31 December 2009

Out With the Old...

Last year, I made two resolutions:
  • Get back in shape. I still have 10 pesky pounds that need to go. I will get on the treadmill at least 3 times per week, I will weight lift and do flexibility training at least once a week each.
  • I am only allowed to spend money on my hobby if I earn it. For every hour spent exercising, I will get $10 to spend on fabric, notions and the like. No movey the body, no spendy the money!
I totally rocked resolution #2 - I did not spend a dime on sewing stuff that I didn't earn by exercising. Yay me!

Unfortunately, resolution #1 started with a bang and ended with a whimper. I was the queen of cardio and weight training until September, at which time my life exploded into a million smithereens. The thought of exercising was not nearly as appealing as sitting on my ass. So, on my ass I sat. But, it could be worse. I had hoped to lose 10 pounds and that didn't happen, but at least I didn't gain any significant weight.

Now it's time for this year's vows and I think I'm going to stick pretty much with the same theme as last year, with a few tweaks:
  • 14 for 40: I want to lose 14 pounds (or 14 inches, whatever comes first) by my 40th birthday in May. I will get on the treadmill at least three times per week, I will weight lift and do flexibility training at least once a week each.
  • Exerci$e Makes Cents: Last year, I decided that I was only allowed to spend money on my hobby if I earned it. For every hour spent exercising, I got $10 to spend on fabric, notions and the like. This year, I will keep to these rules, but I will add nail polish into my hobby expenditures definition.
  • Bash the Stash: I did so well last year with curbing my stash acquisition (I actually used more stash than I bought - how novel!), that I will continue to purchase sparingly. But, hey if it calls my name, it will be mine, mwah ha ha ha...rubbing hands together...
2010, please be gentle.

29 December 2009

Wrap it Up

As 2009 comes to a close, all I can say is good riddance, you nasty bitch! It has been one peckerhead of a year - it basically sucked turds beginning to end.

The year started with a huge upheaval at my hubby's place of work that is still is the process of heaving. Although Chrysler Canada did not declare bankruptcy like its US counterpart, this year has still been one filled with long work hours, too little man power and mucho stress for him. But, hey, on the bright side, he got a huge promotion. Without the accompanying pay raise. Woo frickin' hoo.

Then my mother in law was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and it has progressed rapidly to the point that she is incapable of doing much of anything for herself. So, more stress for hubby and his family.

Shortly after that, Simon started with his medical problems - the extraction of two broken teeth, wart removal, a stomach ulcer, a cancer scare (which was false alarm - whew!), a back injury and now potentially, liver disease or Cushing's disease*. I literally lay awake some nights filled with anxiety.

So, to say that 2009 will not be missed is an understatement.

One of the casualties of all this trauma and drama has been my sewing mojo. It went AWOL in September and I haven't heard from it since. Prior to my unplanned sewing hiatus, things were clipping along nicely though, so my stats for the year aren't too pathetic:

* I completed 73 garments this year, from simple T-shirts to intricate dresses.

* I used up 114.10 m (125 yards) of fabric from my stash this year.

* I only bought 108.30 m (118 yd), so I actually reduced my stash a smidge this year. This is unprecedented!

* My favourite garment of the year is the dress you see to the left (you can relive the moment here).

So, that's it. I wish I had more to tell. Hopefully, my mojo will come limping back home in the near future, as I'm starting to feel a bit stabby.**

* I don't have his test results yet - I'll update when I do.

** See definition #1 and only definition #1. You're gonna look at them all aren't you? Well, don't say I didn't warn you.

28 December 2009

Lacquer Lundi

This weeks installment of Lacquer Lundi, I will finish up my "12 Polishes of Xmas" that I began last week.

