Friday, February 28, 2014

Liebster Award

It has been so, so rainy and grey the last few days. I'm not complaining for a multitude of reasons, the two most important being (a) I LOVE RAIN, and (b) California needs it BADLY. Rain means no nail pictures though, since I haven't gotten around to learning how to take color-accurate pictures inside, so instead I thought I'd get a start on this Liebster Award post. 

I had no idea this was a thing! The very kind Gracithey from Addicted to Nails nominated (awarded?) me and I'm very grateful to her. Learning how to paint my nails and document them is a wonderful hobby to have. Having other people read your ramblings and make connections with you because of your mutual hobby is just icing on the cake. :)

Now, hastily looking up bloggers with less than 200 followers in order to follow the rules of this award isn't something I'm going to do. I like taking my time with these things, and discovering new people is really the fun of it; why would I want to rush that? So instead of just randomly finding 11 new blogs, I'm going to add them to this post as I find them!

11 Random Facts:
1. I have been diagnosed with a mild case of color blindness, which is quite rare for a female. I have trouble discerning certain shades of brown and purple.
2. When under vast amounts of stress, I crave specific (and sometimes gross) food combinations. Dill pickles and extra sharp cheddar cheese. Mandarins and peanut butter sandwiches. My first month of college I subsisted almost solely on gummy bears and Swiss rolls. 
3. I am a southpaw, so you will almost always see my right hand in my manicure pictures.
4. I'm extremely shy in real life; it's hard for me to even make phone calls to people I don't know without cringing.
5. Every three or four years, my birthday will fall on Thanksgiving. It’s the best day of the year. I get to eat my favorite meal (turkey dinner), have celebratory pie AND cake, and sleep the day away in a happy food-induced stupor. Every birthday should be like that. 
6. I was raised by my grandparents. 
7. I am an avid reader, and collectively my family and I own well over 5,000 books. Currently I am reading The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy (boyfriend's) and re-reading Arabian Nights.
8. Comfort is a mandatory thing for me. I'll wear 'real clothes' when I go out, but the second I am home, clothes come off, and sweats come on. No exceptions.
9. I don't have a Facebook or Twitter account; I used to but realized they pretty much totally suck. I have no desire to ever have either again.
10. Currently there are four pets in the house, and all four are rescues (as well as hilarious goobers, except for my kitty; she's pretty much always just full of cat awesomeness). 
11. Despite my love for glitters and textures, if I had to pick one type of polish to wear the rest of my life, it would be neutral cremes, hands down. 

Gracithey's Questions:
1. What was the first blog you started following?
Scrangie, of course. She's like the matriarch of the polish blog world.
2. Do you have an unusual fear or phobia of something?
Several, but probably the most bizarre is my unease with belly buttons. The only way I can describe it is it's the same with the shower's a dark little hole that I just don't want to go near.
3. Matte or Gloss nails?
I wear my nails glossy more often than not, but I have a bottle of matte top coat, and am warming up to it considerably.
4. What's your favourite high-street store?
I always enjoy a poke in Nordstrom’s every once and a while. That’s about as swanky as it gets in the South Bay.
5. What did you dream of doing as a job when you were little?
My second grade teacher asked me this once, and I responded with “I’m going to be Beatrix Potter.” Make of that what you will.
6. Have you got any nicknames?
I’ve had many, but Ging and Gingy seem to be the two that have stuck around.
7. What's your favourite celebrity at the moment?
Barbara Stanwyck. She is THE celebrity to me.
8. What's your current colour on your nails (or last)?
Right now I’m wearing O.P.I. AmazON...AmazOFF and an Essie Beyond Cozy accent nail. 
9. Last 'sweet treat' you had?
Chex Turtle Mix. It's a dangerous game when you open one of those up. 
10. Do you prefer your hair up or down?
Up, always up. I can’t stand hair in my face (odd, considering I have bangs).
11. Current favourite film?
My all-time favorite will always be Sleepy Hollow, but I’m also really fond of Coraline, Super, and anything starring Jimmy Stewart. 

