28 January 2010
Then it happened. I was able to go home from work early yesterday and as I was puttering around the house, it happened. I felt the old longings, the welling up of creative juices. I surveyed my latest vintage pattern purchases and Vogue 5611 sang a siren song to me. I chose some chocolate brown RPL from my stash, as I need a nice plain brown dress in my wardrobe. Then, I pulled out the pattern pieces and ironed them.
At this point, I noticed the bodice had a very large bust dart. Being the small chested gal that I am, I knew that this bodice, if left unaltered, would be ludicrously boobalicious. So, I knew a SBA (small bust adjustment) would be necessary. Unfortunately, this bodice piece is unlike any other piece on which I have done a SBA. So, some experimentation was in order.
I traced out the bodice onto some paper and started fiddling. My first attempt was a disaster. But, then inspiration hit and I believe I have worked out the SBA for this dress. I will explain the details in my next post.
In the mean time, I will be doing battle with a nasty head cold that has held my sinuses hostage since yesterday. Not only do I feel like hammered crap because of the illness, but I'm freezing my canoodles off because of the frigid weather that moved into the region. Right now it is -9 C and with windchill it feels like -19 C (that's 16 F and -2 F respectively, for all you heathens out there that haven't yet converted to the metric system or 264 K and 254 K respectively for all my science geek friends).
Can I just say that I'm sick of winter? Seriously, if I happen to see Mother Nature any time soon, I am going to put my foot in her ass!
25 January 2010
If I know I won't be able to change my polish for longer than a couple of days, I tend to stick with very neutral, very light colours. Light colours, even when they do wear or chip, are less likely to draw unwanted attention than darker colours. Two suggestions are New York Color in a Minute Bryant Park or Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Sand Lots.
Now, in terms of excellent wear, regardless of colour, I gravitate toward BB Couture and Orly. These two brands tend to give me less tip wear and fewer chips long term than other brands. However, be mindful that every person's body chemistry is different and what works for one person may not always work for another.
My final suggestion is to invest in a good base coat and top coat. My manicures right now consist of one coat of Orly Calcium Shield Nail Builder, one coat of Orly Bonder Base Coat, one to three coats of nail polish as needed and one coat of Sally Hansen Insta Dri Top Coat. There are also nail polish refresher top coats (this link takes you to one of the many possibilities on the market) - you apply a coat every day or two to ward off wear. I have never used this type of product because I change my polish so often. Hopefully, these tips will extend the longevity of your manicures!
After reading the last LL post, deb said.."You recently answered how you get the polish on so smoothly. But I've been dying to ask, how do you keep your cuticles so nice?! You should be a fingernail model! Your cuticles look perfect. Mine are dried and frayed, embarrassing 365 & 24/7. Super strength lotions don't last the day. The best cuticle removers and gentle treatments done frequently actually makes them worse. I work on a computer most of the day & don't do rough stuff with my hands other than handling some paper and some fabric. I don't polish fingernails so no chemicals there. Why must they look so dry. What do you recommend? Or are some of us resigned to ugly cuticles forever??"
In the past, I used cuticle remover once a week, but I have since abandoned that practice (mainly because I forget to use it). I now only use it maybe once every two months. The only thing I do on a consistent basis is massage Mango Mend into my hands (with an emphasis on the cuticle area) on an almost nightly basis. When I think of it at work (which isn't often), I slap on some hand cream. My major issue isn't the cuticle area, but rather the hard skin that forms on either side of the tips of my nail. For this, I have a pumice file (similar to this) that I use lightly to remove the hard skin, after applying Mango Mend.
That's pretty much it. The worst that hits my hands is chalk and some lab chemicals (both of which are washed off immediately after my lessons). However, I don't do much heavy labour with my hands - no hot water, no harsh detergents, no handling of rough materials. If I did have to deal with these issues on a regular basis, I would certainly use gloves without fail.
Another thing that I do occasionally is slop up my hands with a heavy moisturizer and put gloves on, then go to bed (or take Simon for a long walk in the winter). After this, my hands are super soft. This tip is an oldie, but a goodie!
Now, on to the pretties:
BB Couture - Opposites Attract
- purchased at overallbeauty.com for $9.00 US
When I first spotted Opposites Attract, I knew I must posses it. Between the medium grey base and the silver and black micro glitter, it was too unique to pass up. It is an excellent neutral shade that satisfies my desire for darker nail polish without going all the way to black.
Opposites Attract was bit difficult to apply due to the consistency. The polish was a bit thick and during application it would "chunk up" on the nail, causing drag marks and bald spots during the first coat. The second coat, however, covered up any issues and provided nice opaque coverage. It wore well - only minor tip wear after two days.