So, let's get right to the pretties:

OPI - Holiday Glow & Rimmel 60 Seconds - Dazzle
- OPI purchased at Trade Secrets for $ 9.95 CDN
- Rimmel purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $3.99 CDN

This manicure doesn't scream holiday season, but it is still rather festive. Holiday Glow (a Winter/Holiday 2009 release from OPI), a brownish eggplant base with gold glitter, is worn on thumb, middle and pinky fingers. Dazzle, a sparkly gold, graces index and ring fingers. I love how these two polishes work together, linked by the gold in each. A very pretty, sophisticated yet funky, holiday manicure.

I used two coats each of Holiday Glow and Dazzle. My only issue was that Dazzle was a bit chunky and looked slightly lumpy on the nail - I prefer a smoother look. Both polishes wore well for the two days I sported them - only minor tip wear.

Zoya - Ibiza & Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Snow Globe
- Zoya purchased at spaboutique.ca for $9.00 CDN
- SH purchased at Zellers (chain discount store) for $ 2.17 CDN

When I picked out this combo of polishes, I was going for a wintery, ice-princess-gets-her-nails-done look. The dark metallic blue of Ibiza is the perfect foundation for Snow Globe, a colourless base with prismatic glitter. In the end this manicure reminded me of a clear night sky on a cold winter evening. Ooo, frosty!

I used a single coat of Ibiza, as this baby is pigmented out the wazoo. Snow Globe, however, was laid on in two coats to build up the density of the glitter. This manicure had slight tip wear and two small chips after two days.

Sally Hansen Salon - Ruby or Not to Be & Orly - Tiara
- SH purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN
- Orly purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $5.99 CDN

Ruby or Not to Be is quite possibly the perfect red. Its glowy rich scarlet goodness, combined with a subtle metallic finish, is simply divine. And I don't even really like red polish all that much, but for this puppy, I'll reconsider! So, how to make a mani even better (read "even tackier")? Well, add something intensely sparkly, of course. Thus, enters Tiara, a colourless base, packed with silver glitter. Divine.

Both polishes required two coats to attain maximum awesomeness. I am actually still wearing this combo as I type, so I can only say that the wear is good so far (by so far, I mean the last 3 hours).

23 December 2009


Thank-you to everyone that posted kind words of support and/or tidbits of advice with respect to my last post. You all realize how important an animal friend can be - there is a true bond.*

I called the vet to book Simon in for a bile acid test (to test liver function) and a Cushing's disease test. So, he goes in on Monday and hopefully it starts us down a path toward some definitive answers. I'll let you know what happens as we go along.

Again, thank you.

*Anonymous #2 (from the comments to the last post): I'm not really sure how you thought you were being helpful. For those of us with a soul, giving up so easily on a beloved family member is not an option. Sheesh.

22 December 2009


In my last update about Simon, I mentioned that he seemed to be back to his old self and I was looking forward to having a healthy dog. Well, that was short lived. A few days later, his water consumption and subsequent urination went through the roof overnight. A dog that normally drank 0.6 - 0.7 L of water per day started drinking upwards of 2.5 L. So, off to the vet we went for blood and urine tests. The tests came back suggesting a kidney infection (no signs of any other real concern in the fluid work-ups). A week's worth of Zeniquin (antibiotic) was prescribed and over the next few days, Simon's water consumption returned to normal and he finished up his meds. Big sigh of relief - for two days.

Unfortunately, at this point, his water consumption spiked again (2.8 L), so he was put back on the Zeniquin (for 3 weeks this time). However, his water consumption just kept rising each day (up to 3.8 L). So, yesterday the vet put him on Clavaseptin (another antibiotic) for a week, in addition to the previously prescribed Zeniquin. I was hoping that I would see a dramatic change over night. But, no such luck.

I'm scared he could have Cushing's disease, liver disease or diabetes (although the vet saw no sign of diabetes in the tests). If he doesn't improve soon, I think I'm going to lose it. After months of vet visits and health scares, I'm worn out. I oscillate between terror, anger and weariness.

