Monday, July 25, 2016

Christmas in July: China Glaze Meet Me Under the Stars

Another ChG today -- hopefully you won't mind! I think I wrote before that I was super into China Glaze Twinkle (Holiday 2014) this past holiday season, so much so that I ended up trying out 4 from that collection. Meet Me Under the Stars wound up being my actual Christmas NOTD. A little ho-hum compared to other holiday polishes, perhaps, but I loved the look.

Three coats with SV.

So, not exactly my best set of photos ... but eh. It's something, I guess.

Silver microglitter in a black jelly base miiiight not be the most original idea, and maybe not something you'd expect to see in a holiday collection (well ... a holiday that isn't Halloween). I would say that compared to a polish like Orly Goth, the glitters in Meet Me Under the Stars are more dense and packed together. It's also pretty interesting in that its black jelly base leans ever so slightly blue, since most black jellies have a touch of brown IMO. Finally, I believe the microglitters technically are holo glitters, but they're much too small and faint most of the time that it's not going to be an issue for the 1% of you who, like me, aren't wild about holos.

Upon second use, the formula on my bottle is a little bit thick, which I don't mind since it's easier to thin a polish than try to thicken it up. You'll need three coats to get this opaque (you might have VNL or a bald patch at two), but each coat dries fairly quickly. I'm also happy to report that while Meet Me Under the Stars doesn't dry completely smooth, it isn't a thirsty glitter, so a Gelous glitter sandwich won't be necessary, either. I can't remember how long I wore this one, but I want to say it was somewhere between one week and two weeks because I was busy and too lazy to change my polish. I'm pretty sure it chipped sometime before the end of Week 1 but it must not have been bad enough for me to warrant removal for a while. I just remember being stoked that this polish made it for one week and survived Christmas Eve dinner prep -- I've been taking a more active role in helping prep my family's holiday dinners, so a polish that doesn't look worse for the wear is a huge deal for me.

K, this is all I have for a ~Christmas in July post. Do any of you guys have this polish, or any favorites from ChG Twinkle? Are there certain holiday polishes you find yourself reaching for year-round? Anyone else making their holiday gift lists early this year? I swear I'm gonna start gift shopping soon, because time always sneaks up on me in the end ... and getting an early start doesn't hurt when you're trying to stretch your gift budget. Some of my friends are a little more challenging to shop for than others but maybe 2016 is the year everyone gets a Funko, haha.

Hope you guys have been enjoying this month -- I can't believe it's almost over! This week was pretty lame ... I got sick and binged all of "Jane the Virgin" (love, love, LOVE the Latin Lover Narrator, my new favorite TV narrator since Jim Dale on "Pushing Daisies") and "Wet Hot American Summer" (finally), and I'm really excited about a new library book that just came in (Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt). So yeah, I guess I have that going for me.

OH! One more thing ... I noticed that some hashtags on Instagram, including a couple of my personal ones, quit working halfway through last week. WTF? I know there's always this + the bevy of censored/banned tags, but lol please. I only noticed when SMA's hashtag stopped showing everything except Top Posts, and then a day later with my nails tag. Again ... huh??? I don't know that this warrants sending a bug report and so I suppose I could always wait for things to go back to normal ... but if any of you who are IG-/tech-savvy could enlighten me (specifically as to whether the error is on my end or IG's), I'd be very much obliged. Many thanks in advance!

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gift of Fab: China Glaze Meet Me in the Mirage

I'm still weak for gold, no question. But it occurred to me that I hadn't worn a rose gold polish in a while, so I was stoked to try this one that Janice sent me last month.

I tend to not go for rose gold polishes as much as I go for other varieties of gold, because I think rose gold doesn't really pop on me like gold or copper do. I feel like you have to be either super melanin-deficient or super melanin-abundant (is this even a term? w/e) to make rose gold look good. My parents' friend actually is very fond of wearing rose gold polish (I think she was wearing one the last time they got together), and it looks incredible on her darker skin. On me, it's kind of ... just there? However, I am not one to kick a metallic foil out of my stash without the benefit of a test run.

I'm sure I've said this before, but I love metallic foils because they're like instant finger bling you don't have to worry about losing or being allergic to. I will never not feel this way.

Three coats with SV.