EDIT: Just so this post isn't totally picture-less, I present Mr. Bobo Baggins, stealing all my body heat because it's cold:
I was asleep lady. Waddaya want?

Monday, February 24, 2014

butter LONDON Dodgy Barnett

I am not the easiest person to watch sad/indie/uncomfortable movies with. I get VERY emotionally invested, I contradict the characters as if they can hear me, and if the movie doesn't go the way I want it to, I get angry. So when a movie is recommended to me, I have to tread very carefully. I have my tried and true favorites that I can watch over and over again (I basically wrote my thesis to Spirited Away) and they're safe because I know what emotions I'm going to feel and what's going to happen and there's nothing that can take me by surprise. Combine this with an ardent desire to watch new stuff, but being too afraid to watch the new stuff alone or when I'm in a certain mood because as I get older my movie/t.v. feels become more unhinged (i.e. I will cry. HARD.)...

Luckily, my best friend is resigned to this fact and recommends stuff to me and when I get around to it, I send her texts at three in the morning while sobbing uncontrollably about why this character had to die, etc. Also (and I have no idea how I got this lucky) my boyfriend, in addition to having excellent taste in movies/t.v./books, is not only tolerant of my odd movie-watching habits, but he doesn't make fun of me for being a tearful weepyface. And when I say tearful weepyface, I don't mean elegantly letting a couple teardrops out over something and blowing my nose discreetly in the bathroom. I mean burst-out-crying, snot-dripping, hiccuping, emotionally-distressed-for-up-to-twenty-four-hours kind of weepyface.

Long story short, he got me to watch Safety Not Guaranteed last night and I had the obligatory meltdown at the end. All he could get out of me for a good five or ten minutes afterward were sniffles, muffled sobs, and every so often, "MY FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELS, OMG!". Then I told him it was the most beautiful movie ever. Then recanted it and put it in the top 20 because I was thinking more clearly and not crying as much. 

I have no idea how long it will take him to get me to watch The Comedy. Probably a couple years. 

So after my squeals of emotion had subsided and I had settled into occasional tears and snuffles, I needed to paint my nails. Bad. I'd picked off most of Cirque Coronation (see below post) during the movie and needed to do something that involved no emotion. So on went some Futurama (NOT the sad ones, I've just deleted them altogether), and out came Dodgy Barnett. 

Now Dodgy Barnett is a holo I can get behind. As eye-searing as Urban Outfitters Silver Holo is, I just find the softer, more scattered holos more aesthetically pleasing. They're more dreamy. And best of all, they don't look like dull car paint in lower lights. 

Dodgy Barnett is a soft, silvery-grey with scattered, holographic shimmer. It's ladylike, grown-up holo. And the finish is so...I don't even know the word. It dries smooth and velvety, almost like a matte, but it's shiny. I just keep stroking my finger tips because the texture is so soft and smooth. The only downside is it's a bit sheer. I could have gotten away with three coats, but I did four because I was still an emotionally raw insomniac. I erred on the safe side and decided to forgo top coat. 

What movies turn you into a tissue-buried, emotional wreck?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cirque Coronation

I'm normally not one to shell out tons of money for a single polish. I can justify it when I get ten or twelve from a beauty supply website, but the Coronation package (polish and ring) is undoubtedly the most I've ever spent for a nail polish. But you've got to spoil yourself every so often. I don't do it often, so I don't feel bad. 

Following in the footsteps of Clarins 230 and Max Factor Fantasy Fire, Coronation is a beautiful sheer blue-purple polish that flashes deep pink-ish red shimmer and at extreme angles, green and gold. It's fantastic magical splendor. In addition, there are small, prismatic glitters that twinkle every so often. It's like a unicorn and a fairy had gorgeous unicorn-fairy centaur babies. 

