Thursday, May 31, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

Here's another tag I received over the past few months -- I hope this will pass for some Rach-ish Reading Material while I'm waiting for my monthly Flickr bandwidth limit to reset!

This one is the Versatile Blogger Award, in chronological order in which I received it from Courtney, Chelsea, Kaki, and Wig Wam. Click on the links to learn more about these super ladies and visit their blogs!

I'm going to be a dork for a second and say that in all honesty, this award is the more perplexing of the ones I've gotten. If you're versatile, that means you're competent (even proficient?) in different areas of knowledge or skill sets. I think of myself as an A-list pop culture freak with an aptitude for C-list beauty blogging ... but I'm not totally convinced anyone buys that.

RULES: Share seven facts about yourself, then award this to fifteen other bloggers so they can do the same.

1. I LOVE "Masterpiece Theatre" and I'm excited when people get as into it as I do, but I hated "Downton Abbey" halfway through its second series. I've no doubt of the talent or of the production value involved, but I find "Downton" beyond ridiculous and too soapy for my taste. (If you're interested, I can refer you to several FAR more outstanding costume dramas that do not beat you over the head with attempts at social mores and messages every five fucking seconds.)

But one of the best things about "Downton" is the Dowager Countess Violet, played by Dame Maggie Smith. However, the character I identify with the most is her middle granddaughter, Lady Edith. (THIS TERRIFIES ME TO NO END as Edith is a needy, bitter twunt for the entire first series.) Both ladies are pictured below.

(source: the brilliant Downton Abbeyoncé)

2. Among my many first world problems is my fear of being a bad tipper. There's a very limited amount of math I can do in my head, and when I have to multiply a certain percentage to my bill, my eyes start going in different directions, not to mention that despite the number of friends and family who have worked in food service, I never can calculate the appropriate amount to tip in a timely manner, PERIOD.

I will say that I once left an extravagant tip for a waiter in D.C. during my last semester of college because he bore an extraordinarily striking resemblance to actor Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen on "Friday Night Lights").

3. It takes forever for me to wake up and get moving in the morning. One thing that's helped me is to wake up and sit in bed for a few minutes solving sudoku puzzles on a cell phone app. (I think the app is simply called "Sudoku" and you can download it for free.) There are different skill levels, and the app gives you one new puzzle per level every morning (around 4 a.m.). Now if you're a sudoku master, you'll probably find these a joke, but doing these puzzles helps me get my mind right in the mornings much in the same way that some people favor morning crosswords.

4. If Leslie Knope is my spirit animal,

(source: Pitka)

... then Donna Meagle is my spirit guide. I could not find a .gif for what I wanted (the Season Three episode "Fancy Party" where she and Ann go speed dating -- probably my first favorite Donna moment ever), so this is what we get instead. Still pretty good.

(source: heyitsthebrownguy)

5. I took seven years of Spanish from middle to high school; my IB Spanish exam score exempted me from language requirements in college. (I wound up taking a semester of French and a semester of Brazilian Portuguese just for the heck of it and to fill up some credit hours.) I have serious regret about the Spanish ... I wish I had studied French instead! Spanish isn't really pertinent to most of my interests, outside of Julieta Venegas lyrics, a handful of Spanish movies, and those "ME GUSTA" memes.

In addition to shoes, TV on DVD box sets and polishes, I acquire novelty mugs. I have WAY too many mugs for one person. Here are three of my owl mugs. The polka-dotted ones were part of my Christmas present from my friend Krysi, and the other is a mug I bought with my friend/evil twin Pip. My mug's name is Cable. (Hers is named Deadpool.)

7. If I ever became famous (Heaven forbid) and had to be interviewed exclusively by anyone on U.S. late-night television, it would be TV's Craig Ferguson. His tenure on "The Late Late Show" has more than surpassed my expectations! I love all of the bits he does, from his opening monologue to Geoff to the e-mails to the TARDIS on his desk to the mouth organs. He. Is. Awesome. I feel like he can talk about anything and make it epic. That's more or less my goal in life. (This admittedly doesn't say too much about my life, but there you go.)