My skin is more yellow than it appears to be in these pictures, but that's okay because this foil is such a beauty. I know I don't have the fanciest and nicest of (phone) cameras, but you can see the blend of pale rose and silver particles here. Not sure how this compares to other rose gold foils, although I've heard it's a fairly neutral one. I also think this polish would come in handy for nail art. And if you enjoy polishes that are very evocative of their names, then you'll enjoy this polish for sure. The foil finish and the word "mirage" are so perfect!

Also perfect: the formula. As with most foils, you can get good coverage in one coat, but I think it looks a pinch more rich at two, you know? Its dry time with Seche was indeed fast, and a weekend of wear was surprisingly good -- no chips, just a hint of tip wear.

Meet Me in the Mirage was the only foil in China Glaze's six-piece Desert Escape collection from last summer. Now this collection wasn't exactly easy to find last summer since it was exclusively available on the Lock and Mane site, not at Ulta, and only available as a mini set or in nail art sets at Sally's (though strangely, I did come upon two full-size Desert Escape shades at TJ Maxx). If you DO want it now, though, you should be able to find it on Amazon and eBay. I will say that the colors and finishes in Desert Escape aren't especially unique compared to the Great Outdoors and Cheers collection palettes, but they undoubtedly are THE nicest polishes that you could want in those particular colors and finishes. I'm so excited about inheriting this set -- thanks, Janice! :D

Edited to add that this polish is in the core ChG display at Ulta, along with The Heat is On (the red creme) and What's She Dune (the nude creme).

Any thoughts on Meet Me in the Mirage, rose golds vs. other golds, or your favorite metallic shades for summer? What about Desert Escape? Let me know if you're interested in seeing another DE shade -- save for one color, I think I might be able to get some decent photos.

Hope everyone's July is going well. Sans some family stuff, mine's been pretty boring so far, but things are about to get kicked up a notch because I impulse bought a ticket to see Eddie Izzard on his "Force Majeure" tour next week. Also, there's this.

To borrow from small business owner Dave Rose (RIP, "Happy Endings"), I've officially gone #gradschooldark. First, I need a math tutor because how does math work? You gotta understand, I bombed the math portion of my SATs back in the day -- my math scores kept getting lower despite attending SAT math prep twice a week. Even my instructor was like, "WTF?" I'm freaking out. Second, I feel like I'm putting the cart before the horse a little bit here because while my intended degree program at my prospective school doesn't require GRE scores, certain certificate programs that are offered in conjunction with other departments do require GRE scores. And as luck would have it, I'm heavily interested in those certificate programs. >___< I'm going to have to go down to the university and speak with someone about all this. I'm scared, y'all. So if you feel like sending good math vibes or some courage my way, I sure would appreciate it. Thanks in advance, and thanks for reading! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 years! + Wet n Wild Mega Last Poppy Culture

Happy fifth birthday to Stuff! When I started this blog, my initial projection was that I'd do it for a couple of years, tops, and then fade out as my life picked back up, which seems to be the way most blogs go these days. The mediums have changed, too -- there are far more vlogs/YouTube channels, pins, and Instagram accounts now than there were five years ago.

I'm glad I kept this space, though. Because of this blog, I've made some wonderful personal connections; in particular, getting to know other nail enthusiasts for the last five years, whether you came from NB or other blogs, has been so fun. It's also hard to think of a time when I wasn't constantly in contact with some of the women who have become dear friends (in fact, I'm planning to visit Janice this fall!). Because of this blog, I had a semi-creative outlet, gained new perspectives on website maintenance and content creation, and of course I've definitely schooled myself in polish -- all good things for which I always will be grateful as I hurtle toward my 30s and, most likely, another career change.

My very first post was about a Chanel. Five years later, I find it funny that I'm not quite able to get away from drugstore polishes! You know how it is, you run in to grab a water or whatever, and then you detour by the cosmetics ... They're such cheap thrills. And in all honesty, I've had generally better wear results with my Wet n Wild Mega Last polishes than with some of my Chanels. I can't knock that!

I wanted to post a polish that would double as a good July Fourth polish and a fun blogiversary? blogaversary? pick, so a warm red seemed safe. But the name of this LE Wet n Wild from the Mega Last line really sealed the deal, because HELLO, HAVE YOU READ THIS BLOG? Emoji heart eyes, motherfucker! I'm sure Poppy Culture has dupes -- it gave me Essie Color Binge vibes -- but ... $1.99! I think I passed up a Mountain Dew for this. Whatever. Worth it.

