Thursday, February 26, 2015

Random Acts of Manicure - Storm's End

A complicated deep bronze manicure accented with stormy teal blue.

This is the trailing edge of a sudden summertime storm - roiling backlit clouds on one side of the horizon, rainbows on the other.

Nail Nation 3000 custom artisan 5free polish sucked me in with the a dead sexy purple glitter holo and caught me tight with my love of pets (and flakies).

This particular polish is part of the Rainbow Bridge collection where each rainbow drenched colour is named after a different beloved pet. A brief story of each namesake is listed on the site, and well, I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

Penny's Holo is a sort of bronzed coffee tone which is very clearly PACKED with rainbowy goodness. I've been really into bronzes lately and Spectraflair is my JAM, so I really couldn't resist. It was a little darker/browner than I had expected when all was said and done, but still a gorgeous colour. It does seem to photograph a bit toward the bronze/olive side here but the pics on the site are fairly true.

It chipped fairly fast but I didn't use the Gelous nail coat for this mani and frankly I think my topcoat is aging out. Everything I wear is chipping within two days right now so I'm reserving judgement on longevity for the moment. The formula was surprisingly dense and could have possibly even covered in one coat if I had laid it on thick.

The stormy teal is Fashionista, which is the Revlon dupe for Essie 782 Go Overboard I mentioned in my last post. I think the accent really perked up the cooler tones in the spectraflair. It went on a little thinner than the Essie but it covers beautifully in two coats and seemed to have reasonable longevity. I actually tend to find Essie polishes a bit odd to work with texturally but they finish beautifully and wear well.

Bonus: sometimes removing colours with Spectraflair in them is a bit of a fight but this came off nicely.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Were you been all my life iCarousel Nail Polish Book App?

Inadvertent dupes. I think we've all done it.

You're in the drugstore, there's a polish you've been kind of stalking for a while but that brand is never on sale except just this once it's buy one get one 50% off.

You snatch up the holo glitter laden object of your affection and spy another shade that's pretty snazzy now-that-you-mention-it and finally you get it home to realize it's SO snazzy.....

...that you already had one just like it (but maybe even a better formulation) and now you have a dupe. If you pulled the labels off your swatch sticks you'd be hard pressed to match them back up correctly but it probably wouldn't matter anyway, they're that close.

I've been doing swatch sticks for all of my polishes which has helped identify holes pretty well, but that doesn't really help when you're at the store staring at those polish racks thinking "that's right I needed a different teal" but trying to remember if you have THE ONE PARTICULAR variation of teal you have in front of you. Heck, I recently ended up with two bottles of the same shade of Superman blue. Thankfully it was a cheapie (Sinful Colors Endless Blue, in particular) but still a waste, and also not the first time I've done it.

Luckily as a problem solving hominid with an exorbitant mobile phone bill which I might as well get the most out of I have cataloging tools at my disposal the likes of which the world has never seen! I did a search for IOS nail polish apps and immediately found Nail Polish Book which has pretty handily solved the entire issue.

These images ganked from the app's iTunes listing
If you like me are into fussy levels of organization this may well be the perfect tool for you. Well, except for the laborious data entry part. That kind of stinks and I'm only about halfway done, but I figure that's my penance for having so much polish. The data entry is pretty easy, you can add your own notes, and get in to individual entries after the fact to edit with ease. Sorting is easy by any number of parameters, and results show both visual and text. Bonus: it searches in notes so you could set up a whole extra keyword system if you like. I really like that you can add your own entries to the shades listing, For example I felt the need to add "effect topcoats", "flakies" "multicolour glitters" and "crellies" as groupings as I find those items really don't group well by overall colour.

This is a screenshot from my phone, even here those two polishes are grouped together!


I can only think of a few features to add.
First and foremost while I appreciate that it natively groups "shades" together I really like to see my stuff in carefully curated rainbow order so tweakable item ordering would be AWESOME. That said, this app is super handy for note keeping and shopping, but for actual in the moment "what colour am I going to use today" decisions I will probably continue using my swatch sticks, which I already keep on binder rings in rainbow order so that's not THAT big of a deal.
I just figure if I'm going to be fussy I might as well go all out. 

It would seem I really like cool pinks and aquas.
It would be cool to have some kind of pre-filled reference-able database because lazy and because sometimes my pics don't come out quite right. You can however add pics from your photo album, so if I found a better pic online I'd just have to save it to my phone first. 

