Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nail Art Challenge #8 - Showers/Flowers

A springy ombré manicure in shades of soft lilac.

I'm so excited to see the violets and hyacinths finally starting to bloom around here so I decided to go all out purple this week and break out a pre-packaged ombré set I had bought over the winter.

Overall this looks pretty good, but I'm not thrilled by the base shade. The colour on my thumb (which I usually call muddy or mauvey lilac) is one of the very few shades that REALLY don't look good on me. I had been hoping it would come out brighter, but such is the way with internet buying. I will probably re-use the darker shades and the glitter but the lighter ones I suspect will get pretty dusty, though I did use them in the Muppet mani.
It's lucky I just happened to be really bored sitting in my car for a little bit this afternoon and used the opportunity to take a few shots in natural sunlight because my regular camera doesn't capture this colour family well AT ALL. This is fairly true to colour on my monitor if *slightly* washed out, on my camera this shifted to a very blue periwinkle->indigo ombré.

The polishes are not really great quality and if you ever wondered what people were talking about when they mention Seche Vite shrinkage, my middle finger is a fantastic example. The colour actually shrank at BOTH ends despite adding a layer of the Gelous on top. It's very hard to get the proper coverage without flooding your cuticles. I am going to have to remember to glob on more and cleanup with a fine brush and remover afterward.

I still feel that the Seche is worth it for that shine and the fact that I was able to pull my laundry out of the dryer within half an hour of finishing. It also completely smoothed over the fact that my nails are kind of a peel-y mess under all of that polish.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jus Cleanse - the long view

A week later, my view on the Jus by Julie three day cleanse.

Day One - Jus by Julie Cleanse - Three juiced up days
Day Two - Jus Head

I'm not a fan of cold drinks, or bananas, or really sweet things, or tannic/astringent aftertastes, or drinking lots of liquid... 

Okay, so in retrospect maybe this was not the best idea for me. 

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I do want to start by saying that I never felt underfed. As much as I wanted to eat food at points, that all seemed to be issues of missing the texture or flavor of my normal eats. The only times I felt hungry were the two points where I was significantly delayed in starting my next drink on time and that went away immediately once I got to my supply. If anything I found my drinking "schedule" kept skewing late because of a combination of being a slow drinker and not being terribly thrilled by the flavors.

I'm kind of glad I did it now, but there were points I was definitely not having fun.

The first issue was thawing. I took out Sunday's supply pretty early on Saturday evening and put it in the fridge to thaw. I woke upon Sunday expecting a cold but immediately drinkable breakfast and found six blocks of ice. It wasn't the biggest deal, but it did put quite a delay on breakfast. I didn't want to heat up the juices too much so I carefully thawed them in warm water baths. If it had been a work day I would have been pretty much screwed.

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, FILE)
I also got to experience my biggest dose of food jealousy that night, The Fiance and I met my Mom and Best (Wo)man at the wedding venue to get some pics and measurements, and afterward we went out to dinner. I got to watch them tackle a massive plate of nachos and their delicious smelling entrees while I nursed a lemon water. It's probably best that happened day one and not day three or I probably would have cheated.  

Monday daytime was okay, but the evening was VERY unpleasant. The giant headache I mentioned in my last post was compounded by a hefty dose of  carsickness-style nausea. My mouth also felt like it was lined in moss. Anything outside of lying very quietly in bed with my head slightly elevated became pretty much out of the question. Supposedly the headache and nausea are among the expected "detox" effects of juice cleanses.  It's pretty ironic that this thing that is supposed to make you feel better can make you feel so very terrible. Happily I had no *ahem* gastrointestinal problems at any point. Even when I felt nauseous it was all head nausea rather than belly nausea.

Tuesday was WAY better but I did get a brief nasty headache again in the late afternoon. I also had to talk myself out of the idea of eating a real food once I was done with the last drink *cough*several times*cough*.

