Thursday, June 28, 2012

My summer vacation, Part One

My summer vacation started with a bang. The teenagers had a half-day of school so they could pick up their grades (and get a few more signatures in their yearbooks) and then we stuffed them and their suitcases into the van and drove them to the airport, where they flew to New York so they could attend Session One of the French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts.

Adventures in Parenting 

Session One ended with two days of performances, so after a glamorous evening at a white tie event here in Chicago, Mr. Buxom and I climbed back into the minivan and drove out to Hancock, New York, a/k/a the Land that Time Forgot, where we stayed in a Bates Motel wannabe so we could see our kids play cellos and guitars and pianos and perform in a production of Aida.

About Aida: the Broadway Musical, Not the Opera

They tell you, when you're about to have a baby, that parenting involves sacrifice. But nobody said anything about Elton John musicals.

And call me a snob, but that's three words that should never appear in a row.

The best thing about it was the chorus girls. Especially the cute one (red dress, brown braids, center stage.)

OK, quick change of subject so as not to offend Elton's fan base. What did I do with myself during those golden child-free days?


I actually didn't do that much shopping, mostly because the last-minute scurrying around to get all the camp supplies kind of wore me out. However, I accumulated purchased a scary amount variety of nail polishes. Side note: do you ever read nail polish blogs? Did you have any idea how many there are out there? In my estimation, for every mommy blogger out there, there are 10 nail bloggers. Maybe twenty.

Anyway, I've gone a little crazy buying nail polish. Because I had an epiphany!

My nail polish epiphany

It's a truism that nothing gives away a woman's age faster than her hands. The skin thins, the knuckles and veins are more prominent, and you might even have age spots. On top of that, our nails grow more slowly, and the lack of estrogen makes them more brittle. And wait, there's more--our circulation isn't as good as it used to be, so our nails are paler. And ridges are more apparent.

With all that to deal with, you might think it's safer to not polish your nails, because you don't want to call attention to them. But have you noticed that every chain drugstore is bursting at the seams with nail polish? That girls as young as six or seven are getting pedicures?

In an era that is nail polish-crazed, with nail salons on every block, neglected nails look frumpy.

I'll admit that my evidence is anecdotal, but bear with me. Here's what I've noticed: my mother doesn't wear nail polish. My older sisters don't wear nail polish. The younger women I know do.

You might think that at our age,  duo-chrome purple nail polish with string glitter and hologram flakies would look inappropriate--and you might be right. (Please note my liberal use of nail polish blog lingo. I don't know what it means, either.)

But if you're not polishing your nails at all, what's stopping you? It's not like I'm asking you to dye your hair purple or get snake bite piercings.

You don't have to wear the craziest, most outré shades. You don't have to wear black nail polish with two shades of glitter topcoat. Or Chanel's Vertigo--charcoal gray with red micro-shimmer.

Chanel Vertigo, Frenzy, and Suspicion from the Fall 2012 collection

But new collections are being introduced all the time, and I'll bet you could push the envelope a little. For example, I just got very brave and tried a few shades of coral.

So. Nail polish is a relatively inexpensive, risk-free way of showing that you're still in the game. 

Also, it's fun to gloat over the colors. And create Pinterest boards.

Which explains the 50 bottles I have amassed since I last posted.


  1. Hmmm, I'm gonna have to think about this. My toenails are NEVER naked (aging is hell on toenails, IMO) but I rarely wear polish on my fingernails because I cannot stand it when the polish chips. I can't stand it on my own nails and it makes my skin crawl when I see severely chipped polish on other women and girls. Which means my skin crawls a lot.

    But frumpy? My naked nails are frumpy? That is unacceptable so I might have to reconsider my no-fingernail-polish stance.

  2. I often think of when I was in my 20's & 30's, impeccably groomed and stylish, I THOUGHT, wearing sandals all summer and nary a pedicure, not even DIY polish! These were the days before an affordable (Asian) salon on every block and nobody I knew got manis or pedis. Those days are dead and gone. Buy Chanel or buy cheaper at Sally's, or go to a nail place, bit it is an easy and inexpensive way to look and feel polished and posh!

  3. Just can't do it:). Too hard to keep it unchipped, too many childhood associations with flooziness. Silly, but there you go.

  4. Love coloured polish on my toes but it has to be neutral on my nails...
    gardening and domestics really take the toll.

    How have you been doing?
    I have missed your voice.

  5. Thank God you can't see my hands now ... but I love my varnished nails, always have and always will, DYI, all the time.


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.