Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rescue Beauty Lounge Smile! LIPSTICK POST :D

Happy National Lipstick Day! Apparently, there truly is a day for everything. If I were still keeping up with Shopping My Stash, I'm pretty sure I would have lobbied hard for this as our July theme. ;)

To celebrate, I'm going to share phone photos of my favorite summer lipsticks later in this post. No swatches or anything, just bleh pics of them in their tubes because I'm lame. All I have are really shitty quality iPhone selfies I've sent Madeline because she is my lipstick friend, ha.

Anyhoo, that was a lot of words to tell you I love lipstick. In fact, a year before this (relatively new) obsession kicked in and the RBL Emoting Me collection came out, Smile was giving me lipstick vibes. Buying my own bottle and having it in my hands only reinforced this idea, so that's why I'm posting it today.

I fucking love this color. It's bright, bold, and just so happy. I wish I could find it in lipstick form. I'm already betting it would make my teeth look whiter ...

Three coats with SV.

Swooooon. Yes, there are hints of a golden shimmer in the bottle, but they're practically imperceptible on the nail. Laaaame. Good thing this reddish coral is so beautiful on its own!

Formula and application were great, RBL at its best. Nothing weird here. It's opaque in two coats, but I used three thin coats because I am an obsessive three-coater. Dry time is good, and I wore this for three days with no chips, just some miniscule tip wear. Because of the pearly shimmer, it looks semi-matte without top coat; even with SV, it dulled after a day. Didn't bother me, though.

I can't believe the RBL Emoting Me collection was two summers ago. Isn't that wild? Smile is still available for $20 on the Rescue Beauty site, or you could take your chances and try to score it via blog sale. If you like reds and corals, this little baby is a must-have in your stash!

Speaking of stashes, here's a really tame look at some of my really tame stash. Forgive the shitty photos. I'm just excited and I wanted to share *something* because I love that I've been able to wear lipstick more often these last few months!

  • NARS Dragon Girl - Duh. And okay, technically not a tube lipstick, but it's perfect. I got this to wear for Steff's wedding last year upon my MUA's suggestion and it still KILLS. I really had to twist Madeline's arm (no, I didn't) to get her to buy it for her birthday in May, and once she put it on, she sent me a very excited text saying something like, "THIS IS THE NICEST THING I EVER PUT ON MY FACE." Truth. It's a little pricey and I will have to get a NARS sharpener soon, but damn if it's not hella gorgeous. I barely have to touch up whenever I wear it, which is how you know this pencil is too fabulous and worth the $26. I'm dying for the 413 BLKR pencil but I'm soooooo stoked that the mini Cruella pencil is the Sephora BI birthday gift! I can't wait to pick up mine in September.
  • MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus - Probably the greatest thing Miley will ever give us. (And that includes "Party in the U.S.A.") SUCH a flattering pink! It's one of MAC's amplified cream finishes and so it's not a true matte, but who cares. While I didn't buy the lip glass, I've seen it on other gals, and the combination of this lipstick + that glass is just too beautiful. Grab the lipstick (or the glass) while you can. I might be hoarding a back up tube ...

