - drank - drunk. But again, by this analogy the past tense of think should be *thank. Have you ever heard someone say:
  • I thank about him all day long.
So, going back to wung, I think we might have two things going on: formation of a new past tense by analogy, and the beginnings of simplification of three-form verbs to two-form.

Oh, one more reason why wung is interesting: in general, historical linguists have noticed that a given irregular pattern in a language will tend to fade away over time. Based on this principle, we would expect to hear people saying things like *singed, *drinked and so forth. But in this case, we can see that if an irregular form is used frequently enough, it can actually overpower regular forms (like winged) and also different irregular forms (like thought > thunk). And it doesn't just happen in non-standard dialects--did you know the past tense of wear used to be weared?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Swatch: Indigo Bananas Anansi

Blog post #1! I've got some pics of a really awesome polish from an indie polish maker, Indigo Bananas. (Please bear with me, as I'm still getting the hang of photographing nails!)

Indigo Bananas Anansi. Two coats with Zoya Armor topcoat.

Anansi is a gorgeous color-shifting glass fleck; it's primarily green but turns purple and maroon at certain angles. This polish kinda reminds me of the Wicked Witch of the West (in a good way!).

In the next two pics I was trying to catch more of the color shift, but you can see it better in the bottle (it's definitely present on the nail too).

The formula was very nice, neither too thick nor too thin. It stayed in place on the nail, rather than running into my cuticles (which can be a problem for me, since I tend to be sloppy at application!). The only thing I noticed is that if you go over the same spot too many times on the same coat, the polish can pull away and leave a bare spot. This only happened to me on one nail though, and was easy to fix.

You can buy Anansi at Indigo Bananas' Etsy shop ($10 for 15 ml or $4.50 for 5 ml).

The polish in this post was purchased by me; all opinions are my own.