Consider yourself tagged if you'd like to do this! :) I'm not tagging anyone either, mostly because almost everyone has gotten this by now, much like an office cold. Also, I'm a horrible person, but you know that now. (Please see the beginning of this post if you've forgotten.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Something completely different (for drag brunch): Lynnderella The Glittering Crowd + Essie Sure Shot

Hope everyone's been having an enjoyable Memorial Day holiday weekend!

Maybe it's all the glittery guest posts from my friends while I was gone, the fact that this is the only Lynnderella I will ever own (thank you to my Lynnderella fairy!), or the fact that I was batting around ideas for a TOTALLY RIDICULOUS AND SPARKLY mani for my ex-roommate's drag brunch bachelorette party a couple weekends ago. My nails ended up going nekkid because I was too tired to do them, but this was my front-runner.

Yep ... drag brunch.

I have no brunch pictures because I wasn't feeling well that day and my phone battery was dying, but believe me when I say it was fabulous and I'm ashamed of staying away for yeeeeears. I was so out of it that I was pissed when I realized I only had two $1 bills to give the queens, because I needed another $1 for the toll home (and I never carry cash any more). So don't make my mistake -- JUST MAKE IT RAIN.

Here's my sure shot of Essie Sure Shot, which was the only polish I bought from the Essie 2012 Resort collection. (I did end up getting She's Picture Perfect and No More Film in a swap last week.) It's all kinds of glowy awesomeness. The formula was smooth and it applied well.

This is two coats of Sure Shot. I. LOVE. THIS. POLISH.

I thought Sure Shot would make an interesting base for The Glittering Crowd, rather than the usual (but still gorgeous) silver, black, blue or green. What do you think?

I used two coats of The Glittering Crowd for these swatches, with no top coat. The first picture is the most color-accurate WRT the base polish, but the subsequent ones really show the vibrancy of the glitters.

As most of you know by now, The Glittering Crowd contains over 100 types of glitter in different shapes and colors. Lynn's description names the shapes as hex, square and bar glitters, while the colors range from "royal blue, chartreuse, red, violet, holographic silver and gold, orange, lime, emerald, teal, cyan, gold, pink, aqua, fuchsia ..." I'm not a glitter magpie, so I'm not overly familiar with the difficulties of spreading glitters around, but this wasn't too much trouble. This dried pretty quickly. A good top coat or top coat combo is a must, however, if you don't want to feel the glitter grit on the nail!

The Glittering Crowd was available originally on Lynn's blog, which seems to be shut down, and all Lynnderellas moved to Llarowe for sale. As far as I know, Llarowe is not taking any Lynnderella orders at this time because previous orders are being filled, but you can sign up to receive an e-mail alert when the site is accepting new wishlists. I'm out of the indie glitter loop (I like cremes ... what) and it all sounds a bit confusing, which makes me extra grateful that my Lynnderella fairy added this polish to her list for me! I have a few other Lynnderella lemmings, but this one was my biggest one by far, and I'm so happy to have it that I'm not going to be upset if others never make their way to me.

I'd like to try layering The Glittering Crowd over an orange like China Glaze Riveting next, or a teal/turquoise like Zoya Zuza for summer. Any other ideas? Tell meeeeeeeeee. Have you ever been to a drag brunch? (You should try to go at least once a year.) Also, I ended up giving a buck to a queen who was werking to "Macarthur Park" and "Can't Get Enough of Your Love Babe," and my other dollar to another queen who did Dolly's "9 to 5" and later Reba McEntire's "Fancy." My only real regret is not having more dollar bills for the other ladies! Seriously, I feel so bad about that.

