30 April 2010

Mon Bones

Recently, I was asked for a status report on Simon, so read on for all the latest info.

Simon remains taking 70 mg of Vetoryl (trilostane) twice a day and it is keeping the excessive drinking and urinating at an acceptable level.  He's still drinking about 2.5 times more water per day than he was pre-Cushing's Disease, but it's a far cry from a few months back when he was slurping up 5 times the normal amount.

He has only really had two obstacles.  I have mentioned in past posts that the medication he is on makes his back legs very weak.  Unfortunately, his legs still shake a fair amount when he's walking or standing in a certain way and occasionally he will stumble or fall when he tries to turn around really quickly.  Over the last month, we have been working on building up his hind legs again and we're making progress.

Also, the Vetoryl really upsets his stomach.  Some days his stomach is grinding away so loudly that it's quite disconcerting.  For the most part, I have been able to make him more comfortable by giving half a Pepcid with his meds.

On the plus side, he has been more loving lately.  For the last several months he didn't want to be cuddled and he was pretty crotchety (I had chalked it up to getting older, but in my research, I learned that mood changes are common in a Cushing's dog).  Lately though, he has been calmer and much more snuggly.  Needless to say, this makes me very happy to see his normal personality reemerging.

*The title refers to another of Simon's nicknames.  His most oft used nickname is "The Bean" and I explained its origin here.  But, just because I like to make things as confusing as possible, he has several others, including "Mon Bones."  I don't really know how the name evolved nor do I remember all the reasons behind rest of his monikers:  Beastermeyer, Scoob, Monkey Joe, Hounden, Putchnik, Sniffy Snifferton, Nerdlette, Spazzwick, Bazeldean, Butthound, Loopy Lou, Beastum, Buzzard, Bone Dog, Yowler Monkey, Pizza Hound, Butch, Mr. Lovely.  You'd think with all those names that Simon wouldn't know what the heck was going on, but he responds to every single one of them.  Well, at least when he feels like it.  :)

26 April 2010

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties:

GOSH - Blue Monday
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $6.00 CDN

Blue Monday is a royal blue base, packed with lovely blue micro glitter.  It is super sparkly and reminds me of deep blue water.  This polish looks very much like a glass flecked polish (like the Summer 2009 collection from China Glaze last year), which I think is fabulous (I love me some glass flecked polishes).

Blue Monday applied nicely due to a good formula.  It only required two coats to cover visible nail line, but I chose to do three coats to build up a greater depth of colour.  It wore well for the day I had it on - only minor tip wear and no chipping.

BB Couture - Blind Love
- purchased at overallbeauty.com for $9.00 US

Blind Love is an odd duck.  It's kind of gold and it's kind of olive and it's kind of silver, depending on the lighting and depending on what you're wearing with it.  Regardless of what colour it is, one thing is for sure, it is stunning.  I received more compliments, from a wider range of people, than I have received on any other polish I have ever worn.  It seems everyone, young and old alike, loves Blind Love.

Blind Love applied wonderfully due to the excellent consistency and formula, as is the norm with almost every BB Couture polish I have used.  If I had to complain about something, I would suggest that the brushes could be a smidgen wider to facilitate application.  Two coats were needed for complete opacity.  The wear was great - only minor tip wear after two days.  This one is a winner for sure.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure - Fairy Teal
- purchased at Zellers (chain discount store) for $7.49 CDN

Fairy Teal is a medium dusty teal creme that is quite pretty on the nail.  I fell in love with this polish the minute I put it on. Lately anything teal makes me swoon, so maybe it's just the crush talking.

Fairy Teal applied nicely.  It was bit on the thick side (but not so thick that it was annoying) due to what I believe is a large amount of powdered pigment in the formula.  Because of the super pigmentation, I really only needed one coat for completely acceptable coverage, but I chose to use two coats to ensure total opacity.  I have mentioned in the past that the new Sally Hansen brush may be a turn off to some (because it is very wide and flat), but I love it.

