29 March 2010

Lacquer Lundi

This week I have a series of MOOD polishes from Claire's.  There are five polishes in the line up and I will be featuring four of them (the pink one did not float my boat, so I passed on it).  These polishes are interesting because they are thermochromic; that is, they change colour with changing temperature.  Each polish displays two different shades, one colour when warm and another colour when cold.  It's a neat concept and I have to say that watching the colour change occur is freaky cool!

All the polishes behaved the same way, from application to coverage to wear, so I will deal with these particulars all together.  The consistency of these polishes is rather viscous and this causes the first coat to go on streaky.  A fairly thick second coat evened most of this out, but I still had to go back and touch up a few bald spots.  The polish dries fast, but it is very matte and not a pretty matte.  It's more of a dull, yucky matte (I have left the polish matte in the right photo in the first pair of pictures below for comparison) so I added a shiny top coat to remedy this.  My biggest complaint with these polishes is the craptastic wear.  Not only did each polish almost instantly have tip wear (you can see evidence of this in many of the photos), but each and every one of these puppies chipped on me after approximately 22 hours (to put it in perspective, I very, very rarely have chipping issues with my other polishes).  And, when I say chipped, I'm not talking about a small, inconsequential nick - I mean big honking flakes fell off the edges of my nails.  I was mortified to be seen with such a horribly chippy manicure.

On a brighter note, the colours are quite fetching and the colour changes are super cool.  My colleagues, students and family were mesmerized by the thermochromism and kept begging me to "make them hot" and "make them cold."  The neatest look was when I was comfortably warm so that my nail beds were one colour and the tips of my nails were another.  Instant funky French manicure!

Check 'em out below.   In each set of photos, the "cold colour" is on the left and the "warm colour" is on the right.

On to the pretties:

Claire's MOOD - Daring/Innocent
- purchased at Claire's for $4.31 CDN

Claire's MOOD - Calm/Wild
- purchased at Claire's for $4.31 CDN

Claire's MOOD - Happy/Earthy
- purchased at Claire's for $4.31 CDN

Claire's MOOD - Peaceful/Confident
- purchased at Claire's for $4.31 CDN

Note that the day I purchased these bottles, they were on sale, buy one, get one half off.  Claire's often has this promotion, so if you want these polishes, wait for a sale.

27 March 2010

Pick on Me Instead

Am I the only one that is flabbergasted and royally irked by the email that Ann, of Gorgeous Fabrics, received from a customer?  Ann is seriously ill, undergoing chemo treatments, running a business and nurturing a family life (while maintaining a much, much better attitude than I would ever have in the same situation).  And, someone feels the need to make assumptions about her political views and then strong arm her because of those supposed political views.  Holy crap!  What is the matter with people these days?

So, if anyone else has the desire to stick it to Ann, pick on me instead.*  And, in case you need some ammo, here goes:

(1)  If I was an American citizen, I would have gladly voted for Obama.
(2)  I believe women have the right to obtain safe, legal abortions.
(3)  I believe gay couples have the right to legal marriage.
(4)  I believe all people have the right to medical care.
(5)  I believe all people have the right to their political views without the risk of persecution.

*Not that Ann needs my help.  She is one of the fiercest women I have ever had the good fortune of running across.  She is a complete class act all the way and I hope to grow up to be just like her - gracious and thoughtful, with a deep reserve of fortitude and inner strength.  Team Ann, Woo Hoo!

22 March 2010

Lacquer Lundi

Apparently I was feeling wine-y this week.  Every polish is a lovely shade that reminds me of ripe berries.

On to the pretties:

Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Wined Up
-  purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

Wined Up is a deep, dark burgundy base with a subtle gold micro shimmer that looks like metallic car paint.  It is a gorgeous vampy colour that essentially glows from within.  My husband was a big fan of this colour.

Wined Up applied well, as the consistency of the polish was nice and the brush was large and well-shaped.  It took two coats for the polish to be completely opaque and both coats dried quickly (as can be expected from a polish named Insta Dri).  Wear was so-so - I had a fair amount of tip wear after two days.