Because it is so sheer, I layered 2 coats of Coronation over one coat of O.P.I...Eurso Euro. It dries to a sort of rubbery finish which is definitely pretty, but I added Grand Central Station on top to bring out the shimmer. 

The rose-gold ring is definitely gorgeous, and even though you can now buy Coronation without the ring, I'm glad I shelled out the extra money for it. I love gold SO much, and it looks incredible on me if I do say so myself. Since my fingers are so plump it doesn't quite close all the way in the back, but honestly? Don't care. I can do so much with it. Wear it on my fingers, close it completely and wear it on a chain as a's definitely a favorite in my jewelry box. 

In other news, I'm feeling TONS better, both physically and emotionally. We got a Hoyer lift for my grandmother, so we can get her in and out of bed quickly and with a lot less pain (both for her and the one helping her out of bed). She begins outpatient therapy next month and the strength in her left leg is returning rapidly. I can't describe the way my heart feels when I see her do her exercises more and more thoroughly each day and watching her strength come back. I want to laugh and cry with relief and I'm so thankful how well she's coming along. And that relief is helping me sleep more and more soundly each night and I wake up ready to get though the day, rather than wanting to just slip back into unconsciousness. 

Life is good right now.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

O.P.I. I Sao Paulo Over There

Feeling super under the weather today, so this'll be nice and short. 

Most of the brights from the O.P.I. Spring collection really appealed to me, so naturally I walked away with ALL the nudes/taupes (and the dark green one, I really don't have enough green in my stash). I'm thinking of going back for the two corals, we'll see. 

I Sao Paulo Over There is a PERFECT example of colors that confuse me. It's clear there is both purple and brown in it, however, I interpret it as a very much purple-grey. It's sort of a bruised color, with maybe a hint of chocolate milk (or Dutch cocoa). Whatever it is, it's perfect, both in color and composition. The formula was obviously perfect (I can't think of another brand that applies as well for me, except maybe Ciate) and basically applied itself. Seriously, I'm not exercising poetic exaggeration when I say this. You're looking at a manicure done under the influence of both Advil P.M. and Nyquil (I was super achy and snuffly last night). Also no clean up. Yep. 

It's got a nice, squishy formula on the first coat, and a bit patchy, but of course leveled out perfectly in two. I did three because it is rare when I don't do three. 

Hope everyone's Thursday is going better than mine. I'll probably show another neutral from the Brazil collection within the next few days when I'm feeling better. Also I was nominated for the Liebster award, so I'm working on a nice post for that! 

Till next time!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

butter LONDON Lillibet's Jubilee

Lillibet's Jubilee is one of the most gorgeous polishes I own. I mean, are you kidding!? Look at it!!! It's so delicate and reflective!!! And lavender!!! And because I love any and all things British (I really, REALLY do-when I finally get there I may not come back to America at all), of course I had to have it.

This polish is a couple years old, so I'm pretty sure we all know it was made for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. When it came out I wanted it soooooo badly. I'm not sure what kept me from buying it-probably lack of funds-but I pined and cursed the fact that it wasn't going to be a core color. When it ran out I pined and guessed I'd settle for a somewhat similar Cirque dupe (Book of Shadows?). Not that Book of Shadows isn't pretty, but it just didn't have that certain something that Lillibet's Jubilee had. 

Not sure why I didn't consider eBay at that point. Oh wait. Horrendous prices and fakery.

Anyway, long story short, I finally got my mitts on it a few weeks ago and I haven't put it away with the rest of my bL's because it's just too pretty. It's a beautiful silvery-lilac-lavender foil. It covered perfectly in two coats. Top coat doesn't really affect the shininess of polishes like these, but I put it on anyway for protection from chips. 

I can't stop looking at it. Sometimes it can look pinky-lilac, sometimes blue-lavender. Whatever light though, it's so, so lovely. 

