Mentality Pozzolana from the Mattes collection, a grey Earth tone, modeled by Danny Dannels.
Let's be honest. Cyberbully trolls are the weakest link in the internet food chain. Cyberbully attacks are hurtful, inappropriate, and the epitome of what social media gets wrong. For all the wonderful advances that technology has provided us, technology also provides an insular chasm that has removed the empathetic connections between people that happen in real life encounters, the interpersonal communication and contact that creates real understanding between human beings.
People say things online that they might never consider when talking face to face with someone. They forego netiquette, the application of consideration that the person you're shouting at in all capital letters, might not appreciate your interjection and respond, let's say, poorly.
Technology makes us numb to human suffering. It is either that, or cyberbullies do not realize that their belligerent online words live forever, and that we can continue to feel their attacks long into the future, or it is that they actually do want to inflict long-term pain, which is abhorrent. Infliction of pain, either corporeal or emotional in order to reach some perceived social order, is sadism. By the way, cruel people suck farts through straws underwater. There's a visual for you. (smiles and waves at the trolls)
Nutella &Go! is the perfect snack to keep in your pocket. Mentality Pozzolana modeled by Danny Dannels
We know a great many things about cyberbullies at Mentality. People armed with malicious intent and/or just flat out wrong information over the last few years continue to set out to attack us. Now, don't worry about us. We're okay. We can take the abuse because our personal identity doesn't rely on making sure that anyone with an over-inflated ego has to like us. We'd rather be friends with everyday normal people, like us. If the trolls don't like who we are, whatever. However, I refuse to allow people to attack our fans and friends. I simply don't have time for it. I have taken to permanently banning people with hostile words from being able to hang out with our fans. Seriously, if you were hanging out on our pages for the last six years to pontificate in drafted excremental format, you were actually a fan. Don't lie. Nah, you just wanted people to think you were cool so you could earn group cred in the hate forums. Look at how cool you are. (awards you the Smug Pepe meme)
Unfortunately, not everyone can be as confident as we are, or have sufficient support structures to express and cope with the types of misplaced hostilities that we faced over the last three years. Case in point, our children have not been allowed to visit our own web pages, because of the outpouring of resentment towards us over being the victims of Arminex's poisonous intents. Even our going through the herculean task of pursuing and taking out Arminex was not nearly enough for many of the trolls.
Double dipping is certainly a no-no, unless it's your own snack. Mentality Pozzolana modeled by Danny Dannels.
It was in fact only very recently that our children were invited to see our posts, because we had finally banned and reported all the cyberbullies from the online community that even three years later, were still taking the time to spew forth emanations of foulness from their face holes. Like, consider the rumor floating around that we were putting lead in our polishes. That is some real stupidity. No one in their right mind uses lead or refers to glazing as lead lighting, such as is from stained glass work. For real!!! Are you actually serious? Lead? GTFO of here with that complete idiocy.
The real and obvious problem is that there are people that cannot separate the ravings of the average troll, from the real life accomplishments and challenges of being a human being, the hardest hit being taken by children, and other people that suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, or any host of personal challenges. Kelly Marie Tran's disappearance from social media comes to mind, and her story, and ultimately her recent response to her bullies that went viral. It is all too easy to believe written words. They affect how we respond and even feel about ourselves. It happened to us during the Arminex poisoning fiasco, even leading up a point where I asked my wife not to be involved with social media anymore while we fought to restore our personal honor while chasing down Arminex via the FDA.
K12 Online Education and Programs is an amazing school to be able to actively participate in your children's education and be able to stay home, and away from the insanity of cyberbullies. Mentality Pozzolana dry brushed with Mentality Agere modeled by Danny Dannels.
So, I reach out to all our fans. Protect the people that you love from cyberbullies. Talk to your children. Tell them and show them that you are there for them in case anyone attacks them. Stand up for your loved ones and report cases of direct hostility to any of the platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter make it easy to ban and report people with offensive actions and hateful words. Just click on the thread and report it. No one will know it was you, but it's amazing how much better you will feel.
And for the love of all things dear, if you see an actual emergency, please report it to the police. The news of late is filled with posting of people that could not bear with the onslaught, such as the heartbreaking stories of children that have taken their lives in response to being bullied online, at school, or even at home. I lived through a horrible home life, which transferred over to school, and led ultimately to my being emancipated from that violent environment at age 15 through the graces of the Texas court system. Perhaps the single best thing that came of that personal horror story was my case worker set by the court, who was an older African-American woman who always wore her hair in big curls. I wish I could remember her name. I can only recall the name I referred to her as, Momma, in reference to the impact she had on my life. It is a miracle that I lived long enough to ever find my way through life. I know a few things about being bullied, but somehow I was able to stand up to my oppressors and find my moksha, my freedom from that cycle of abuse.
Beef Torta: jalapeno cheese bread with taco meat and mixed cheese. Those peppers were really hot. Made by Danny Dannels.
In the end, this is the message that I want to share with our fans. You are strong enough. You are good enough. You don't need people that hurt you. Life is so full of opportunities to grow, and thrive, and make new friends, or even new family. Surround yourself with people that actually support you being you, whoever you happens to be, not just with words, but with their actions. That is what we did, and it is how we continue to survive and thrive, living a fulfilling life with our children, which occupies our all day, every day. Our family is how we survived the cyberbullies. We owe them our everything.