Claire's Cosmetics - Chunky Blue
- purchased at Claire's for $4.31 CDN
Chunky Blue called out to me from the display rack at Claire's. "Buy me, I'm insanely gaudy." So, I bought it because it was crazy and tacky and wonderful, what with the medium royal blue base and the large hexagonal silver glitter.
Unfortunately the application sucked. The first coat was streaky and thick and gloppy and weird. The second coat was only slightly better. The third coat, thankfully, disguised these problems and I ended up with a fairly respectable manicure. I'm not surprised by the crap quality considering this polish is marketed to tweens. However, this polish is not cheap at $5.75 CDN per bottle (I snagged mine at a buy one, get one half price sale, so it was a tad less expensive than usual), so I expected a better polish experience. The wear on Chunky Blue was mediocre as well - substantial tip wear (although no chipping) after two days. In the future, Claire's brand nail polish will only come home with me if it's really unique and it's on sale.
Sally Hansen Salon - Azalea
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.49 CDN
In my never ending quest for a pink that doesn't make me puke, I am learning a few things. First, I don't think I'm capable of loving pink, regardless of the shade. Second, I can't get past the belief that light pink is for sissies and/or women far more in touch with their feminine side than I. Third, the darker the pink, the better.
Azalea, part of the Tracy Reese for Sally Hansen collection of Spring 2009, is a darkened hot pink creme. And, although it still reminds of something a PTA mom would wear and thus it falls firmly into the safe category, I find it reasonably appealing. I must admit I did get several compliments while wearing this polish (ironically, mainly from PTA moms). I can see this polish being a pedi when the weather warms up.
Azalea was bit lacking in application. The polish was slightly viscous and streaky, requiring three coats to cover bald spots and even out thick spots. I had a fair amount of tip wear after two days.
22 January 2010
I have noticed a very disturbing trend as of late. Far too many people have become blase about the imminent zombie outbreak. I try my best to educate the masses, but I often think I'm just talking to myself. Sadly, despite my best efforts to warn people of this impending doom, I too often hear the following:
"It will never happen."
"Seriously? Zombies? You do know that zombies aren't real, right?!?"
"Are you off your meds?"
In the 60s and 70s, defending against a zombie home invasion was easier. As long as you had a stash of food and water and enough plywood to board up the place, you could wait for help to arrive in relative comfort. The slow, shambling zombies of yore were easy to kill - a reasonably well placed blow to the head and you were home-free. Not to mention that they were so blinded by brain lust that they failed to organize any sort of coordinated attack.
Today, however, all bets are off. The new breed of zombie is fast. Very, very fast. Like "Carl Lewis trained these bastards" fast. And what's worse, they've figured out how to work together, focused on the common goal of feasting on your juicy, juicy flesh.
Now you have been duly warned, so I implore you all to make preparations. Because when the zombie apocalypse occurs (and it will), don't come crying to me.
18 January 2010
I do not wipe off the tops of my bottles, mainly because I am usually pretty careful not to goop up the neck. However, your suggestion is a good one, as there is nothing more frustrating than trying to pry open a bottle that has been welded shut with nail polish. But then, I haven't met a bottle yet that could withstand the opening powers of my teeth!
Now, in terms of polish in the fridge, I have heard of people doing this to keep their polish fresh. However, I really doubt this has any effect on polish, other than making it cold. I also imagine it's a PITA to wait for the polish to warm up enough to return the viscosity back to the point where it is easily spreadable each time you want a manicure. Personally, I would rather keep some nail polish thinner around to ensure my polishes don't dry up and besides, I'd need a second fridge just to store my 284 (I know! holy crap!) bottles of polish.
Now, on to the pretties:
Rimmel Lycra Wear 10 + Minerals - Hyponotise
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $2.66 CDN
Hyponotise is a dark reddish burgundy shade that reminds me of luscious berries. It really is a beautiful colour for winter wear.
Hyponotise applied wonderfully - it had a good consistency and it moved around the nail easily. It builds up to opacity in two coats, although I applied a third to get a rich depth of colour. It wore well, with only tip wear after two days.
Joan Rivers Beauty - Pomegranate
- a gift from my Mom (she purchased at The Shopping Channel)
Let me start by saying that Joan Rivers rides my last nerve. She is the mammalian equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. So, when my Mom gifted me with some Joan Rivers make-up (that Joan sells on The Shopping Channel), I was not expecting much. However, every product I have tried from this line has been decent. Colour me surprised.
Pomegranate is a dark red creme that is vampy as all get out. This reminds me of the nail colour that Drusila (Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans will recognize this name) often wore.
