Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Never Forgotton

I've been keeping pics of my manis fairly consistently, I just seem to lack the time or focus to get them up here regularly.  Hrmph.

I partially blame Pinterest.  *whistles innocently*

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm still here!

I'm sorry I've been quiet lately but I've had some health issues take priority.

But I have still been painting my nails, trying new techniques, and documenting everything!

Stay tuned, there's going to be picture overload coming soon!
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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Whimsical Jelly Sandwich

So this is the week that I not only had my virgin trip to Icing, but I also received my wonderful Secret Valentine present from my Polish Addict's group on Facebook.  Which had in it FIVE amazing polishes all the way from Sweden!  Be still, my polish covered heart.

And then I had to stop by the grocery store, and I checked out the polishes and nail stuff (like always) and realized they had the highly lemming'ed Revlon Whimsical!  What is a lacquer lover to do?

Wear as many of them as possible at one time.

The makings of a delicious jelly sandwich.  L-R, Revlon Whimsical, Icing Written in the Stars, Viva la Diva 127.

I love it.  It's so squishy and full of interesting glitter bits and stars that catch and reflect the light in little flashes of rainbow goodness.  After taking the pictures, I now see that it's doing the dreaded Seche Vite shrink at the tips giving me some VNL.  Luckily I have a lovely silver holo glitter polish in the corner of my eye that would work perfectly as a French tip with this combination.

Covered in Icing (or why I shouldn't go polish shopping without a chaperone)

Since the polish addiction is always growing, and I've been spending far too much time looking at other nail polish blogs, I've seen so many posts and pictures of Icing polishes that had me lamenting the store availability in my overgrown suburb of a capital city.  And then, it suddenly dawned on me that I thought we did actually have one Icing store hidden away in the corner of a newish strip mall that I don't frequent very often.  A quick visit to the shop locator page, and I was all but squealing with delight.  It was true!  An Icing of my very own!

One evening after work I had some time to kill, so I figured I'd swing by and check it out.  You know, for reconnaissance purposes so I could plan my attack for when my tax return check came in.  And I think that's where I made my first mistake.

About 45 minutes later I was walking out with five new full sized polishes and a mini-quad of their "baby blues".  I got all three of the Charlie Sheen inspired polishes (Tiger's Blood, Rock Star From Mars, and Epic Winning), Witch's Brew, and Written in the Stars.  The quad of minis are not named, which makes me a little sad, because they are so pretty.  I'll have to swatch them out in a later post and see if between the pictures and my words I can do them justice.

There was no doubt in my mind that the first one gracing my nails would be Epic Winning.  Not only is the name fantastic, but so is the polish.  It's a cacophony of royal blue, silver, and holographic glitters in a clear base.  The loveliness of the sparkle and shine is nearly impossible to capture in a picture, so you'll just have to trust me on this one.  It make me want to make rock star hands and  growl "UNICORNS AND GLITTER!" in my best metal goddess voice.  \m/ ^_^ \m/

Of course, in the way of things, I use the glorious glitter polish - and the sun goes into hiding for three days. 

Indoors, fluorescent lighting

The majority of the manicures I've seen that feature Epic Winning used a black or navy base color, which looks yummy, but I wanted to do something a little different.  I chose to use Nicole by OPI's "It's All About the Glam" from their Kardashian collection.  That is a lovely white shimmer on its own, but also a nice base for heavy glitter polishes.  I'm really looking forward to trying Epic Winning over a silver foil base, too.

This picture was taken indoors under incandescent lighting.  You can start to see some of the sparkle, but it's just so hard to capture!  This is one of the gloriously light catching type of polishes that manage to sparkle even at night as you're driving under streetlights. 

The blurrier, the sparklier.  I love how this also shows the glint of the blue glitter, as well.

I did have to apply this rather thickly to get the coverage I wanted, and ended up using three coats of Epic Winning over one coat of It's All About the Glam.  It did apply easily though, and dried quickly even considering my heavy-handed approach.  I think I might have added a fourth coat to get even more oomph out of the glitter, but it was starting to seem a little like overkill at that point. 

I've decided I love Icing and I love Epic Winning.  I can see me dropping a pretty penny in that store, and I'm just glad it's on the other side of the city and I'm not tempted to stop by every week.  Ok, not TOO tempted.  ;)

Fowl Play + Twisted

I got a little behind in posting my adventures in nail polish, mostly due to my recently going through books like I'm a starved woman who finds sustenance in the pages.  Oh yeah, I have another book review to post.  Again.  Already.  *smh*  Luckily, I have been documenting all the manicures so I can take this lovely (but chilly) Sunday and play catch up.  Not like I should be cleaning, or anything... *shifty eyes*  What? Nothing....