You can find information on how to talk about bullies, or how to safely stand up for yourself at stopbullying.gov.
Learn about netiquette at https://www.auburn.edu/citizenship/netiquette.html
Hillary Dannels' thumbs modeling matte Mentality Hoopla with dotted flowers of Mentality Opaque White accented with Mentality Yellow Glaze.
Thumbs are like the most awkward part of us. They're like the socially inverted part of us that never goes out. They're the last ones chosen for the kickball. They're the part of us that we hope no one never finds out, that we're kinda nerdy on the inside, a little goofy, and maybe yeah, awkward. But when thumbs hold on, they never let go until they're ready.
Who knows, if maybe people took more pictures of their thumbs, Instagram would be a picture album of everyone geeking out with their thumbs out, and we'd remind each other daily how awkward we really are, on the inside.
Mentality Hoopla with dotted flowers of Mentality Opaque White accented with Mentality Yellow Glaze. Modeled by Hillary Dannels.
Taking a picture of yourself or something you've done, and then posting it is seriously like the scariest thing you can do. Here, judge me. Tell me that I'm imperfect. Tell me what I already know, that I am a thumb in a world of beautiful hands.
None of that matters. All that matters is that for a brief moment, something you did made you feel good inside. It should not be that you bought the ultimate pink nail polish, but that there is a moment that you want to remember, where you were happy.
Chicken Portobello stir fry in brown sauce served with jasmine and green onions, and sriracha. Cooked by Danny Dannels
Anyways, here's a photo of chicken and mushroom stir fry in brown sauce on jasmine rice. We realized recently that we have been giving Grandma, who has lived with us for the last decade, all of the plated food that we take pictures. She had an hemorrhagic stroke recently, and actually was unaware that this was a practice that we had been engaged in. She's a real fighter and is already walking regularly and working and has made an amazing recovery from something that many people go into disability over. Not her. She picked herself back up from the most debilitating of events possible and simply refused to give up. So, here's a bowl of food that I made for my mother-in-law from last year sometime. Thanks for being my hero and someone that my kiddos can look up to.
Short stack pancakes eaten one morning by the kiddos, one of many. Made by Danny Dannels.
Every morning is a brand new opportunity to start over, or pick up where you left off. Either way, you're awake. Go do something extraordinary, even if that's just surviving.
Your mentality sets the standard for the way you address your day. There are beautiful moments everywhere. It takes but a moment to appreciate those fleeting instances. Just stop, close your eyes if you can, or just smile to yourself. A meal, a touch, a laugh, a smile, these are the things that you have to stop and remember.
Hand kneaded and rolled baking powder biscuits, served with butter and jelly not pictured. Made by Danny Dannels.
So, where did you go?
A lot of the way we spend our time as a family is with food. It is the communal gathering of bowls that defines culture, creates roots, family. We eat as a family. We don't go out, ever. So, pretty much everything the kiddos have ever had is scratch cooking, because I love to cook. It satisfies a base need to nurture and provide. "You kiddos do not understand how well you eat." "I know you make yummy tacos", has been conversation with the littles here.
So, that's something else we've been doing, we cooked and cooked. And we ate with our family, and shared meals, and watched movies, and read books, and made every moment of being able to work from home with home schooled children. I could go on and on about the tragedy of what we went through, when in all actuality, we spent more time with our children and each other.
Pan scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage on croissants. Made by Danny Dannels.
And so, what were we to do with Mentality?
We decided there was a message in Mentality that was bigger than our own personal desires to be just go lead quiet little lives, grow old and fat and just generally be super happy until the end of time. It is because of them, the little people that we have chosen to bring into the world. They're watching us, demanding that we stand in the roles that we are trying to teach them. Mentality thus becomes an expression of who we are as people. Be smart. Learn things. Be vigilant and strong. Be notorious when you have to. Never quit. And love. You cannot do it without love. It is mandatory that heart and love be in everything you do.
But, you cannot quit. Never, ever. You have to get back up. If falling down hurts too much, go do something else, but you have to get back up. It separates out survivors. And leaders are survivors who just aren't afraid of falling down again. All of your coaches and leaders in life will tell you with great enthusiasm how to take a hit and keep going, because they know that lesson for themselves. You have to overcome. The least credible person in the room is the person who didn't struggle for anything.
Cast iron pan of drop biscuits. Favorite method for biscuits and gravy. Ain't no one got time to roll out a bunch of little circles when they're just gonna be broken up and smothered in country gravy. Made by Danny Dannels.
People also need to know to be stronger than they ever thought they could be. We forget how great we are, how resilient we are. Sometimes, it's easier to be sad. Plus, lots of nice people give you hugs when you're sad, and honestly that's pretty awesome if you like hugs. But, you can't lead a life like that, especially when little people are involved. So, you do what any parent or leader does, or should do, and you get up and go do every damn thing necessary to ensure that your pack doesn't falter. The kiddos simplify things to a great extent.