OPI - DS Signature
- purchased at Rachelle's (local hair salon) for $6.95 CDN

Signature is a part of OPI's designer series (hence the DS in the name).  It is a dark pink holographic polish that is simply stunning.  I am very impressed by the holo effect of this polish - I is quite striking in both natural and artificial lighting.  I have said in the past that I don't like pink (and I still don't like candy floss pink), but this polish has won me over.  This is how pink should be done!

Signature applied very nicely, with very little of the polish drag that sometimes occurs with holographics.  It did however take three coats to be perfectly opaque, but since each coat dried quickly, it was not an imposition.  It wore well, with only tip wear after two days.

Sally Hansen Salon - Beet Stain & Nfu Oh - #84
- SH purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN
- Nfu Oh purchased at fabuloustreet.com for $12.50 US

Beet Stain is a pretty pinky-purpley-burgundy shade that was part of the Tracey Reese collection for spring 2009.

Beet Stain did not have the best application - it was watery and streaky.  In the photo to the left, you see two coats and the streakiness is apparent if you enlarge the picture.  I did not do a third coat to even everything out because I knew I would be adding the Nfu Oh polish on top.  The wear of this polish is just okay - I had reasonable tip wear after one day.

At that point, I added two coats of #84, an interesting polish containing dark pink, purple and copper glitter.  Although it is a wonderful polish up close, I wish the glitter was larger to make more of an impact on the nail.

21 March 2010

Project Emmafication - Phase One

I put the finishing touches on McCall's 5591 and I must say that I am a big fan of this pattern.  It is well drafted and easy to put together (although it might not be a beginner project due to the pleats and the zipper).  I am not usually a fan of McCall's patterns as I find the designs a bit blah, however 5591 is a winner in my book.  Just be aware that if you are tall, you may want to lengthen the skirt.  I am a wee lass (5'3" on a big hair day) and this skirt hits me in the middle of the kneecap.

Here is a sneak preview of the finished garment.  I won't be posting pictures of this new creation being worn by me until I have the whole outfit put together.  I actually have a bunch of sweaters (check them out below - you may have guessed that I buy in bulk when I find something I like!) winging their way to me from Land's End as I type.  Some of them will coordinate with this skirt, while others are meant to finish off future ensembles.  Either way, I loves me some Land's End sweaters.  Hopefully, the green ones will look as fab with the skirt in real life as they do in my mind's eye.

So, it looks like my journey to "emma-ulate" Ms. Pillsbury's style  has begun...

18 March 2010

The Emmafication Begins...

In my quest to Emmaficate (Emmafy?) my spring wardrobe, I've decided to start with a skirt.  Although Emma typically wears pencil skirts, they are not always a flattering look for me if the pattern is not just right, so I will be focusing on the style of her fuller skirts for now.  To that end, I will be creating McCall's 5591 in a lightweight coral and green floral cotton broadcloth that came in a free bundle from Fabric Mart.

I will be making view C (without the ribbon trim at the hem).  This puppy is c.u.t.e.  Just look at the nifty pleats, the fab waistband/yoke and it has pockets!  I'll be back with updates...

P.S.  I haven't abandoned this dress.  It's just this Emma inspiration has grabbed me by the scruff and demanded to come to realization.  And you all know how inspiration works, right?  Must drop everything and create now!

17 March 2010

Emma Love

Recently, I was turned onto the show Glee by Gertie and I bought and devoured the entire Season 1, Volume 1 in two days.  As a former vocalist and performance geek (I was in three musicals in high school, as well as Stage Band), I was instantly taken with the premise of the show.  Singing, dancing and a sexy teacher that can croon - oh yeah baby, that's what I'm talkin' about!  Even better still is the character, Emma Pillsbury.  Or more to the point, her awesome wardrobe.

Emma has an adorable retro 50s/60s vibe.  A typical Emma outfit consists of a pencil skirt, a feminine blouse, a long sleeved cardigan, vintage jewelery and a pair of Mary Jane pumps. More often than not, a bow makes an appearance in her outfits - tied at the neck of a blouse or on the waistband of a skirt.  Her colour scheme is usually bright and fresh and she often favours monochromatic schemes.

