Tuesday, December 31, 2013

OPI Visions of Love

One last NOTD for 2013! I meant to post this one on the 20th, but that didn't happen (obviously).

So here's my deal with December 20th: Five years ago that day, I sat down next to this dude at a Christmas get-together at a bar with a bunch of co-workers. I had never really had a conversation with him outside of work before, and ... I mean ... that was probably a good thing, considering how quickly we hit it off that night. ("Rachel, you can sit next to him, he doesn't bite!" "No, not unless I ask him to first." "That's true." I also vaguely remember telling him he was going to have to be nice to me if he wanted me to let him out so he could pee or smoke. What can I say? I'm smooth.) If you had told me that he would end up being my main squeeze and that I would spend the weekend after Christmas 2013 trying to find presents for his adorable cat, I would have laughed in your face. But ... it's true -- I totally got Sterling Meowlory Archer some presents last Saturday. I haven't even gotten B anything yet. Oops?

The only reason I know all this happened on the 20th is mostly because I went to a Met Opera Live in HD transmission of Massenet's "Thaïs" that day *and* watched "Slumdog Millionaire" with my ex-roommate (I loved "Thaïs," didn't care for "Slumdog"). Oh, and I think there's a group photo on Facebook floating around. Heh.

I was wearing "some vampy business" I will share one day here, but in lieu of that, I went with another holiday vampy, Visions of Love from this year's OPI Mariah Carey holiday collaboration. It doesn't look that special in the bottle and it's not all that unique, but I kind of want to have babies with this polish anyway. Look.

Three coats with SV.


There really isn't anything special about Visions of Love, and I feel like there are a TON of dupes or close-dupes (not that I can name any ... it does however remind me of something Chanel?), but I had to have it by virtue of it being (1) an OPI holiday release, and (2) a polish named after a Mariah Carey song. The funny thing is that I own nothing like this in my stash! I don't really like brown-leaning reds on me, but Visions of Love is vampy enough that it doesn't bother me.

I keep seeing other bloggers go back and forth regarding its finish -- I've seen it described as a creme, a jelly-creme, or a jelly. IDK. It reminded me of OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, which also definitely took a second coat to reach vamp status. The formula was pretty good, but you have to work carefully since you don't want to have to clean up too much. (Cleaning up reds, vampies, greens, blues and some purples = THE WORST.) Dry time was fast and wear time was decent for one day -- no chips or tip wear, just some scuffed-up SV.

If you want this one, you should totally get it now so you don't have OPI holiday regret. As a person who most recently suffered very acute OPI holiday regret in the form of OPI Burlesque shimmers, I know how it feels. Just get this. Trust.

Oh, and get THIS: Basically, this relationship has been a good chunk of my adult life, which admittedly is strange to think about. Just ... WHAT? That's so weird. I'm not going to say some shit like "here's to five more years" because that's dumb and life is beyond unpredictable, but I certainly can't imagine the last five years without him or Mr. Archer. I love them very much. Tonight, I'm going to get my midnight kiss from one (or both) of them, damn it. :)

Whatever you end up doing tonight, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable evening and a wonderful new year. If your 2013 was fantastic, I hope 2014 brings you more of the same; if your 2013 was awful, I hope 2014 is a vast improvement! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for reading this blog, commenting or e-mailing and spending a few minutes of your day with me. I appreciate it more than you know!

My 2013 was a mixed bag -- come back tomorrow and take a look back at the year with me. It's gonna be an interesting post.

Cheers and here's to a 2014 full of good tidings, good health, success, good TV and even better nail polish! :D

Monday, December 30, 2013

OPI The Spy Who Loved Me

Sadness, you guys. Today's post is the last of my 2013 Christmas movie & polish posts. :'( Since I spent most of this year catching up on stuff from last year, I didn't get to share a lot of the ones I wanted to blog this year! However, I think I picked some pretty good stuff this December ... so let's wrap this bad boy up (... that's what she said).

So here's OPI The Spy Who Loved Me from last year's Skyfall collection (which I happened to love, btw). The photos below show this polish after 2-3 days of wear. 