Three coats with SV.

(had to sharpen this one. sorry if it looks grainy or weird)

Not the most original color, but I don't mind. Like Color Binge, this red is heavy on the orange but also retains a hint of coral. In that sense, Poppy Culture isn't tonally close to other poppy shades I've got in my stash, since those tend to be deeper (e.g., SH CSM Perfectly Poppy + Joe Fresh Poppy); nor would I consider this a tomato red. The formula on this creme is wonderful and for its original price point, you'd be hard pressed to find a better polish with this quality. So while I might not have a lot to say about this polish, I'm pretty happy with it.

My wear was just OK with this since I did a fair amount of washing stuff and food prep. After three days, I had tip wear, SV scuffs, and most of the polish on my chippy finger had peeled right off. That was fun. But I think that's par for the course right now with food prep & my weird chip-prone nail, so I won't hold it against Poppy Culture.

Poppy Culture was one of four Mega Last polishes included in the LE Lost in the Wild Flowers collection, which I started seeing in April, so I don't know if you'd be able to walk into your closest Walgreens and still find it. If you're still hankering for this, though, this is on sale on the Wet n Wild website, and make sure you check the clearance section at Walgreens, Rite Aid, or even Kmart (Kmart beauty clearance MAJORLY came through for me earlier this spring, and after that I will never skip it if I'm close to one that might have what I want!).

Maybe not the most exciting blog birthday post, but I thought a late one would be better than not having one at all, or glossing over it completely, which is what I did last year and not totally fair to something brought me some joy for several years. So thank you for reading, commenting, emailing, and swapping polish with me, or just RAOKing it because you're that nice. Thank you for every follow and every repin and every like on IG. Thank you for making these past five years a little more special for me to look back on. It's meant more than I can say. <3

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gift of Fab: Essie Taj-Ma-Haul

A couple of weekends ago, I was at my best friend's house for a late Saturday night muffin baking date (as you do). As we waited for the muffins to rise, she produced this Essie from out of nowhere and told me that maybe this color would look better on me than it did on her. She'd picked it up on mega-clearance at Ulta, and for $1.97, why not? I'd seen this one floating around as well and kept passing on it because I didn't know if I could pull off this color, but when K handed it to me, I was interested to see how it would do.

The verdict? Well, I wore Taj-Ma-Haul last weekend, and I still don't know where I am on it. I only know that this will look INCREDIBLE on ladies with yellow/olive/tan/dark skin tones! My hands & fingers do get a bit red sometimes, which makes this tricky for me. But I don't think it looks *too* terrible, y/n?

Three coats with SV.

In reality, this polish has more of a faded look than these pictures show. In certain lights, it can be a little more vibrant, but it won't encroach on tangerine territory. The official Essie description touts this as "spicy marigold apricot," which I suppose is true ... although I did get some overripe cantaloupe vibes from it. Definitely a unique shade to the Essie catalog, and for summer in general.

Nearly all of the Essie Resort 2016 reviews praised Taj-Ma-Haul's formula, which was encouraging. Only ... not so much? I don't know if my/our bottle was weird or if it was just too humid for my Gelous base coat or what, but I did not have the same "TWO EASY COATS!" experience everyone else seems to have had. Nope, I really needed three, especially when I noticed that this didn't dry as quickly in between coats as I'm used to with Essie cremes, because when I went back I got some pooling on the second coat, which was not cool. Um ... what even. Normally I wouldn't be annoyed because this is fairly par for the course with some polishes, but I was annoyed because I wasn't expecting to have to deal with it. Had this been a streaky mint pastel, I could understand. It was just weird when almost everyone is like "omg so good, such a flawless formula, y'all!" But if this is the worst thing I can say about this polish then I guess that's not the end of the world. I had this on for four days with average wear and one chip, not too shabby for a weekend of salad prep and housecleaning (and "Sense8" bingeing).

Essie Resort 2016 showed up kinda early this year, I wanna say around March?? (not as early as Resort 2014, though, which I saw in JANUARY of that year), so you might be able to score it on clearance or at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Personally I wasn't as wowed by the Resort 2016 palette this year, especially knowing it's inspired by India ... when I think OPI's SPRING 2008 India collection had more stunning and memorable polishes, then ... I dunno. Just a thought. I did score two other Essie Resort 2016s on clearance, but Essie has put out two other summer collections since this one, which probably is old hat by now.

