Monday, August 24, 2009

My grandmother's hands were soft and unwrinkled, perfectly manicured.
I used to run my curious fingers over her ornate ones, feeling the
jewels that decorated each, the smooth, glossy polish. My own small,
ragged hands had nails clipped short to serve the violin and piano, my
nail polish always chipped and uneven.

But my nana's manicure was always immaculate; when she came to visit,
I would sit with her and she would close her soft hands over mine.
She had always been a small, birdlike woman - birdlike in that her
eyes, arched by drawn-in brows, had a sharp awareness and, when we
were both younger, her body was so light and dainty she looked as
though she might just up and fly away at any given moment. A bird
without wings.

It was always her manicure that somehow stuck in my mind though; at some point, every
trip to my grandparents' house meant I'd patiently sit still for an
hour while my grandmother buffed her magic onto my hands.

But my patience never lasted and not half an hour later, would I have
smudged or chipped at least one of those dainty creations. Age hasn't
helped me either; I still can't wait for my polish to dry and I still
always have chipped and faded polish on my nails. And, yes, they're
still short - they just seem to have decided to stay that way. What
you know, I suppose . . .

So when pouring through the precious issue de septembre de Vogue the
other day, and I saw the new, trendy polishes for fall, I kind of
sighed a sad sigh in recognition of my manicure impediment.

Matte finishes, gunmetals, more dark colors? So pretty, so chic - but
alas, I will never be a lady with a perfect polish. I can keep white
pants stain-free (most of the time), I can wear silk around kids and
never get mussed, but I cannot keep my nails unfussed. This has
always seemed to me a failure as a lady (my nana had immaculate mani /
pedis, and surely Grace Kelly did), yet it is stubbornly just my

So I've become a fast fan of Sally Hansen Insta-Dry polish and Click,
Color & Go! nail pens, mostly because even professionally applied mani
/ pedi's don't last with me (and they tsk tsk my short nails), but
also because $20 for a Chanel polish is a waste with me, and I need
the insta-dry, insta-touch-up feature in a nail polish. The pen is
awesome, and especially for touch-ups (even the 10-Day no chip
polishes don't work on me!)

The foils, now, are something I've been wanting to give a try - I hear
they don't chip! Check them out at Minx ( for salons
that use these nifty things. And I love the metallic look.

For now though, get your use out of neons before August ends - falls
about the dark, dark, dark and the matte, matte, matte light - nudes
are in too, and even unpolished, yet well behaved, nails. Which is
good news for me.

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