I'm trying to remain calm and allow time for the meds to work, but I'm about at the end of my rope. I keep reminding myself, that other than the excessive drinking and urination, he seems perfectly fine (good appetite, excited to go for walks). I try to remember that older dogs (Simon just turned 13 in September) sometimes take longer to respond to treatment.

So, folks, help me out here. Has anyone out there had a similar situation with their elderly dog? Any stories to share?

21 December 2009

Lacquer Lundi

The holiday season is upon us. I know this because today is my first day off school for two whole weeks of vacation (which of course, makes this a magical time of year). Although, I don't celebrate the religious aspects of this time of year, I do appreciate the festive ones. I enjoy a beautifully decorated tree, a twinkling set of lights and a candle-strewn mantle, among other things (like turkey, mashed potatoes and chocolate). So, in the spirit of the season, I will be presenting the "12 Polishes of Xmas" this week and next. These are my picks for decking out my nails in their finest holiday glory. Some polishes are marketed specifically for the season and others just look appropriate due to the colour or finish.

So, let's get on to the pretties:

OPI - Shim-merry Chic
- purchased at Trade Secrets for $ 9.95 CDN

I figured I'd start things off with a polish that was actually part of a seasonal offering, the OPI Holiday Wishes Collection for Winter/Holiday 2009. Shim-merry Chic is a golden bronzey-brown base with orange flakies and green micro glitter. It certainly is not the first colour most people associate with Xmas, but I really dig this nifty hue - it actually reminds me of gingerbread.

Although two coats would have sufficed, I used three coats to ensure opacity. I had only minor tip wear after two days.

Orly - Enchanted Forest & Color Club - Object of Envy
- Orly purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $5.99 CDN
- Color Club purchased from Head2Toe Beauty for $2.50 US

Enchanted Forest is a super cool dark forest green, with dusky grey undertones. It is the perfect evergreen creme. It is, without a doubt, one of my favourite green polishes. I used two coats of Enchanted Forest, but with greater care I could have gotten away with a single coat because this polish is extremely pigmented.

Looking to add a bit more holiday charm, I immediately added two coats of Object of Envy, a gorgeous green glitter. Okay, I confess - I just wanted to see how gaudy I could make this manicure and I think I out did myself! Although, I think people must like gaudy, because I raked in a ton of compliments when I wore this combo.

The only issue with this look, is that it requires a nice thick layer of top coat to reduced the lumpy-bumpiness of the glitter. This manicure wore like iron - after three days, I only had tip wear and no chipping.

Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Rapid Red & Orly - Prisma Gloss Gold
- Sally Hansen purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $5.99 CDN
- Orly purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $5.99 CDN

If you are looking for the perfect Xmas red, then get Rapid Red. It is the perfect red creme base (that requires only one carefully applied coat - yes, one single coat) for any holiday manicure. Like all the Insta Dri polishes, Rapid Red dries extremely quickly. However, the Insta Dri brush is quite large and may give some users a bit of grief. I, however, love this wide, flat brush, as it makes application super quick.

Top Rapid Red with three layers of Prisma Gloss Gold for a prismatic glitter sparkle. Be sure to really shake up the Prisma Gloss Gold, as all the glitter settles to the bottom of the bottle. However, the extra shaking is worth the effort, as this polish adds a beautiful twinkle to any manicure.

This manicure wore well - I had only tip wear after two days.

Zoya - Veruschka
- purchased at spaboutique.ca for $9.00 CDN

This season saw the revivial of the matte nail polish - a trend that was seen in the 90s. Almost every big nail polish manufacturer offered a matte collection and Zoya was no exception. Veruschka is from the Matte Velvet Winter 09 collection. I will admit that at first I was quite dubious when faced with the prospect of matte nail polish - I like me some shine! However, the trend has grown on me, obviously to the point where I had to try a few matte polishes of my own. Being the fan of green that I am, Veruschka, a spectacular shimmery green that is positively captivating on the nail, was my first purchase.

