Category Archives: blogs

“Here for the Romance” Nail Polish

I’ve been painting my own nails for the past two months because I spent $60 on Crimson Peak-themed nail polish in November. I rarely paint my own nails at home (I get gel manicures from the salon or I do those Sally Hansen nail stickers), so this was a purchase based almost entirely on fangirl enthusiasm and caffeine. You can sell me almost anything if it represents a fictional character I love, because in my mind, it puts me just that much closer to actually being them. (“Maybe if I buy Claire’s necklace from Jurassic World, Chris Pratt will show up to rescue me from dinosaurs!” I wish I were kidding. I’m not.)

Painting my own nails got me thinking about one of my favorite things (besides finding ways to work fictional clothing and accessories into my office wardrobe): themed nail polish collections. Whenever I go to the salon, I spend an unnecessary amount of time picking a color because not only do I have to like the color, I have to agree with the theme implied in the color’s ridiculous/long/punny name. I can’t walk around for two weeks with nails in “California Girl Pink.” That’s not on-brand for me.

OPI has created some collections that definitely work for me. For instance, I’ve worn almost every color in the James Bond collection. MAC had a romance novel themed makeup line a few years ago with a couple of nail polishes as well. But I still don’t feel like people are catering to my specific interests enough. So I created my own (completely fake, as of now) nail polish collection based on my love for romance in adventure stories of all sorts (I don’t care if it’s historical, science fiction, superhero, etc. If there’s romance, I will watch it).

I present: “Here for the Romance,” an eight-bottle themed collection featuring a color for each of my favorite romance tropes.

Here for the Romance

Inappropriate Footwear

A pearl white to represent all the high heels worn in the jungle, desert, or other completely unsuitable environment. Haters gonna hate, this is an iconic part of all adventure romances.

Sexy Wound-Tending

It’s not a true adventure romance without at least one scene in which you have to bandage your crush’s arm or maybe even give them stitches. This pink-based nude is great as a pedicure to show off your twisted ankle.

A Little Illegal

Your crush has a sketchy past, or perhaps their current “career” is less than reputable. They’ll likely use these skills at some point during your adventure and you’ll have to act like you’re appalled even though you’re into it. This fuschia can help.

Secret Identity

You have one, your crush has one, your boss has one, etc. Whether you’re having feelings about how hard it is to lead a double life or wondering why the person you’re into keeps disappearing mid-conversation, this wine-colored shade will keep your nails on point even when your life is a mess.

Where’s the Map?

You’re probably storing the map somewhere on your person, or maybe you are the map, or maybe you’re not even aware that the box/key/other ancient object is a map. But the map leads to riches and glory, and someone’s always after it, so paint your nails in gold glitter just in case you lose out on the treasure.

Hotter When Dirty

You can wear this rich taupe color when you’re covered in dirt/blood/dinosaur poo but you still look amazing. Your crush perhaps looks EVEN BETTER after 15 hours in peril. Don’t ask, it’s science.

Weapons Lesson

“Any time a man shows a woman how to do something from behind, it’s just an excuse to get real close and breathe on her neck.” – Nick Miller, New Girl. A duo-chrome polish that vacillates between eggplant and forest green for when someone needs to teach you how to throw a punch, shoot a gun, or swing a sword.

For the Money

The super hot person you just hired as a guide/detective/bodyguard only agreed to help you because they need money. They’ll keep telling you they’re only here for that money while they save your life, sexily tend your wounds, and get all up in your personal space while teaching you to defend yourself. Don’t worry, you’ll fall in love and never wind up paying them anyway, so go ahead and splurge on this rich green color.

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A Definitive Ranking of 90s Classroom Valentines

Remember when the whole class was your valentine? Picking out the perfect valentines and finding the best one for each classmate was a right of passage in American elementary schools everywhere. You wanted to show your interests, but not get too weird with it. And you’d rather send the super romantic ones to your female BFF than to the weird kid who puts ranch dressing and jelly beans on his pizza.