Thanks to Krysi for gifting me with this polish and giving me a chance to try it! :) If any of you have this Essie, I'd love to hear from you, particularly re: the formula & this shade's wearability on you. I'm curious.

And thank you so much for stopping by! Between this post and my previous one, we're all up to date on my June NOTDs, hahaha. At this rate, July might be pretty quiet around here, too. I also don't know if I'll be doing a blogiversary? blogaversary? giveaway next month because I sort of forgot to plan one ... if I'm able to put one together, it might be kind of late. I don't know. Let's see what happens. Until next time!

P.S. Muffin recipe [HERE]. Surprisingly good, and also quite tasty with whole wheat flour (though I think I prefer regular all-purpose). But I will note that you might have to reduce the filling by maybe 1/3 or 1/2 because I found that my yield with the ingredients as listed was too much. Alternately, you also can increase the bread portion by 1/3 or 1/2, which I have done several times because I don't think there's quite enough for a filling sandwich; this also should yield approx. double the muffins. Win.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Kiss

Oh, hi!

So, about not knowing what June would hold for this blog ... apparently, the answer is this post, because I've worn all of two polishes this month (!). June's always been a busy month for my family, and I've been running around Virginia like a truck driver lately but all generally is well. I'm just soaking up summer, which in this week's case has meant staying up too late anxiously streaming the news and crushing S4 of "Orange is the New Black" + S2 of "Grace & Frankie" because it's been raining too much to really get out.

Anyway, both summer and I are on the blog now. :) This is one of the most summery colors I could think of, and had I posted this earlier, it would have been a nice, semi-timely nod to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade last weekend. I didn't go, of course, although I enjoy looking at the parade photos every year because gdi, I love a theme and what better theme is there to ring in the summer season? Obviously I had to pull out a Lippmann Mermaid for the occasion. It was tough to narrow down a final choice, but I think Mermaid's Kiss was a good one.

Three coats with SV.

Mermaid's Kiss undoubtedly is THE foofiest (if not one of the foofiest) polishes I have ever worn, and yet strangely, I loved it. It's so pretty. The sheer light pink base kind of blends into my skin tone a little bit, however, I think the greeny-gold shimmer and the darker pink glitters save it and really pop in a good way. The sheer base gives those glitters a milky look, which is TDF. My best friend actually asked, "Is that just one polish?" thinking I'd done some layering magic, but ... nope! Just this. :D

I needed three coats to get this opaque because of the sheer base (one coat is fine if you're in the mood for a sheer-ish shimmer party). Luckily, the formula is a dream! It dries fairly quickly and it's so easy to work with -- it is so NOT the type of glitter formula that B refers to as "confetti and glue," where you have to keep pushing it around the nail. I did my nails while he was waiting for a shirt to come out of the dryer and despite being pretty expedient in my process, both he and I were a little surprised with how quickly and easily I was able to get from base to top coat with this polish. And as if that wasn't enough, Mermaid's Kiss even dries flat. It isn't a thirsty glitter at all ... I didn't even need to do a coat of Gelous before SV. It stayed flat throughout the 5? 6? days I had it on, though predictably my two chip-prone fingers had chipped by the end of Day 3. Removal wasn't terrible, but I'd still recommend using a fresh felt square/cotton round/whatever and a quick handwash to get those remaining tiny glitters.

The Lippmann Mermaid collection was released in the summer of 2013 after DL Mermaid's Dream became a favorite (I thought I had that one, but my Helmer search revealed that I do not). Since I can't find it on the Lippmann site any more, Mermaid's Kiss must have been LE, as is Do the Mermaid ... which is too bad, because those were two of the best Lippmann Mermaids, IMO. There are a few bottles left on the Bloomingdale's site, so if you're a Lippmann/mermaid/pink polish lover and you're feeling frisky, absolutely jump on it. Now I'm 90% sure I bought my bottle in some kind of sale back at the end of 2014 or so ... but as I say too often here, I don't know why I waited so long to use it!