I'm still having quite a time believing my ex-roommate has been married for almost two days. We've been friends for seven years, lived together for two and were really, really close until I moved away to start a new job and she started dating her now-husband (obviously he lasted longer than my job did). I did not meet him until the wedding. I'm not exactly surprised that she got married before me (everyone does, plus I'm in no rush). I guess I just thought it would be one of those things that would happen later.

My friends and I are at an age where everyone's growing up and moving on, and our priorities are changing. No one's of the mind to come over to sit around and drink, eat drunk food and watch "Bad Boys" at 1 a.m. any more, you know? While I wish them every success, I can't help feeling like I'm being left behind. I should note that said feeling doesn't bother me nearly as much as the fact that I have to find a new pop culture soulmate ... and those, like Lynnderellas, are extremely HTF these days.

Friday, May 25, 2012

China Glaze Hey Sailor

Or as I like to call it ... "haaaaaaaaaaaaaay, thailor."

Tardy to the party, but apparently this week was Fleet Week in NYC, so what better way to cap off a week of NOTDs than with this perfect Anchors Away red jelly-creme? :)

Also, one clunker of a summer popcorn movie came out last Friday ... you may be familiar with it. I'm talking about "Transformers" with boats "Battleship." As much as I would love to see Tim Riggins and Eric Northman together on one screen as sailors from the good U.S. of A., (along with Landry from "Friday Night Lights" and Liam Neeson), I can't quite bring myself to do it. On the other hand, I can see "Battleship" being a legit future drunk Redbox rental, and I almost saw this in the motherland because their ticket prices are low enough that I wouldn't have felt ashamed about it. Director Peter Berg gave me "Friday Night Lights," so I feel a little bit obliged to go, if that makes sense.

Anyway, this color also works out because I was craving a red creme something awful while I was in the motherland.

Two coats with SV.

Just a word of warning: This red leans a little warm, so if stay away from it if you and warmer reds are incompatible!

Sure, this may not be the most original color, but I don't know how you do a nautical collection without a bright red creme! Otherwise, I cannot think of a single bad thing to say about this polish. It's opaque at one coat, though two makes for utter perfection. It's also got a delicious jelly-creme texture, and dries quickly to a glossy shine. I needed another red creme like a bullet to the brain but I HAD to have this!

Hey Sailor was part of China Glaze's Anchors Away collection from Spring 2011. I bought my bottle from TransDesign/ last year, but you can find this easily at any retailer that sells China Glaze. This is also in the core ChG display at Sally.

Any thoughts on bright red cremes, or any favorite ones for summer? What about the Anchors Away collection? Are there any sailors in your life, fictional or non? (He is and always will be my favorite.) Any plans to see "Battleship"? Are you as worried about Taylor Kitsch's movie career as I am?

No pictures of sailors, but here's the last batch of cell phone pictures from the motherland trip. I call this edition the "yummy" one. I hope you enjoyed looking at these shots (thank you!) as much as I enjoyed sharing them.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

China Glaze Smoke and Ashes

Although it's May, I'm slowly working my way through my China Glaze "Hunger Games" tie-in polishes! I showed you Riveting back in March. I'm pairing today's pick with more motherland pictures at the end of this post ... you'll see why after we get through the little review.

Smoke and Ashes was renamed and rebranded to represent District 12, Panem's coal mining district. I'm not into The Hunger Games so I haven't bothered looking at maps of imagined district locations, but I'm guessing District 12 has to be somewhere around West Virginia, which is close enough to where Stuff and I are based.

Two coats with SV.

And blurred to show the (somewhat buried) sparkle:

Smoke and Ashes is comprised of blue and green glass flecks suspended in a black creme base. Given my penchant for sparkly black and grey polishes lately, this sounds like this would be a home run for me, doesn't it? Well, not so much. I think the glass flecks would have shone much, much better if the base had been more jellyish instead of being so creamy and opaque. You can put me in the camp of people who think that this polish was a good concept, but failed to execute! While these swatches may not be the greatest ones of this particular polish, let me tell you that I would have put in more effort if the polish had been worthy of it. It just looks flat on the nail. :/

On the good side, the formula is pretty thick on this, so you can get away with using one coat if you're careful. It dried quickly with SV to a smooth finish.

