THE GOODBYE PROJECT: Letting Go is Good, Yo! Episode 8–OPI

About The Goodbye Project:

There are so many of us who can’t part with objects because of the sentimental attachment we have to them. You know—the graduation tassels, the barfed-on stuffed animal with the missing eye, the coat your late father bought for you because you begged. So what do you do when it’s time to let go of these beloved items because it’s absolutely necessary?

I’d read someplace that one of the best ways to let go of an object is to know that you have a photo. Sure, you can photograph it before you get rid of it. The Goodbye Project takes the idea a step further: go back and find photos of yourself actually with, using, or wearing that object, and blurb a bit about the memories it invokes.

Why? Everything has a story.

And because of that, the object deserves more than just a hasty trip to the Goodwill or the trash without a second thought.


The colors I’ve decided to give away. Pretty!

When we decided we were moving, Nathan was surprised that I started wiping things out right away—but made the comment that I was focusing on “little things.”

Many little things, though, can add up to big things, and I also think it’s the little things that take the most time to process: for example, which of my nail polishes do I remove from my OPI collection?

After all, I’m very proud of it. Each color I own had been chosen for a specific event or reason, and, as is typical of all writers, I think, the thing I most enjoyed about OPI wasn’t the colors but their cool names (I know for a fact that my poet friend and I, Heather Sullivan, spent more time obsessing over which ones to buy because of the names rather than the colors).

In Newport, “spa days” were some of our best days. From left, my friend Heather, me, and Kaitlyn, November 15, 2002. I think we were trying seaweed masks…

…but we also were painting our nails. I’m sure we shared the colors, too. I can’t name all of these, but I can tell you that on my hands is “Grape Wall of China,” which I think I had just gotten.

In general, my OPI collection holds many great memories for me: hanging out with Heather in Newport, painting our nails at the beach or at her kitchen table. My friend Janet Cutler and I buzzing down to Danbury Beauty Supplies on our lunch hour to give ourselves a lift and pick out a new OPI color (many of my polishes were purchased at that store with Janet; it was our favorite lunchtime activity other than making an “office run” to the McDonald’s at the bottom of the hill). And all the events for which I’d chosen specific colors: my brother Chuck’s wedding in North Carolina; my friend Kaitlyn’s wedding; each trip to Walt Disney World; my romantic Myrtle Beach vacation with Nathan; my summer workshop at the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony in Provincetown.

Me, at left, and Kaitlyn, Newport, RI, on New Year’s Eve Day, 2005. We were painting our nails to get ready to go out. She was wearing one of her personal favorites: either “A Man in Every Port-ugal” or “20 Candles on My Cake”

Here, I’m having my hand done in henna for my brother Chuck’s wedding in Duck, North Carolina (the Outer Banks), June 12, 2003. The nail color I had on at the time I actually got rid of a long time ago—it was from OPI’s Summer 2002 Surf Party Collection and was called “Ocean Love Potion.”

A better look at the Henna and “Ocean Love Potion.”

Looks like I was having fun with one of Kaitlyn’s OPIs here in Newport in August, 2004.

I decided I could keep a few—subtle, neutral, lighter colors (over the years I’ve lost interest in wearing brights, and honestly, I rarely have time to do my nails anymore—I get a mani-pedi and my new fave is called “Kyoto Pearl”). Which ones did I keep? I photographed them below.

…oh yeah. And as far as little things equaling big things? I filed the whole collection, including nail tools and everything, down from a large tote bag to a Ziploc.

That’s a little more like it—although now OPI’s got a fabulous Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean line (Summer 2011—click here for more info, but I’m sure this link won’t be up for too much longer, so here’s a screen shot):

From left to right, Mermaid’s Tears, Stranger Tides, Planks A Lot, Sparrow Me The Drama, Steady As She Rose, Skull & Glossbones, Silver Shatter. I think I’ve got my eye on Stranger Tides and Skull & Glossbones—and mostly because of their names, not the colors.


“Hey, Get in Lime!” from OPI’s Spring 2006 Brights Collection. I never really liked this color, and I can’t find any photos of me with it on. I don’t even remember buying it, so out it goes.

“Nice Hand, Great Nails,” from OPI’s Spring 2003 Las Vegas Collection—I did wear this a couple of times, but it was one of Heather’s. A couple of years ago on one of my visits to Newport we traded a bunch of OPIs, and I think this is one I got from her. Again, don’t remember wearing it.

“Grape Wall of China”—from OPI’s Fall 2001 World Collection—was my fave back in 2002. I think it was pretty much all I wore.