Well ... now you've seen half my content for June, haha. I will say that what I'm wearing right now is pretty interesting in the sense that I'm still not sure if it looks good on me. I'm letting it marinate, as one Helen Cooper would say (I love "Kissing Jessica Stein" so much -- one of my favorite movies, for sure). At least this Lippmann gave good photo. If any of you own any of these Lippmann Mermaids, I'd love to hear what your favorites are. Should I get Mermaid's Dream? What are your favorite mermaid polishes? I'm tempted to pull out WnW Waves of Enchantment again ... it's been a while.

Thanks so much for dropping by! I hope y'all are having a good summer so far. Got any good plans? I don't think I'll be jet-setting like I did last year ... honestly, I ought to invest in? borrow? a GRE prep book. :/ But if I can finish this library e-book before it needs to go back, I'm looking at a laundry and "Sense8" marathon this weekend. I've been warned that the first couple episodes are a slog to get through, but I'm ready.

P.S. I saw "Love & Friendship" earlier this week and loved it -- I love Whit Stillman, plus it's been, what, 20 years since Kate Beckinsale did a literary adaptation/costume piece and she was awesome. Oh, and I spent like 1/4th of the movie trying to figure out who Xavier Samuel reminded me of, but I got it now: I'm getting a little Theo James + a little Ben Barnes. Anyone else?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gift of Fab: Joe Fresh Poppy

I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day! Mine was low-key, but quite nice -- I spent it falling asleep on SMA's couch eating Popcorners (kettle flavor), watching "Tiny House Hunters" (omg, these people are the worst), and nursing a wicked sunburn.

Anyway, since I like to post poppy reds for the holiday, here's one that came all the way from my favorite Canadian reader-slash-correspondent, Jess. She sent me a belated winter holiday package in January that was absolutely stuffed with so many things I cannot get here in the States ... such as this Joe Fresh polish. I have never set foot in a Joe Fresh clothing store in my life, although I remember when Canadian bloggers & MUA NBers would post them and I've been wanting to try some out for science ever since then. And sure, my Canadian readers probably are cracking up over me coveting polishes they can pick up at the grocery store (Loblaw's), but omg let me have my moment. Thanks, Jess, for slaying the lemming and enabling me! :)

Two coats with SV.

I have this thing where sometimes I don't wear reds like this for several months, but then when I put on one, I always wonder why I fall into that pattern because this is so lovely. In truth, I didn't think there would be much to this red because what else can there be, really? Well, I wasn't wrong ... but at the same time, I also kind of was. I also didn't know what to expect from Poppy because I wasn't pulling up much in the way of Joe Fresh polish reviews on Google.

I think Poppy is more of a neutral red on me, neither warm nor cool. The formula was pretty good, too, easy to work with and covered the nail opaquely in one coat! I did use two for these photos because piling on more seemed unnecessary, though I have to say I did play around with one nail and achieved bottle color with four coats -- it looks deeper and darker then, which led me to classify this Poppy as a jelly-creme finish that is slightly more creme than jelly, maybe a 70:30 ratio. The brush seemed a little stumpy to me, but it wasn't bad at all. Dry time was average with SV, but I kept smashing and denting my nails into things and it was kind of a disaster to get them to look okay after photo sesh.

As of "press time," this polish goes into its fourth day of wear. Obviously I haven't removed it yet, but I'm going to assume it's a stainer because you'd be hard-pressed to find a red that isn't these days (plus I had to re-do a nail completely and had to bust out the Orly Cutique, ugh).

Despite the generally lovely things I've heard and read about Joe Fresh polishes, the one thing that kept coming up was how quickly they chipped. I was intrigued, seeing as everyone's body chemistry and base/top coat choices are different. Knowing I was going to be out of town this past weekend, I added a layer of Gelous before applying SV, since this combo has helped other polishes give me long weekend wear. Sadly, that did not have any effect on Poppy, because it chipped within 24 hours. I was pissed. By the third day of wear, four nails had chipped, and all I had done with my hands that would affect wear was (1) shower and (2) dig in my wallet/purse for my credit & Metro cards. NEGL, Hercules was me and I was Hercules.

However, I wouldn't call Poppy a complete failure because I really liked this red (wayyyy more than the last one I blogged for NYE!). Though -- I am HELLA curious to see what happens with my other Joe Fresh polishes now. We will see! Jess picked out some gorgeous JF colors for me, so you'll see at least one this summer. Thank you again, Jess! You rock.

