Saturday, September 27, 2014

Skinny Dipping (With Friends): OPI Can't Taupe This!


--No, this is not a Cleveland wedding megapost. I can't. Not today. Last weekend was so epic that it deserves its own post, and depending on how the rest of today goes, you'll get it next week or early in October.

But today, we'll talk Skinny Dipping. Late, of course. Anna and I had a couple of moments last Saturday during which we both went, "Uhhhhhhhhh ..." while discussing when this month's posts would go up. Obviously, she was able to get it together. In a not-so-shocking twist, I was not. That's okay, though. I'm here now.

So, today's pick. I saw this polish in an OPI 2-pack at Marshalls in August, and basically was biding my time until I could blog it. I had never heard of this polish before, but I heard a rumor on Instagram that some of these unknown OPIs are? might be? repackaged Sephora by OPI colors. I cannot think of which $OPI this polish might be. EDIT: Maybe it's $OPI Under My Trench Coat??? I have this color ... somewhere ... but I can't confirm whether this is the OG.

Whatever this polish is, it's certainly irresistible to me.

Three coats with SV.

I looooooooove taupes, and I loved the color of this one. Not too red, not too brown, not too cool. Just perfect for me. And THAT SHIMMER. It looks silver in my photos, but there is the tiniest glint of gold IRL. Can't Taupe This! -- or whatever its $OPI counterpart is -- basically what I wanted Essie Mochachino to be; Mochachino leaned too red on my skin tone.

I had no issues with formula (SO creamy!) or application on this one. I think it looks best at 3 coats (no bald spots, no patching), but you can stop at 2 if you need or want to. Dry time was supah fast with SV.

I don't have time right now, but in the next week, I'll try to update this post with a photo of the 2-pack Can't Taupe This! came in, so you know what to look for if you hit up Marshalls. I've noticed the stock at my local store changes every other week or so. When I found this, I found some of last year's OPI Mariah 2013 textures and the Essie Winter 2013 collection; last week, they had Essie Spring 2014 and a bunch of NOPI Selena colors. What I'm saying is STOCK VARIES, so keep an eye out.

What do you think of this color? Does anyone have the official word on whether some of these OPIs are repackaged $OPIs? I need to know! Have you made any astonishing nail polish finds at Marshalls/TJs/Ross lately? If so, what were they? Spill!!!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully October's installment will be on time. --Sorry this post was so late, but now that you know what's going on in my life, it shouldn't be a surprise. Tuesday is the last day at work (I'll be retained until the end of the year to assist with other closing up duties), and then my sister is coming to visit at the beginning of October. I can't wait to see her so we can binge on carbs and the first season of "Sleepy Hollow" on DVD. (Don't ask me about the season premiere, because I was deep into a book when B put it on to watch -- I didn't get any reading done when I was in Cleveland and I HAD TO finish my book.) Things are going to be HAZMAT NO TIME for the next two weeks. I will do my best to have a Cleveland post up because OF COURSE I have to tell you what I got up to there, and I want to jot it all down before I forget.

Again, thanks for putting up with me. I'll see you when I see you. :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Birthday blue: China Glaze Man Hunt

My twenty-eighth birthday was last week, on September 10. The DIRTY THIRTY is in two more years and I don't know, you guys. I just don't know.

Anyway, I usually sport a sapphire blue manicure of some kind on my birthday. This year, I did not have enough time to do my nails before work -- Wednesdays are my Mondays, and my birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, so shockingly, my nails had to go nekkid. It's okay, though. Later that night, stuffed full of Chinese food and popcorn and Coke/cherry slurpee, I managed to stay up long enough to put on China Glaze Man Hunt. I haven't worn a blue creme on my birthday since 2010; I wasn't expecting to this year, but when the day came, I was not in the mood for anything blingy.

Brace yourself: These photos of Man Hunt, while pretty, are not entirely color-accurate. I had no time to take color-accurate ones, so this is what you get for now.

Three coats with SV.