Inspired by a recent Google search (OK in all honesty, I was looking for Jurassic World valentines to buy for myself but THEY DON’T HAVE ONES WITH OWEN AND CLAIRE which is a fucking travesty), here’s my personal ranking of those infamous 90s valentines, from best/coolest to worst/weirdest. Shout out to these two Buzzfeed posts for the images.

Girl Valentines

Best: Lisa Frank

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Popular girls.

Best: Lion King

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Popular girls who wanted to become veterinarians or marine biologists or to save the manatees.

Socially Acceptable: Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Aladdin

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Future basic bitches of America (probably multiple girls in your class sent the same set of cards, leaving you with three identical copies of Belle holding a rose).

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Socially Acceptable: Barbie, Cute Animals, or Lesser Disney Princesses

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Basic bitches whose parents took them out of town to shop for valentines, thus broadening their options.

Cool or Uncool, Depending on the Sender: Cartoons (Power Rangers, Animaniacs, Sailor Moon, My Little Pony, Care Bears, etc.)

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True individualists! The future anime fans definitely sent Sailor Moon cards, less stereotypically “girly” girls went for the more gender neutral cartoons, and others nursed 80s obsessions inherited from older siblings that, while not producing new media, were still going strong into the 90s.

Boy Valentines

Best: Michael Jordan (in ‘Space Jam’ or otherwise)

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Popular boys.

Best: Shaq and other big-time athletes

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The popular boys who took dodge ball way too seriously.

Socially Acceptable: Jurassic Park

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The equivalent of the high-end Disney Princess (every little boy had the same red lunchbox featuring the t-rex chase scene).

Cool or Uncool, Depending on the Sender: Superheroes and classic “boy” cartoons (Power Rangers, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, anything featuring an ensemble of muscled creatures)

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Still a socially acceptable choice, but less common than velociraptors.

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Uncool/Just Weird: Gross-out cards

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Probably something featuring bugs (Creepy Crawlies!), monsters (Ahh! Real Monsters), or Ren & Stimpy; these were the weirdo boys you didn’t want to be paired up with during square-dancing in music class.

Uncool/Confusing: The Youngest Child

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What even IS this?

A gender-neutral bonus category! When not treated to a new set of My Little Pony or Transformers valentines, this kid with either thrifty or uninterested parental units (uninterested in Valentine’s Day, I’m sure your parent[s] love you!) wound up either recycling extra cards from an older sibling featuring pop culture references from 2-5 years ago (things like California Raisins, Rainbow Brite, Garbage Pail Kids, etc.) or buying the dollar store version of new cards with offbrand characters or generic designs (the equivalent of your parents buying grocery store brand cereal). These were puzzling but interesting cards to receive. Sometimes you had to ask someone to explain them to you.

Supreme: The McDonald’s Sundae

If you were very lucky, one person in your class would order 30 “free sundae” coupons from McDonald’s and give these out instead, finally giving your health-conscious parent an indisputable reason to take you to McDonald’s. This kid rules.

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A Note from Bonnie Bucqueroux

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One of my mentors passed away yesterday. Bonnie Bucqueroux was the creator of SpartanEdge.com, Michigan State University’s first online campus news website. I joined SpartanEdge when I was 18 years old, a freshman in college still using my Livejournal to detail the reasons I wanted to marry Mr. Darcy. Bonnie was my JRN 108 instructor, and she encouraged me to write for a blog that would eventually become The Spartan Sweetheart.

I would eventually become Editor-in-Chief of SpartanEdge. During my involvement with our publication, I faced a lot of backlash, not only from other students/faculty, but from other news organizations and even other adults in the industry. I once sat in a conference room on a tour of a Detroit publication (I’d name names if I could remember but I honestly don’t) where I was told “blogs would never amount to anything” and that online journalism was a joke. Not one of my classmates nor my instructor stepped up to defend me.