Okay, speaking of summer ... I guess it's here now. I picked the best AND the worst weekend to go to D.C., because it was hot and humid AF and the metro started single tracking and there was a Nats game Friday night and Memorial Day weekend brought so. many. people. into the city. On Saturday, my girlfriend tossed around the idea of going to Right Proper for post-brunch beers, but it was so damn hot that beer, much like milk, would have been a bad choice. So we skipped it. (And although we had a patio brunch, my right arm wasn't totally in the shade, hence the sunburn. Sadface!) When Stephanie and I met up Saturday night, we even did a dessert bang-bang ("Louie" reference) with gelato AND ice cream because the heat was unbearable. It was pretty gross on Sunday, too, and the humidity finally gave way to rain less than two hours after I left Fairfax, where I had brunch with my high school best friend and another HS classmate. I would have liked to do more in the city while I was there, but as it is, I'm quite happy I was able to spend a little time with some of my favorite people. They do my heart good. :)

Here are 3 pics you've already seen on IG, but I liked them so much, I'll post them again, damn it.

I scored a Craigslist ticket for the Friday night performance of Garrison Keillor's last Wolf Trap weekend as host of "A Prairie Home Companion." I feel like he's been on at least three farewell tours prior to this one, but this one had a real air of finality to it. Super bittersweet. I will miss him. (GK is sitting to the right of the piano.) Getting to Wolf Trap was a disaster of epic proportions, which made this show extra meaningful and satisfying to me.

So I didn't even crop this photo properly when I regrammed it from Steff but this is from dessert bang-bang stop No. 1, Dolcezza. OMG it was so good. So good. And also, aren't we cute? (My fading lipstick is UD Menace, a.k.a. the best clearance lipstick purchase I've ever made. I hadn't touched it up since brunch or dinner that day!)

Out of the short D.C. wishlist I posted last week, Kramer's was the only place on that list I actually visited ... so it makes total sense that I didn't buy anything. I was super tempted, though -- Boy, Snow, Bird isn't listed as an ebook selection at the library and I have been wanting to read it since it came out. SOON.

Thanks for reading this post, and thank you so much for reading this month! I have to say, I've been derping on actual content, but these month's pictures are some of the best I've taken in a while and I'm really happy with them. As I said at the end of last month, I don't know what the next month will hold, but I hope you'll come have a look and say hi in June!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

China Glaze Let's Jam

I only blogged one polish from last year's China Glaze summer offerings, but with this year's China Glaze summer collection upon us, now seems like a good time to share one of my Lite Brite picks. Half the Lite Brite display was empty when I first encountered them at Sally's last month, and with their mix-and-match B2G1 sale, I opted for two other colors instead. But I couldn't get this purple out of my mind, and when I made the mistake of killing time at another Sally's later that month, I caved.

PSA: Sally's is having a China Glaze (and Orly) buy 2 for $11 promo that ends tomorrow. You know, if you're so inclined. ;)

I hesitated with Let's Jam for so many reasons, the biggest ones being that (1) it's enough of a medium purple to look merpy on me and (2) surely I had a dupe somewhere -- that is, a dupe in a violet creme base. The blue flash in this polish is such a simple touch but also such a vibrant one, making this unique ... and happily, quite wearable for me.

In case anyone was wondering, this is the purple polish I had on in my Instagram posts 2 weeks ago. I ended up wearing this for 12 days ... I meant to take it off but I got busy and then I got sick, so it stayed on. Not that I had a problem with that, because this is so freaking pretty.

Three coats with SV.

That blue flash, though! It's SO great. For the curious, the answer is YES! -- it is *very* visible to the untrained eye (and from a distance, at that)! I'm just saying, if even my beyond colorblind boyfriend can detect it, then it must be fairly strong. ;) Another thing I like about this shimmer is that it lasted throughout the duration of this mani -- while my top coat dulled the shine, the shimmer continued to slay. I wouldn't classify Let's Jam as a true neon; if anything, it's closer to ChG's neon pastel game circa Summer 2013. Not totally electric, but the next best thing. I'm debating whether this is pastel, but IDK when I've called other polishes in a similar range "pastel." Feel free to chime in!