Needless to say, I am smitten with Emma Pillsbury.  It may be that we have so much in common.  She's a teacher, I'm a teacher.  She's a redhead, I'm a redhead.  She's a neat freak, I'm a neat freak.  She's adorable, I'm adorable.  See?  It's like we're twins or something.

Now, I want to make the illusion complete. I need a new spring wardrobe and what better inspiration than our girl Emma?  I have about a jillion cardigans, so I'm part way there already.  Now, I just need to add some skirts, cute blouses and a funky dress or two.  I'll also keep my eyes open for some vintage costume jewelery, like chunky necklaces, enamel flower brooches and sweater guards.  For my feet, I'll focus on finding some more cute Mary Janes to add to my line-up.

16 March 2010

Eye No Ewe Are Knot That Dum

Okay people, I've held my tongue long enough.  Heaven knows that I've tried to remain calm.  I've attempted to ignore the overwhelming onslaught of illiteracy.  As I travel around the internet universe, I am constantly assaulted by words being misused.  I can only assume that the worst offenders are unforgivably daft.  How else can you explain the inability to properly use simple words?*  I don't want to be the grammar (or spelling) police, but a gal can only take so much.  I'm a teacher, for crying out loud, so I can no longer condone blatant disrespect for the English language.  I feel it is my sacred duty to try to enlighten the ignorant.  Listed below are a few of the most common mistakes that make me want to go on a righteous Grammar Inquisition (Nobody expects the Grammar Inquisition!):

Your is possessive, while you're is a contraction of "you are." 
Both words used in a sentence:  You're pissing me off with your ignorance of proper grammar.

Lose means to fail to keep, while loose is the opposite of tight or constrained.
Both words used in a sentence:  If you continue to maim the language, I will lose my mind and let loose a stream of profanity.

Their is possessive, there is a location and they're is a contraction of "they are."
All words used in a sentence: Their improper use of grammar guarantees that they're going to rot down there in Hell.

Saw is the past tense of "see", while seen is the past tense of "see" that must be used with an auxiliary verb like "have."
Both words used in a sentence:  I have seen a lot of grammatical errors, but when I saw what you did, I wanted to punch you.

Its is possessive, while it's is a contraction of "it is" and its' is not a word.
Both (real) words used in a sentence:  Due to the death of the English language, it's official, the world has surely come to its end.

Okay, enough.  There are other infractions (for instance, it's supposed to not suppose to) that make me want to go on a killing spree, but I'll stop here before I have an aneurysm.

So, tell me folks, what common grammar errors make you cringe?

*Of course I am always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt if English is their second language.  I certainly could not converse fluently in any language other than English, so I have great respect for individuals that are bi- or multilingual.  Also, I am not talking about people who have the occasional mess up.  We all have unintentional lapses in literacy on occasion. I do not claim to be infallible, but I do try my best to appear remotely intelligent.  Now that I've said that, I'm sure someone will find some blaring mistake in my rant above. 

15 March 2010

Lacquer Lundi

Can I get a "Yee Haw!"?

I am officially on March Break (or Spring Break or Reading Week or I Really Needed a Week Off So I Don't Kill Your Kids Week or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods).  And Chef Boyardee, do I need a vacation.  Last week was insane - between Progress Reports and Parent-Teacher Interview Night, I am practically rocking in a corner, mumbling to myself.  So, I don't have a whole lot of polish spam for you.  But, hey, it nevers hurts to leave 'em wanting more...

On to the pretties:

Rimmel Play Fast - Mouthy
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $3.26 CDN

Looking for a sweet polish that looks juicy and delicious?  Then look no further than Mouthy with its delicious medium peach base and subtle gold shimmer.  It's vitamin D in a bottle.  This will certainly see time on my toes this summer - what a fabulous pedicure colour!

Mouthy applied nicely due to the lovely polish consistency and the pleasingly wide brush (I adore the Rimmel brushes - they make application a breeze).  It did, however, take three coats to be completely opaque.  I prefer a polish that eliminates all visible nail line in one or two coats, but the third coat on this one wasn't a bear to apply, so I'll let it slide.  Mouthy wore well, with just tip wear after two days.