So my sunburn is clearing up a bit. I'm slathering my face with aloe vera gel and vitamin e oil every few hours and that seems to be alleviating some of the redness. Most of my family has Armenian, olive-toned skin. I am the only one really who is super pale and freckled (clearly the Scots won out in me). Generally when I burn, I stay lobster red for a few days, and then get about a hundred new freckles, on my nose especially.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Whale-watching pictures!!!

No nails today, but I do have some pictures of my whale-watching trip with my boyfriend. The weather started out super patchy but got very bright and sunny toward noon, and despite having put on a TON of sunblock (I'm a subterranean-dwelling grub degree of pale) I ended up with a mean sunburn on my face. My nose and forehead and cheeks are BRIGHT RED. Unfortunately I had my sunglasses on for most of the trip so it's not even a uniform sunburn-I've got a white sunglasses outline around my eyes :(.

Leaving San Diego Harbor. The marina where his dad's boat is was about a three hour drive. 

Cutie pelicans!

Started getting really sunny around 11:30. Damn my sunblock :(

We sort of "followed" the whale-watching boat. Didn't do us much good though, we only saw four the entire day.

This was around 1p.m. Whale-watching boat on the left, private yacht on the right. Whales somewhere in the middle, being shy. 

I swear, a second after I shot this, a baby whale broke the surface and spouted!!!

We think there were two adults and a baby.

Started getting seasick here.

Seals!!! So cute! Side story: the people in the kayak were being SUCH trolls. They were literally POKING the seals on the dock with their paddles. And laughing. At first I was outraged but then I remembered seals can hold their own. Annoy them enough and they WILL eat your face off. About two minutes after I took this picture the seal on the right sitting on the big yellow buoy CHARGED them. 

If you don't poke them, they're the cutest things ever!!!

Despite the sun coming out, it was very chilly, so I had my pea coat on the entire time. Then we scarfed down burgers and chocolate frosties. I'm sooooo glad boyfriend drove because I was totally anesthetized by the combination of the sun and my milkshake. Also Dramamine. Car rides have the ability to make me sick so imagine me on a boat. I pumped myself full of it and was pretty drowsy on and off throughout the day.  

Regularly scheduled nails tomorrow!!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sephora by O.P.I. Frankly, I Don't Give A-Dam & Jenna Hipp After Party

I guess I'm in a neutral/pink phase now. It's getting close to spring and I just crave softer colors; maybe that's how I tell myself spring is coming. The weather is screaming JULY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! at the moment though.

I've had these two polishes for a while and never thought to combine them. I had been considering After Party for a Valentine's manicure (pink glitter, duh), but it just didn't make it in. So I was puzzling what to wear this with (again, pink glitter...can't ignore that) and saw A-Dam a couple rows behind it (I have a very odd system for storing my polishes) and thought pink and grey would look nice together. 

This color combo reminds me of a cute little cartoon mouse with fuzzy grey fur and a little pink nose and ears. I dunno. Maybe it's because I'm sort of feeling raw right now from everything going on in my life, so I'm looking for comfort and cute any place that I can. I see it as a cozy manicure, if that makes sense. 

Frankly, I Don't Give A-Dam is a beautiful, soft grey. In the bottle, there is the merest hint of purple, and on the first coat it's got a taupe-y, bruised quality. Subsequent coats turned it into a true, wet-cement grey. I used three here. 

I don't understand the naming of this polish, probably because I have no idea what collection it came out in. Is it an Adam and Eve reference? Is it because it's cement/concrete-colored and that's what man-made dams are made of? Whatever. 

(EDITED TO ADD: This stupid name kept bugging me so I looked it up. It's from the Garden of Good and Evil, so Adam and Eve ref. Also, other reviews call it a brown-toned grey, which is another great example of my colorblindness. Looks purple in the bottle to me :X)

After Party is by a new-to-me brand, Jenna Hipp. I saw the display at Costco with my best friend last year, and was admiring several of the colors in it. Come birthday time I'd completely forgotten about it (and everything else, since November was when Nana had her stroke) and she surprised me with it. It was a 12-pack of mini polishes. The bottles are adorable:

They remind me a bit of the Ciate bottles, which are the definition of cute. 