I go back and forth about whether I like these pics ... if I end up hating them, I'll probably just delete these and reswatch them. The Spy Who Loved Me was a bitch and a half to capture, so I told myself I'd stop when the color looked right. Uh, yeah. This is where I stopped.

Three coats with SV.

Drooooooool. Yes, this is another red-based polish with gold glass fleck particles -- but it's more in the vein of OPI Live and Let Die, with a creme finish rather than a jelly one. So it's not quite as tomato as, say, SpaRitual Intention -- more cherry, I think. Definitely a deeper red, which at this time of year, I tend to favor a little more. This had a perfect formula and dry time as well.

I wore this polish to the office Christmas party a couple of weeks ago, which brings me to the movie I'm posting today:

This year on Stuff, I think "TTSS" lets Colin Firth match Guy Pearce, 2 for 2. Heh.

If you like le Carre and espionage-type things, you're in for a treat with this movie. I've never read the le Carre novel nor have I seen the miniseries with Alec Guinness, but I understand that the movie had to condense a LOT of novel into a little over two hours. I think the screenwriter did a great job! If it seems a little dense on the first viewing, watch it again. (And definitely watch it with subtitles.) I also loved the set dressing and the evocation of the period -- you feel like you're seeing it without being slammed over the head with it (lookin @ u, "Mad Men") -- and I really liked the score for some reason.

Also, DAT CASTING. Absolutely perfect. However, as much as I enjoy Toby Jones, I think Jared Harris (the original choice for Percy Alleline) is a little better at conveying more menacing characters, so that would have been fun to see. But still. Excellent, all around.

The Christmas portion of this movie isn't a huge affair, but it's very important: Smiley (Gary Oldman's character) thinks back to the Circus Christmas party. I think I mentioned it last year, but I LOVE party scenes when they're done right (that is, "show, don't tell"), because you gain a better insight into each character, which is so, so crucial to "TTSS." Have you ever wondered what a British intelligence Christmas party is like? Well, you'll find out. And look for a cameo by John le Carre himself! I'd like to watch this movie one day with the commentary ... ugh, someone get me a copy! I may have debated blogging OPI All Sparkly and Gold for this movie instead ... you should totally watch it and find out why. ;)

I'm sorry that was so rushed, but this does bring my 2013 movie posts to a close. I really hope you enjoyed them, and I also hope you check out some of these movies in the next year. They are worth watching if you need a break from the usual treacle -- which certainly has its place -- or if you want to try something different.

Thanks for reading and come back for one more post tomorrow. :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Long Haul: December 2013 + 2013 haulin' wrap-up

I'm posting this a little early because I have some other things I wanted to blog on Monday and Tuesday, so hit that cut tag to see my December and 2013 total. (OUCH. But ... kind of worth it?)

Oh, and I'm finally going to reveal my ~plan~ that I've been hinting at for the past few months. Hit that 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. I also will edit this blog entry to reflect the true numbers in case I buy something that wasn't recorded at the time of the original posting.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I just need to catch my breath, Christmas with my mates this year

Merry Christmas!

I haven't been around much lately ... real life, man. Things at work and at home got ... complicated., and not completely because of the holidays. There are just not enough hours in the day to do many of the things that needed doing! And then my parents decided to spend the holidays out of the country, and I didn't want to be alone. I thought I would have to spend it with Sterling Meowlory Archer, and a few of my friends offered to let me spend Christmas with them (love you!), but luckily my sister was able to get a flight home from New York on Monday morning. The carb-loading is in full effect, liquor was purchased, I've sat her through both series of "Cranford," and last night we went to our cousin's house to get drunk and watch movies.

The good news? I didn't get the flu this year. So that's a substantial improvement.

I got so overwhelmed with all the demands on my time that I had naked nails for four? five? days until yesterday, when I decided to suck it up and do Christmas nails. Of course, Christmas nails meant I got behind on a few more things (*cries*), but it was so nice to look down at my hands and see this.

Three coats with NYC Grand Central Station.