ETA: SH Complete Salon Manicure is supposed to be an all-in-one polish, so the use of base coat and top coat is not necessary.  I have chosen to ignore this though.  I still use a base coat to reduce the amount of nail staining and a quick dry top coat to speed up the drying process. 

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Grape Idea
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $ 1.52 CDN

Grape Idea is not polish that I would typically gravitate toward at the store, but it was on sale a while back, so I decided to give it a shot.  I'm glad I did.  The shimmery raspberry (it looks nothing like what I associate with a grape, but I'm not going to judge) is certainly not a cutting edge colour, but it is a nice polish for the conservative woman in the crowd.

Grape Idea applied nicely, due to the lovely formula and the excellent wide brush (it is similar in  width to the OPI Pro Wide brush).  Unfortunately, I needed four coats to build up enough colour to obscure visible nail line, so it took a while for this manicure to dry.  Wear was good - only tip wear after one day.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Almond Crunch
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $ 1.52 CDN

Almond Crunch is a shimmery pink.  As with Grape Idea (above), I never would have bought this polish if it hadn't been so cheap.  Especially since it's so pink.  That said, Almond Crunch is not totally unappealing.  I put it firmly into the pleasantly boring category. (but, hey, to each her own).

Almond Crunch applied nicely, due to the lovely formula and the fabulous wide brush.  Unfortunately, I needed three coats to build up enough colour to obscure visible nail line and even then I had a bit of show through.  Wear was good - only tip wear after one day.

21 April 2010

From the Ground Up

In the last week, the weather has cooled down in the southern most reaches of Ontario, but my garden is still happily chugging away.  Although I would prefer temperatures in the low 70s F at this time of year (Interesting aside:  I like temperatures to be reported in Celsius during the winter months, but as soon as the weather warms up, I revert to Fahrenheit.  It seems that a lot of us crazy Canucks who dwell in border towns can be a bit schizophrenic when it comes to imperial vs metric measurements.  We often switch systems even during the same sentence.  Go figure.), Mother Nature is being a real pistol lately and has decided to stick it to me with temperatures in the low 40s to mid 50s F.  But, on the bright side, at least it's not snowing.

So, yesterday I was in my garden, busily snapping the photos you see here.  When I shoot plants I like to get up close and personal and look them in the eye.  Try it - crouch down and take a close look at the plants all around you.  You'll be amazed at the subtle shadings and the exquisite texture.  The orderly mathematical symmetry of some plants is in direct contrast with the wild abandon of others.  They will amaze you with their quiet splendour.  So, tomorrow on the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, take a few minutes to appreciate the vegetation.   Just be sure to steer clear of the triffids - those buggers are feisty.

19 April 2010

Lacquer Lundi

I want to begin by thanking Biba, of Biba's Beauty Corner, for bestowing the "I Love Your Blog Award" upon me.  Biba posts wonderful nail polish swatch pictures on her blog.  Not only does she use brands that are familiar to North Americans, but she also has some wonderful brands that seem to be available only in her part of the world (Slovenia).  It's always interesting to see what is being sold around the globe.

I am supposed to pass the award on to fifteen other worthy blogs.  But how to choose from all the amazing choices on my side bar?   If your blog is listed, I love it, simple as that.  So, for today, if your blog is on my sidebar and it starts with the letter "B" (there just happen to be fifteen of them), then I nominate you for this fab award!

Now, on to the pretties:

Orly - Fantasea
- purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $6.49 CDN

The last time I was in Sally Beauty Supply, spending an enjoyable few minutes browsing the polish racks, Fantasea literally reached out, grabbed me by the collar and demanded to come home with me.  How could I say no to such an interesting polish?  Fantasea is a gorgeous reddish purple base with copper shimmer.  It is absolutely stunning on the nail.  One of my colleagues at school was mesmerized by this polish and kept staring at my hands all day.