On to the polish!

I have always been drawn to new and "unusual" things, so when I first heard about and saw swatches of Fowl Play, my inner artist/rebel sat up and paid attention.  It's a glorious deep purple jelly polish, intermixed with blue and silver glitter, and orange and blue flakies.  I *love* me some flakies.  Of course, when I was able to get my hands on this polish I had recently also gotten most of the FingerPaints Special Effects flakies.  Which means I was putting them on top of EVERYTHING.  Fowl Play is yummy on its own, but I saw a wonderful opportunity to add more sparkle by adding a layer of Twisted on top.  I was quite satisfied with how the two blended together, and I can see me wearing this again in the future.

Orly Fowl Play (two coats), FingerPaints Twisted (one coat), and the usual adhesive base coat and Seche Vite top coat.  Photo taken indoors, under fluorescent lighting.

Unfortunately you can see the dent on my middle finger in this one, but it gives you a better idea of how the flakes from Fowl Play blended so nicely with the flakes from Twisted.  Indoors, fluorescent lights.

Heading outside, you can see that even in indirect sunlight the flakes are still visible.  I loved the pop of color against the muted background.  Yes, even I sometimes prefer sparkle that isn't totally in your face.

And the requisite blurry shot in the sun, so you can actually see the sparkling gloriousness.  The silver and blue micro-glitter in Fowl Play is most apparent in this picture, though you can see hints of it in the indoor shots as well.

Overall, I have nothing ill to say about either of these polishes.  The wear time was also notable, as I went about 5 days (!!) without needing to redo my nails. 

I have tried and tried, but I can't find anything I love for a top coat that isn't SV. Which stinks because of the infamous glitter shrinkage. It's just so thick and glossy and brings out the colors of the polish so magnificently.  Does anyone have a top coat they recommend that is as wonderful as SV?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

If history class had been this interesting, I probably would have paid more attention.
When my son was about a year and a half old (and my ex-husband was still my husband), I decided it was time to get a part time job because I desperately needed consistent time away from the house and playing "Mommy".  I managed to get hired at one of the major national booksellers, though I worked primarily in the music section.  Nevertheless, this afforded me the opportunity to spend many hours a week in the company of my first love - books.  I quickly discovered that my favorite genre du jour was "historical fiction".  My son will be turning six in March, and this is still my preferred genre.

Most people will recognize the author Philippa Gregory from her novel The Other Boleyn Girl (which is INFINITELY better than the movie that was rather loosely based on this story), but she has written a veritable library of historical fiction novels that follow the leading ladies of British history as far back as the Middle Ages.

The Lady of the Rivers tells us the story of Jacquetta Woodville, also known as Jacquetta of Luxembourg, a fixture at the court of King Henry IV due to her royal bloodline and very close friendship with Henry's wife, Margaret. As with Gregory's other novels, it's easy to find yourself transported to another time and place where courtly intrigues and plans for war are a daily occurrence.  Jacquetta's time covers the end of The Hundred Year's War and the beginning of The War of the Roses. 

Jacquetta is an incredibly fascinating character, and it's hard to believe at times that many of the events described in the novel are based in fact and not the product of a fertile and rather romantic imagination.  After an odd first marriage to John, 1st Duke of Bedford, she was summoned to the royal court in London by King Henry VI.  Her escort on this trip was Richard Woodville, the late duke's chamberlain.  During their travels, the two fell madly in love and married in secret before their arrival in London.  Marriage among the nobles without permission of the king was simply not done, but Jacquetta and Richard were able to return to the king's good graces by paying a fine of 1000 pounds.

She bore 16 children during her marriage to Richard before her death at age 57.  Nuff said.

One of the most fascinating, and true, aspects of the story is the legend of Melusina.  Jacquetta's bloodline is reported to be directly descended from this water goddess, which manifests in psychic powers of premonition and visions through scrying, as well as the odd bit of magic.  As you can imagine, this resulted in more than one accusation of witchcraft during a time period that was less than tolerant of multiple religious views.  Not to mention what seems upon researching a patriarchal fear of any kind of power held by a woman.  This does make for a nice seasoning to an already fascinating story.

The dialogue is, quite naturally, a product of fiction and speculation though the actual historical events are illustrated and brought to a new light for the current generations.  Not only is the story entertaining, but it is also educational.  Not to say that the author doesn't take poetic license with some of the sequencing, but it does give the reader a much greater understanding of England's long and rather bloody history. 