I'm feeling a bit iffy about the formula, however. It's not bad at all! I just wish I had known not to load up my brush, because this dries quickly, like a neon matte would, and if you load up your brush then your nails will be a lumpy disaster, especially when your dying bottle of SV is drying on top of that. #askmehowiknow. So I say, take what you normally use, and then dab half of that against the bottleneck rim. Once I did that, everything was easy peasy (lemon squeezy). I've read reviews where people say it's opaque in one coat, and ... eh. Like, you can cover your nail in one coat?, but I wouldn't say it's perfectly opaque -- two is better (I used three out of habit and also, photos). As I said, I wore this for 12 days; however, it started chipping to all hell on the sixth day, and oh my God, the Seche scuffs were awfulllll ... let's just say Let's Jam looks far more presentable in these swatch photos than it did IRL by the time I removed it.

I think Ulta has full displays of the Lite Brites collection now, and of course you can try your luck at Sally's (although I think Sally's has been rolling out this collection since April, maybe even late March). You'd probably also find some good deals on this online, but lately I've taken to buying from brick & mortar stores since I'm in a support-local-business phase -- which, let's face it, it shouldn't be a phase, but that's where I am right now. ANYWAY, I feel like the other Lite Brites I have aren't as exciting as the ones making a big splash on IG and on blogs, but those were the ones I was most excited about among what was left to me. I'm a sucker for brights and neons! What can I say?

Obviously, I love this polish and I'm glad I got it in the end. (While I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it, that surprise was nowhere near what I felt vis-à-vis ChG Pink or Swim, so no Sgt. Doakes surprise .gif here today. I don't know why I felt the need to clarify this, but now you know!) Anyone else feeling Let's Jam? Lite Brites? Summer polishes in general? In your opinion, what mainstream brand releases the best summer polishes? My answer is anybody but OPI -- Zoya, Orly, China Glaze, Essie ... OPI does do some nice tie-ins, but IMO, those aren't necessarily released with summer in mind. As always, I'd love y'alls input on that question.

All right, I'm out. If all goes according to plan, then tomorrow begins my mini D.C. weekend! To put it succinctly, I am very excited and scared. But it'll be fun. Hope you guys have a good Memorial Day Weekend, too! I can't believe it's been a year since Anna's wedding. Time has a way of passing, doesn't it?

P.S. Today is SMA's gotcha day! I would spam the shit out of this post, but ... Instagram. (His very own hashtag is HERE.) I can't believe it's been four years since B adopted him. SMA is still very much a sweet little bratty duchess prince, but I don't think I'd have him any other way. (Okay, maybe I would love him more if he let me pick him up and cuddle him for longer than ten seconds ... what even is the point of having a pet if you can't do that? --asked the girl who's never had a pet, which probably is why I'm so entertained and enamored by him)

Here's a pic B took on his phone last month after they both fell through the attic floor and guest room ceiling. >__< You would never guess this is a cat who had been freaking out because he'd gotten stuck in the insulation moments before. He scratched the crap out of B's shoulder, but other than that, they're fine (and so is the guest room ceiling). I guess I can't leave those guys alone for a day, because this is what happens.

Look at dis chunky qt!
  • Likes: attention, his kitty water fountain, his new litter box in the garage, open windows, sleeping on hoomins when they're under the afghan, supervising in the kitchen, clawing up carpet, hiding under the bed sheets, getting treats when hoomins leave the house, sleeping on top of the car in the garage, Cat Dancer, bunny kicking his kitty tower, lettuce, chewing on twist ties, and giving head bonks, kisses, & nuzzles
  • Dislikes: Lana Manpaws, being an indoor cat, claw trimmings, being brushed, being picked up and held for more than 10 seconds, closed doors, forced selfies, healthy cat food, the loud noises when the lawn guys work outside, the doorbell, belly rubs, the cat carrier, car rides to the vet's

What a doofus. Still not a cat person because they're so weird, but I'm this cat's person ... er, one of them. I love you, Mr. Archer!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sally Hansen CSM Spring Moss

Looking back over my last few blog posts, I guess my yearly spring & summer green-and-pink polish jag hit early. Two weekends ago, I had a yen for a smoked-out creme, which isn't exactly seasonally appropriate, but to heck with that when polishes like this one exist. I had to chuckle when I remembered this green was called "Spring Moss." Perfect.

As always, please forgive the cut on my finger. It looks way less disgusting now, since now it just looks like dry skin. But I'll take it.

Two coats with SV.

To my eye, Spring Moss is a smoky, dusty pine green that leans slightly more green than blue. But the blue tones are super heavy in this one, and I like it. I keep thinking I don't have anything like this color, although I could be super wrong. I dunno. It's just so lush. How could I not?

