Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pink Wednesday: OPI Steady As She Rose (a.k.a. A QUEEN LORETTA LYNN POST)

You know, when I bought my Loretta Lynn ticket at the 9:30 Club back in May, I felt as though July would never come. But it's over, and I finally can say I've seen her live in concert. --Yes, she was Bucket List status.

I mean, when you think about her fifty-year career, how could she not be?

This was either "You're Lookin' at Country" or "Blue Kentucky Girl" ...
but I want to say it was the former

Believe me, I fully recognize the UTTER. ABSURDITY. of being a chubby, 5'3" Asian girl at a concert celebrating fifty years of country music history ... but let me tell you something!

One -- and this is something even my boyfriend says I should never disclose ... whoops -- my parents were HUGE "Lawrence Welk Show" devotees when my sister and I were little. Every Saturday night, our family would get in front of the TV to watch it on PBS, and we recorded it on the VCR (ha!) if we were going to miss it. As corny as that show was, it introduced me to so many kinds of music. My favorite shows were Disney-, Broadway-, or country-themed. I know, I was so weird.

Two, my mother hated ironing (she still does), and she found that ironing with music on made the chore more tolerable. Between this and the program that shall not be named, I was exposed to The Beatles, Henry Mancini, Broadway classics, American songbook standards, '70s rock, folk and soul hits (Ambrosia's "How Much I Feel" and Bread's "Lost Without Your Love," Y'ALL.) ... and classic country. Outside of Shania, I can't take this pop country business that I noticed during my childhood -- give me classic country any day.

Two-point-five, and this has nothing to do with Loretta Lynn -- everyone knows Patsy Cline, but you really haven't heard "Crazy" until you've heard your questionably sober Filipino aunties sing it on karaoke. Janice knows what I'm talking about.

Before I get into more about music and the show, let's ogle this lovely OPI, shall we?

Three coats with SV.

My cutes look rough, and I'm sorry. I have been pretty preoccupied with other things and I've neglected them. :(

Steady As She Rose is one of those polishes that looks different on everyone who wears it, but in the best possible way. It's a dusty, greyed-out pastel pink with a hint of lavender that doesn't pull too cool on me -- the perfect neutral shade. I made sure to keep this polish on all weekend so I could show it to Krysi and get her approval for a potential bridesmaid mani choice, since she wants us wearing neutrals. (This passed. A lot.)

The formula on this wasn't the best OPI's ever done with a pastel, but it's far from the worst. I got this opaque in two coats, although I needed a third for it to level. Dry time was good with SV, and I had this on for nearly five days with minimal tip wear and two chips on my peelie-prone finger. If I didn't have to do a guest post for a friend -- I'll share a link when it's up -- this would have stayed on for a whole week, I liked it that much.

Steady As She Rose was part of OPI's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" tie-in collection from two summers ago. Don't get me wrong, the colors were gorgeous, but pastels don't exactly scream JOHNNY DEPP IS JACK SPARROW FOREVER. I think you still might be able to score this online and at beauty supplies, or through the odd blog sale, so be sure to check for it.

And now we've come to the part of the post where I tell you why I picked this polish to wear last Friday. I'm totally reaching here, but its name reminded me of The Raconteurs' song, "Steady As She Goes"; The Raconteurs formed after Jack White produced and collaborated with Loretta Lynn on "Van Lear Rose." A few future Raconteurs were the DoWhaters, Lynn's "Van Lear Rose" band.

"Van Lear Rose" is one of my favorite CDs, you guys. Ugh. It's been almost ten years since it was released, and it's still so good. She didn't perform any songs from that album last Friday, but she did mention Jack White. Specifically, she said, "I think next time I should bring him back with me," and the crowd went BERSERK. I did. God, that would be so epic.

Apart from the songs on "Van Lear Rose," she managed to cover her most iconic songs in a 75-minute set, beginning with "They Don't Make 'Em Like My Daddy" and ending with "Coal Miner's Daughter." She also did my favorite, "Don't Come Home A Drinkin'"! A friend joked with me that her set was taking place past her bedtime, and I'll tell you what ... for an 81-year-old, she sounded great. She had to take a break and sat two songs out, but her band picked up the pace with some George Strait? George Jones? (oh damn it, I don't remember) and didn't lose a beat. Between her band members and her kids, she's got solid back-up.