Drop biscuits broken up and smother in gravy. Made by Danny Dannels
That line of thinking about the kiddos and what they require of us, cemented where Mentality was in our lives and how we would approach further investment of time on our ends into the business and what that time would look like. Because for us, it became very personal. At one point, we were within 72 hours of foreclosing on our house because of how much time and money going through the Arminex recall demanded of our resources. But, we still had each other. It was that support structure that helped us be strong and stay with the fight until we had prepared enough information to request the government step in.
When all is said and done, the nail polish business is still there. It begs of us as business owners to engage it. All of our recipes are legit and the FDA has a copy of them. California thinks we're legit and that passes muster for me and every other business out there. And I tell you, it also would be so completely simple to walk away and never pick up that mantle again, but, there's a message there buried that needs to be told. We know how to survive through the end of the world. We know how you need to prepare as a small business, and why you have to start now. Because you want the government, of any country, to listen to your complaints, to act promptly, to take your side in anything terrible, and to be there to help you find justice, but you damn sure better have your ducks in a row to begin with. It saved us and gave us all the credibility we needed to go toe to toe with giants.
White chrysanthemum. Surround yourself with beautiful moments. Photo by Hillary Dannels.
So, Mentality is, and will continue to be, because of the message. I still have little desire to make polish for the masses again, but I do intend to remake my wife's personal collection. Quite literally the most exclusive nail polish in the world. They are not for sale. Don't even ask. These are the, I made some soap and gave some to my mom variety. A couple of close friends and family will get the extras, but I can guarantee they aren't going to be giving them away or selling them. They are handmade expressions of art. It is at the heart, of what the indie scene was, crafts people, artists, people who could plan color, and people willing to make something special just for you, something unique. In this case, something you can't even buy. Specifically in this case, I am recreating my wife's nail polish set for her. You are cordially invited to watch.
Photo of Danny Dannels wearing Mentality Resolve topped with Mentality Carousel, by Hillary Dannels. Yes, I play Spanish Classical and read music. Also, I'm wearing swim trunks under the tuxedo jacket.
Hillary Dannels wearing Mentality Bon Bon holding a custom painted Nerf Gun in Tetrachromes.
Hey, everyone! Gosh we've been busy. It's been three full years since we stepped away to kick Arminex International, Inc. square in the balls for what they did to the nail polish community. It's been quite the adventure, but we are living proof that we, you, and anyone can stand up against an oversized bully, knock them flat on their sorry ass, and change the world. We are also proof that the average person can go toe to toe with millionaire socialites and be victorious, successful, and survive to tell the awesome story. Yes, we found justice in the end, but it took all of our focus, and an unbelievably monumental effort.
One of the things we're most proud of is having very recently paid off one of the credit cards associated with all the remakes that we did for our customers. I mean yikes, I hope none of you ever have to dump out the value of your business and extend all of your credit in order to remake products after another business pulls the bullshit Arminex did, but we are on our way to fully recovering. That's just who we are. We refuse to give up, even with all the nasty trolls that even unto today still continue to spew misguided and misinformed hatred. (Angry Monkey points at trolls and then laughs)
Hillary modeling Mentality Hard Candy, Top hat bezels in Mentality Sideshow and Mentality Carpe.
One of the most ridiculous rumors that we heard was that we were making our own base. That is one of those that actually makes my explode. It’s like, but, do you even understand how hard that is? The nitrocellulose required comes from Dow Wolff Cellulosics. They make Walsroder, mixed with your choice of plasticizer and wetting agent. Don’t worry, you can’t buy it. Pretty much no one can. They for certain won't sell it to you if this was the first time you read that product name, and for sure the government tracks all of it that is sold, and puts some serious transportation guidelines on it, effectively limiting its distribution patterns, because it’s ... wait for it, wait for it, an explosive. Like for real blows up. This is stuff that people don’t actually want to handle and the really big ugly reason why no one makes their own base. No one in their right minds wants to actually handle nitrocellulose outside of a light industrial setting, using anti-static equipment specially designed to process said explosive in stainless steel vessels without exploding all the things and the people.
That said, I encourage, no I implore you to go to school and learn this kind of information for yourself. If this kind of thing interests you, go get the kind of STEM field education and certifications that you think qualify you to mess around with nitrocellulose. Big deal. Huge. Huge deal.
Also, the hectorite, you can't have it. They're not gonna sell it to you. It's like the height line on rollercoasters. You have to be this level of actual legitimacy before the people that sell that stuff will sell it to you in the volumes you would need purchase to make it worth anyone's time to talk to you. That's just the realities of the business.
Danny wearing Mentality Verdegris on the sail boat.
So, how on Earth did we survive? The internet masses have come up with some really interesting versions, but the actual the truth of the matter is far more boring and yet infinitely satisfying to people that understand. We did it through accounting. We kept detailed and explicit records of everything. (CPAs across the land just stood up and started cheering)
They said, show us everything. Our lead investigator hand wrote a book in front me. He wrote a book. An actual large empty book, was filled with writing and just everything. In retrospect, a book was written about what we showed to the FDA. The second investigator kept another smaller book, but still. That's some epic level of bookkeeping on everyone's behalf. Stuff you don't think about while you're busy trying not to crap your pants. Like when I was trying to convince the EPA that I wouldn't throw paint away, because I just wouldn't. Meanwhile, I'm pulling down the bags packed with our soda bottle recycling that was being stored outside in the shed on top of empty mixing bottles that we saved. It is my observation that no one actually expects you to have kept the things from the regulations, much less to have even read them.