Fantasea applied wonderfully (as have pretty much every single Orly I have ever used), because of the excellent formula.  My only suggestion to Orly to make their product perfect would be to widen the brush slightly.  This polish is a bit sheer however, so I needed four thin coats to achieve complete opacity, but for something this pretty, I don't mind.  It wore well - only minor tip wear after one day.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure - Thinking of Blue & Wet n Wild Wild Shine - Wild Orchid
- SH purchased at Zellers (chain discount store) for $7.49 CDN
- WnW purchased at Zellers (chain discount store) for $1.97 CDN 

Sally Hansen recently came out with the new product line, SH Complete Salon Manicure, presumably to replace the SH Salon line.  I had heard good things about this product and after using Thinking of Blue, I heartily concur.  Thinking of Blue is a purple tinged navy blue creme that is a unique blue in my collection, as I don't have anything else quite like it.

Thinking of Blue applied wonderfully.  The formula is a smidgen thick, but it still flows on easily and covers well - this polish is very pigmented and only required two thin coats (if I had applied the first coat thicker, I think I could have gotten away with just one coat).  The wide brush, which some will dislike, but I adore, places polish on the nail quickly and easily.  It also dries very quickly.  The wear was phenomenal - only very, very minor tip wear after two days.

Not wanting to remove my lovely blue mani, I decided to sexy it up a bit with some glitter.  I have had Wild Orchid in my stash for ages, but never used it because I have always had such lousy luck with Wet n Wild in the past.  It is by far the crappiest polish brand that I have ever used - I have always had it chip off in huge flakes in less than 12 hours (I don't think my body chemistry plays well with WnW).  I know there are some new ones out now, but I'm not sure I want to throw more money at this company just to see if they are no longer craptastic.  All that said, Wild Orchid applied easily and provided a pretty sparkle to my manicure.  It did however result in major tip wear over the day that I wore it and it was a bit of a pain to remove (which is typical with glitter polishes).

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

Harlow is a beautiful rich fuchsia polish that is stunning whether worn matte (as it applies from the bottle - as seen in the photo to the left) or shiny (with the application of a top coat - I inadvertently forgot to get a picture of Harlow with the top coat, but trust me that it is super pretty).  It looks like crushed velvet in its original matte form. 

Harlow was, unfortunately, a pain to apply.  The formula is rather thick and it dries very quickly.  This combination of characteristics results in a first coat of polish that is lumpy and streaky.  The second coat, when applied quickly, did fix up most of the mess though.  It took two coats to obtain opacity.  The wear on this polish was good, with only minor tip wear after two days (although the top coat was probably the major reason it didn't wear more at the tips, as other matte polishes in my collection are rather delicate).

18 April 2010

Video Games

My new toy (squeal!):

It's the Creative Vado HD Pocket Video Cam.  I have been wanting a small video camera for a while now (the camcorder we currently own was considered tiny at the time of purchase several years ago, but now seems like a lumbering giant - ahh, technological progress!).  I was looking for something tiny enough to fit into a pocket or purse, yet powerful enough to take great video.  It also had to be idiot proof and easy to figure out.  Then one day last week, I saw the Vado HD for sale online.  I mentioned it to my husband, gushing about how cool it was.  Unbeknown to me, he already had one on the way to me for my upcoming birthday*.  How does that man read my mind?  It got here on Friday and I have been playing with it ever since.

Well, let me tell you, this thing is great!  It's small (only 100g and smaller than a deck of cards), has a good amount of memory (8 GB) and it is so easy to use (I figured out how to use the camera and the software in no time flat).

Simon has already been the star of many an impromptu video shoot, with many more to come.  The poor dog won't be able to hiccup without me capturing it for posterity!!

*ETA:  Since I was asked in the comments, my birthday is May 5th.

12 April 2010

Lacquer Lundi

My hands have been taking a beating the last couple of weeks as I prepare my gardens for the impending growing season.  Yeah, I should probably wear gloves when I'm putzing around in the garden, but I like the feel of soil on my hands.  I enjoy the tactile experience too much to cover up my hands.  So, keeping my hands and cuticles moisturized becomes top priority.  Thank goodness for Mango Mend - I cannot say enough good things about this product.  I would be a crispy, crunchy mess without it.  Please note that I mention this only because I am a very satisfied customer.  The good people of Mango Mend have not asked me to shill for them.  However, if a few free tubs of Mango Mend mysteriously ended up on my doorstep, it wouldn't be the worst thing that happened.  Just sayin'.