Bonnie believed in us from the beginning. There was never an idea too ridiculous for her. She truly believed that any and every student could change the world. I loved hearing the stories of her amazing life (does anyone remember the full version of her encounter with RuPaul?) and even though her bold statements about the future of journalism terrified me, as my friend Laura Panjwani said, everything she was saying was absolutely true.

Bonnie helped give me the voice that started with The Spartan Sweetheart and currently lives on stage in my work with Story League. She instilled in me the pioneering spirit to try new things, to fight the man, and to keep affecting positive change no matter how rocky the road ahead may be. She knew online journalism was the future, and ten years later, it’s hard to believe there was a time when others had doubts.

Going through my college memorabilia, I found this email I printed out and saved. Bonnie wrote this to the members of SpartanEdge in probably late 2006 or early 2007. I always knew it was important. I never knew how important until yesterday. The full text of her message is below. I hope those who knew her will enjoy reading it, and I hope that we will all continue to inspire change using the values she taught us. May the spirit of Bonnie Bucqueroux live on in all of us.

I spent yesterday at the faculty retreat where SpartanEdge was held up as the example of where journalism is headed. The professors there were unanimous in their praise for all the hard work you have put in and the innovations in online journalism you are exploring. Your example has also persuaded them to revisit the prevailing wisdom that skills classes like JRN 200 must occur later, at the sophomore and sometimes even the junior level. The excellence of your writing, photography, videography and interactivity have inspired discussion of developing classes at the freshmen level where students can experiment with learning multimedia skills.

For a publication that is not yet a year old, you have succeeded in providing a concrete example of what can be done. By doing so, you have had an impact on what will happen in the future.

A special vote of thanks goes to Alex, Rachel, Courtney, Sean, Andy, Diane, Mitra, Kara, Audrey, David (Dowgiello), Will and John (Hudson) who have all been with us since last semester. For those of you who don’t know, the fact that the publication exists at all borders on the miraculous. Could a group comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores actually produce an online, multimedia publication each week?

I remember being so thrilled with the initial effort that went live on January 16 that I could hardly wait to get the word out to traditional journalism organizations. So I posted notices on Investigative Reporters and Editors, Newsroom, Editor and publisher. I expected to harvest praise to send to the group that had put together the first issue.

What we got instead was a tsunami of negativity. Many posters focused on The Spartanette and her blog on Bumpernuts as an example of everything that was wrong with new media. Some harrumphed about how I should be fired from my job for leading students astray this way. Another poster went on and on about how I was fooling myself — everyone can pull off an issue or two, but he didn’t expect to see us doing anything six weeks from then. Many insisted that this online stuff was a flash in the pan or a sneaky corporate plot to get reporters to do more for less.

Looking back now, I realize that you scared them. The feedback came working journalists scared to death that their jobs are disappearing — or that someone will ask them, so where’s the video? The ferocity of the backlash showed the depth of their fear. Imagine how threatened they must have felt to find a group of kids in Michigan not only doing all these clever things but having fun in the process.

What has happened since is that the smartest members of the journalism pack have had a chance to look at the future through vehicles like SpartanEdge. Many now say — hey, I’d like to help birth that future. What a great chance to use new tools in new ways.

Consider the reporter at the Detroit News who was assigned to cover the Dream Cruise. Here’s a man in his 50s being asked to carry an audio recorder to do podcasts and a cellphone to ship back some pictures. Hesitant at first, he soon found that these communication technologies provide new ways to tell a story. And using these tools is fun.

You are the generation who is building the future of online news. I sincerely do not believe I am overstating the case when I say that not only do all of you deserve to feel proud today for what you are doing, but I hope (and expect) the day will come when people will say to you — “You were part of SpartanEdge? Fantastic. You’re hired.”

Thanks again and now get busy doing even more great stuff.

Bonnie B