For me, I've noticed that what this type of novel does is make me curious about the true history that inspired the novel, and I will spend hours researching on Wikipedia to find out what really happened.  Like I said, if only history class had been this interesting! 

I definitely recommend this book, as well as all the others by Philippa Gregory.  The exception is The Wildeacre Series, which has not found its way onto my bookshelves just yet.

Interesting bit of trivia: Through her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, Jacquetta was the maternal grandmother of Elizabeth of York, Queen of Henry VII. As such, she is an ancestress of all subsequent English and British monarchs, including Elizabeth II, and seven other present-day European monarchs. - from Wikipedia

Monday, January 23, 2012

For Us, The Living

This is the first of what I hope will be many book reviews.  I'm not going to give a synopsis of the novel, as a link will be provided to get you to Amazon where you can find those if you are so interested.  These reviews are my opinions only.  YMMV.

For Us, The Living by Robert A Heimlein

I picked this book up specifically because of it dipping a toe into time travel, which has always been a subject of endless fascination for me.  I fully blame Doc Brown.  That said, and what I did not know at the time, was that Robert A Heinlein is one of the grandfathers of science fiction.  (I'm not the only one that researches their authors just from curiosity, right?)  Heinlein is probably best known among the non-literary types for writing the story Starship Troopers which became a major motion picture in 1997.

In any case, For Us, The Living was Heinlein's first novel and had previously been thought of as a lost item.  It was written between 1938 and 1939, and was the author's first venture into "future history".  I loved the concept of this book.  Especially considering that our protagonist, Perry Nelson, was catapulted to the year 2089 from 1939, and much of the future history can be compared to the non-fiction history of the world.

But holy MOLY!  You can tell this is his first novel.  It was clunky, and at times excruciating to wind my way through the endless pages of dialogue that are used to explain much of what has happened during the previous 150 years.  I've never been interested in history, politics, or economics.  And it would seem this also applies to future-fictional-history as well.  There were a couple times I just skimmed and flipped past the monotony until I got back to the actual story.  I thought to myself at these points "Wow. This is as bad as trying to read a textbook."   The story itself follows Perry as he learns how to operate under the new social norms, and is in places thought provoking, difficult to imagine, and eerily accurate. 

Through reading more in-depth reviews on, I was comforted to find that many die-hard fans of Heinlien's also found this difficult to read and do not recommend it as a starting point to his other works.  For me, it was good enough to pique my interest in exploring more of his novels, especially knowing that the pages and pages of dialogue explaining the "past" evolve into more situations points of interest to educate the reader without boring them to tears.

Curious bit of trivia.  The title, For Us, The Living, was taken directly from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address which at the time of this novel's creation was a mere 74 years old.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." - Lincoln, 1865

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Good Man at the Asylum is Hard to Find

More pictures.  Less talking.

Fireworks! At sunset! In the Caribbean!! (Because it's winter and I'm cold and thinking warm thoughts.)

Two coats of OPI's A Good Man-Darin is Hard to Find, two coats of Finger Paints Asylum, Seche Vite top coat, indoor fluorescent lighting. 

Outside in the sunlight, extreme close up!

The OPI dried a lot darker than I was anticipating.  I would love to try this over a more coral-type color.  Or maybe a fuchsia-y pink.  (Yes, Mel... I said pink.  LOL)

Funky Fingers Teal Scales with Finger Paints Motley

*singing* Oh you could have been so bee-YOOOUU-tee-ful....

I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of the crackle nail fad that stormed the nail world.  It looks like something that needs renovated.  I don't like "shabby chic" either, pretty much for the same reason.  I went against my better judgment on a trip to Five Below many moons ago, and purchased their Teal Scales, hoping against hope that I would discover a way to un-crackle it.  Enter the lovely and helpful nail mavens in the PaA group on Facebook!

Turns out, the crackle effect is caused by a chemical reaction between the crackle polish and the regular polish underneath.  Who knew?  So, to prevent the crackling, you just don't put on a base coat or any layer color underneath.

And then things went horribly wrong.

Teal Scales with some of the Motley Finger Paints over top is a super-splendor-ifirous green and gold and blue and turquoise sparkling magically at the tips of my fingers!

For about two hours.

I paint at night 99% of the time.  It's my thing; it's what I do.  When I woke up the next morning after being SO excited that my crackle polish was crackle-less, I had eight (8!) chipped tips and after my shower one of the entire nails of polish came off in one solid sheet.  So not only was I losing the glorious color, I had to go in to work looking all Raggity Handy.  Not cool.