If stranded on an actual desert island and you could wish for one thing ... Danny modeling Mentality Loess.
So, when you say you kept samples, what do you mean?
Pour off a bottle, yes an entire bottle. Take notes and label it. It is your proof of work. Now, put it up and you don’t get to use it, ever, but you have to keep it. Oh, don’t lose it in case you need it. Because you might need it, and completely crazy end of the world stuff only happens in movies and to Mentality Nail Polish. Who else would ever need to prove where every single ounce of nail polish base came and went to? Seriously, save everything. It takes up space too, which is a real pain in the ass. Oh, and don't throw it away. The EPA is a real bummer unless you're doing it right. If you just so happen to be doing things correctly and can answer all their questions appropriately, then they turn out to be rather helpful and supportive and can offer real guidance. You just have to be doing things correctly. Seriously, the EPA was terrifying. They don't screw around about the environment out here in California. You have to be able to answer every single answer correctly to avoid fines, which means you have to look up disposal requirements as well. And, you have to know this information before anyone knocks on your door, and be actually adhering to it.
That said, we still have the original mixing bottles for Mentality. Our ability to reference our work goes all the way to the beginning. We have boxes full of mixing bottles all colored to the pigments used. They're actually quite beautiful. It's part of the art behind the scenes of our efforts to document our efforts. Work which although seemed meaningless at the time, turned out to be real life savers when isolating out specific complaints and then being able to cross reference with batches, bottles, and even the original barrel and purchase orders which allowed us to file a credible complaint with the FDA and stomp some serious butt.
I present unto you, Nutella, on Anna's Ginger Swedish Thins. Danny modeling Mentality Verdegris with Mentality Gregarious accent.
What to do when all ape shit breaks loose.
Do not let this happen to you. It is horrible. It feels like the end of the world. And, the only way to get clear of it is to engage in loads of hard work that you may never get back. It's when you question your own self worth and the justification to try even harder than before, because just surviving is gonna be the hardest thing you've ever done. You have to be strong. You are already stronger than you have to be. Just don't quit. The government won't let you, so just get up and keep going.
How prostrate should I be?
This is going to hurt.
What did Mentality actually go through?
We requested a federal review of our product via the MedWatch complaint mechanism at the FDA, after completing a voluntary recall with detailed records of customer complaints, and were able to isolate batches to injuries, convincingly by using the accounting and sample records we still maintain. Basically hell. Yes, it was hell.
Walker's Pure Butter Shortbread with Nutella, not for the faint of heart. Hillary modeling Mentality Hard Candy topped with Mentality Glitz.
Which brings us to other serious topics that newcomers to the cosmetics scene might not know. You have to ship correctly. I wish I could make it more clearer, but do not ever ship illegally. Do not ship out of the country unless you are IATA certified. It's expensive. I've had that certification before for international shipping. Every government in the world will know who you are if you make it that far. For domestic shipping, you have to declare your company to your local Post Office. We received clarification and approval on our shipping methods from no less than the Office of the Postmaster General, and were asked for it by no less than the FDA. The shipping records that you will create by shipping with the US Post Office, UPS, FedEx, will serve as permanent records of your business dealings and are the final answer if you are ever asked if you are shipping correctly. There is a right way to do this, and the wrong way, which is illegal. Don't risk it!
Danny modeling Mentality Verdigris topped with Mentality Harvest. Hillary modeling Mentality Bon Bon topped with Mentality Adorable.
When you face hard times though, you have to have a safety net, someone to turn to when it's just really hard and you want to give up, and the meany faces won't stop telling lies. The harshness of social media is not for the feint of heart. It is easy to become calloused, but ever so more important that we remember what it is like to have to look someone in the eyes to have a conversation. Human contact alters our conversations. Everyone I tell our story to in real life is always floored that we survived, but we have each other, and we have our family. That's where we we've been at since this all started. We've been at home, raising our family, teaching them to never quit, to learn everything they can, and to dream all the dreams.
In the end, we have each other. Ours was a romance before we ever stated Mentality. I have always told my wife that everything I have ever created has been for her. She always has been and remains to this day, my best friend.
Nutella should never be eaten alone. Always share your Nutella with people smaller than you.
Action packed drama! Suspense and thrills abound! Read the scintillating details! Eat hot soup and scald your mouth! The drama, the horror! Too crazy to actually be real! Stories out of a Hollywood screenplay! Front page headlines! (Danny Dannels modeling Pozzolana and Panorama.)
It was a dark and stormy night, not unlike the ones you read about in old black and white comic strips, like the kind that nickel pulp fiction writers have already written about since days long since past, cliche with a side of cheese, wine, and a violin. It was dreary and black like a cold cup of coffee you left in the microwave yesterday with the thin ring missing, so you can't just pretend that it was from today. And it was stygian black on a moonless night, except for the faint blue glow on the edges of the clouds from LED street lights that beat relentlessly in through the windows of people that refuse to give in, to the stormy blackness and it's long, heavy drops of water beating down on the city. It was the kind of rain that people in Portland, Oregon scoff at, and go grab a taco before heading out for a Mass Effect bicycle ride. Yeah, it was dark, but man was it ever cold.
