Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Classic elegance via glitter nail polish

Taste is meant to evolve. Personal style, I mean. You're supposed to be able to chart, ala Emily from "Cupcakes and Cashmere," how you arrived (by, say, the magical age of 30) at your look - trend-indifferent, of course, but also mature, without being euphemistically mature, which is to say, old.

I'm not sure where I'd fall on all this. I haven't so much evolved towards greater sophistication as wavered closer and further from that end of the spectrum, depending principally on how much of my workday is spent out in the world and how much could be done from, let us say, a couch. And a lot of what I've realized works for me has wound up consisting of old favorites of one sort or another. Which is to say, I end up returning, again and again, to various looks that I liked at ages when I was far too young to have anything like a personal style.

This is especially true when it comes to nail polish. Inspired by put-together women in New York (and elsewhere, obviously; that's just where I was living at the time), I had a grad-school phase of sheer pinks, beiges, etc. And those are fine. (The best of these: Uslu Airlines in YAP, and yes, I see the irony.) But as far as I'm concerned - and whether or not this does anything for my overall look - the ideal shade is navy with subtle glitter. Inspired both by Chanel's discontinued version (Ciel de nuit) and, less glamorously, by Sparkle Crest toothpaste, a childhood favorite that maybe ruins your teeth, but that looked just gorgeous. This seems to be a common-enough obsession, given the number of blog posts dedicated to comparing every navy-with-sparkles polish around (or, in the case of the discontinued ones, no longer around). Which, fair enough - it is the best shade. Why shouldn't others agree?

The admittedly on-and-off quest ended, in New York, when I happened upon some still-available JINsoon Azurite at ABC Home. It's a bit less glittery than I remember the Chanel one being, and seemingly darker and less sparkly than the Essie (which is now, it seems, fully available once more, at least in the States). These are points in its favor - it's basically a classic (as much as blue nail polish ever is) navy with a hint of shimmer, so that you know you've got glitter nail polish on, even if not everyone else does. And the best part? $10. Usually $18, and I'd braced myself for that, but no! Same price as drugstore polish. The DIY results below:

A photo posted by @casa_della_bisou on

Thursday, December 24, 2015

New York in almost-2016

-The biggest difference between New York and Toronto relates to ease or lack thereof of crossing the street. In Toronto, with the huge streets, the tram tracks, and the right-on-red, as well as just the driver-centric culture, every intersection's a gamble. Here, the gambles are there, but not quite as substantial. And you're more likely to be swept up in a crowd crossing with complete indifference to the light, the cars (not drivers, cars) fully aware that they've been outnumbered.

-The food. The food. Lots going for the cuisine in both places (and I think I'm undecided on the NY vs. Montreal bagel question, and there are no French pastries here even close to Nadège, and custard tarts...), but this is home, so I've had a... few more years to know exactly where to get everything. Pizza. (At Freddie and Pepper's on Amsterdam, to be specific, but any place of the sort frequented by 14-year-old boys will probably sell the right kind.) Chelsea Thai. Dos Toros. Shake Shack. Sobaya. Doughnut Plant. Mozzarella from Murray's Cheese. And more. Everything (with the exception of the pseudo-Ronnybrook milkshake from Chelsea Market) has been even better than I remembered it.

-US money seems so different. I'd almost forgotten what it looked like! And also, knowing the exchange rate (0.72), it's so... euro-like. As much as I know that Uniqlo is cheaper than basically any place in Toronto, and that there's no Strand where I live, it's like... maybe a bit of restraint is in order. (But, but, making mental note of all remaining exciting shops that I vaguely remember liking or being curious about.) The whole Shopping Trip From Canada idea (the ATMs I use in Toronto have ads for this activity) must have made sense a couple years back.

-True to stereotype, I suppose, but I hadn't quite been expecting it: there's so, so much more lively squabbling. People are constantly arguing with strangers, but not in a menacing way. Also just strangers making conversation - about which bread to get at a bakery, about anything and everything to do with dogs, etc. That, or people do this in Toronto as well, but I seem too foreign (or too American) to be included in it.

-Most of the city (that I've been back to) seems about the same as it did six months ago, as one would expect. But Williamsburg! My goodness! I'm not going to say that it just got gentrified, because it was hip when I was there in high school, which was a thousand years ago, and far too expensive for me to rent in when I lived in the city, which was merely 500 years back. But... the handful of stores I'd had fond memories of... browsing? probably not shopping at... are at any rate now not just too expensive but priced out in favor of still-fancier options. Also, the hipster thing seems kaput, there and elsewhere. The Toronto drapey-clothing/man-bun thing seems either never to have happened here, or to have come and gone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Because #Israel

As came as a tremendous surprise, the pro-gun crowd didn't like my article. In all seriousness: While some aspects of the response were more menacing than I'd anticipated, it was mainly the Twitter usual - variants of 'Can you believe that idiot?!,' including the time-honored technique of quoting my bio with snide commentary. And - because woman, internet - the occasional egg-avatar with very important thoughts about my looks.

But what did surprise me - shouldn't have, but did - was how central Jewish... stuff was to the response. There were - and this, not so surprising - references to me being Jewish. (Best was the person calling me a Jewish American Princess... for arguing in the New Republic that guns should be banned. Because that's the stereotype.) While some came from the usual self-proclaimed-white-supremacist crowd, others came from the (nearly?) as disturbing philo-Semite crowd. Yes, I'd known this was a thing, and had encountered it before, but I'd never been quite so neck-deep in it. Oh, maybe not never, but not recently.

It goes something like this: #2A, as in, the Second Amendment, as in, guns, is often paired, on Twitter, with #Israel. Images of guns intermingle with images of Israeli flags. And oh. so. many. references to the Holocaust, which could have of course been prevented if... I can't even finish that thought, it's too stupid. Oh, and then there's of course the irony that I, a Jew, would support the very Hitlerian idea of banning guns, along with however many references to the inherent fascism of a society without free access to guns. (21st century Britain, Japan, etc.?) There was also someone saying, without explanation, that it was extra strange that a Jewish woman would be against guns. Strange why? Who knows - it takes some kind of advanced-level right-wing intersectionality for that one.

I mean, I have seen variants of this before. Jews in the sense of The Jews are incredibly sympathetic. Yet actual Jews aren't conservative enough to play out the role demanded of us. We - even the Zionists among us - aren't rah-rah-Netanyahu enough, or at all. Too many of us are motivated, in our Zionism, by our sense of ourselves as minorities, and not - as would be so much more convenient for them! - by anti-Islamic sentiment. And we're far too often the cityfolk whose opinions are to be dismissed on that basis alone. But so it goes, so it always goes. Interest in The Jews from the general population subsumes anything actual Jews could possibly come up with.