Anyway, I haven't tried any until now. After Party is various sizes of soft pinky-rose hexagonal glitter in a clear base. I did have to do some 'placing' with the glitters-the bigger ones wanted to stick to each other and the brush, because it was so small, wasn't very good at breaking them up. The viscosity of the polish was great though, no too thick or too thin, and each brushload delivered a good amount of glitter. What you're seeing is one coat. 

They're supposed to be very eco-friendly (the packaging they came in certainly wasn't though-it took me 15 minutes to wrestle them out of the cardboard and plastic) and are 5-free. I've read mixed reviews on them, but as the year goes on I'll test them (they're mostly summer colors). I do have to say they all look lovely though. 

Till next time! I'm going whale watching with my boyfriend tomorrow, so that should be really fun. :) Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Glitter for Galentine's Day! O.P.I. My Very First Knockwurst & Essie Beyond Cozy

Happy Galentine's Day! And for those of you who don't know...

And since Amy Poehler is my hero, of course I had to do a Galentine's Day manicure. I'd had big lofty plans of nail art and sparkly gorgeousness but of course messed it up royally, so I slid back into what I do best: accent nail. 

I was a bit bold and *tried* to draw a heart on my thumbs (I got the idea from the very talented Mitten State Prepster). I tried thinning out my bottle of Beyond Cozy (it's goop city) and put in two full droppers of thinner, but it still dried a bit chunky (but I'll always forgive it because it's amazing), so the heart looks somewhat lopsided. I'm sill pretty pleased with it anyway. 

My Very First Knockwurst is another one of my perfect pinks. It's clean, creamy, neutral, and elegant. I feel so, so girly when I put it on. I really need a backup bottle. 

So anyway, since my bestie and I have very different schedules at the moment, I'm going to spend this Galentine's Day taking care of myself. I'm planning on a long, hot bath later this evening with lavender bath salts, and I have a small box of See's to nibble on while I watch Parks and Rec. I gotta say, if I could only eat one candy for the rest of my life, it would be, WITHOUT A DOUBT, Sees butterscotch squares. I love them like woah. 

Anyway, hope everyone has a good Galentine's Day! Do something for yourself and your lady friends!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

O.P.I. Steady as She Rose

Guys, I think I found my perfect pink. Really.

I mean, really. Is this real life? Or have I stumbled into some pink neutral dream of delight*? 

EDITED TO ADD:*Incidentally, this reminded me of the 'White Way of Delight' from Anne of Green Gables. Oh Megan Follows, what I wouldn't give to have your gorgeous hair and cheeks...
And can we talk about how adorable Schuyler Grant is in it??? Probably my first girl crush.

Steady as She Rose is one of those shades that, once on my nails, I CANNOT stop looking at it. I feel so vain because I'll be out in public and I will randomly hold my nails up to the light and admire them. I love it THAT MUCH. It makes every issue I have with my hands and nails disappear. All I see are long, lithe fingers and pretty pink nails. 

I'm going to classify it as a pink, although it does have a putty-colored base. Every so often I think I see a drop of lavender, which only adds to its strong points. You could wear this any season and look fab. It's clean, toned-down, and perfect. I dunno if I've mentioned that already, but yeah. Perf. 

This was three coats with my newly acquired (and much loved now) bottle of Essie ridge-filling base coat, a coat of Rejuvacote (which is quite amazing), and then a coat of my good ole NYC Grand Central Station. I buy them two or three at a time now. :o 

I was considering this for a Valentine's mani, but as my boyfriend is fond of me in red, I have a feeling that's what I'll be reaching for. I do, however, want to try a little something with pink before that! Till next time!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nails Inc. Porchester Square

So this has been my manicure for the past two days. One of my polish idols featured this on her blog recently and it reminded me of my dear little bottle languishing on my bedside table. I'd bought it weeks back but hesitated to put it on because my nails were short. I said as much and she urged me to try it anyway. So I did, and I'm glad. 

