Today’s post is one that’s been in the works for a while. This post was written by Nivipa, who I actually “met” by accident. She was a reader and I sent her some nail tips one day. She very graciously thanked me a couple weeks later, and then apologized for not thanking me earlier, but told me that her mom was very ill and had passed away. I couldn’t believe that she would even give my nails a thought in the face of such an event. That would have been the last thing on my mind. We began a lovely email correspondence and thought of a way that she might honor her mom. Since then, she has started a blog- check it out in the link above! She is of course a polish junkie, and has a beautiful story about her beloved mom and nail polish.
So I give you Nivipa’s story:
OPI Breathe Life
Hello all 🙂
My nom de plume is nivipa, and this is my Breathe Life franken story. It’s a long one, so be warned! Anyone who wants to skip to the photos is more than welcome to!
In late March of 2009, my mother sat me down to tell me she had “nodules” on her lungs. No one knew officially that it was lung cancer, but that was exactly what my mom and the doctor knew it was. Then, within a few days, I started hearing about a new polish coming out from OPI that was specifically linked to donations (somehow) towards lung cancer research. Now, that color could have been reminiscent of regurgitated baby food, but I was going to buy it. As it happens though (and maybe this is a good thing, and maybe, as will be discussed below, it’s not), it’s a gorgeous pearlescent powder blue.
Now, I much prefer buying things from brick-and-mortar stores, rather than online. Something about the physical hunt. Something about the instant gratification. Something about my aversion to pay for shipping (even though it costs more in person, most often, and I live in a state that adores sales tax). And, oddly, something about interacting with actual human being, even if I do wish they’d bloody well leave me in peace as I wander about the store.
But, all that yakking to say, I prefer to buy in person, and leave ordering from an e-tailer as a last resort. So while I could find it on the bigger online stores, I was going to hunt high and low to find it in person.
Not such a simple task, it turns out.
Local chains were no help. I kept trying, from time to time, to check my regular haunts, but with less and less hope of finding it.
Then, one day, in a tiny little dusty, of all places, I’m just wandering past the OPI – nope, no BL in there, but I may as well look at the other colors while I’m here — I come across an OPI Colorcopia display. As I look through the colors I see – exactly one – light blue shimmery polish. It couldn’t be – not in Colorcopia! But maybe – just maybe. . . . I pick it up, turn it over, and discover BL in some other color’s home! Eureka!!!!
I bought it in no time, and the soon I’m applying it on the underside of the one reliably long nail I have, my pinkie. (For work I have to basically look like I’m wearing no polish, but the color is subtle enough to pass most people’s notice, but I can look down and see it anytime. I tell Mom that even if others don’t know, she’s always with me, on the inside. (Being the jokester that she is, she added on “whether you like it or not!”)
From that day forward I did wear it on my nails always – most often hidden on the inside. But time was running out for my mother and I. At one point when I came by to visit her (as I had done daily, without fail, since that horrid day in April), and I knew I couldn’t leave her again. And for no significant time did I leave her side until her very last breath was taken.
So, on that day, for the first time in about a week, I changed my manicure, I couldn’t wear BL – not yet – it was entirely too light a color to suit my pain. But I couldn’t just wear black, either; she’d’ve hated it. So BL was layered over black. A gorgeous shade, I must admit.
However, as the time for her internment came closer, I knew that it was time to wear BL, on its own. So I put on a good four layers and head out to the cemetery. As we pull up and park, I can’t believe my eyes. Her coffin is almost a perfect match to this polish!!!! It even has the same shimmer and everything!!! Stuck somewhere between bottomless grief and a wish to remember everything, everything, everything I could, I for a few seconds consider putting my nails against the coffin and taking a photo. That slipped right on out of my brain very quickly, but that’s how close the two colors were. Now the need to own as many bottles as I could of this polish was overwhelming!
Not only do I want this color for myself, but for many of my grieving family members. So now I’m on the huntdown for an additional BL to give them, and I want as many backups for me as I can get, as even just on the underside of one nail it will eventually run out. And wouldn’t you know it – back in that same dusty in the same display – I find another one!
So now I have a copy to give my mother’s sister, but I know the time has come to order online. And now – in late May – there are none to be found. Anywhere. Not even in the dusty’s Colorcopia. I was growing desperate.
Now, now was the time to order online.
Remember I said there was a downside to it being a gorgeous color? Yup – you guessed it – not to be found. Not on Head2Toe, not on Transdesign, not on 8ty8.
So I went back to Celebrity and had them order me two bottles; one for me, and one for my eldest cousin. But shortly thereafter I:
1) realize I should have ordered a few more and
2) figure out that even if I buy them out, because the bastages at OPI decided in their finite wisdom to make it LE, I’m going to need a Franken recipe.
Crap; I don’t Franken. I don’t even have a good enough knowledge of colors to begin frankening it.
Enter Jennifer – my frankening angel in Japan!
I shot off an email to her and a friendship was born. I offered to send her a bottle to use for frankening, and I decided enough was enough.
I called Celebrity and ordered ten bottles.
When the call came in that they’d arrived, I kid you not when I worried – repeatedly – that an order of ten identical bottles would be assumed a mistake and there’d be only one bottle.
But I worried for naught; they were all there!!!! Granted, the sales clerk did think me a bit odd. And I did tell her the whole story (and she gave me a ten-percent discount to boot!), and I went back to my car, and I did a little happy dance!
So that’s as much of the story as I know of to this point. Jennifer’s working her frankening magic, and I for one cannot wait until I see what she’s come up with!
Thanks for listening to my story 🙂
Well, back to me, Nevertoomuchglitter. I’m really honored to help share a memory. I know some of you may not remember your loved ones with nail polish, but everyone is unique and so are our bonds, memories and shared moments.
Nivipa was kind enough to send me a bottle of OPI Breathe Life:
It’s a beautiful silvered blue with a blue flash. It is slightly darker than the photo- my flash washed it out a bit. It’s a bit sheer- I had VNL after 3 coats, but it’s a nice sheer, not one that makes your nails look diseased. My nails are rather stained underneath so I made my franken a wee bit more opaque.
Here’s my franken:
I think it’s pretty close, just a skosh more opaque.
I used TKB Trading Pigment in Travel To Neptune, a blue interference pigment. I also used NYC Scandalous Blue Glitter (what has this bottle of polish been up to?!), New York Summer in Hot Turquoise Blue, which is a good color match for Breathe Life but has a pink flash rather than blue, and OPI in See Ya Later, Sailor! I mixed them in a ratio of 1/3 each, then added a half-pea sized scoop of Travel To Neptune pigment. That provided the blue flash. Almost every pigment company or eyeshadow line has a variation on this pale white with a blue flash.
So this is my very small tribute to Nivipa’s mom. I hope everyone will take a moment to hug to the people you love. Thanks for sharing that story, Nivipa. ♥ I will think of your mom whenever I wear Breathe Life.