The last blue creme I wore for my birthday was more navy than sapphire. And sometimes I have issues with dark blue cremes because they come out darker on the nail than bottle color, but no -- Man Hunt was just about perfect! The formula was a little thick and not quite the usual buttery consistency of a ChG creme, but it applied easily, anyway. Dry time was fast with a fresh bottle of SV. Smooth sailing, basically. Bonus: It actually looks blue on the nail!

Man Hunt was from China Glaze's On Safari collection from Fall 2012, which probably was the last ChG fall collection I've been excited for in a while. I was not a fan of most of last year's fall collection, but this year's (All Aboard, I think?) is definitely up my alley. I've scooped up 3 colors so far, and I still want more ... the only theme I like more than a nautical one is a train-themed one. ANWYAY, IIRC, On Safari was the first collection that Madeline had to buy in its entirety. I love the ones I have (even if they aren't all that unique), and Man Hunt is no exception. It's not hard to find if you want it, so if you're looking for a nice blue creme, I heartily recommend it.

Any thoughts on Man Hunt? Do you tend to wear a certain color on your birthday?

So, my birthday. I'd been pre-gaming since the Hall & Oates show and I'd had a meltdown the day before it, but the day itself was fine. I opted to push my birthday work lunch back one day so I could celebrate it with our student worker (whose birthday was the day after mine, #TeamVirgo). I wasn't expecting anything, so imagine my surprise when I found this in the front office ...

Our team lead made me oatmeal raisin cookies. That was so nice of her! And then I found this on my work tablet ...

After work, I had dinner with my parents, my aunt, and her husband at our new favorite Chinese place. Its owner had opened a second location closer to us, and that location was celebrating its first year of business with BOGO entrees, so we ate A CRAP TON of food for an excellent price. Plus my aunt's known the owner forever, so we were able to get a nice table, even with the wait. :)

My family usually lingers after dinner, but since the place was so busy, we split up early. That worked out fine, because my parents and I got to catch a viewing of "Guardians of the Galaxy." Although I'd seen it (opening weekend!), they had not, and my dad had heard such good things that he was afraid he would miss it. They LOVED the movie. My parents enjoy MCU movies, and they're Zoe Saldana fans, so it was a home run for them, even though my mom was all, "I thought his name was Root." Oy.

Last night, I got my birthday present from my boyfriend. Because I'd bought this for myself ...

... he had to get me something else.

I think I have to keep him. When I unwrapped it, I had a pretty Mindy Lahiri reaction ... I definitely screamed a little and lunged at him. Like, I don't even care. Now I get to watch "Christmas Party Sex Trap" WHENEVER I WANT. The day after Hall & Oates, he gave me my card a little early and it's too great for me NOT to share.

And that was just on top of all the lovely well wishes I got from friends and family throughout the day. I'm pretty sure this is the only reason to add your birthday to your Facebook profile -- it's SO nice that people take 20 seconds out of their day to shoot you a birthday message, and it's even nicer when it leads to lots of catching up via reply threads and private messages. I love that. Thank you to those of you who left me birthday greetings on various social media & text! Y'all are awesome. I'm lucky to have you. :)

As I said, the day itself was nice. The idea of being closer to 30 terrifies me to no end. It's not the aging that bothers me (thank you, Asian genetics!). It's the fact that I am getting closer to 30 and I haven't done anything I thought I would have done by now. I also haven't done anything that I'm super proud of. You know, typical late 20s birthday bullshit.

But I'm about to have a LOT of time to suss this all out. Big changes are happening, because -- and this is why I've been so busy and AWOL: My workplace is closing at the end of this month.

The idea of job hunting always has scared me shitless, but this is the first time in a long time that I'll be unemployed. Somehow being unemployed after having been able to avail of benefits (retirement savings, an HSA, health insurance!) is worse than when I was 23 and unemployed after working part-time. 

I have NO IDEA what I'm going to do. Where am I going to live? How am I going to earn an income? What am I going to do about health insurance? #adultproblems 

This is why I've been away. Half the time, I don't have the energy to blog, although I really want to because my backlog is reaching horrifying proportions. But this is not even an "Abu, this is no time to panic" situation, because panicking seems to be all I am doing these days. I have tics and everything. 