I hadn't noticed how much my nails had grown. Lately they've been quick to tear and chip, and slow to grow back. I assume it's a combination of diet and stress (when I'm stressed my eating habits are shameful-I'll eat one meal a day and usually it's something comforting like pasta. I know it's not healthy but until I develop my coping skills more, that's all I've got). And when they're short and chipped like that not even vamps look good to me. My fingers are long and they're pretty plump.


As I said, I'm very glad I did put Porchester Square on, because I hadn't realized how much my nails had actually grown. I must have been too preoccupied with the texture glitters on them. I picked this up at Sephora (along with some Anastasia clear brow gel-that stuff is MAGIC to those of us whose eyebrows grow about a yard a week) with a gift card my boyfriend's parents gave me for Christmas. I'd intended on picking up a Deborah Lippmann polish, but there wasn't anything there that was on my wishlist (it's a tiny Sephora inside JCPenney) and nothing they had seemed to grab me. I was vaguely thinking of looking that the new Formula X's, but the tiny Nails Inc. display popped out at me from the corner. I zeroed in on Porchester Square so fast that I completely missed the bottles of normal polish and instead was agonizing because they seemed to only have it in gel. I went up to a salesgirl and asked her desperately if it came in a regular formula and she gave me a weird look before pointing it out to me on the shelf directly below the gel bottles. It's very hard to try and look casual when you're that embarrassed. All you can really do is snap it up fast and scuttle home. 

This is the most interesting neutral I own. The base is most certainly grey, but everything else is up for debate. In the bottle it looks like a grungy pink-grey. When you get it on the nail, the grey becomes more prominent, but depending on your lighting situation it can be any number of colors: dirty lavender, grey-mauve, soft the moment it looks like clean taupe. My pictures show it as mostly soft grey, but there is definitely pink in it in real life. 

I can't express how much I love it. It's just perfect. Literally perfect. The only thing that slightly disappointed me was the brush. It was a bit on the floppy side, and though it fanned out nicely, it didn't go exactly where I wanted it to go. But what's that to me when I have the most perfect neutral in the world?

This was three coats with Duri Rejuvacote as a base and top (I'm seeing if that will help with the tearing while I try to get my eating back on track), and then a coat of Gelous. Textures have spoiled me I guess; I'm so used to them being dry in about ten minutes that I forgot cremes take longer. The morning after I put Porchester Square on, I had magnificent sheet marks on every nail, and only Gelous could smooth them out. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

L'Oreal The Reign of Studs

Something about February brings out the purple lover in me. And the red lover. And even the pink lover. Yes, it's because of Valentine's Day...I've been programmed.

So this purple. I'm kind of in love with it. I don't know why I passed it over the first (and second) time. But third time is the charm, as they say, and now it is mine. And I loooooove it. Love it, love it, love it. It's a delightful blue-based purple (because of my color blindness, I tend to see blue-based purples more accurately than red-based ones) with matching sequin glitters. While it is still drop-dead gorgeous in ANY light (and sparkly-never a dull moment with these Gold Dusts), when you get this baby into sunlight, WOAH. The purple glittery goodness just explodes. In every direction. 

I must once again state my delight with the Gold Dust collection. Every time I think I've got all the ones I want, I decide I need two or three more. The only ones that I consistently decide against are I Like It Chunky (I like my peanut butter in my mouth, not on my nails) and the black one, I can't remember the name at the moment. I don't seem to wear black much anymore. Anyway, this was two coats with no clean up (the brushes, guys. THE BRUSHES). 

Looking forward to a day of video games. Probably won't be able to concentrate much though, I'm staring too much at my nails.