Nothing unusual about the formula and application here. Normally I go with three coats, but this looked really fantastic at two, so I stopped. I have to say, I am loving how consistent Sally Hansen's CSM cremes have been lately! I only kept this polish on for three days, and it held on pretty well. I had minimal tip wear but JFC, this got the dreaded Seche scuffs well within the first day. (My bottle of Seche is dying, which most likely has a lot to do with this.)

I guess the only bad thing about Spring Moss is that it was LE for last fall's Sally Hansen NYFW Runway collection, thus making it sorta hard to find at this point in the game (though I wouldn't rule out TJ Maxx or Marshalls entirely). Much like Candied Apple (blogged HERE), Spring Moss doesn't seem to be a designer collab shade, which my other two SH CSM Fall 2015 picks are. --And yes, I will post them eventually. :)

K, that's all I have nail-wise for today. I was hoping to get pics of last week's nails and then some pics for next week, but stuff kept popping up and there was never a good time. Here's hoping I can get that done this weekend!

I would write more about what I've been up to lately, but having an Instagram account has dissipated that urge significantly. Things have been relatively boring, and you can always have a look at my posts (link in sidebar!), BUT if I had to pick highlights:

  • My sister and I attended a Lauryn Hill concert last week. She was incredible, her band was on point, and we loved the arrangements on just about every song. NGL, we didn't know what to expect in terms of there being an actual performance because uh, she has A History, plus there was the stunt she'd pulled in Atlanta the weekend before ... so we were a little nervous. Luckily, everything was great. The place was PACKED. We even made a friend in line. Worth it.
  • I got to watch "Keanu" with a couple of friends from my old job. Highly recommend if you love kittens and Key & Peele. The way Jordan Peele's character is so OTT about the kitten = 100% me being OTT about SMA, which made it funnier because I am still not about cats. 
  • Last weekend was Richmond Brunch Weekend benefiting the VCU Massey Cancer Center, so I couldn't not go. I made a reservation at Max's (Belgian-inspired and owned by Tarrant's peeps, I think), and B and I lucked out and got a really nice table on their second-floor patio/open window set-up, right by the window. It was kind of busy because of brunch weekend and also because many new college graduates were out with their families, but we didn't have any issues with the service -- our server was great. Our brunch dishes and our dessert were really good, so I can only imagine how good the actual lunch & dinner items are! They also have valet parking, which is SO NICE if parking downtown is not for you -- if we hadn't found a space around the corner, B probably would have taken advantage of it. I think the only real con is that Max's is not somewhere you want to go if you're on a budget. There are so many other joints where you can get more for your buck (and ngl, I think you're paying in part for the ambiance), so if you're looking to treat yourself or if someone else is looking to treat you, then by all means ... eat up! I would love to go back for dinner, but that might not be for a while. It's just nice to know that this place exists. :)
  • My ex-roommate graduated from her nursing program! She still has to take the NCLEX and all that good stuff, but this is a HUGE accomplishment and as I wrote in her card, she's gonna be as kickass a nurse as Claire Temple. ;) Whatever unit she'll work in will be stupid lucky to have her. So proud of you, T! (I also finally got to meet her parents, who are SO wonderful and just ... ugh, can they adopt me???)
  • Not really job news, but I contacted an organization about a volunteer opportunity that could be a potentially awesome fit. I haven't heard back from them yet but I hope I do! It is so wrenching to repeatedly put yourself out there, whether you're job hunting or volunteering or dating ... so I would like to think something will come out of it. Please cross your fingers for me!
  • Not a highlight as it hasn't happened yet and therefore is more of a consideration: I'm heading to D.C. for a day? a couple of days? next week, so if any of you guys are local readers, I would love suggestions on things to do, where to eat, etc. because I only ever visit my friends or go to the 9:30 Club when I'm there. So far my list looks like (1) the MLK Memorial, (2) the National Gallery of Art, (3) the Renwick Gallery, (4) Kramer's (duh!), (5) Eastern Market, and something else I'm forgetting right now so it must not be important. I don't want to spend a butt ton of money but I also don't want to have a crap time, you know? So if you can share any favorite fun places that aren't outrageously spendy, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

And thanks for reading! I can't believe May is almost over. 2016 needs to slow its damn roll. >__<