Smoke and Ashes was part of China Glaze's Colours from the Capitol collection that debuted in March. I picked up my bottle at Sally's back in February, although Tara told me not to buy it because I could have her bottle (I should have listened to her ... my bad!) You can buy this online easily, and I don't think you'd have too much difficulty finding it at a beauty supply store selling China Glaze. I'm pretty sure the display was still up at my Ulta last month.

Did you scoop this polish up, and have you tried it yet? Are you disappointed with it, or do you love it?

And now we've come to the second batch of cell phone pictures from my trip, this batch being a little more than double the size of the preceding one. The house pictured here is what remains of a then-prominent sugar baron's estate (his wife was of Portuguese extraction by way of Macau). Guerrilla groups burned the estate down in the early 1940s to prevent Japanese troops from using it as a base for headquarters. At one point, my sister and I had to stop ourselves from breaking into giggles and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," but I'll let you guess when.

Also, Smoke and Ashes: totally appropriate.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pink Wednesday: Ulta Professional Tickle Me

Whoa, a second pink polish post just in time for Pink Wednesday! This almost never happens.

Today's choice of color was inspired by the Korean Air flight attendants on my connecting flights. They wore demure nudes, sheers, and some really soft, delicate pinks ... all with nary a chip to be found. I wanted to see if I could recreate the look for myself, and found the perfect polish in Ulta's Tickle Me.

Ulta carries a couple of different house lines, most notably Salon Formula and Professional. Tickle Me is from the Professional line, which you can find in the salon nail section along with Essie, China Glaze, Orly, OPI, Piggy Polish and Zoya.

Four coats with SV.

The color isn't the most original one to be found, but it's really quite nice. The biggest selling point of Tickle Me, IMO, is its finish: it's a soft, cool-toned pink jelly.

The formula is all right for something in this finish. The first coat goes on a little bit streaky and sheer, but it builds up nicely with three coats. I only went with four because I wanted to see how many it would take to reach opacity. I waited a few minutes in between coats to avoid cuticle drag and streaking; neither were too bad in the end and this dried quickly with SV. I'm only on the second day of wear with this, so I can't speak to the wear quality, but I haven't had any chipping or significant tip wear so far. (A note about jellies/jelly-cremes: I keep my nails short and don't see a lot of free edge, so you may want to consider that if you have longer nails.)

At first, I thought I wouldn't like this polish because of the finish and I thought I would prefer it if it had been a creme. But for some strange reason, I think I really, really like this polish for that very reason. I don't know that the color is the best for my skin tone, but I don't care -- I can see myself pulling this one out again. That's what she said.

As I mentioned earlier, this polish is part of the Professional line at Ulta. I can't remember if I've seen it in stores lately, but you can buy it online here at the Ulta site. I really don't remember when I bought this, either ... 2010 or 2011? I just remember buying it because Ulta Professional polishes were B2G1, and I remember going to my friend's house afterwards and her thinking the name was clever. (Thanks, brain.)

As far as I can think, I don't have any dupes for this. It's a touch lighter and less purple than Essie Splash of Grenadine and NYC Lincoln Square Lavender. Zoya Shelby might be the creme dupe, but I don't own that polish so I can't confirm this.

How are we feeling about this pink polish, or Ulta polishes? Do you think you might want to give either a go? What are your favorite jellies?

And as promised, here's the first (and very low-key) batch of pictures from our trip that I deemed OK to share with the Internets! We visited a family friend at the Basilica del Santo Nino and got to see Magellan's Cross -- well, supposedly Magellan's Cross is encased in native wood, which is what you see below. Pretty rad.