Last gulp of the last drink.
Yes I was excited enough to immortalize this.

I am not a fan of tanking my digestive system so, as much as I kind of wanted to throw Fondue Fest 2014 on Wednesday, I ate very light for the first couple of days after the cleanse.

The aftermath:

I dropped 6.5 pounds over the course of those three days and I've actually managed to maintain that so far.
I think that weight was sort of "extra" winter weight (and by that I mean all my pants fit properly now!) and I have been eating somewhat better since so it seems to have been a good reset in that regard. I seem to be happy with smaller portions, I'm making smarter decisions about snacks, and I'm taking more time to make sure I have good meals available rather than trusting that I'll find "something". 

My friend who did this cleanse and is big into sweets was hoping to tone down her sweet tooth but didn't feel it had done much in that regard. I didn't feel like I had to tone down on the sweets but that's exactly what has happened. I felt like I was drowning in ripe banana the whole time so while I wouldn't turn down something like a cookie from scratch, I'm now actively disinterested in prepackaged sweet junk. I tried to drink some Cherry Coke yesterday and got exactly one sip down. I don't even put sugar in my coffee anymore!

I haven't tested this since, but I had one mini bag of Doritos on Friday which tasted oddly cardboardy and disappointing. I'm very torn on the idea of not eating Doritos as they are kind of a double edged sword. I find them so tasty I can go through a large bag  in one sitting.

My skin looked *great* during the cleanse and my lips were particularly soft. It was a fantastic reminder that hydration makes a real difference.

I would not do this particular cleanse again due to the unrelenting sweetness, but I would definitely buy blends by the Jus by Julie company if I had a local source. I'm actually pretty sad I didn't get to try the Island Coconut blend at all.

The juices themselves - Day one

I guess it was tolerable but it was a lot sweeter than expected. All of the "green" drinks left a strong astringent sensation in the mouth afterward which got REALLY old.
ACK - VERY SPICY for me but flavor-wise pretty good. It actually didn't taste mapley at all and the lemon was pleasantly tart without being too sour. I was hoping the spicy would get easier to tolerate as the days passed but if anything it got worse.
The headaches started during this juice all three days. This really is pretty sweet, I really wasn't previously aware of how much I dislike sweets. I was however previously aware that I dislike both mango and banana. Bleah. Of all the drinks to have twice in one day this is the last one I would have picked.
Not bad flavor wise but but the texture was kind of a miss. The fruit pulp kept precipitating out of the liquid. It probably would have been way better if left icy enough to be a smoothie. The flavor was a bit too banana for me to actually enjoy it.

One of the more okay flavors. I pretty much live on nuts and seeds - peanut butter in particular, so even sweetened this was a sort of a flavor oasis in the midst of things I dislike. It tasted like a banana flavored Bit O Honey candy and I could really feel my body responding to the GLORIOUS PROTEIN.
After a full day of fruity juices this got hard to finish.

Day two was the same as one with the exception of #5 which was

This was not bad at all, it read like a chocolate shake. I didn't really taste the strawberry and for once the banana wasn't overwhelming 

Day three was the same as one with the exception of #4 which was
Probably the only one I actually enjoyed and would seek out again. This was a really nice tart "red berry" flavored lemonade. It would be a pretty amazing drink mixer.

Disclaimer: I paid for this entirely out of pocket and have had no contact from or affiliation with the Jus by Julie company or any related entities outside of the actual purchase.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nail Art Challenge #7 - Bowie-spiration

No, of course I didn't do the lightning bolt, everyone does the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt.

If that is the sum and total of your exposure to the visual world of Bowie I recommend pouring a big glass of wine and parking yourself in front of google image search and youtube for an evening of amazing.

People often refer to Bowie as a chameleon, but that implies that he blends in or adapts to whats around him. For the better part of 50 years Bowie has MADE what is around him.