HOWEVER, there are some good things I am looking forward to during my downtime over the next couple of months. I will list them all so I can refer to them and calm down in the next 11 days. Heck, maybe I'll even blog about some of these.

  1. hitting up the drive-in with B before it closes for the winter season. 11/1/14
  2. The next #rbroadtrip is TODAY! It's been two years since our last one, and this will probably be our longest one to date. 9/19/14
  3. celebrating my dad's retirement in October 10/4/14
  4. taking care of myself again: at least 2-3 days of some sort of physical activity for 30-60 mins. every week, or maybe actually do Blogilates every day for a month
  5. learning to cook more things, with a good ratio of healthy and comfort foods
  6. culling my digital music library ... this scares me more than it should.
  7. updating my polish spreadsheet ... which also is scary
  8. taking a complete inventory of my DVD/Blu-ray collection ... which is the least scary thing
  9. spending a few days with my sister in October 10/3-10/7/14
  10. maybe putting some effort into a costume for the first Halloween party B and I have been to since 2010 No one had a party ... whew
  11. also making an effort to go to more Richmond area-based breweries to catch their fall and holiday brews
  12. seeing Jenny Lewis in concert in November 11/12/14
  13. I'm not sure if I'll have to recruit friends again this year, but B is getting another chocolate mint cake for his birthday in November 11/15/14
  14. Friendsgiving!!!! I can't wait. 11/22/14
  15. Thanksgiving with ... oh God I don't even know. 11/27/14

So yeahhhh, lots of good stuff coming up in spite of me literally pulling my hair out. I hope everything will be okay. If any of you successfully navigated your late 20s and early 30s, I would appreciate any advice, handholding, or commiserating you'd like to send my way. Not even joking.

Oh, and not to bury my lead or anything, but as this post goes up, B and I will be on our way to Cleveland for STEPHANIE'S WEDDING! I'm pretty excited. I've never been to Cleveland. (I really hope a police officer stops me to ask if I want to pet a real police horse.) I met Stephanie's fiance, Ben, back in February, and I've spoken to her on the phone a few times, but I've yet to meet her (and Remy), so I'm tripping balls. I'm also going to spend some time with Anna and her fiance, and I plan to meet Jacqui for lunch the day after the wedding. Wish us safe travels, wish Stephanie and Ben all the love in the world, and cross your fingers that the day goes as smoothly as possible.

All right, I too am out. Catch y'all next week for Skinny Dipping, and perhaps a Cleveland post before the end of the month.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Deborah Lippmann Maneater: Watch out, boy, she'll chew you up!

I haven't posted about any concerts since June, which is ridiculous because I went to three in July, plus one show this month that was so amazing, I can't NOT blog about it.

My love for Hall & Oates has been well-documented on more than a few occasions here on Stuff, but I finally got the chance to see this legendary duo in person, three days before my birthday. I still can't believe I was able to go! Earlier this summer, I jumped on presale tickets so quickly that my heart was pounding for another half-hour after I pounced on two $80-level seats.

Oh, and the presale code was MANEATER.

... which, if you know me, meant only one thing ...

Four coats with SV.

If you've been reading Stuff for the last two years, then you know the way my mind works -- this polish was LOCKED IN as soon as the ticket confirmation arrived in my inbox. :)

Maneater is so old, the label on the front reads, "Lippmann Collection" rather than Deborah Lippmann's name, which has been on the front of all her polishes since 2010. --Besides, this vamp appeals to me much, much more than Lippmann Sarah Smile, a sheer nude color. Unlike most vampy jellies, which tend to be in the crimson and oxblood families, Maneater is a deep, deep brown. It's gorgeous! You really only see the brown on the first thin, streaky coat; after you apply at least two more coats, the base color is almost imperceptible in most lights. All you see is straight up vampy gorgeousness.

Application was a little tricky for me, but jellies are such a mixed bag, especially older ones. Sometimes you get perfection, but sometimes you also have to deal with a streaky first coat. Luckily, once I got the hang of working with Maneater, it was not too bad to apply. I could have stopped at a total of three coats if I'd been more careful, but I had a couple of bald patches, and I figure that you can never be too careful with jellies, so I added one more coat (for a total of four coats). My dry time with my dying bottle of SV was not as fast as I would have liked it to be when I actually wore this one, but when I swatched it with a fresh bottle, it was perfect. (Whew!)