“Apricotcha Cheating”—also from OPI’s Spring 2003 Las Vegas Collection—was big with me in the spring of 2003. It was my daily color.

“Cajun Shrimp”—I don’t know what year or line this was from, but I remember the day I bought it (as well as “Crim-Sun” from OPI’s Summer 2003 Summer for Shore Collection). Janet and I were taking a Friday break and decided to head down to Danbury Beauty Supply. A couple of new nail polishes always brightened an otherwise dull afternoon! “Cajun Shrimp” I used mostly on my toes during the summer because it lasted a long time—but the only reason I bought it, to be truthful, was because I love Cajun food and I love shrimp (the animals—and when I worked at Mystic, I was cleaning out a shrimp tank and some of them got sucked up in the suction hose. They emerged at the other end and I had a heck of a time chasing them all over quarantine to get them back in their tank).

“At Your Quebec and Call,” from OPI’s Fall 2004 Canada Collection, I bought on a post-Christmas trip to Newport, RI that same year at the Providence Place Mall. Heather, Kaitlyn and I spent the day shopping. I wore this color to many, many holiday parties. I also bought this because of its name – in 2001, I spent the most magical week up at Thunder Bay Beach in Canada with our friends Joan and Pete. Every time I wore this color, I recalled that great road trip.

“Electric Eel,” from OPI’s Summer 2005 Brights Collection, was one I searched high and low for—mostly because, with my love of all aquarium animals, I really wanted something in my collection that had a reference to fish in its title. When I finally did find it, though, and wore it, I didn’t like it. I don’t know—that color green just gave my skin tone a strange hue.

Ah, “Chapel of Love” from OPI’s Spring 2003 Las Vegas Collection. I LOVED THIS COLOR! I wore it to my brother Chip’s wedding (2003), my brother Chuck’s wedding (2003), the Danbury Mall Fireworks (2003), when I marched (yes, marched!) in Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade (2004), whenever I wore pink (I wore a great deal of pink in 2003). I’m surprised there’s any even left in this bottle to give away. The reason I’m letting it go? Well…I just have outgrown it.

Me sporting “Chapel of Love” at a wedding, May, 2003.

“Grand Canyon Sunset,” which I have no information on its year or line, was also a favorite and hard to let go (but it’s close to “Dusk Over Cairo,” which I liked better, so I kept that one instead).

Me wearing “Grand Canyon Sunset” in the Magic Kingom’s Fantasyland store, Hundred Acre Goods, just outside of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction in Walt Disney World, September, 2007.

“OPI & Apple Pie,” from OPI’s Fall 2001 Collection, I purchased specifically to wear during July, August, and early September to match a few shirts I had in my wardrobe. It was my color of choice to wear to New England summer activities, like the Bridgewater Fair, the Tractor Parade, and several Corn Mazes.

Me wearing “OPI & Apple Pie,” September 14, 2002, at White Hollow Farm’s Corn Maze in Litchfield, Connecticut.

“Merryberry Mauve,” from OPI’s 2002 Victorian Holiday collection, I got in a trade with Heather. The only reason I liked it was because it reminded me of one of my favorite colors—“Wyatt Earple Purple”—which was the color of choice for many weddings. It’s probably the only bottle of OPI I ever used up.

Me wearing “Wyatt Earple Purple,” from OPI’s Spring 1999 Wild West Collection, at a wedding in Myrtle Beach in April, 2006.

“Amethyst Abyss,” from OPI’s Millennium 2000 collection, was a gift from my friend Janet. I wore this all the time because I liked its holographic nature—it shifted subtly from amethyst to olive. What’s cooler about this color is its name—amethyst is my birthstone, so I have many amethyst rings and necklaces; the word “abyss” always reminds me of the 1989 movie The Abyss, which is a favorite of mine.

“Blushingham Palace,” from OPI’s Fall 2003 British Collection, I got in trade with Heather, who had owned it a long time. I don’t think I ever wore it.

“Goin’ Ape-ricot,” from OPI’s Spring 2006 Brights Collection. This one was great for my toes. I got it from Heather in a trade, I think—I don’t like monkeys, so anything with the word “ape” in it I never would have bought of my own volition.

“Niagara Falls for OPI,” from OPI’s Fall 2004 Canada Collection, I bought purely for its name—one of the most magical vacations I’d ever taken in my life, in 2001, was in Canada, and we spent a weekend in Niagara Falls. I’m also a big fan of that TV series Wonderfalls, which takes place there.