Now, on to the pretties:

GOSH - Metallic Purple
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $6.00 CDN

Metallic Purple is a light lavender metallic polish - not surprising given the name, no?  I had very high hopes for this GOSH polish, as I have really liked every other GOSH polish that I have used.  Unfortunately, I ended up being disappointed.

The application of Metallic Purple is tricky.  The first coat goes on fine (a bit streaky, but not a big deal).  The second coat was the problem, as it tended to drag up the first coat during application, leaving gaping polish-less holes near the cuticle, which then had to be patched over.  Also, brush strokes are impossible to eliminate - I have never had a polish that was so ridgy looking on the nail - even my husband commented on the odd appearance.  Lastly, wear was horrid - I had major tip wear after only one day.  On a positive note, I did not have any chipping.

Revlon - Pretty in Papaya
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $5.49 CDN

Pretty in Papaya is a scented polish from last year's offerings (I hear that there is a new crop of scented polishes making their way to stores this spring).   It is a rich dark coral creme that smells fruity.  I'm sure if the scent is actually what papaya smells like, but regardless, it is a very pleasant scent that is not diminished by the application of a top coat.  However, the intensity of the scent did fade over the time I sported this manicure.

Pretty in Papaya applied nicely - easy to move around the nail and good consistency.  It covered in two coats (although there is still a very faint bit of visible nail line if you look really closely).  It wore well - only minor tip wear after two days. 

Avon Nailwear Pro - Golden Twilight
- purchased at Avon.ca for $3.99 CDN

Hello gorgeous!  Golden Twilight is a very dark brown/black base jammed packed with golden shimmer.  It is simply stunning on the nail.  So much so, that I had several people grab my hand for a closer inspection when I wore this polish.  This baby is unique in my collection.

Before I go on, let me take a moment to gush over Avon's polish offerings over the last couple of years.  The quality is high.  They have brought to market a decent range of colours - from traditional pinks to more fashion forward shades, like navy and yellow.  The price point is excellent.  All 'round great products.

Golden Twilight applied wonderfully, covered in two coats and wore very well, as I only had tip wear after three days.

10 April 2010

Enthralled by Spring

Not much sewing has being going on at Chez HZC (unless you count home dec sewing - more on that later) because spring has sprung in Southern Ontario.  I have been spending plenty of time in my gardens and I absolutely love this time of year.  Between the return of the migratory songbirds and the fresh green shoots of long dormant perennials pushing up out of the ground, it is a glorious time of year.  However, Mother Nature demands a price for all this beauty - yard work.  I have been weeding, pruning, moving plants and edging beds for the last couple of weekends and I still have to the mulch all the beds. But, spending time with my hands in the soil is meditative for me - the troubles of the world all melt away when I'm tending to my garden.

I am experimenting today with some larger photos.  All this garden glory looks so much more lush when it's super sized, don't you think?

5 April 2010

Lacquer Lundi

No chit chat today.  Straight to the pretties:

MAC - Blue India
- purchased at maccosmetics.ca for $14.50 CDN

Blue India is the result of a collaboration between MAC and Liberty of London (is it just me or does it seem that Liberty is in cahoots with everyone these days?) for Spring 2010.  This dark, dusty teal creme is one of two polish offerings in the collection (the other is a fairly nondescript white).  I love the colour of this polish; it fits in beautifully with the teals in my wardrobe.

Blue India applied nicely - good consistency, easy to move around the nail, decent brush (although I wish it was a tad wider) and good coverage, with two coats for opacity.  Wear was okay - I had very visible tip wear after two days, with no chipping.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Mellow Yellow
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.99 CDN

I was looking for a colour that screams warm days and sunny skies.  I got it in Mellow Yellow, a bright yellow creme.

Mellow Yellow, like most other yellow polishes is a problem child.  I applied three thick coats and still had bald spots and streaky areas.  I think a fourth coat would have remedied these issues, but with that much polish, my manicure may never have dried (as it was, the three thick coats took longer than normal).  If I had applied thin coats only, I probably would have had to use five.  This is too much trouble, so I settled for the less than optimum coverage.  Wear was good, with only tip wear after two days.