This is Essie Warm & Toasty Turtleneck, from this winter's Shearling Darling collection. I remember not being sure if this would look good on me, so I didn't pick it up right away. For some reason, though, I really like it. I have a lot of colors like this, and it falls in the OPI Parlez-Vous OPI? family of dusty lavender/mauve/whatever, but this is one of the more neutral shades in that spectrum: not too warm and not too cool on me. PERFECT. I'd recommend this one if you work in an uber-conservative setting, btw.

It also helped that the formula on this one was good. When Essie makes a creme, they really know what they're doing! I had some bald spots after two coats, so I used three and everything was fine. Dry time was quick with GCS, which made it really easy for me to do a glitter gradient with Sephora by OPI Be-Claus I Said So after taking some swatch photos.

I don't use a sponge or anything when I do these gradients, only a light touch with the brush. I wonder if a sponge would make application easier or harder. Thoughts?

I'm still getting the hang of working with glitter toppers, but this one was easy to use. I think the most difficult thing about this gradient business was trying to coax some hex glitters out of the bottle. Trust me, if you think this looks meh/okay in photos, it was AWESOME in person. Really!

The $OPI line was discontinued this summer to make room for the new Formula X for Sephora line, but I can't remember if Be-Claus I Said So was part of the core line up. I remember it was a holiday shade back in 2011, though. In any case, you can find $OPIs, even this one, at Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I actually found this one at Ross a couple of weekends ago for $2.99, and I HAD to pick it up even though I wasn't there to look for polish. $2.99, guys. You wouldn't be able to resist, either.

I feel like this post was so rushed. :/ I'm not happy about that, but whatever. What are you wearing for Christmas?

Oh, and here's some shots from the holiday light show at the botanical garden. My boyfriend and I went on Saturday night, and apparently every other person in Richmond had the same idea. I wonder if that was because the weather was in the high 60s! Last year, we also went on the Saturday before Christmas and it was a much easier affair in terms of waiting in line and the sheer volume of people, but it also was FREEZING that day. I'm just glad we got to go.

P.S. The theme this year was "A Natural Love Affair." It was so cute (the train display with the little animals was too adorable), but overall, I wasn't as wowed by this theme as I was last year.

This is for you, Angie. When we saw this unicorn, a small child screamed, "IT'S SO FLUFFY, I WANT TO DIE!"

This year, the tree had a separate theme, The Birds and the Bees.

A couple of weekends ago, B and I drove around looking at tacky light displays and paid our annual visit to the Brandermill Yeti. Did you know that Yetis usually are not included in the traditional Nativity arrangement? Shocking, I know.

(This year, the Yeti and the other decorations at that house almost did not go up since the owners of that house had a son in the hospital, but I hear that young man is doing better. IIRC, he told his parents to go ahead and put everything up, bless.)

My two favorite ornaments this year:

And a certain little kitty didn't stay awake through "A Christmas Story" last Saturday night.

If you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, whether you're doing your own thing or you're with family and friends. I know things on my end were in limbo until the last minute, but in the end, I'm just so happy I had somewhere to go ... and that there was booze.

Again, here is a terrible/awesome compilation of some of my favorite holiday tunes if you need something to put on today. :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Piggy Polish Moonlight & Mistletoe + Lynnderella One Nutty Fruitcake

One last time, I want to thank those of you who entered my giveaway! I also want to congratulate Marija again -- it was kind of funny how quickly I got her email. I'm talking within MINUTES of the post going up. :) Anyway, I've ordered her "Little Women" DVD and her package is going out before the end of the week, so that's that. I'm already planning the DVD lineup for next year's giveaway, LOL.

But to get back to business, here's another Christmas combo I wanted to blog so badly last year. I wore this for several days and was a little sad when I had to remove it.

I don't see a lot of people blogging Piggy Polish, so let me tell you now that the Piggy Polish holiday 2011 collection was pretty solid. I think there were six polishes in that collection, and I ended up buying three. However, I can't believe I waited until Moonlight & Mistletoe was on clearance at Ulta to snatch it.

Three coats with SV.

This polish hit too many marks for me.