Funnily enough, Maneater comes from Deborah Lippmann's 2008 holiday collection. Based on the swatches I remember seeing at the time, it was more funky than traditional -- at least, for 2008. I still have my eye on Superstar and Holiday ... both are a little harder to come by now, that's for sure. (**SIGNAL BOOST!**) I don't know if this was a limited edition collection, but I know the shades certainly are discontinued. If you are lucky, you'll be able to come by Maneater on a blog sale, which is exactly what I did, thanks to a Canadian NBer. :)

I'm not sure whether Maneater refers to Hall & Oates or Nelly Furtado, but hey, guess what was the first song performed at the show? :D

Crappy but obligatory photo.

I missed the chance to see Phoenix last September when I went to Kentucky for bachelorette shenanigans, so I had never been to a concert at Charlottesville's nTelos Wireless Pavilion before. However, the area is part of the historic downtown mall, which also is home to the Jefferson Theater, one of my favorite venues, so I knew where we were going, and we got there ten minutes before the gates opened.

For the record, I'd normally say I dragged B with me, because I've dragged him to a fair amount of things over the past few years. At first I thought he was indulging me and being a really good sport about it (I think in Gone Girl, this might encroach on "dancing monkey" territory) and that he was willing to go because it was a beautiful day and it was FREE (for him), and also there was that tiny little part where he hadn't seen me in 2? 3? weeks and maybe he missed me. Maybe it was all of these things, I don't know, but as the night wore on, I kept noticing that he was having a good time, too good of a time for someone who likes to make fun of me for liking Hall & Oates. (Conclusion: He has to be a closet Hall & Oates fan. Obviously.)

The weather was beautiful that day, not too warm and not too cold into the evening. B and I have a little bit of an age difference, enough for him to comment that he couldn't believe so many people would be willing to come out in 2014 for a band that was so popular in the '80s. The turnout was INSANE -- the lawn was filled, as was nearly every seat closer to the stage. Most of the other showgoers were closer to his age ... any kids in the audience were there with their parents, and it was evident which ones were more thrilled to be there, hahahaha. I had a big dumb smile on my face as we waited in line and told B gleefully that this was one of the least hip things I have ever done (and I've seen Liza Minnelli in concert!), but I could not have been more excited to be there.

I can't remember how long the show lasted because I was enjoying myself so much that I lost track of time entirely. I guess they played a little more than an hour and a half, but less than two hours, and the set covered all of their huge hits. The thing I liked the most, though, was their band ... B and I recognized more than a few of the musicians from their appearances on "Live From Daryl's House". I wasn't sitting close enough to take good quality photos, but they kept trotting out their saxophone player and he was AWESOME. Anyway, I cracked up the entire time during "She's Gone" because all I could think of was a Ron Burgundy voiceover. (Thanks, "Anchorman," thanks so much.)

"Sara Smile"

"Rich Girl"

When they played "I Can't Go for That," I also freaked out a little because that was the second time I'd heard that song in Charlottesville, when I got to see Mayer Hawthorne cover it last year (here's what it sounded like when MH was on LFDH). It was as though my discovery of MH came full circle, because I found him looking for "Hall & Oates" covers on YouTube. :)

I also might have died when they played my favorite H&O song, "You Make My Dreams," because IT IS THE. BEST. SONG., OKAY? We can fight about it later.

Yes ... they DID make my dreams come true

They played two encores, and by the time they got to the second encore, B and I were not quite sure which songs we hadn't already heard until it hit me ... they hadn't played "Kiss On My List" or "Private Eyes" yet. Ha.

Private eyes, they're watching you!

I can't stop saying it, but part of me still can't believe this happened. I'm not sure how far along my Charlottesville show was on this tour, but if they're playing near you and you can get tickets? OH MY GOD, GO. (Note: I need you to know I just stopped typing to make a shooing motion with my hands. What even? Seriously, GO.) I am so thrilled that I got to scratch Hall & Oates off my concert bucket list on such a lovely night that I got to share with the person I love most. Life has been incredibly stressful and exhausting lately (more on that later), so I was thankful to be able to chill out for one wonderful night and ring my birthday in early.