Pomegranate applied nicely. It did require three coats to cover all streakiness - I would prefer if it was a bit more pigmented. It did wear very well, though as I only had minor tip wear after two days.
Finger Paints - Natural Talent & Icing - Paparazzi
- Finger Paints purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $4.99 CDN
- Icing purchased at Icing for $3.75 CDN
So, when exactly will I learn my lesson? I keep saying that I don't like pink, yet I keep trying to find a pink that I like. I think the problem is that pink is so girly and sweet, two things that I most definitely am not. So, finding a pink that fits my personality and style may be a lost cause.
Natural Talent, the latest polish in my quest for the Holy Pink Grail, is a very sheer light pink, that would likely take a million coats to build up to any sort of opacity. However, if you like sheers or work in a very conservative environment, this may be to your liking.
After applying two coats of Natural Talent, I considered removing it and starting over. Then, I spied Paparazzi in my stash. Paparazzi is a peachy base loaded with multi-sized prismatic glitter. This baby took my manicure from ho-hum to blingtastic in two coats. As an aside, when I went into the Icing store to buy this polish, I felt like Methuselah. Nothing drives home exactly how old you are when you're surrounded by giggling tweens.
My only complaint with this manicure was the drying time - it was still rather squishy after 1.5 hours (even with a quick drying top coat).
15 January 2010
I have been on (bat shit, crazy lady) high alert all day, every day, since starting the meds because there can be some very nasty side effects. My biggest concern is that he will have an Addisonian crisis (if his cortisol level gets too low), which can be very dangerous.
So, I have been watching him like hawk - every breath, every pee, every poop, every movement is under scrutiny at this point. I swear I am not cut out for this - I have had a sick stomach for days and I haven't had a good night's sleep in weeks. My husband tries to tell me to relax, but that mainly just pisses me off. Doesn't he realize that this is my baby we're talking about here? (Man, it's a good thing I swore off having children - the poor little buggers would be suffocated with parental overload.)
But, I'm happy to report that despite mommy being at a persistent code red, Simon appears to be doing fine so far. In all honesty, I haven't seen any changes in him - his is still drinking and peeing like no body's business. I was hoping to see a decrease in both of those symptoms, as I'm growing weary of the "let-me-out" bellow four or fives times a night. So, that's where we're at as of today.
So, as you read this, I'm wishing for the best, yet always aware of the worst.
11 January 2010
The neatness with which I apply my polish is due to several factors:
**Patience - clean polish application is the result of "slow and steady wins the race." Rushing always results in less than stellar results for me, so I go slowly. I have also been known to hold my breath during each stroke of polish, so my breathing doesn't shake my hand.
**Practice - as with most things in life, "practice makes perfect." I paint my nails so often, I can almost do it on auto-pilot now.
**The Gap - Some people prefer the look of polish that extends all the way to the cuticle. I, on the other hand, prefer to leave a crescent-shaped gap around the perimeter of my cuticle. That way there is no unsightly pooling of polish at the cuticle and it eliminates the need to clean polish off of my skin.
**Insane Fine Motor Skills - I can't bounce a basketball and walk at the same time (well, I can, but there will be bruising), because that requires good gross motor skills. I can however give that dude who paints on grains of rice a run for his money because I possess exceptional fine motor skills. I guess that why I enjoy hand sewing so much too.
Now, on to the pretties:
Zoya - Posh
- purchased at spaboutique.ca for $9.00 CDN
Posh, a stunning burgundy matte polish, is one of the offerings in Zoya's Fall 2009 limited edition Matte Velvet Collection. Posh is simply gorgeous (and this is coming from someone that is usully rather meh about reds). It reminds me of a red velvet chair that my grandmother had in her formal living room - deep and rich and sumptuous.
Posh applied nicely, although it does take some patience to ensure that each coat is evened out in terms of consistency. Too thick here or too thin there will certainly be visible (in an unflattering way) on the nail. Also, be aware that matte polishes will emphasize nail ridges, at least in my experience. Posh required two coats for opacity and they both dried quite quickly (as matte polishes tend to do). After two days, I had fairly substantially tip wear, but that is to be expected with a polish that must forgo a top coat (although I did use a top coat on my ring finger for comparison - see the photo).
Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Beige Blast
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN
Although I am a huge fan of colour, I couldn't resist giving the Spring 2010 "mannequin hands" trend a go. Basically, the trend requires that the wearer find a polish shade that most closely resembles her skin tone, thus creating a long interupted line from wrist to finger tip. So, I searched my stash for a polish close to my skin tone and came up with Beige Blast. In the past, I have professed my admiration for the SHID polishes. Unfortunately, I cannot continue the love fest with Beige Blast.