Peggy and Patsy (a.k.a. The Lynns) warming up the crowd and opening for their mom

She did two Conway Twitty songs with her bandleader.
I WANT to say this was "Lead Me On."
I DO know the second song was "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man."

I really can't remember what this song was. 
But who cares, because I probably knew the lyrics, LOL.

Her gown made it damn near impossible for anyone to get good photos on their smartphones, especially people like me who were snapping from a distance. The only other performer I've seen live who was this sparkly was Liza Minnelli (of course). So if you're after better pictures of Loretta Lynn's gown and an accurate write-up of the concert, you should read this piece on The Vinyl District. (It includes her hilarious bit about "Fist City" and its, erm, inspiration. READ IT.)

As I left the venue and headed back to the Metro, I found myself walking behind two guys who were about my age. They were ranking their favorite Loretta Lynn songs from her set, and I had to crack a smile when I heard one of them say he loved that she did "Fist City." His friend agreed that there was something incredible about hearing her in person. I had had a few beers before the concert, but that didn't change that I shared their sentiments.

Any thoughts on this OPI or OPI: POTC? Any faves from that collection? If you enjoy classic country, who are your favorite artists? What are your most embarrassing musical influences/discoveries? And lastly, I'd love to hear about who's on your concert bucket lists. Ryan Adams is my white whale, but when all is said and done, Dolly Parton better tour sometime in the next year. The end.

P.S. Do you guys have Uber in your city? I had my first Uber experience going a few blocks from my friend's apartment in Dupont Circle to the 9:30. She was waiting on someone else to get to her apartment and so our initial plan of walking together to Columbia Heights kind of died, but then she said, "Let me Uber you a ride. It'll be my treat." "Okay?" (beat) "I don't even know what that is." Uber is an app you can link to your credit card, and once you plug in your pick-up and destination points, it automatically charges your card for the ride, plus the tip for the driver. Pret-ty neat. I got to the 9:30 Club WAY faster than I would have had I walked or Metro-ed into U Street, so ... thanks, 33! Texas Forever.

P.P.S. B DVRed "POTC: On Stranger Tides," and I attempted to watch it with him last Saturday. It was such a first world struggle because the movie didn't hold my attention beyond the random but delightful Judi Dench cameo. (Also, I may have been texting three people while trying to convince SMA that my lap was a good place to catnap.) But my point is, this movie was so damn unnecessary. As we just witnessed via the fail train that was "The Lone Ranger," Johnny Depp needs to quit playing variations of Jack Sparrow. I LOVED the first POTC movie, and really don't GAF about the rest. But if the next POTC movie brings me polishes like Steady As She Rose, Stranger Tides and Skull & Glossbones, I probably won't complain.

P.P.P.S. B and I highly endorse "The Wolverine." It's the movie that should have come out four years ago! I'm not overly familiar with the source material, but I loved how self-contained it was, compared to most superhero/comic-based sequels. And if you decide to watch it, stay for the credits.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Long Haul: July 2013

I don't think any of my future haul posts will be as epic as this one. Check this shit.

The rules: If I bought other items at one store along with polish, I won't include the tax, just the total amount I spent on polish. Additionally, swaps or anything I bought as a gift for someone else won't figure into this and won't count.

Notes: Yes, that is what I spent. Hand to God.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Pink Wednesday with NARS Anardana + paper crafts


The whirlwind that was my friend Krysi's bridal shower came and went, and sadly I don't have any pictures to show for it. Chalk it up to one of these things:

  1. We were already running behind at around 9-10 a.m. on Saturday morning
  2. The post office is stupid (more on this another day)
  3. Five people were staggering shower times (see #5)
  4. The power went out for 30-40 minutes while we were trying to set up
  5. A couple of guests arrived HALF AN HOUR early while I was running around barefoot and bra-less (don't worry, I was clothed)
  6. We ran out of towels 20 minutes before the party, so I had to wait for Krysi to come back to the house and grab me a towel from the master bedroom before I could shower (her man had gotten back from work and was sleeping, and I didn't want to wake him up)

By the time I was clean and clothed, most of the guests had arrived and I'd missed the window to take pictures of the house, pre-party. I won't lie, that was disappointing, but the important thing is that we brought our A-game and Krysi had a lovely party.

Our matron of honor picked the theme: Southern tea party, but I think we went full-on floral with it -- not that that was a problem for me, since I got saddled with decorations. The maid of honor ordered invites from Etsy. We voted on our favorite designs, and this was our favorite one:

Invites by Silhouette Design, link to this one HERE

We based most of our color motif off that invitation, and because the bride loves pink and polka dots, it was super easy to find a good blend of decorations. Before I show you crappy pictures of my masterpieces, let me show you my NOTWeekend.