Me wearing “Niagara Falls for OPI” on the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland attraction Tomorrowland® Transit Authority PeopleMover (formerly the WEDWay PeopleMover, formerly the Tomorrowland Transit Authority), Walt Disney World, September, 2007. Believe it or not, what I was doing here was shooting cover art to go with a short story I was writing which is set on the Peoplemover. The short story, “Doing Blue,” made its debut as an issue of my short-lived project Admit One Literary Theme Park, but now has a home as the front-running story in my collection Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney World, available at Amazon and wherever books are sold.

“Marquis D’Mauve,” from OPI’s Fall 2002 European Collection. I think I got this in a trade with Heather; I never wore it.

My friend Janet is first to reap the benefit of my saying goodbye.


I figured since I’m telling my life story about my relationship with OPI, I might as well go down the list and tell you what I no longer own, either because I used it up, traded it, or gave it to someone long before now:

Can’t-a-Berry Have Some Fun? (Fall 2002 European Collection)

Changing of the Garnet (Fall 2002 European Collection—this was my VERY FIRST jar of OPI!)

Coral Reef


Glacier Bay Blues (Fall 2004 Canada Collection)

Ocean Love Potion (Summer 2002 Surf Party Collection)

Route Beer Float (Fall 1997 Route 66 Collection)

Wyatt Earple Purple (Spring 1999 Wild West Collection)


The colors I’m keeping, from left to right: “Cameo Role,” “Princesses Rule!”, “Chocolate Shake-speare,” “Polar Bare,” “How to Jamaica Million,” and “Dusk Over Cairo.” Before I go further: how did I choose what to keep? Neutrals. I can always go bright again later if I want, but any of these will pretty much go with any occasion or any outfit.

“Cameo Role,” from OPI’s Fall 1999 Hollywood Collection, was given to me by someone who no longer wanted it (it was probably Heather or Kaitlyn). I fell in love with it because it’s subtle, so it’s become a staple and a favorite. It’s great to keep in a travel kit, because it goes with whatever you’ve got in your suitcase, any time of year.

“Princesses Rule!,” from OPI’s Spring 2006 Princess Charming Collection. I totally bought this in August of 2006 in preparation for that year’s September trip to Walt Disney World with my sister, Missie, and my niece, Andi.

“Chocolate Shake-speare,” from OPI’s Fall 2003 British Collection, I own simply because of its name: my Dad was an English teacher and he loved Shakespeare. I like this color though. It’s nice for fall and for cold winter days.

“Polar Bare,” from OPI’s Fall 2004 Canada Collection. I got this in trade from Heather, but it’s become one of my favorites because just one coat adds a cleaned-up look with low maintenance.

Me wearing “Polar Bare” at Muddy Rivers pool bar at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside resort in Florida, September, 2006.

“How to Jamaica Million” I don’t wear often, but it’s nice to have on hand for holidays.

“Dusk Over Cairo.” I got it because I liked the name—it reminded me of all the Indiana Jones movies—but once I put it on, I was pleased to find I liked the color, too.

Me wearing “Dusk Over Cairo” the day I got accepted at Burlington College, September, 2004.

And now…after I’ve seen Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I’ll head out to the store to pick up those couple I mentioned. Want to know where I got all this great information on the years/dates/collections? Check out Suze’s Stuff website here:

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of the New England Horror Writers. Follow her adventures at

Posted on June 22, 2011, in The Goodbye Project and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hi and HAPPY SUMMER!!!! I totally identified with this post. It is one of my favorites I think! You really should be on OPI’s website!!! It is my fav polish as well but I actually do not own even one. I am guilty of getting my nails done at a salon but ALWAYS pick OPI. I love their bright ones. I am wearing a hot pink now but do not even know the name. I love all of your pics wearing the various colors. You have motivated me me than anyone or anything else in terms of getting rid of things. I am a pack rat teacher but I am trying to atleast get more organized this summer and pass on a few things through Love that!! Have a great day…miss ya!! Gail

    • Thanks, Gail! I’m actually getting contacted by people looking for older OPI colors. It’s pretty awesome. I never thought something I’d do just for myself (that honestly I thought no one would read, much less care about) would turn into something beneficial for so many people.

  2. Do you still have amethyst abyss? I am looking for another bottle, as mine is almost gone. Please email me! 🙂 Thank you!

    • Hey, Jessica! I gave it to someone at work, but I just contacted her to see if she’s willing to give it back so you can have it. I’m thrilled you found me and will let you know ASAP. I should know tomorrow.

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