And forbid the thought of anyone unlucky enough to be caught in its untoward sodden tragedy. She didn't care about the rain though. She paid it no mind, because she was above such petty affairs, as if she was on a different plane of existence. You conveniently forget about all sorts of things when you've been through torrents of salty encrusted downpours that she's seen, and the bagged trophies she's claimed. It makes you oblivious sometimes to the kind of personal pain one only understands when they have felt pain on the inside, the kind that ties all humans together.
She also wore polka dots well, except it was more like she owned polka dots, the way you own a look or a glance, or the way a woman owns a room. They were hers and you knew it. Oversized blank white circles starkly captioned against a blood red field, and the matching bow just slayed me. I was captivated from the moment I saw her, hook, line and sinker.
I said, "Who are you?"
She said, "I'm Betty."
I said, "Yes, you are. How can I help you?"
You got a smart mouth, pretty boy. I could hear you coming. (Hillary Dannels modeling Neon Blue Opaque with Funhouse.)
She said, "Help you? You're standing in my doorway dripping water on my tile. Stop being a moron and put up the groceries."
It appears she hadn't been listening to the story I was telling myself in my head. She never does, but she's learned to play along really well with her majestic broadside interjections into my imaginary life, or perhaps it's my meandering sideswipes into her reality that she finds amusing. Either way, it makes me lucky.
I find wandering around in the rain like a zombie to be the perfect opportunity for fanciful storytelling to yourself without someone to talk to. I like her, even after all these years with her sassy comebacks and so-called facts for her debates with me. Bah!
Like when I told her that we should become zombie hunters. She didn't even blink or look away from her Acer Chromebook. She flatly stated. "I want cosplay outfits."
"Steampunk. I want to build things."
She's always so much cooler than I try to be. I have to work at it. She calls bullshit on me with unerring accuracy. I usually end our so-called debates with "You're lucky I love you."
Yeah, okay, but you wait. I'm in making up new stories in my head and you're gonna laugh at me some more. Yeah, and I've got the groceries, so you just wait, for dinner. I'll have it ready when it's darn good and ready.
"You still talking crap to yourself in your head in there?"
"Yeah, so what?"
"I said shut up."
Better get the cannon, just in case. (Danny Dannels modeling Kaolin and Panorama)
The rain in Southern California is unnatural. It's cold, like the arid high desert at night, except the sun is out and everything is gray instead of being eye-glaringly washed out like over saturated eyes in the dusty wind-blown scape on the in-between decades. And then there is the humidity. It's just weird. When it's not like this, the colors on the mountains cling in layers of browns and reds of iron-stained granite. Instead, the slopes of the desert are clad in green, with vast swathes of brilliant orange and reds blooms painted solid from afar.
The rain is foreign here, like being a traveler in an unknown land without your Frommer's travel guide, but less so, actually far less so. It's more like it's Taco Tuesday and you pull your full on ninja skills to secretly go back for a small salad after dinner is over, only to find a surprise in your bottle of salad dressing.
"Who's been in the Haribo gummy bears?"
"Where did you find them?", she called from the next room.
"In the Hidden Valley Ranch."
"Ah, that was mine. I wondered where that went to."
"Well, as long as it wasn't one of the kiddos, I guess that makes it okay."
"It kinda was. The baby threw it in the fish tank. I thought I accidentally ate it."
"But, how did it get in the ranch?" (tosses bottle of dressing in trash)
"I had a salad before you got home while the kiddos were watching a video."
"You kiefed a salad without sharing with the kiddos?"
I don't know what her reply was, because my head was in the refrigerator looking for another bottle of salad dressing. The hum of the refrigerator and the din of children made for a perfect little storm of noise to leave me oblivious. I was, as usual off in my own little world, thinking about zombies and giggling to myself from the witty retorts in my head that she'll never hear. She tells me I should write these things down, because my words make her laugh at me. I giggled because I amuse myself to no end sometimes. The tapping on my shoulder shook me to reality.
"You should shut up."
You wouldn't shoot me, would you? Who's gonna bat their eyes at you while pointing this other second gun at you? (Hillary Dannels modeling Agent and Panorama)
The refrigerator freezer is a wondrous place to be when you wanna shove your head in a small box and escape the realities of life, like escaping to Wisconsin for the winter, or vacationing in Antarctica on a treasure expedition. Show shoes, a chisel, and just a little perseverance, and you just might recover that chili you put up last month, or run across an errant uneaten tamale. That's when I heard her small voice calling out like an angel, a fiery little angel with a raging demonic side befit her three foot stature, like some herald of noble truth.
"Daddy, Mommy gave us your Haribo gummy bears."
"I see that. Honey, where's the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?"
Betty chimed in, "You take too long at the store. You should tell yourself fewer stories and you'd be faster."