And he was awful nice, really quite out of sight. 
And he sang all night long

As much as I love Thin White Duke era Bowie it's a hard look to express in nail polish *laughs*, so I decided to go Ziggy Stardust era and used this stunning Kabuki inspired look in fuchsia, white and gold as my muse.

I started with a base of gold and did a half moon mani with white. I then edged that half moon by sponging on a coppery glitter in a black base (Sparks Fly) and sponged pink on to the tips.

This was fraught with technical difficulties. It was my first attempt at using a sponge and the polishes I used weren't really suited for what I was trying to make them do.

I had to put so many layers of white there was a really visible step down and a very stark white edge.

I managed to cover much of that with a detail brush and more of the Sparks Fly but it was still a bit messy for my tastes.

My attempts at test swatching that black did not prepare me for how sooty it would look.

The pink came out about how I wanted though it is a bit more solid in real life. It got kind of washed out in this shot.

My cuticles were also an utter mess afterward and it was a LOT of effort getting them clean. My dislike of cuticle cleaning is a MAJOR motivator in keeping a steady hand while painting so this will probably not be a go-to technique for me.

I do like how the topcoat brought out the fine copper glitter though, and I'm looking forward to revisiting that polish under better circumstances.

I've picked up what will hopefully be a better white for future attempts (Essie Blanc) and when I do hit the sponges again I will investigate ways to "tape off" my cuticles first.

For more amazing Bowie nail art check out this pile of posts form MonkeyNailArt (just scroll on past the penguins, or don't, they were cute too).

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jus head

I have kind of a giant headache tonight so no big update on the Juicing.

Though perhaps that *is* the update on the juicing?

I've now had all but one juice flavor and I can say so far that it's not horrible and I can see this working pretty well for some people, but I personally won't be doing this again. 

I can say however that my skin does seem to be appreciating it and I still have not had much in the way of hunger issues.

More post when I'm not freezing and huddling with the cats in dim lighting.

I will leave you with this pic of tomorrow's spicy lemonade drink thawing on the stove. See that dark bit at the top? That's where all the solids collected before freezing. 

That warm orange tinge is from all the cayenne pepper. 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Jus by Julie Cleanse - Three juiced up days

Trying something a little different this week and I figured I'd share. A friend of mine did a three day juice cleanse a couple of weeks ago and I decided to give it a shot, so I'm going to do a few posts here over the next few days about how I'm doing on it.

I had a roommate that would do the Master Cleanse from time to time and that is just WAAAAAYY too much cleanse for me. A) I don't tolerate spicy things very well B) All you get to ingest is spicy C) Did I mention spicy? Enough about that though, on to what I'm actually doing.

Clicky this logo for the Jus home page

I liked this cleanse because it doesn't involve any sort of *ahem* flushing - I'm going to let you research that for yourself, it's only three days long, you can have coffee or tea in moderation which is MEGA IMPORTANT for me, it's aimed at health rather than weight loss, and you're drinking different things throughout the day.

Basically you get eighteen bottles of various blended juices designed to be spread out over the three days. You drink them in the order listed on the bottles. There are a couple of change-ups, but for the most part each day is the same set of six juices. Here's their FAQ for more detailed information.

The cleanse is fairly expensive, $150.00 before discount (plus shipping) for three days. My friend had gotten a Groupon deal which was expired by the time I looked but I did find a Living Social deal for it. That is also now expired but I'm sure if you keep an eye out another will pop up.

I set up have my juices delivered this past Friday, and they came in a rather nice insulated bag which I put in the freezer to keep the juices good until today when I planned to use them (remember this bit, it will come up later).

My day got mega delayed today between getting up late and a field trip to my wedding venue for measurements, so I'm currently only on my fourth of the six blends. While I'll leave reviews of the individual juices for tomorrow I will say that it is both very filling and ENTIRELY too sweet for my tastes.

Oh, and you better like bananas (Spoiler alert: guess who doesn't like bananas).