If you read this blog last summer, then you know I was jonesing for NARS Anardana pretty badly. I was pinching pennies at the time in anticipation of moving to the apartment I share with Tara, so I tried my hardest not to buy it. One day last August, however, I was feeling incredibly frustrated and went to buy my feelings in high-end polish. I stopped at Dillard's to pick up butter LONDON Scouse, then went to Nordstrom for Dior Shadow (they were out, so I got Poison instead) and noticed there was one remaining bottle of Anardana. Since I'm not someone who needs the polish gods to tell me anything twice, I bought it. I've been "saving" it for a special occasion ever since.

The bridal shower for one of your best friends? TOTALLY a special occasion.

Three coats with SV.

All the polishes from this collection were named for and inspired by Indian spice markets. I'm dumb and didn't know anardana = dried pomegranate seeds. I have THE SIMPLEST palate on earth, and my people don't really use too much of them -- we fry shit -- so thanks, Google.

For most people, the color of this polish might not seem special, but everything else I saw was too warm, too pink, or not opaque enough. IIRC, Essie Watermelon is too red. I think NARS prices have gone up a bit since last year, so I didn't pay $19 for it, but if you love pink, high-end polish and the inspiration for this collection, it's $19 well spent. It's so gorgeous. It even got a compliment from the matron of honor's mom at breakfast!

Anardana had the perfect creme formula -- two thin coats will give you creamy, rich coverage, but as a compulsive three-coater, I couldn't stop there. Yes, the square brush cap is kinda huge, but it's actually easier to work with than you think. It dried super quickly with SV, and I went to bed one episode of "Girls" after applying SV. The only bad thing I have to say about Anardana is that I had two small chips less than 12 hours later, but in all fairness, my hands were going through a LOT. I was cutting things, gluing things, taping things, hanging things ... and let's not forget that my bottle of SV was dying. Otherwise, the wear has been fine. I tend not to wear high-end polishes for several days at a time, but for weekends, they're perfect.

Anardana was part of last summer's Thakoon for Nars limited edition set, but it's still available on the NARS site. (I guess that makes it core now?) I have three more I can blog if you're interested, so let me know.

And now on to the part of the post I'm most excited to share with you ... the part in which I attempt to channel Martha Stewart. I wish I'd gotten better pictures of everything, but with only a month of planning, my priority was MAKING stuff, not trying to style photos of them. FWIW, I do regret not making the time now.

I've been really into paper crafts, but I haven't had a reason to make any. This bridal shower was the perfect opportunity for me to try out a couple of them! Crepe paper kissing balls/pomanders/topiaries are pretty much the perfect craft -- it took me two unsuccessful attempts (and one VERY painful, disgusting glue gun burn) to streamline the process. I can cover a 4-inch styrofoam ball in an evening, or between three episodes of a 40-ish minute TV show.

I spray-painted a vase from the Dollar Store. I thought I'd spray paint more cheap vases, but when I realized I was running out of time, I just picked up small gift pails to put them on. Krysi's mom even stuck the smaller 4-inch balls on wine glasses with ribbon tied on the stem.

If you're interested, I can share a tutorial next month, but I followed the one from Heart Hands Home

Sorry about the mess. Real life, yo.

I'm a little worried about the fact that I know the yardage of crepe paper streamer rolls from different stores, but if I end up having to make more of these for the wedding, that may not be a bad thing. Anyway, the flower balls were huge hits -- every single one of the 9 I made were spoken for. :)

The other thing I wanted to do was to make a banner that Krysi could bring out again for a birthday, dental school graduation ;) , a promotion ... basically, something she could use for any occasion. I decided the phrase "Cheers to Krysi" would be cute, but I had no idea what the hell kind of design I wanted to try.

And then I saw this banner, and said out loud, "She has got to be f-ing kidding if she's charging that much per pinwheel and letter." I mean, I get it. I really do. But for someone on a time crunch and an even smaller budget, I knew I could make it myself.