Care to share your thoughts on DL Maneater? Which comes to mind first, Nelly Furtado, or Hall & Oates? ;) You know my favorite Hall & Oates song, but what's yours? I would love to know!

Thanks for reading! I know I'm behind on my concert posts, but something this epic was too much for me to keep to myself, haha. Oh, and I should have my birthday nails up on Friday. Spoiler: It was blue.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Year 1 of Shopping My Stash COMPLETE! + something blue

*smacks mic* Is this thing on?

Sorry for the little hiatus and the incredibly late post (I will backdate this after next week). I'll explain myself another day, but first, Shopping My Stash!

I can't believe Stephanie and I have been doing this for one. year. now, particularly because I have been the worst partner for the last few months. (The reason behind this is deeply entwined with why I've been away.) In any case, I've had so much fun scrounging up polishes of days past and sharing them with you! Naturally, we were more successful some months than others, but I'm still really glad we started this series ... I mean, even if I'm a TAD BIT BEHIND on posting, I still have an awesome partner, and I get to share some polishes that otherwise would never see the light of day! Not too shabby. :)

You've probably already read Steff's post by now, so you know we're blogging blue this month. I chose blue partially because sapphires are my birthstone (my birthday was on Wednesday), and also because Steff's wedding is in ONE WEEK. When I told her what I was blogging, she replied with a jovial, "HAHAHAHA, that's funny for a wedding-associated thing."

It really is. But it's one of the oldest blues I have, I haven't blogged this brand in an age, and I thought this would be a pretty blue for a wedding: close to, but not quite a robin's egg blue.

Three coats with SV. SORRY ABOUT MY CUTICLES. I've slacked off on the moisturizing because I haven't been blogging and taking pictures, and you can tell.

Say hello to BB Couture Adios Mo Fo! Best name ever, am I right? I'm 99.9% sure that's the only reason I bought it, whenever this was (circa 2010-2011; Scrangie's photo put Adios Mo Fo on my radar). Like, it's GOOD. I really dig the color -- that blue is GORGEOUS. I would have liked for the shimmer to be more prominent because this appears mostly creme to the eye. I'm okay with this, though, because the formula was really easy to work with and it dried quickly with SV. I actually topped this with one coat of SH CSM Hidden Treasure + NYC GCS and didn't take any pictures (sorry), but trust me, it was beeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaauuuuuuutiful.

Adios Mo Fo came from the BB Couture Cantina Nights Collection from Summer 2010. If you want it, you can buy it from the BB Couture site for $10.95, or from The Beauty Clutch, where it's on sale for $9.50 right now! I wish this brand was not so annoying to get a hold of, because it has so many wonderful colors that I am positive it would be a bigger deal if it got more exposure (these are my exact feelings about Nubar, by the way!). I hope to blog more BB Couture in the coming months ... compared to what most people like, I own some seriously snoozeworthy colors, but I really do like them.

So, Adios Mo Fo: Best name ever? Check. Awesome blue? Check. Oldie but goodie? ABSOLUTE CHECK. Wedding appropriate? That's debatable. ;)

Thanks for reading this post and for reading Shopping My Stash for the past twelve months. I know Steff has to evaluate where she is on blogging in a few weeks, so I don't know if we'll be able to keep bringing you this feature, but meeting the monthly prompts certainly has been a great source of fun and I've enjoyed the experience; if in fact she does decide to quit blogging -- which I hope she won't, but I keep telling her, "You gotta do you" -- it'll definitely be something I'll treasure. Like, blogging with one of your blog idols? HOLY CATS, lucky me! Also, this series actually has inspired me to blog some old favorite polishes of mine, which I plan to do as soon as I can come up with a name for the feature. The wins certainly outnumber the fail (that is, not posting on time), so I'm happy. We hope you've enjoyed it as much as we've enjoyed bringing it to you!

Don't forget to read Steff's post, and I'll be back next week with 2 posts. :)