Glass fleck? Check.
Fuchsia? Check.
Holiday collection? Check.

Oh, and for $3.99, the clearance price certainly was right, but tbh, this one was worth picking up at full retail. The formula was perfect, and it was super easy to work with. Dry time was insanely fast with SV, which tends to be the case for Piggy Polish on me. Win!

And then I decided Moonlight & Mistletoe was the perfect base for Lynnderella One Nutty Fruitcake. Ladies, I may never layer this Lynn over anything else again. Shown below is two coats of EPIC WIN:

DROOL. I mean, it's a good thing I love fruitcake ... panettone, that is.

One Nutty Fruitcake comes from Lynnderella's 2011 holiday duo, Holiday Houseguests (the other polish is Happy Holo Daze!). I'm not sure which version my bottle is, mostly because I bought it from my friend Jacqui's blog sale last year and the specifics are anyone's guess. That's okay, though. I think the combination of tiny red, pink and blue glitters along with larger, multicolored hex and square glitters is a HELLA fun. Confession: I love square glitter. I do not love black glitter. But damn if I don't adore the black square glitters in this polish!

If you feel like paying full price for this Lynnderella, you're in luck -- you can purchase it directly from her eBay shop for $22. I own four Lynns, three of which I've nabbed thanks to blog sales, so you should consider going that route, too. One Nutty Fruitcake is TOTALLY. WORTH. IT.

Now I'm not sure what One Nutty Fruitcake has to do with this movie, but I think the Moonlight & Mistletoe part of this layering combo pretty much nailed it.

In my last Christmas movie and polish post, I touched on how I loved the Narnia franchise because it's reminiscent of my childhood. I have a soft spot for "Batman Returns" for the same reasons. I have to say that the Narnia love isn't exactly specific to my childhood -- we're talking at least two generations of children there.

"Batman Returns," on the other hand? I was five when that movie came out. Back in '92, little kids were surrounded with Batman everything (I'm pretty sure I had Batman and Joker slippers), though I think that's also because "Batman: The Animated Series" started that year as well. That series ... well, that's another post.

However, this movie is special in its own right. Yeah, it's kind of terrible, plot- and dialogue-wise ... but is the plot really what you watched a Tim Burton movie in the early '90s for? (Answer: NOPE. Visuals. And probably Johnny Depp or Christopher Walken.) I miss old-school Burton movies because they were so campy and haunting and fun and joyful, not formulaic and reeking of Hollywood. (I'm looking at you, "Alice in Wonderland" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." It probably helped that Johnny Depp wasn't as busted then as he is now.) "Batman Returns" has all of this in spades. It's just fun. Darker than the first Burton "Batman," for sure, and WORLDS better than the Schumacher dreck that nearly killed the franchise until the Nolan reboot. (As much as I enjoy the Nolan trilogy, I think it has a tendency to take itself too seriously. And now it doesn't help that every superhero movie tries to be "Batman Begins.")

Also, MICHELLE PFEIFFER. I remember being in first grade and one of my classmates had a tie-in "Batman" kids book with photo stills from the film. We were looking at it and one kid said, "Catwoman is sexy" and he got in trouble for saying that. I think about that now and it's pretty hilarious. But ... no lies detected. She really was something. Plus, she really DID put that bird in her mouth!

Okay, I'm out since I have to make the Bitchin' Kitchen panettone bread pudding for our office Christmas party in a few hours. Yay, fruitcake! That brings us full circle, doesn't it? I'll try to have one more post this week, so we'll see what happens.

P.S. In case you're wondering why "Edward Scissorhands" doesn't make cut (puns!), it's because I simply don't love it as much as I used to. I'm not sure how that happened. One day I watched it, and I was just ... over it. :/

P.P.S. My sister and I have been known to say, "Honey, I'm home! Oh, I forgot ... I'm not married" and giggle ourselves silly because that line is so hilarious. Don't act like you don't, either. ;)

Edited 12/18/13: I added this post to the Holiday Link Party as seen on xoxo, Jen's blog. If you've got holiday manicures up, you can share them, too!