Beige Blast is a milky beige polish that goes on sheer (I needed three coats to get a build up of colour and even then, I could have used another coat or two for opacity and steak elimination). The consistency was rather thin and sloppy, in contrast to the typically thickish viscosity of other Insta Dri polishes that I have used. After two days I had substantial tip wear. This was not a winner.
New York Color - Big Money
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.36 CDN
Big Money is a frosty (almost metallic) light green polish that looks much better int he bottle than it does on my nails. Although, I am a self-professed lover of green, Big Money is not a keeper for me. This particular shade of green makes me look like I'm channeling a witch or an ogre (Shrek anyone?) and it ain't a good look.
That doesn't mean that the polish formula is necessarily bad however. Although I did require three coats to eleiminate much streakiness (and could have used another coat to totally eliminate bald spots, but four coats is not something I'm willing to commit to for a bleh coloured polish), the coats applied wonderfully. I had minor amounts of tip wear after two days.
Sally Hansen New Lengths Ceramics - Raven & Nfu Oh - #53
- Sally Hansen purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $4.49 CDN
- Nfu Oh purchased at fabuloustreet.com for $12.50 US
Although Raven appears to be a very, very dark navy in the bottle, on the nail it is simply black. Granted a very glossy black, but black nonetheless. So, it really isn't anything all that special. In an attempt to sexy up my plain black manicure, I layered #53 on top. #53 is a clear base positively overloaded with bright blue flakies that flash hot pink and green depending on the lighting. All I can say is "WOW!"
Both polishes required two coats for optimum results. The first coat of Raven was a bit worrying as it went on super streaky and uneven; however, the second coat fixed that right up and opacity was achieved. #53 would have been fine with a single coat, but the second layer added that extra bit of iridescent oomph. I am still wearing this manicure as you read this review, so I can't comment on the extended wear, but it looks great, with only minor tip wear, after one and a half days.
9 January 2010
- Simon had a Bile Acid Test done. This is done to determine if the liver is functioning normally. The results of the test indicate that Simon's liver is healthy. ---> *So, that's one in the Wahoo! column*
- Simon had a Cushing's Disease Test done. This determines if he has excessive cortisol (a naturally occurring steroid that, in high quantities can be detrimental) circulating in his system. The results of the test showed that Simon had levels that are borderline for Cushing's Disease. My vet, wanting to clarify the results, contacted the lab that did the blood work. The pathologist he spoke to said that she believed that Simon did not have Cushing's based on the lab work. Still not satisfied, my vet called back to further discuss the results and once again was told by the pathologist that Cushing's was unlikely. So, if it isn't Cushing's, then what was making Simon drink and urinate so excessively? ---> *One in the Huh? column*
- Next, Simon went for an abdominal ultrasound at an emergency vet (the only local clinic that has the equipment) to check the size of his kidneys and adrenal glands. Since we had hit two dead ends, my vet thought that maybe there was a tumour or some other abnormality. The ultrasound required that Simon's belly be shaved and then he was held immobile on his back by a vet tech while the emerg vet did the testing. Simon was not happy - we could hear his howls of indignation in the waiting room. It took every thing in me to refrain from going to his rescue. The ultrasound showed nothing of concern, just healthy organs. ---> *One in the Yippee! column*
- At this point, my vet, admittedly at a loss for answers, posted Simon's case history on a website that is frequented by vet specialists in the field of internal medicine. The diagnosis came back as Cushing's disease. ---> *One in the Aw, Shit! column*
- My vet then called back the lab where the original Cushing's test was performed and asked to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor confirmed, based on the lab results, that he would diagnose Simon with Cushing's disease - he said that the other pathologist was foolish to have dismissed it. Now my vet was understandably livid and demanded that I be reimbursed for the cost of the testing and the ultrasound. So, I should be getting a cheque in the mail. ---> *One in the Unexpected Windfall column, followed by one in the This Fuckin' Sucks, My Dog Has Cushing's Disease column*
Once again, thank you so much to all the people that have left kind comments or emailed to inquire about Simon & I. The last few weeks (months?) have been a stomach-twisting, insomnia-filled roller coaster ride (that doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon) and the support I have been given has helped to keep me going.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't send out a special thank-you to Leslie for providing me with the benefit of her knowledge and sharing her story with me at a time I needed it most.
*"The Bean" is my knickname for Simon. I always thought this In Living Color skit was funny, especially the "Lazy lima bean" comment. And, as you can see in the photo above, Simon is definitely a lazy lima bean.