So I bought fifteen sheets of cardstock (three sheets per color) at A.C. Moore, plus a few more sheets in light pink and white polka dots. I found an amazing tutorial at I'm Lexie and You Know It, and this happened:

Part of the reason I love that particular tutorial so much is because of the helpful tips about measuring and scoring your paper. I made some modifications to the directions (I cut the paper in half after accordion folding it to make a smaller wheel, then used scalloped scissors to cut out circles I'd traced on the polka-dotted paper) and bought some banner lettering, then punched holes in the wheels and strung it together with twine. With enough focus, I got this banner done in an evening. (Scoring the cardstock was a PITA until I realized I needed to do it with a ruler, not measuring tape.)

I got two nasty paper cuts and told Krysi she was not allowed to take that banner down for another week. Here's a shitacular picture of it in her house:

I made a few other things, but those were the only ones I got photos of and the only ones I wanted to share. I hoped you enjoyed this peek at them! If I end up having to make more flower balls for the wedding, I'll definitely share more about the process here -- not that my instructions will be radically different from the ones already out there, but ... why not, right?

Okay, I'm out. The next couple of days are gonna be bananas (Loretta Lynn on Friday!!!!!), so I won't have a chance to post again until next week. While I wait, I'd love to hear your thoughts on Anardana, bridal showers you've been a part of, your favorite paper crafts, and whether you'd like to see Lal Mirchi, Amchoor or Koliary before the end of the summer. I can make one of those happen. :)

Take care and have a good rest of your week, y'all.

P.S. After the craziness died down, B and I had a double-feature movie date on Sunday. We saw "Red 2" and "Pacific Rim" (in IMAX 3D!), and while I think I liked "Red 2" more (not sure who's the MVP, Malkovich or Mirren), "Pacific Rim" is growing on me. If you don't like Mako Mori, Pentecost Stacker and Herc Hansen ... we can't be friends.

Friday, July 19, 2013

MURICA! Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Blue My Mind

Before I show you some peekchurrs of my new favorite blue, you should know that this is going to be a long post. The good news is that this is the last of my NOTD catch-up posts; the bad news is that unless I can scrounge something up, I won't be posting until midway through next week at the earliest. So because I'm really into overcompensating, I'll include a butt ton of MURICA-centric pictures in this post, which works out since this polish was my Fourth of July NOTD.

The reason for no new posts is simply this: I'm co-hosting my friend's bridal shower tomorrow (Saturday, eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek). My fellow bridesmaids put me in charge of decorations (eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek), and every spare moment I've had in the past month has been spent attempting to emulate Martha Stewart. I'll share photos of my endeavors after the shower, since the bride-to-be reads this blog. ;)

The bride-to-be is one of my best friends from college -- in fact, she helped me choose the first polish I bought! She also happens to be a pretty darn good couponer. Back in May, she gave me about six or seven nail polish coupons. One of them was a coupon for $4 off a Sally Hansen polish, and although I waited until the last day I could redeem that coupon, there was no way I wasn't using it.

As we know, Sally Hansen revamped and reformulated the entire Complete Salon Manicure line earlier this year. I've got five of the new Complete Salon polishes and didn't think I *really* needed another, but this $4 off coupon sucked me in. I was interested in only two polishes; despite not being the most unique in color or name, Blue My Mind won out.

A note about these pics: I had to adjust the color a bit to get it right. My photos were so washed out, you wouldn't have seen how vibrant Blue My Mind truly is. I hope you'll forgive me.

Three coats with SV.

Ohhhhhh myyyyyyyyy geeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrd. Is it a dupe for anything? Maybe, but I don't know for certain, and I don't care. But THAT GLOW. Even B was impressed.

The formula was pretty wonderful on this, but I'm not going to lie: it smells like blue. You know the smell. Other than that, I have no complaints. I doubled up on base coat and it didn't stain, so I'm happy about that. I wore this for almost a week, because I got sick right after the Fourth of July, and it only chipped on my chiptacular right index finger.

Obviously, you need this polish. I daresay this might knock China Glaze Frostbite off my list of Top 20 material! (I think it's brighter than Frostbite, if you're wondering.) If you are a blue lover, then RUN, don't walk, to your nearest Sally Hansen display and buy this. It's core, so you have no excuse not to scoop it up the next time there's a Sally Hansen deal going on.

Like I said, since Blue My Mind was my Fourth of July NOTD, the pictures I'm about to show you are a little MURICA-centric. I probably sound like a huge dork, but I love living in a state with so much history.