Finally I am slightly concerned over what would happen to my data if I lost/traded in this phone because entering my collection has been a fairly big time sink and I can't tell if this is data backed up anywhere other than locally on my phone.

So yeah, if you have too much nail polish, a fussy personality, and an IOS friendly device, get on that. I don't see a direct Android version but there seems to be a similar product. I haven't tried that one out though so caveat emptor.

*I am not being compensated in any way for this review. Stumbled on this one on my own.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February subscription un-boxing-palooza

I've been really lazy about sharing my subscription box stuff this month but I got the necessary kick in the butt to get it out there via an unexpected gift box. As a result you get the motherlode of unboxing posts!

February Glossybox
Yesterday I received this box quite mysteriously as an unannounced gift from a dear friend. I know she's been exceedingly happy with the stuff she has gotten so I had been thinking about subscribing to Glossybox for a while. I'm taking this as a sign and I finally took the plunge to subscribe this morning.

I'm pretty psyched about the stuff in this box and the sample sizing is clearly VERY generous.

  • Unwash Bio Cleansing Conditioner
  • Royal Apothic Tinties Lip Butter in Pink
  • Rituals Cosmetics Foaming Shower Gel Sensation in “Yogi Flow”
  • Julep Polish in “Heartleigh”
  • Dr Lili Fan Probiotic Eye Serum
Misses- I think the only item I'm passing on here is the shower gel. It smells interesting (very reminiscent of the Nubian Heritage Honey & Black Seed line) but I've found my chemistry tends to make smells like that unbearably strong. I also have to avoid cleansing products with ALS or SLS because I have eczema and if my skin dries out too much I get hives.

Hits- I'm extra psyched for the cleansing conditioner because of exactly the same skin sensitivities! The nail polish seems to have a nice dense glitter concentration and I like the giant red heart glitters. The lip balm is a really intense shade of deep bubble gum pink and though I'm not sure if it will work on me I'm always up for a new shade, and moisturizers are always fun to play with.

February Birchbox
  • Juice Beauty® Blemish Clearing Cleanser
  • Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Wash
  • theBalm® cosmetics Read My Lips™ Lip Gloss in BAM! Rose pink
  • beautyblender + mini solid cleanser
  • BeeKind™ Conditioner
Misses- One definite and one maybe miss here - the body wash is another formulation my skin would not like and while I do tend to like TheBalm products I feel like I get a gloss in roughly the same colour every other month!

Hits-VERY psyched about the beautyblender since I've been considering picking one up for a while, and the conditioner and face wash should be fun to play with. I am a little annoyed I can't smell either one without unsealing them.

February Glambag


  • CARGO Cosmetics Mini Lip Gloss in Anguilla
  • Eva NYC Up All Night Volumizing Spray
  • Luxie Beauty Large Angled Face Brush 504
  • ModelCo BLUSH Cheek Powder in Peach Bellini
  • "Pencil Me In" Cosmetics Natural Eye Liner Pencil in Amethyst

Misses - the Cargo lip gloss. Remember what I said above about lip glosses? Yeah, enough with the warm pink glosses! Also not too psyched on the purple eye pencil. It's a nice purple, but between my preference for crisp liquid liners and my oily eyelids I don't get much mileage out of them.

Hits - Hair styling samples are always welcome so I'm happy about the spray though since it does seem pretty strongly scented I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of it.  I have no idea if the blush is going to work on me, but its a colour I don't have so it should be fun to try. The angled brush is made specifically for contouring and that is going RIGHT into the tool kit as I've been kind of making do with other brushes so far.

Friday, February 20, 2015

My sagging what?!?!

Taking a spin through Groupon a little while ago and I saw this product and my first reaction was

"Really!?!?! Ear perfect? Ear lifts??? Now I supposedly have to worry about how my EARS are aging???"

Thankfully I clicked through to take a closer look because it gave me a fair amount of food for thought.

180 Count of Ear Perfect Instant Ear Lift Patches

The first note on the box and item description is "Designed for stretched or torn earlobes". WHEW!

I don't have a problem with the idea of self improvement or modification, but I do have a problem with products which make bank by making people feel bad about perfectly normal aspects of humanity like aging. Sadly this is pretty much the base purpose of advertising so a bit hard to avoid entirely, but nonetheless it's important to know what forces are being leveraged against one's happiness and/or health (for a frank but fantastic example of this have a look into the modern history of my favorite insult - douche). 