My keen sense of sarcasm detection kicked and I could see there was no use arguing with her. So, I sat down with my bowl of salad and closed my eyes to savor the textural contrasts between the crisp garden greens and the tangy aromatic creaminess of a new and freshly opened bottle Hidden Valley Ranch when I started to giggle again about becoming a zombie hunter.
Yeah, I was gonna be a dark reluctant hero in melodrama action comedy with a cool outfit, someone you could root for, even if you hate them just a little, or a lot, whatever. And steampunk, she'd see. I'd get a cool top hat and we'd make some really cool outfits to go shoot Nerf guns in. It was going to be so awesome.
"You know I can kick your ass at zombie hunting. I get to be the hero, so don't even start."
She always gets me. Damn! (Danny Dannels modeling Kaolin and Panorama)
So, that's how we got started. I mean not really, but who knows. I mean, in 20 years when we're telling grandkids about our adventures hunting zombies, does it really matter? We survived and went on to tell stories and share our brand with the world. We chose to be bold and be notorious, rather than fading away like some wilted wallflower. It's definitely a story about the underdog rising above goliath-sized opponents, and smashing them into bits. It's about being strong inside, in your heart and your mind and refusing to bow to the bullies. Never give up your dreams. Refuse to be a wallflower. Be notorious, and the world will never forget your story. Never quit, and you'll be the one to get to write it. We get to be steam punk zombie hunters in the next chapter of our story and we couldn't be more excited about it.
We didn't choose the zombie life. The zombie life chose us. Hillary Dannels wearing Cocciopesto from the Matte Earth Tone collection, topped with Carnival from the Crystalchrome collection in full California sun.
The world needs zombies, the living dead, the undead, in-laws, disembodied spirits. Nothing truly ground breaking gets done without them. Our Mentality Zombie files thus are filled with salutes to our favorite zombies. From the endearing Zombie Boy to the blood-crazed toothless grandma in Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, we celebrate them all. However, being inspired early on in life by Dawn of the Dead, I'm gonna throw my lot in with the hunters, and also avoid elevators like the plague.
Cocciopesto from the Matte Earth Tone Collection serves as the base for all the manicure pictures on this blog, photographed in full sun, which kinda flips my camera out later on.
Zombies are uber-cool, like we all wish we were. I mean, take your average zombie, which is more likely to go out on the town all night, spend time at the mall or an amusement park, and get to meet Hollywood mega-stars like Woody Harrelson, than to ever sit quietly on a farm and drink beer all day like the cult hero Zombie Boy. I'm sure you have your own opinion, no matter what your take on cold beer or Twinkies are, but even Bill Murray aspired to be a zombie, which is a terrible choice when your friends are zombie hunters. Alas, zombies and their ilk are prone to terrible decisions to be capitalized by the nascent zombie hunter in each of us.
That's because when the end of the world is nigh, each and everyone of us out there, without there even being in the realm of a possibility of it ever occurring, have already made plans for the coming zombie apocalypse. We've got our own bag packed with useful gear, just like so many of you do. We've foregone the brass knuckles and K-bars that everyone post to Instagram though, because we don't need them. Our dystopian end times are instead gonna be brightly colored and packed full of painted middle fingers held high in the air kind of attitude. We find that Nerf Guns are perfect for that type of ensemble. We also keep Kool-Aid pouches and Pringles as well in our bag, because if the end of the world is coming, all diets are off the table, and if we live long enough to pass those Pringles, well then that's a well-deserved half hour out of our lived-through-zombie-apocalypse day. Except Nutella, that stuff is just unhealthy for zombie hunters. You have to spread that stuff out between two slices of cake to thin it out, and milk is heavy in the belly. You have to consider that not every zombie is a walker. Runners are a real pain when you've been nomming on Nutella.
Cocciopesto from the Matte Earth Tone collection topped with Carnival from the Crystalchrome collection in full sun. I tried to focus on the flakes and it flipped my camera out. (secretly nomming on Nutella)
Disclaimer, we do not have any endorsement with Nerf, Nutella, Kool-Aid, Kotex, Rogaine, or anyone else. It's a blog. It's called humor; stay calm and we'll all get through this. Well, most of us will. The rest have already begun outlining written responses. I'll have directions in this blog later on our favorite follow-up methods.
And Nerf are just our favorite foam dart guns. These are our own and we shoot our own zombies targets with them. We've tried those other brands, and they're crap. You're just going to have to throw it away, because that's what you do with crap, which encourages a whole vicious crap cycle. Don't be a zombie. Buy good things to start with, like Nutella.
Cocciopesto from the Matte Earth Tone collection topped with Carnival from the Crystalchrome collection in the shade. You can see the color shifting in the flakes.
Zombie hunters everywhere have their own take on the best gear bag set up. Our bag matches our mentality. These are two from our arsenal. You cannot have enough foam dart guns or foam darts when the zombie apocalypse comes.
Now, for all the sensitive types, we operate under the assumption that every zombie wants to return to a normal life. That's why we choose Nerf darts over the usual slash and hack jobs you see in the movies. No blood and guts for us. A quick foam dart to the torso and our zombies simply walk away and return to normal life.
Cocciopesto from the Matte Earth Tone collection topped with Carnival from the Crystalchrome collection in full sun.