To use the matte polish, I applied a base coat to the nail, which I allowed to fully dry for five minutes. Normally, I only allow my basecoat to dry for 30s to a minute, but I wanted the polish to adhere well so I waited the extra time for the base coat to really dry. I used two easy-to-apply coats of Zeruschka to eliminate any streakiness. No top coat is added if the matte look is desired. However, I used top coat on my ring fingers just for a subtle difference (see the photo to the right to compare) and let me tell you, it is just as beautiful when shiny. A real winner - I can`t wait to try the other polishes in this collection.

20 December 2009

Hey, Hey, Grey!

I wore this outfit to work last Wednesday and forgot to post it until now. I really wanted to post this outfit, because when I made it earlier this year, I never got any photos of me actually wearing the pieces. I always prefer an outfit on a body, as opposed to on a hanger.

The twin set is Loes Hinse Sweater Set made from an interesting grey crinkled knit, that I wrote about here. The pants are Loes Hinse Hepburns made from grey wool gabardine. I blogged about these pants earlier this year.

To accesorize, I tied a charcoal print scarf around my neck and donned my favourite Clarks mary janes on my feet.

14 December 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties:

Creative Nail Design - Hyde in the Dark
- purchased at Trade Secrets for $5.37 CDN

I found this polish in a bargain bin at Trade Secrets several months ago. When I got it home, I tossed it into my "untrieds" storage drawer and kept passing it over in favour of other polishes. I wish I had used it sooner. Hyde in the Dark is a dark charcoal grey base packed with silver shimmer. On the nail it looks super cool - like asphalt or a sparkly chalk board. One of my male students even complimented me on this polish, which never happens. Teenage boys don't tend to notice stuff like nail polish, so you know this polish is pretty nifty.

Hyde in the Dark applied nicely and covered well. I used two coats to get bottle colour, although I could have gotten away with just one coat if I had been more careful. My only complaint is that the polish is really smelly - more so than most other polishes that I own.

It wore well - only light tip wear after two days.

Avon Nailwear Pro - Nocturnal & Orly - Shining Star
- Avon purchased at Avon.ca for $3.99 CDN
- Orly purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $5.99 CDN

Last week, I professed my love for OPI's You Don't Know Jacques, while at the same time lamenting the price tag on a bottle of OPI polish in Canada. Well, I wish I had known about Nocturnal when I bought YDKJ. Nocturnal is a dead-on dupe of YDKJ, for a third of the price (if you get this Avon polish on sale like I did). Not to mention that the Avon formula is exceptional. I would say it is even better than YDKJ - it flows on beautifully and covers opaquely in two coats. It is an excellent value.

Since I had just worn a greyed-out taupe last week, I decided to top Nocturnal with Shining Star. This Orly polish consists of a colourless based chock full of prismatic glitter that sparkles gold and green, depending on the angle from which it is viewed. Unfortunately Shining Star is really rather gloppy and thick, making it a bit difficult to apply. I imagine this can easily be remedied with a bit of polish thinner though.

I wore the two polishes for two days, over which time I noticed only minor tip wear.

Revlon - Midnight Affair
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $6.29 CDN

Midnight Affair is an exceptionally beautiful dark navy (with minor purple undertones). It is must-have for the lover of vampy colours and/or blues. It reminds me of car paint with a slight metallic sheen.

Midnight Affair applied well, due to the nice formula and consistency. It covered opaquely in two coats. After two days, I had a decent amount of tip wear, but no chipping. All in all a great polish.

Orly - Garnet Truth

- purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $5.99 CDN

In the bottle Garnet Truth looks like a rich ruby (garnet?) red with silvery shimmer. On the nail however, it appears more hot pinkish. Although, I would rather have the red than the pink, Garnet Truth is still a very pretty colour. It is super shiny and festive.

As with all my Orly polishes, Garnet Truth applied beautifully - smoothly and without streakiness. However, I did need three coats to build up the sheer colour and even then the polish is not completely opaque.