I knew the mani wouldn't last the day, so I snapped a couple of quick pics with my camera phone so I could at least attempt to show you all how pretty it could have been. And then I went to a 15 minute meeting and pulled every sheet of polish off of every nail because I couldn't stand having one naked nail and chippy tippys.  Yes, I make bad rhymes when I'm sleepy.  It's been a long couple weeks.  You love me. ;)

Please forgive my scraggly cuticles.  They're a work in progress.  *whistles innocently and reaches for the cuticle cream*

Monday, January 16, 2012

Coming back online...

Since my last post, I've experienced the passing of two friends, one of whom was incredibly dear and could only be described as an angel walking the earth.

The pretty things of the world seemed to go dull and dark, and I had no interest in blogging at all.

But I know that this is not how they would want any of us to approach life.  I gave myself a couple days to sit in the abyss of depression, and I'm now re-emerging with an extra determination to bring forth more beauty and joy and smiles and light and especially love.

Once I finish my house cleaning, and remove the hair dye from my hands (ahem... please LFMF: do NOT reuse hair dye gloves.  Just saying.), I'm going to do my nails in honor of my friend and post the pictures of their shine and glory.

Rest in peace, Yosi.  You will never, EVER be forgotten by anyone who's life you touched, however briefly.  <3

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Epic Nail Fail, then lands the dismount!

There are great things coming!  I'm working diligently to get the state of my blog up to my (yes rather exacting) standards of presentation.  I just wish you could all see into my head!  Soon.  Soon you will see, my lovers of all things pretty and passionate, soon you will see.  *insert maniacal laughter here* ;)

On to the Polish!!

essie's dive bar.  i am in love.

I purchased my very first essie polish right before I went on my Official No-Buy Until Tax Returns.  I worked at Ulta for a good while, and I HATED essie.  Too pale, too pink, too likely for the color to fade after any time on the shelf.  I'm an Urban Decay girl.  I want IN YOUR FACE color with insane staying power.  What can I say?  I know what I like.

But then I walked past the Essie Dive Bar collection display, did a double take, and then stopped dead in my tracks.  For what to my wondering eyes should appear?  A stunning blackened teal shimmer that looked like it had been poured over a pile of sapphires!  Oh, be still, my dark and Gothy little heart.  I resisted the urge to grab it right there on the spot.  But it haunted me.  I couldn't stop thinking about that perfect blend of all my favorite colors.

And then... I started seeing swatches.  That was it.  It was all over.  I HAD TO BE MINE!

I purchased Dive Bar at Rite Aid. $8.00, I think?  Standard issue for salon brands, so I wasn't too bowled over by price.  I could hardly contain myself to get home and make it my next mani!  But then... oh, but then, The Epic Nail Fail!  *foreheadslap*

It was so bad, I never took a picture of it.  I spent the day at work peeling it off and being grumpy about what was supposed to have been so pretty and awe inspiring and...... DANG.  Base coat, bonder, two coats of color, quick dry top coat, and HEY lets add some some FingerPaints Flakies!!! Because, why not??  And then I waited patiently for it to dry.  And waited.  And waited.  AND WAITED.  Horrible.  Gloppy.  Smudgy. Just..... EURGH.

And so tonight... I will win.  *battle stance*

Would you like to see what WINNING looks like?  The pics are under the cut!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Updated Pics From the First Two Posts

So with all those lovely books I purchased, I thought it would be nice to include a picture of their spines so you had at least a slight idea of what they were if any of them struck your fancy. 

I have (barely) started reading The Atlantis Code, and I'll be providing reviews and updates as I go along.  And of course, pictures of the random "hauls" I bring home.  I filled out an application to work at Books-A-Million today.  Lawd help us all. ;)

I tried to get a couple better pictures of the SH Gem Crush Glitz Gal with the FP Twisted topcoat.  Glitter is a pain in the patootie!  Does anyone have suggestions on how to get glitters and duos to photograph a little better?  Also, what's the word on light boxes?  Do you buy or make?  Do they make that much of a difference?

Anyway, on the the shiny, shiny pictures!

That tip wear you're seeing is ENTIRELY my fault, not the fault of the polish.  I (in my infinite wisdom) thought that getting a shower shortly after doing my nails was a simply lovely idea.

I was wrong.  LFMF. ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Now that's some bling!

Now what we've got here is Sally Hansen Gem Crush in Glitz Gal, and a layer of Finger Paints Twisted. I have never seen anything that reflects light the way this combo does.