We've even found that the foam dart method works for internet trolls. Simply set up your monitor at a reasonable distance and shoot the offending troll with your foam darts until you've achieved the proper level of butt-hurt relief. We understand if this requires a succession of reloads. We understand butt-hurt, as we too have privately filed our own butthurt report forms.
We have found the best results to trolling butthurt threads to be to not respond. But do not be decieved. Oh no, I am the ultimate in butthurt recipients. You gotta print off a copy of that form, fill it out with a ballpoint pen, and then mail it to your US Congressman. I mean, make an actual federal case out of it. And don't just hand it off to the mail carrier. You have to take it down there yourself, just to make sure it gets mailed. And don't forget all the hot emails you have to send. Super ultra mega anime butthurt is a real disease that requires real attention. You can't just spray some Dermoplast on that and expect relief.
Cocciopesto from the Matte Earth Tone collection topped with Carnival from the Crystalchrome collection topped with Red Glaze in full sun. The flakes underneath took on this deep orange glow from the Red Glaze, and the green end of the color shift changed to a red-obscured green black. It was really trippy to look at.
Gosh that takes a lot of time, but our favorite projects need that special touch. That's why we've converted to shooting our computer monitor with foam darts, which is way more efficient than actually engaging trolls through words. We've also found that animal crackers goes perfect with just a smidgen of Nutella to make our own butthurt subside in a reasonable amount of time. People who we've never even met before can say ugly, terrible things with their words. Nutella makes us feel like hugs. Nom nom nom nom ...
Caution! Foam darts should not be applied directly to affected areas in an attempt to relieve butthurt, nor should Nutella, on yourself or anyone else. Serious consequences may develop, including but not limited to nut allergies, deep personal embarrassment, and/or assault charges. Butthurt incurred through exposure to trolls should only be confirmed in public by experienced troll hunters. Remember, sharing is caring. Let us in on that butthurt too. We all actually want to know. Otherwise, it is always best to not engage a troll directly with replies or eye contact. Unfortunately, most trolls become disengaged on their own and thus disinterested if not directly addressed. (pokes trolls with stick)
Cocciopesto from the Matte Earth Tone collection topped with Carnival from the Crystalchrome collection topped with Red Glaze in full sun and out of focus, which makes the silver accent in the glaze stand out.
And last a final love note for all y'all zombie folks that were over at Arminex, bless your hearts. We promised to dance a waltz on your corporate graves, but instead our accountant made this lovely card for you. See y'all next time!
Wish you were here! Cocciopesto from the Earth Tone collection topped with Carnival from the Crystalchrome collection, and then skittle topped with Neon Red Glaze, Neon Orange Glaze, Neon Green-Yellow Glaze, Neon Green Glaze, and Blue Glaze. This manicure was just crazy to look at with the color shifting below the neon.
Memes are the most important cultural expression to come out of the age of the internet. Memes are the obiter dictum ephemeral byproduct of our innate need to share our thoughts and feelings with other humans while interacting in the cold and brutally insensitive arena that is social media. Memes serve as permanent avatars and virtual emotional gladiators in the colosseum of public opinion. Memes wage wars in instances of perfect raw emotion, echoing resolutely across the digital divide, and are thus immaculate.
Memes serve to enable our conscious desire to reach out and touch the lives of our fellow human beings, coupled with our collective inability to find anything good to talk about. Hence our fascination with talking about the weather. "Oh, um, hey, person with a name I'm supposed to know. Gosh, the sun's out, isn't it?" Responded with, "Yup." Back in the day, you'd have to go out into your front yard to get such deep down feels from a passerby, but now people we've never even met before can inspire us into noble pursuit or fits of keyboard smashing rage, all while nestled comfortably from their couch and ours.
Meme's inspire us to be better by pointing out our weaknesses as a species, glorifying our noblest pursuits, and also to catalog to verify the number of things that Chuck Norris can punch out of existence. "Here's your official list of things Chuck Norris is tougher than, Dr. Holmes." "Ah yes, the complete list of things in the known universe. Thank you, Watson." Yes, the internet has been very kind to Chuck Norris. And, um, for good reason, Mr. Norris, sir.
Memes often serve as messages to the future self from a moment in time when some brief clarity overtakes a person, whoever's fault that might be, and guides them to find an insight that is not to be forgotten. Usually this is a message to the self, such as to hang on to the rope, or to remember that someone loves you, especially when some insensitive cretin manages to suck all the air out of the room, even when that someone turns out to be you.
So, we have two memes for this blog. The first is our mantra. It has been the last two years of our lives, and is an expression who we are as people. This concept has guided us into the many projects that we now endeavor in. It is about being stronger than you realize that you are, and then living in the skin you are in. It is about walking the walk, and also owning it, because failure is a possibility, but refusing to get back up when you're face first in the dirt is not an option.
Never quit, even when it hurts, especially when it hurts, because survivors keep getting back up, and leaders do not fear falling down again. Never quit.
The second meme has a UFO vibe. I wanted a 1950s sci-fi movie, desaturated kind of feel to the meme, like 50 Foot Tall Woman meets Lost in Space.