Color Club - Worth the Risque
- purchased from Head2Toe Beauty for $2.50 US

Worth the Risque is an amazing silver holographic polish.  It isn't that the colour is all that unique - other companies have silver holographics.  It's the quality.  Read on for an explanation.

Normally, I have issues with holos being streaky or weird on the first and often second coats, but I had none of those issues with this Color Club beauty.  Both coats of Worth the Risque applied wonderfully and covered flawlessly.  It also dried quickly.  But the real prize is in the wear- after four days I have barely perceptible tip wear (which is almost unheard of for me - I use my hands a lot and I do not baby my nails) and not a chip in sight.  I imagine I could get a full week of wear with this polish and still have a fresh looking manicure (not that I think my polish ADD would allow me to wear the same colour for seven days - must have change).  I will certainly be purchasing more Color Club polishes if this polish is any indication of the company's quality.

8 March 2010

Lacquer Lundi

St. Patrick's Day.  What other holiday is observed purely as an excuse to get drunk and stupid?  Easter?  Nope.  Earth Day?  No way. Labour Day?  Okay, maybe, Labour Day.

Maybe St. Patrick's Day originally had something to do with a saint or religion, but nowadays no one really cares.  These days, come March 17th, it's time to knock back as much green beer and Bailey's as is required to get up in front of total strangers and belt out a slurred rendition of Danny Boy.  Ahh, I love being Irish!

In honour of this venerable holiday, I proudly present some gorgeous green pretties:

China Glaze - L8R G8R
- purchased at head2toe.com for $2.99 US

Aye and Begorrah, L8R G8R is a stunning spring green holographic polish that demands to be noticed.  When I sported this polish at work, several people (colleagues and students alike) complimented me on it.  This is one of the most overtly holographic polishes that I own.  It is amazing in any light - outside, inside, it still looks super cool.  I love, love, love this polish!

L8R G8R applied fairly nicely.  As with many holographic polishes, the first coat was streaky and the second coat pulled on the incompletely dry first coat, making bald spots.  The third coat, however, evened everything out and created a flawless finish.  This polish wore well for the first day (no tip wear at all), but chipped on the second day.

BB Couture - Iced Olive
- purchased from overallbeauty.com for $9.00 US

No Leprechaun worth her salt would be without an Iced Olive manicure for the holiday.  Especially since Iced Olive is a gorgeous dusty medium green base packed with lovely gold shimmer.  It really is unique and pretty.

Iced Olive applied nicely and covered well in two coats.  It also wore pretty well - very little tip wear after two days and one tiny chip (that I think was actually more the fault of a thickly aplied top coat, rather than the polish itself).

Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Lickety-Split Lime
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

Be sure to wear Lickety-Split Lime when traveling to Ireland to kiss the Blarney stone.  You'll be an instant smash with the locals due to this luscious bright green creme.  Heck, they might even buy you a pint of ale at the town pub!

Lickety-Split Lime was a bit of a problem child to apply.  The consistency was rather thick, which caused lumps and bumps and chunks that were difficult to smooth out.  The brush was also wonky.  All the other Insta Dris I've used have a round tip on the brush; this one, however, was cut straight across and it made it hard to keep polish off the cuticle area.  The polish required two coats for opacity.  Wear was good with only minor tip wear after two days.

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

You'll be saying Irene Go Bragh (instead of Erin Go Bragh) when you put on this Zoya beauty.  Such a fabulous olive green base with gold shimmer.

Although Irene required three coats to be opaque (I prefer one or two coaters), I can't complain about the actual application, as the consistency of the polish and the shape of the brush made it a breeze.  Irene wears well - only minor tip wear after one day.

6 March 2010

A Hound's Tale

In my last update on Simon, we were upping his meds to 90 mg of Vetoryl once a day, in the hopes that this adjustment would do the trick.  No such luck.