After one day, I had minor tip wear.

12 December 2009

Too Many Shoes? Impossible!

Naturalizer.ca had a fab sale and being the good consumer that I am, I jumped right on board. I had been eyeballing a few pairs of shoes for a while and when I saw the sale prices, combined with a 20% off coupon code and free shipping, I couldn't resist.

The first two pairs are great additions to my casual wardrobe. I love the zipper on the first pair and the cute X-stitching on the second pair.

The third pair fills a hole in my shoe collection - I really needed a pair of grey shoes and this pair is so charming with the black accents (that look like they were cut with pinking shears) and the tie in the front.

The fourth and fifth pair were no-brainers. I seem to have an obsession with Oxford style shoes lately. Observant readers will recognize the fifth pair as the burgundy version of the Oxfords I bought a few weeks ago.

The sixth pair is so wonderful. The luscious bordeaux colour, the combo of leather and suede, the stitching detail and the elegant heel shape all combine into a stunning pair of shoes.

I always used to think of Naturalizer as the shoe company for the (older) woman more concerned about comfort than style. However, I am loving the offerings from Naturalizer the past couple of years - the styling has really been exceptional. And there has been no loss of comfort - I cannot recommend the N5 Comfort Elements enough. Not to mention that I can get these fab shoes in wide widths (my feet have become wider over the years - I think it's all the standing and walking I do while teaching every day), so no more pinched toes. I really should look into buying stock in this company - I certainly do my share to make them profitable!

11 December 2009

Cozy, Cozy, Cozy

Some mornings it's all about ease of wearing. There are days when I just need to be comfortable. However, it's easy to run the risk of comfortable turning into sloppy. I made a promise to myself several years back that even when I don't feel like dressing up, I still have to make some effort.

That is what this outfit is all about. Three easy pieces that feel comfy, but look pulled together. The ivory long sleeve top is a Land's End purchase (they make the best T-shirts - they really can't be beat for quality and price when you don't have the time to make it from scratch). The wheat coloured sweater layered over the top is also RTW, bought at a local clothing store. I love the shawl collar, the 3/4 sleeves and the empire waist - such a flattering shape. The pants are Loes Hinse Oxfords, made from some navy cotton broadcloth. These pants were meant to be a muslin to test out the fit of this pattern, but they turned out so well that they found their way into my closet.

The finishing touches are a pair of dark red leather flats and a jade pendant strung on a dark red cord.

Comfy, cozy and cute for a Friday that finished off a very long week.

8 December 2009

More Cashmere Love

Another outfit based around one of my cashmere purchases of late - the dark chocolate brown cardigan. It is worn over a Loes Hinse Bianca top, made from an onionskin knit with an all over beige and dark brown floral pattern on a terracotta background from Textile Studio (which sadly no longer sells fabric). The pants are my TNT favs - the Loes Hinse Hepburns. The fabric is a brown and orange herringbone RPL from Timmel Fabrics, another of my favourite stores that is now closed down.

The finishing touches are a pair of funky striped knee socks and a pair of caramel coloured leather Clarks double strap mary janes.

This was a comfortable, yet pulled together casual look for work.

7 December 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Hi folks! I'm back and feeling much better now. Thanks to everyone for the get well sentiments.

Now, on to the pretties:

Fingerpaints - Be a Pal-ette
- purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $4.99 CDN

Be a Pal-ette looked so darned promising in the bottle. Dark purple - fabulous. Silver, red and blue microglitter - excellent. Sheer polish that required a bajillion coats - crud.

Now don't get me wrong, the consistency and application of Be a Pal-ette was wonderful, as with all the rest of my Fingerpaint polishes. It just the lack of pigmentation, resulting in a sheer polish that is the problem. You see the results of three coats in the photo. I could have used another coat to really get pure bottle colour, but I didn't have the patience for it.

The wear on Be a Pal-ette was decent - only tipwear after seven days, but no chipping.