I've had my ears pierced since I was very young and torn earlobes are DEFINITELY one of my lizard brain fears. For just about as long as I can remember I have been wearing the same style of tiny hoop earrings which release easily if they get caught on things. I actually feel like my face looks kind of wrong if I wear other styles of earring.

Earception earrings (click this caption for source)

It's pretty cool to know that here are alternatives to plastic surgery if you have torn lobes and want to wear regular earrings. I imagine these patches would also be helpful for anyone who is not used to the weight of really heavy earrings.

And of course not forgetting the number of people currently running around with intentionally stretched earlobes who can use these stickies to expand the number of earring styles they can wear.

It's funny when you think of the ripple effects that different fashion choices may have years down the line. Growing up in a fairly conservative home I was always warned against permanent mods because of the effects they may have on my future, but at this point tattoos and piercings have become so ubiquitous the job market is pretty much going to HAVE to accept altered individuals.

I expect we're going to start seeing more stuff like this in regular rotation. It makes me wonder what other body mod friendly products we are going to start seeing - not necessarily hiding the mods - but adjusting to a life where they are commonplace.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cheese Plate Update Two (Electric Boogaloo)

We interrupt your not terribly regular broadcast for more cheese!

I have about eight more cheeses I could discuss - and that's not even counting my February cheese of the month offerings - but I figure four per post is more than enough. It's not like cheese reviews are going to go bad.

In other cheese related news I've started poking at baking a bit more so I'm excited to try a cracker recipe I found which was designed specifically to showcase cheese and I'm looking for a nice baguette recipe, because baguette.

(from ) Comté has a floral aroma with nutty fudge flavors developing in the more mature cheese. The taste is full of nuts and toffee with a lovely long and salty finish. Older cheeses take on a strong, farmyard-like character. The cheese has a thin beige rind which thickens and hardens as the cheese matures.

I've recently had both an older and a younger comte and per my usual preferences the older was the favorite by far.  Aging gives this cheese a savory fullness  (an om nom nom ness, you might say) that I particularly enjoy. I do think the younger would be an ideal choice for introducing someone to the kind of stuff you can't order from the average deli. It has a touch of that Emmental brightness (aka that classic "Swiss Cheese" flavor) but is otherwise really smooth and mild so it presents some nice complexity without being overwhelming.

(from Jarlsberg is a mild, semi-soft cow’s milk cheese of Norwegian origin. Created by Anders Larsen Bakke, it resembles a Swiss Emmental with distinctive, open and irregular ‘eyes’. Many a times Jarlsberg is marketed as a Swiss cheese because of its characteristics, though it tends to be sweeter and stronger than Emmentaler.
Beneath the yellow-wax rind of Jarlsberg is a semi-firm yellow interior that is buttery, rich in texture with a mild, nutty flavour... Since the cheese melts so well, Jarlsberg tastes delicious on sandwiches, fondues, quiches and on hot dishes.

This initially stuck me as extremely nutmeg-y! A little more of that "Swiss cheese" bite, but well balanced out by a lot of sweetness and butter. Pleasantly chewy and firm so I'll happily forgo any kind of cracker or fruit to nosh on this all by its lonesome, though I have to be really careful doing that as I'll end up eating ridiculous swaths of it in endless stream of "just one more paper thin slice".

Beemster Goat
(from Beemster Goat cheese, aged for 4 months, smooth & regresing has a wonderfully clean, sweet taste. Decidedly different from fresh chèvre, this cheese is sure to please even those who are not goat cheese connoisseurs, making it the perfect introductory cheese for consumers new to the goat category.

Again decidedly nutmeggy! Quite creamy and fresh with only a little goatyness (more in the aftertaste than anything) but I can't help but feel like I would like this MUCH better if it were aged long enough to bring out more caramel and add some of those neat crunchy crystals into the texture.

Pittig, 4 year old Gouda 
Extra aged gouda - 4 years
Pasteurized Cow's Milk
From the Netherlands

Traditional Rennet
An almost toffee-like sweetness brings to mind fresh cows’ milk and accentuates notes of nuttiness in this versatile aged Gouda that is a perfect table cheese and can add wondrous flavor to your favorite sandwich. Hints of butterscotch also make Pittig an ideal selection as a dessert cheese.  

This is, to put it plainly, my jam.

Every time I have an aged Gouda I fall a little more in love, so I held on to this one from my holiday cheese gifts knowing it would be something special and I was RIGHT. I found this to be very salty and kind of popcorn-y but I DID eat it with a rather sweet Jazz apple. I can see how that would read as butterscotch with a more neutral accompaniment.