8 In Wardrobe Wellness

What I did when nail polish got all over my cherished handbag

Nail polish problems and solutions on Brenda Kinsel website

Essie polishes including the culprit that got all over my handbag

Last week I posted a question to my Facebook Tips & Teasers readers. I’d just written a blog post the day before about finding style authenticity in outfits and I wanted to know this: What elements do you always need in an outfit to make it feel authentically you?

One of the answers came from a Facebook friend named Reile who lives in Utrecht. She said, “I always need colour on my nails, whether to spunk up a classy outfit or tone down an outrageous outfit. Or just to rock the outrageous outfit of course.”

It was so fun to think of nail polish as an element that helps identify your style. It made me think of two loved ones in my life who also rock nail polish colors consistently.

Not afraid of nail color

coloring nails to show team support on Brenda Kinsel website

Caitlin sports her Warriors blue nail color

My daughter Caitlin changes her nail color a lot. She’s a major Golden State Warriors fan (that’s a professional basketball team to those of you who are unfamiliar) and has worn nail color to show support for her team: “Go Royal Blue and Golden Yellow!”

My friend Marj is very into nail color. Her nails always add a layer of interest to her outfit. I love the spunk and sass she demonstrates by going big with her colors.

Marj dares to wear color on nails on Brenda Kinsel website

Marj’s nails are shiny and bright and sparkle

Going for the nude look

What I suspect about Caitlin and Marj is that they’re a lot more nail savvy than I am. I’m pretty much of a nude girl. My favorite nude shade right now is called Sand Tropez by Essie. It’s up there sitting on my desk in the top photo on the left.

Cut me some slack: I’m nail challenged. Past drug use has weakened my nails (not crack cocaine but garden variety chemotherapy drugs).

Mostly I don’t want to bring attention to them so I let them fade into the background.

I did go out on a limb this summer and used an Essie color called Illacism. (What the heck does that mean? My autocorrect just wanted to change it to Islamism.) It’s that lovely lilac shade in the top picture on the right. The one with the smudges on the cap.

The bag that got decorated with nail polish by accident

The unsuspecting victim of nail polish spill

Nail Spill Disaster in Sonoma: The full story airs tonight on KETC at 6

If only the nail color smudge was ONLY on the cap.

I had a frightening disaster this summer. I threw my Essie Illacism nail color into my Calleen Cordero handbag and headed to my nail salon, praying they had time to get me in for a much needed manicure.

I went into my purse to reach for my wallet. Suddenly I had Islamism (no, autocorrect, it’s Illacism!) on my fingers. Wet polish. How did that happen?

Worse then that, I noticed that polish color inside my purse on the leather lining and then OUTSIDE on my purse in three places. The cap hadn’t been closet tight and was getting everywhere.

I could cry! This is a favorite handbag. And although Illacism looks very lovely against that smokey leather charcoal shade, it dosen’t look good ON IT.

Help comes riding into town in a pink cadillac

Using nail polish remover without acetone on to remove polish from handbag

Nail polish remover without acetone comes to the rescue!

Now I was mad at myself. How could I have been so careless?

I asked my manicurist if nail polish remover would take it off the bag. “No,” she said. “Don’t do it. The acetone will hurt the leather, dry it out, make it crack.” Oh no!

After my manicure I headed back home fearing the worst: life without this handbag.

But when I opened the door, a thought flashed into my mind. I remembered my friend, Debra, buying me some nail polish remover one day. I remember her saying, “It’s much better for you because it doesn’t have acetone in it.”

“Out, damned spot! out I say!” (I’m with you, Lady Macbeth)

I didn’t wait to google it. I immediately went to my Mineral Fusion nail polish remover and tipped it over into a rag. My heart was racing.

I took a swipe at a spot and it came right off.  I tackled all the other spots. Out, out, all out!

I sat down and poured myself an Arnold Palmer and counted my blessings: Thank you, Debra!

So if you do anything like this (and I know you won’t!) try taking the spots out with a nail polish remover that doesn’t have acetone in it.



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  • Reply
    La semaine d'une gourmette
    September 27, 2016 at 4:39 am

    I’d love to be able to put nail polish on my nails, but I cook a lot, nothing stays more than 2 days! So I’ve given up. When I’m on holidays somewhere where I don’t cook, I put on the brightest red – I love it!

    • Reply
      September 27, 2016 at 8:09 am

      Good for you that you get a chance to wear red nails once in a while! Yes, I can quite imagine how messed up your nails can get cooking! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Katie Ross
    September 27, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Could it be lilacism? (I don’t know about the “ism” but lilac would make sense for the color!)

    • Reply
      September 27, 2016 at 8:08 am

      I quoted Lady Macbeth in the post and now I’ll quote Saturday Night Live legend, Gilda Radner: NEVER MIND!
      I took out my magnifying glass again (it’s the bee one in the top picture as I’d just been using it to try to read that name) and held it up to the morning light streaming through my office and guess what? It’s Lilacism!!! Katie, mystery solved!! Do you watch a lot of crime shows on TV? Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank goodness I have peeps who can straighten things out!!! You’ve made my day!!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for the tip, Brenda. And thanks for the glimpse of your younger self (top photo). Did anyone ever tell you you looked like Isabella Rossellini? Dead ringer. Have a wonderful week. -Erika

    • Reply
      September 28, 2016 at 9:18 am

      That is so interesting about being a dead ringer for Isabella Rossellini. This is going to date me and I’m guessing you’re younger than I am but the person people told me I looked like back than was Isabella Rossellini’s mother, Ingrid Bergman. It’s all in the family!! Xx

  • Reply
    Jennifer Bowie
    September 28, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Great tip! Thank you. I do hope to never need to use it.

    I don’t do my fingernails often. I’m too active, especially now that I have a toddler, and I can’t get it to stay on without chipping. My toes are always painted, and often fun, eye-catching colors. It stars much better on my toes!

    • Reply
      September 28, 2016 at 9:16 am

      I know! If nails could be as long-lasting as toes are, we’d always enjoy color on them! Yes, chasing around a toddler can get in the way of pretty nails. I find in my normal life (without a toddler) that I have a hard time too. But I always like the look! Thanks for sharing.

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