Since the beginning of February, his medication was changed to 45 mg twice a day, then 60 mg twice a day.  After his last ACTH stimulation test, the vet said that Simon's cortisol levels were finally in the proper range.  However, the excessive drinking/urinating haven't returned to normal.  After consultation (by the vet) with the company that makes Vetoryl, it was decided to increase the meds slightly to 70 mg twice a day.  If this adjustment doesn't reign in the drinking/peeing, we will have to try another medication.  This increase in medication is not without its risks - if Simon's cortisol levels get suppressed too much, he can have an Addisonian crisis, which can be life threatening. 

Between the anxiety over the little man's health and the possibility of overdose, I am feeling the strain.  Not to mention the cost - treatment has not been cheap (let's just say that I could buy a whole lot of fabric with the money being spent on drugs and testing). 

Simon is doing well otherwise.  Other than watery eyes, stiff and occasionally trembling rear legs (which are side effects of the medication),  you wouldn't even know he is ill.  He still bellows for his supper and wags his tail like mad when my hubby comes home at night.

1 March 2010

Lacquer Lundi

Happy March!  Even though we have had a butt load of snow over the last week, it still feels like spring is coming.  I think it's because of the increased amount of daylight and the Cardinals (the birds, not the baseball team) are starting to sing and carry out their mating rituals.  Although, I know we still have at least two months until all threats of snow are past, I can't help but feel a surge of hope.

On to the pretties:

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Chocolate Nut
- purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $1.34 CDN

Is it bad that every time someone asked about the colour I was wearing, I said "Chocolate Nut" and then proceeded to giggle like a ten year old boy?  It is, isn't it?  Okay, then maybe we can just pretend I didn't just tell you that and we can all go on thinking that I am a chic, sophisticated woman.  Mkay?

Chocolate Nut (snort...tee hee hee) is a dark reddish brown base with oodles of gold micro shimmer.  It makes a lovely addition to my nail wardrobe, as I wear a lot of browns and autumn colours.

Chocolate Nut (BWAH HAH HAH) applied nicely - the formula and the nice wide brush worked together to layer the polish on opaquely in just two coats.  Wear was good - only tip wear after two days.

 Essie - Jelly Apple
- purchased at Rachelle's (beauty salon) for $0.50 CDN

The other day, I was at the hair salon getting beautiful-er and one of the stylists was sorting through the polishes, weaning out the little (or unused) ones.  Knowing what a polish fanatic I am, she gave me first crack at them and I quickly scooped up ten (hey, at 2 bottles for $1, how could I go wrong?).  Now I'm not normally a huge fan of red polishes, but the translucent jelly consistency and deep red colour of Jelly Apple called my name and demanded to be worn immediately.  So I obeyed.

Jelly Apple applied well - nice consistency and excellent coverage for a jelly polish.  I only needed two coats for complete opacity.  Wear was another story.  After two days, I had a lot of nasty tip wear and a couple small chips.

Rimmel 60 Seconds - Green With Envy  & Nfu Oh - #54
- Rimmel purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $3.99 CDN
- Nfu Oh purchased at fabuloustreet.com for $12.50 US

First things first - Green With Envy is not green, with envy or anything else.  It simply is not green.  At all.  What Green With Envy is, however, is a rich turquoise polish with a metallic shimmer.  It looks like the wings of a beetle.  To say that the colour of this polish is stunning is an understatement.  Everyone that saw this polish was mesmerized by it, including me.  I could not stop staring at my nails.

Between the excellent consistency of the polish and the wide "Pro-cision Brush", the two coats of Green With Envy applied very nicely and covered well (no visible nail line for me).  It also wore well - only minor tip wear after two hand intensive days (involving sewing, cooking, cleaning and laundry).

Hoping to gild the lily further, in addition to refreshing my manicure, I added 2 coats of #54.  #54 is another drop dead gorgeous polish from Nfu Oh.  This time around, we have a colourless base packed with flakies that flash teal or emerald green, depending on how the light hits it.  A friend thought that my nails looked like a mermaid had thrown up on them.  I guess that could be a good thing.  (Click on the photo at right for a close up view of the glory that is Nfu Oh #54).