8 January 2010
Please, don't get me wrong, I love (!) comments. I partially base my self-worth on the comments that my posts generate (there's nothing like a good ego stroking). However, I have consciously decided that this blog will not be a commercial zone. So, if you want to advertise or make money, more power to you. Just don't use my blog as a platform for your personal venture.
I don't make money from my blog, so why the hell would I let you make money from my blog?
5 January 2010
Food and drinks are not allowed in the classroom. A boy (let's call him Steve), carrying a bag of candy, sidles up to the desk, hoping that if he offers some to the teacher, that he will be allowed to eat the rest.
Steve: "Miss, would you like some Reese's Penis?"
Teacher (without missing a beat): "Thanks for the offer, but I think I'll pass."
Steve: "Oh...wow...um...uh..." *girls overcome shocked silence and begin to giggle uncontrollably*
Teacher: "It might be best if you go sit down."
Steve: "Um...yeah...okay... *wanders off*
4 January 2010
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - First Blush
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $ 1.53 CDN
It is no secret that I am not a fan of pink. But, every once in a while, I figure it wouldn't kill me to give pink another chance. Such was the case with First Blush - I decided to give it a shot. It didn't look puke-inducing in the bottle, so how bad could it be on my nails? Well, let's put it this way, when my hubby noticed my nails, he scrunched up his face and blurted, "Um...seriously?" Yep, First Blush looks like Pepto Bismol. Not.a.good.thing.
At least the formula was good. It applied nicely and moved around the nail well. It was slightly sheer, so three coats were in order. I was unable to remove this polish for two days (life got busy) and during that time, I only had tip wear.
Sally Hansen No Chip 10 Day Nail Color - Dark Roses
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $6.49 CDN
Wowza wowee wow! That is what I said when I saw Dark Roses on my nails. I have always been a sucker for red-tinged purples and Dark Roses is just that. It is deep and dark and essentially glows from within. It is exquisite and it looks amazing with my skin tone! What a nice surprise after the disappointment of First Blush (above).
The formula is great too. It flowed on the nail like a dream. I used three coats to build up a really rich colour, but two coats would have sufficed. After less than one day, I had tip wear. However, two days later, the wear had not increased appreciably.
China Glaze - Gussied Up Green
- purchased at head2toe.com for $2.99 US
Gussied Up Green is an amazing rich forest green with gold shimmer. It was part of China Glaze's Fall 2008 Rodeo Diva Collection, which was, in my opinion, one of the best collections to come out in the last several years. There is not a single colour that I don't like in the whole shebang.
I needed two easily applied coats for complete opacity and the removal of any streakiness. I had only minor tip wear after one day.
3 January 2010
Check out the chicks on the envelope cover. They totally know that this coat is supercalifragilisticexpialidelicious. Notice how none of them will look directly at you. It's because they are better than you. And, how could they not be? Wearing that coat. That fabulous reversible coat. With the full length sleeves and the roll collar that ties in the front.
Could it be any more luscious? Could it?
Now to chose the perfect fabric. Will it be cashmere? Mohair? Camel hair? Wool flannel? Ah, the possibilities...
2 January 2010
Sandra said..."As I read this post I remembered this post of earlier this year.
While I totally get that there was probably neither time nor mood for the 40 chapter calculus book, I am still curious whether you ever got around picking the book up for a little bit in the beginning of this year.
Because I remember being rather impressed by that resolution; so much so that I had planned to go through a couple of my old college books.
I got as far as to take them out... and then dust just them off every so often... :)
How about you?"
Well, Sandra, let me first begin by saying that as a human being we should not be judged solely on our accomplishments. Pureness of heart and good intentions should always be taken into account when measuring the worth of a person...
Are you buying any of this? Yeah, me neither.
Okay, so here's the deal. My plan to relearn calculus started out great. I whizzed through five chapters like Leibniz on speed. I was unstoppable. That is until the Ministry of Education had its way with me.
Early in 2009, we learned that the high school science curriculum was being revamped top to bottom. Which meant that all my lesson plans and assessment tools had to be tweaked to adhere to the new expectations. So, that is where all my "learn stuff to become a better person" time has gone for the last several months. And, it doesn't look much better for this coming semester of school, as I'm teaching a new course. So, hopefully by late spring, I'll be able to pick up my calculus book and dive back in where I left off. Because, really, the true measure of a woman is her tenacity.
1 January 2010
A cozy evening spent with loved ones? A quiet evening of introspection? A booze filled bender of epic proportions?
No, no and ...maybe, um...no.
Browsing a vintage pattern seller's website and then subsequently purchasing four luscious lovelies that make your heart sing and soul shiver?
Behold the glory that awaits me in 2010:
Maybe there is a god.