The SH went on as smooth as it could be, given the amount of glitter particles. I did put a layer of top coat on between the SH and the FP, and that seemed to keep things pretty smooth.

I did NOT use Seche Vite! I know, it's like the world is ending! I read somewhere on a blog that I (of course) can't remember that was raving about the Revlon Quick Dry top coat. Supposedly just as shiny, but no glitter shrinking! I must say, I'm thoroughly impressed. I'm going to give ot a few more runs before I pass final judgement, but so far I'm very impressed.

Oh the "tip wear" you see in the pics is actually from me getting a shower without allowing for full cure time. Oooops. ;-)

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

And here we go...

I have two major obsessions in my life. I love nail polish. There, I said it. It's an obsssion, and addiction, and it's FUN! And books. Oh how I love books. I'm not really supposed to go into book stores without a chaperone. And, rather that cover my Facebook with a constant chronicle of what I'm reading or what I've done to my nails, I though maybe it would be just a tiny bit easier to go wtih the crowd and do this blogger thing.

So here we go.

I'll start adding the pictures of my nails probably tomorrow, but I can at least make mention of the books I picked up today. Our local Borders closed (both of them) and the one turned into a Books-a-Million. Be still my heart. They had about six (!) giant shelves and tables of super cheap discounted books that were also buy two get one free. Cruel. Just cruel. Needless to say, I walked out with four new books, a Labbit plush, and a magnet that embraces my Camp Fogie spirit. I'll be adding reviews and opinions as I read through the books, and the same goes for new polishes I try. Or new make up, or whatever pretty thing catches my eye. :)

The Atlantis Code by Charles Brokaw
A thrill-seeking Harvard linguistics professor and an ultrasecret branch of the Catholic Church go head-to-head in a race to uncover the secrets of the lost city of Atlantis. The ruins of the technologically-advanced, eerily-enigmatic ancient civilization promise their discoverer fame, fortune, and power… but hold earth-shattering secrets about the origin of man.
While world-famous linguist and archaeologist, Thomas Lourds, is shooting a film that dramatizes his flamboyant life and scientific achievements, satellites spot impossibly ancient ruins along the Spanish coast. Lourds knows exactly what it means: the Lost Continent of Atlantis has been found. The race is on, and Lourds' challengers will do anything to get there first.
Whoever controls the Lost Continent will control the world.

The Lady of the Rivers by Phillipa Gregory
Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.

The Book of Love by Kathleen McGowan
Maureen Paschal thought she might rest and work on her book after discovering the gospel written by Mary Magdalene that revealed Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The truth of their story rocked the world and made Maureen a target of those who did not like her discovery and a heroine to those who did. Then Maureen receives a strange package containing what looks like an ancient letter written in Latin and signed with a symbol. She discovers that its author is an extraordinary woman whom history has overlooked -- or covered up -- Countess Matilda of Tuscany, and in the letter Matilda demands the return of her "most precious books and documents." Maureen soon finds herself in a race across Italy and France, where hidden dangers await her and her lover, BĂ©renger, as they begin to realize that they are on the trail of another explosive discovery: the Book of Love, the Gospel written in Jesus' own hand.
As Maureen learns more about Matilda, an eleventhcentury warrior countess who was secretly married to a pope, she begins to see the eerie connections between herself and Matilda, connections she must trace to their source if she is to stop the wrong people from finding the Book of Love and hiding it forever.
Weaving together Matilda's little-known true story and Maureen's thrilling search, The Book of Love follows two amazing heroines as their stories intertwine through time. Maureen is immersed in the mysteries of the labyrinth, the beautiful poetry of the Song of Songs, the world's greatest art and architecture, and Matilda's amazing legacy...until a potentially fatal encounter reveals the Book of Love to Maureen -- and to the reader.

Shameless by Karen Bobards
In Regency England, a beautiful young woman finds her life thrown into turmoil by the arrival of a handsome scoundrel. Lady Elizabeth, the youngest and most headstrong of the three Banning sisters, has been engaged three times, and has most scandalously broken off all three engagements. Her fear of becoming any man’s property has kept her from marriage and earned her a reputation in the ton as a heartbreaking flirt. Neil Severin is a wicked rogue, black of heart and black of reputation. A man of no morals, devoid of compassion, he is a governmentsanctioned assassin. And his newest target is a man Beth holds dear. When the flame-haired beauty thwarts his plan, Neil exacts his own brand of spicy revenge.
Beth despises him. Neil doesn’t care. But circumstances most unexpectedly throw them together, and with Beth’s life in danger, Neil finds himself in the unexpected role of hero, racing to save her before it’s too late.