 OPI - Jade is the New Black
- purchased at Trade Secrets for $ 9.95 CDN

Jade is the New Black is from OPI's Spring 2010 Hong Kong collection.  It is a greyed down medium green creme that is a unique colour in my polish stash.  I don't have any other green quite like it.

Jade is the New Black applied nicely.  Good formula, nice wide brush, great pigmentation (covered perfectly in two coats).  Wear is decent - only tip wear after two days.

4 April 2010

Setting Sale

Every year when the robins return and the daffodils begin to bloom, I am compelled to buy luscious floral fabrics.  So when I saw that Fabric Mart (...my precious...) was having a 20% off sale for orders over $75 (and I could get a free fabric bundle and a free bra/camisole strap bundle), I was powerless to deny my flowery textile urges.

Can't you just see some of these lovelies made up into Emma-esque skirts and dresses?

3 April 2010

Settling In

Several readers have asked for a Simon update and I certainly don't want to disappoint anyone.  It has nothing to do with the fact that I think Simon is the sweetest little man ever put on Earth and that I can't help but blather on about him, given any opportunity.

So, let's see - I believe last time I posted about the Bean (Simon's nickname), he was to begin taking 70 mg of Vetoryl (trilostane) twice a day.  Since then, his ACTH stimulation tests have come back normal and his clinical signs have leveled off.  He now drinks about 2.0 L of water per day.  It is higher than the 0.7 L he was drinking last year at this time, but it's considerably better than the 3.5 L he was drinking four months ago.  At least now he sleeps through the night, instead of waking us to go outside five to eight times a night (can you say sleep deprivation?) as he was a few months back. Also, he can hold his urine longer during the day, so the in-house accidents have stopped.

The only down side is that the meds make his back legs very weak.  We used to go for almost daily hour long walks at a fast pace.  These days, Simon is tuckered out after 30 minutes at a fairly slow speed.  I'm hoping to build back up his rear leg muscles now that the warmer weather is coming back.

So, all in all, he is doing well and hopefully will continue to improve.

2 April 2010

Going in (Half) Circles

I have made vintage Simplicity 3881 in the past (see here and here).  It is a lovely half circle skirt that fits nicely and flatters my pear shape by remaining smooth and close fitting at the waist and flaring out over the hip.  So, when I was looking for the perfect pattern to use with a great piece of dusty yellow linen with a brown and blue plaid pattern (from Fabric Mart), this retro pattern came to mind instantly.

The trickiest part of the whole project was ensuring that the plaid lined up on each side seam.  However, with some careful cutting, a bit of patience and a ton of pins, the mission was accomplished.  The only other hitch was getting the skirt hemmed at the proper length all the way around.  A portion of the skirt is cut on the bias and after hanging for a few days (to allow the bias cut fabric to relax), I had a severely misshapen skirt. So, I just used my tape measure and measured down equal amounts from the waistband guaranteeing a perfectly level hem.

So, here's the finished product, all put together for work.  On top I have a pale yellow sleeveless sweater and a teal cardigan.  The cardigan is pinned together at the top with an over-sized dark peach enamel flower brooch (a gift from my Mom - she keeps me decked out in all sorts of gorgeous costume jewelery).  On my feet are a pair of brown leather sling back heels that sport an adorable little bow on the front.  These shoes were a purchased at Nine West several years ago.  At the time, the round toe look was just coming back in and I wasn't completely sold on the style (the 80s had trained my eye to see pointy toed pumps as the only fashionable choice).  I am so glad I didn't pass these shoes up though, as they have been a great addition to my wardrobe. 

Isn't it funny how odd a new style can seem when you first see it?  If you're like me, you vow that you will never wear the new style and dismiss it.  Then, after a few weeks (or months or years), when your eye becomes more accustomed to the look, you start to warm up to the new fashion.  I was like this with capris, platform heels and big scarves as indoor wear.  Now, I can't imagine going without.

So, dear reader, any fashion trends that initially struck you as horrid, only to later become some of your favourites?