While Chelsea was here, we visited the Virginia State Capitol and the Executive Mansion. I'd never been INSIDE the Capitol because parking downtown scares me sometimes (hello, endless construction + parking meters), so while I was a little sad that we weren't able to get a guided tour, the guide on the 2nd floor was wonderful. Guided tours are the -- sometimes the guides share insights you wouldn't be aware of otherwise. Except for Wednesday, it was an annoyingly rainy week, which you can see. (This was on Tuesday, the 2nd.)

Enjoy some statues and busts of dead white dudes.

The reason we missed out on a guided tour ...

If this George Washington (a Houdon!) looks vaguely familiar, 
then it's probably because you saw it in "Lincoln."

This bust of Meriwether Lewis freaked me the FUCK out.

But wait! A painting of every other Richmond news professional's favorite former governor (and former Richmond mayor), who is neither white nor dead:

I figured we had enough time for the Executive Mansion before the meter ran out, so we headed over there in the rain. I had quite a time keeping a straight face in mansion, in light of the current governor's Star Scientific scandal. You can Google that mess. But, quick photos:

I don't know who's in these two paintings because I was busy worrying 
about the parking meter. Oops.

Miraculously, B was off for the Fourth, so we went to watch fireworks by the reservoir. The weather was pretty disgusting that day, so while I'm glad we ventured out, I was happy to go back inside for a sandwich and ice cream.

We found out maybe an hour after the fireworks show that a seven-year-old boy had been struck in the head by a "celebratory" bullet some asshole had fired into the air. We were sitting close enough to see the ambulance and police cars rush away, but we didn't know exactly what had taken place. Sadly, the boy died the next day; as far as I know, the person who fired that gun hasn't come forward. I can't even imagine what the family of that child is going through. --Now, I know unfortunate things like this are prone to happen every Fourth of July in crowded places, but this still has me freaked out because the reservoir is such a remote area. It was a shock for a lot of people, and I wonder if security is going to be beefed up next year.

Ugh. People. :(

Closing thoughts: Does Blue My Mind's amazingness make up for its name? Wasn't it perfect for the Fourth? What did you do for the holiday?

Do you have anything good on tap for this weekend? I can't wait to spend some time with my friends and get this bridal shower in the books. I hope everything will look great. We're having the party inside, but please cross your fingers for some decent weather! Take care, and I'll check back in with you next week.

P.S. I have one last set of photos from Chelsea's visit that I think you're going to like the most. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Skinny Dipping (With Friends): Essie Playa del Platinum

Ugh, I hate posting in the afternoon. However, due to computer issues this morning, here we are.

My obsession with milky nude sheers continues, but it occurred to me that (A) I haven't really blogged Essie in a while, and (B) one of the few good things about summer is Essie's summer resort collection. Would you believe that while I own all four polishes in the 2010 Resort Collection, I've only worn ONE of them? Ridiculous.

God, 2010 was like a lifetime ago. But I do remember the day I dragged B to Ulta with me to buy this during an Essie B2G1 sale, back when said Ulta store was the ONLY Ulta in Richmond. (Now there are four. FOUR. I live near one location, and another one is on the way to his house. >___< )

Anyway, Playa del Platinum looks mega-lobstery on me. It isn't. I'm a bit more yellow.

Three coats with SV. Ew, why do my cuticles look so dry?! I promise they weren't.

I think Playa del Platinum is as close as I want a sandy nude to border on greige on my skin tone. For a creme, I think this is pretty complex! It goes from typical sandy nude to greige with a pinch of green, as you can see in the last picture. Because of that green tinge, I wasn't sure if I would like it on me, but after wearing it for two days, I didn't want to take it off. I don't know if that grey/green tinge would work for everyone, but ... it's pretty boss.

The formula on this polish is not the best Essie has ever done, but it's not the worst, either (which I think is something that can be said for Resort 2010 in general). Three thin-medium coats will get it opaque; however, it doesn't self-level, so I needed to break out the SV for this one. Dry time was quick and I had minimal tip wear after two days. I'd like to wear this again for maybe five days to see what happens.

As I said, this was part of the Essie Resort Collection for 2010. I don't think it's a core color any more, although I could be wrong about this. At any rate, it's quite ETF online if you want it.

That's all for today. Do you own any of Essie Resort 2010, or Playa del Platinum? Would you want to try it? Isn't it fun dragging your significant others to places like Ulta? And would you like to see the other polishes I grabbed with the B2G1 deal on the day I bought this?

If you haven't read Anna's post, go do it! Thanks for joining us, and perhaps I'll break out one last summertime milky sheer next month. ;)