New York Color in a Minute - Chelsea, Lincoln Center & Fifth Avenue

- all purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.39

Wow, it is so weird to type "color" & center", instead of "colour" and "centre." Being a Canadian, British spelling is so breed into me, that using the American spelling requires a force of will!

Anyhow, after wearing Be a Pal-ette (above) for a full week, I was jonesing for some different polishes. So, I went for a skittles manicure (a manicure that features multiple colours). On thumb and pinky - Chelsea, on index and ring - Licoln Center and on middle - Fifth Avenue. I really like how these colours work together - such a strong, autumn colour scheme.

All the polishes applied very well. I used three coats for each, although with more careful application, I think I could have gotten away with two coats of both Chelsea and Licoln Center.

After four days, I had tip wear on all nails, but no chipping. Once again, NYCIAM proves to be a great polish at an excellent price.

OPI - You Don't Know Jacques
- purchased at Trade Secrets for $ 9.95 CDN

I usually like OPI polishes. However, in my neck of the woods, they are expensive - from $10-$12 per bottle, so I don't own many. I can buy two or three bottles of China Glaze or Orly for the same cash outlay. But, I have always had a soft spot for greyed-out, muted colours and You Don't Know Jacques (part of OPI's Fall/Winter 2008 France Collection) is a perfect example of a polish that fits in this category. It's an excellent neutral colour without being boring. So, I had to own this polish, despite its price tag.

I had some minor problems with application. I found the consistency of You Don't Know Jacques to be odd - kind of thick and mucous-like (I know, yum). Despite this, I was still able to get complete opacity in two coats (although my coats were fairly thick due to the previously mentioned consistency issue). This polish wore well - just minor tip wear after 2 days.

30 November 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Hi Folks, I will be taking a week off of LL posts. On the field trip to Florida, I came down with a stomach bug that almost killed me and I have spent the last week trying to recover from it. I can honestly say that I have never been that sick in my whole life. Between the complete evacuation of my system (I'll let you read between the lines here, rather than get all graphic), dehydration and a distinct loss of appetite, I lost five pounds over four days. I am finally back to normal eating, but I am still quite tired. So, polishing my nails was the absolute last thing on my mind. But, I'll be back next week with some great new colours.

I also wanted to provide a small update on Simon (as I've had a few inquiries). His back seems to be healed and he is full of piss and vinegar once again. So, hopefully barring any re-occurance of ulcer symptoms, he will be back to his old self. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

23 November 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Hi all! I'm back from Florida and we all survived (although it was a bit touch and go by the fifth day of spending every waking hour with twenty-two teenagers). Obviously, I didn't have time to do anything as frivolous as painting my nails all week, but I didn't want to leave all my polish addicts hanging. So, I put together a top twenty of stand alone polishes. I didn't include any of the glittery top coats which which I am smitten - that's another post for another day. These are my personal favourites from the 36 weeks of LL posts, in no particular order (click on the photo to be taken to the original LL post). Enjoy!

On to the pretties:

1. Orly - Close Your Eyes

2. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Purple Potion

3. Revlon - Not So Blueberry

4. Sally Hansen Insta-dri - Lightening

5. Essie - Mesmerize

6. China Glaze - Ruby Pumps

7. Misa - Toxic Seduction

8. Nfu-Oh - #125

9. BB Couture - Dragon's Breath

10. Avon Nailwear Pro - Blue Flare

11. China Glaze - Shower Together

12. L'Oreal - Shocking Green

13. OPI - Have You Seen My Limo?

14. MAC - Dry Martini

15. China Glaze - DV8

16. BB Couture - Prenuptial

17. Finger Paints - Copper Elements

18. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Emerald City

19. BB Couture - Prince Charming

20. China Glaze - Lubu Heels

So, dear reader, which ones are your favourites (take the handy poll below)? Feel free to mention any other polishes (not on my top 20 list) that make your heart go pitter-patter as well in the comments.

Which polish is your favourite?