It is in homage to the estimated 1000 bottles of Mentality Nail Polish in the square bottle that are in the hands of the public, that were made in non-Arminex base and thus not part of the ridiculous scandal that company created in the indie nail polish scene. I mean seriously, had they never heard of the FDA? GTFO of here, Arminex! We kicked you off Etsy, and then kicked straight out of business. No one even wants to buy out your brand, even in court-ordered bankruptcy liquidation, punks! (cracks knuckles) Excuse me, I'm a bit passionate about that subject.
People who don't believe in aliens have probably never had an anal probe.
So, what remains for now, is some of the rarest and most exclusive polishes that ever existed in the indie nail polish scene: Mentality Nail Polish in the square bottle. And yes, there is a unicorn out there. There is a single complete collection of Mentality Nail Polish in the square bottle. We named it The Braun Collection. We believe it is the most exclusive nail polish collection in the world and represents all of our gloss, holographic, stamping, matte, you name it. No one else has the complete collection, at least for now. It is from the last run that we made before we closed up shop to kick Arminex's rear end into Chapter 7 oblivion. (insert sound of Arminex swooshing into trash can from 3-point range) Booyah!
But, enough about that. We'll divvy up the details on the manis for these two pics, and their related manis in our first installment of the Mentality Zombie Files, coming up next. See you then!
Hillary Dannels modeling her manicure featuring a base of Mentality Nail Polish Expunge (Green Yellow Matte), dry brushed with Opaque Neon Orange, Green, Blue, and Purple, sealed with Matte Top Coat.
Welcome to our blog. Where to begin? There are many stories, so many rumors, drama, intrigue, asses kicked, and egos perma-bruised remain. Still Mentality stands, because it is an extension of who we are. Do it right, the first time and every time. Be persistent, resilient, and make sure you have your shit in order so that when that bell goes off, you burst out your corner fighting. And, when it's all said and done, wear your scars like badges of honor. That's our Mentality. What's yours?
So, I think you gotta ask yourself this. When somebody comes to take your dreams away, do you fold like a deck of cards? Do you take it? Does the bully get to win again? Well, it happened to us and being a tiny little obscure micro-niche cosmetics company at the time, we were probably supposed to just fold up shop and fade away like some tired punks.
Well, we're obviously no shrinking violets, so we whipped up a hornets nest, grabbed that mess with both hands, dragged it out into the streets, and beat it with a stick until dead in every social media back channel we could. And then to make sure our message was heard, we went ahead and called out all the catty bitches in every public and private nail polish social media group we could, so as to make sure everyone was good and mad that we were completing a voluntary recall at our own expense in order to file an immaculately complete FDA complaint on our base manufacturer. (adjusts and pops collars)
Dry brush matte manicure using Mentality Nail Polish Neon Matte and Opaque polishes. Photographed on a slightly rainy day in southern California.
Remember that hornet nest? I mean, boy they were pissed. That raging mob went on a berserker scorched Earth campaign like none ever seen. They told everyone. IT WAS AWESOME! It made Cosmo, Huffington Post, and every two-bit blogger that wanted to make a name for themselves writing hateful spew and making fallacious accusations. Amazon and Etsy even got together and changed the way that they operated with homemade cosmetics. Lots of little companies folded. Anyone with anything to hide or be worried about was burned in effigy by the internet groups and/or complained upon by the raging masses. No way that little obscure insignificant unheard of cosmetics company was gonna die in peace. This was war.
I have often heard that if nobody hates you, then you've done nothing with your life. Well, it feels a whole lot like we went off and changed the world. Life is weird like that. And, I admit it was a gamble, but when you grow up fighting, staring down the next epic battle square in the eyes seems like the most reasonable thing in the world to do. It's just like yesterday, tomorrow and the next day. So, we came out of our corner swinging and threw solid gold knockout punches every single time. (ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding)
Dry brush manicure photographed indoors under 6500 K fluorescent lights.
Well, that pretty much sums up the last two years of Mentality. Nobody expected us to survive, much less win, except for our fans. Thank you to everyone who sent words of encouragement. Thank you even more to everyone that sent us those creatively worded attempts to encourage us to walk away from our dreams. We cannot tell you how amazing it feels to actually stick our thumbs in our ears and wave our fingers at you. Neener, neener, neener. (checks off item on Bucket List)
So, thanks for coming here and reading our story. Keep coming back to the blog for more appropriately interesting content and pictures of nails did. We'll get back to making nail polish for the store soon enough and we'll blog all the juicy details as we do. We have a complete nail art palette that we are bringing to you: a plethora of stamping grade polishes, Glazes, Neons, Earth Tones, Crystalchromes, Metallics, Holographics, Tetrachromes, Jellychromes, and all of our Matte nail polishes. This collection can't be found anywhere else. It's uniquely Mentality Nail Polish.
Preview of the Mentality Zombie Chronicles. Photograph shown featuring Mentality Nail Polish Neon Green Glaze with Crystalchrome Funhouse and Neon Orange Glaze with Crystalchrome Carnival jelly sandwiches.
Mentality Nail Polish, we're not for the weak of heart. If you have the audacity to stand up for yourself, be yourself, and make your own decisions, we applaud you. Live life on your own terms. Be stronger than you ever dreamed you could be. Never quit.