  • NYX Matte Shocking Pink - Photo fail. This is decidedly quite orchid in the tube, but don't let that scare you! Its blue/violet undertones are so pronounced that I'm not sure that this this looks as good on me as other colors do, but I still like it a lot. However, my two NYX Mattes (this + Street Cred) tend to dry out my lips and flake within a couple of hours, even with primer (also currently NYX!), which is probably why I don't reach for them as much as my other drugstore brands. I've wearing this one a lot this summer so I can try to figure out what's the deal.
  • L'Oréal Colour Riche Freida's Red - More of a fuchsia? magenta? than red red on me, but stupid gorgeous. I wore this to Anna's wedding and it hung on really well, given the circumstances (I stuffed my face and I also had to use my UD Ozone as primer instead of liner, which is not my preferred use for my Ozone pencil -- I like it better as an outer lip line barrier). It's very creamy and pigmented, which always makes removal interesting at the end of the night. I would say it's my favorite so far among the 4 L'Oréal signature reds I got, but I haven't tried the others yet. (I picked up Blake's Red, Julianne's Red, and Liya's Red ... I still need JLo's. Maybe Julianne's Red is in order to try next.) There's a slight powdery? floral? scent to these L'Oréals, the same as the core Colour Riche lipsticks, though strangely it doesn't bother me.
  • Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Shocking Coral - The Color Sensational Vivids line probably is one of the best drugstore lipstick lines out there, IMO. Shocking Coral leans more pink and actually needs to be blotted and powdered twice before I can get it as pink as I like it (is that weird?), but it wears beautifully. (I knew I would stan this line after wearing this to $2 Burger Night at a local bar and it still looked good. Even B was impressed.) This particular shade was one of my favorites from last summer! You can pick it up when there's a Maybelline sale or you could drag yourself to Walmart and get it for way cheaper than a regular drugstore price (that's what I did).

  • Wet n Wild Silk Finish Nouveau Pink - Totally smells like a grandma lipstick if you know what I mean, but the color is to die for and it's easy to put on. The only thing I really hate it about it is the packaging design on the new, redesigned tube -- UGH @ the bottom of that curvy cap! If the cap breaks or won't stay on, you're kind of fucked. At least it's cheap (99 cents!). I got this tube in January, and it was one of my favorite colors this past winter.
  • Wet n Wild Mega Last Purty Persimmon - Another rec from Madeline last fall when I was in the market for an orange-leaning red. I know I just praised the Maybelline Vivids line, but the WnW Mega Last line is without a doubt THE BEST lipstick you're gonna get for your money. The range of colors is fantastic, so for $1.99 you can try out a shade without breaking the bank (especially when there's a BOGO half off sale or a 99-cent sale). My absolute favorite core color in this line is Sugar Plum Fairy, but that's more of a fall/winter lip for me. 
  • Wet n Wild Mega Last Sunset Siren - This was LE last fall with a few other matte shades, but honestly, it needs to be a permanent shade because it's so damn good. The pigmentation and staying power for the Mega Lasts generally are pretty good, but this LE matte is so fucking insane that it has no business being 49 cents (which is what I paid for it on clearance last year). This picture makes it look a lot like WnW Mega Last Cherry Picking, but trust me, Sunset Siren is more of a neutral red IRL. Bold, but not that deep of a red. Loooove.

Like I said ... basic shit for a #basicbitch, but (1) it's summer and I noticed I reach more for reds and berries more in the fall/winter seasons. I love the idea of a purple lip (Maybelline Hot Plum/Brazen Berry/Orchid Ecstasy + MAC Heroine), only I don't know if I could pull it off. Also (2) I love a good matte lip, and (3) I've probably acquired one tube too many for someone who really only wears lipstick on weekends. I couldn't wear it at my last job, and who knows where I'll end up working? :/ 

Okay, that does it for today's lipstick ~celebration. What do you think, is RBL Smile reminiscent of lipstick? What polishes do you wish could be actual lipsticks? Besides this RBL, I think Orly Risky Behavior would be too mega. Maybe such a shade already exists, I don't know. Feel free to share some of your faves or future purchases in the comments, plus a warning if you think they're so good that I'll need to hide my wallet. ;) (I feel obliged to pimp this red because Peggy Carter. Maybe for my birthday ...)

Thank you so much for reading! I know I dropped off the face of the earth for a few months there and I have no idea what the next few weeks or months will bring, but as nice as that five-month break was, it's nicer to be posting again. Next month is going to be bonkers because I'll be traveling a lot (ofc my summer gears up just as the season starts winding down), so I'll try to get a handful of posts together for y'all. Sound good? I'll see you guys next week!

P.S. No, I did not wear OCC Technopagan to my best friend's mom's housewarming because I forgot to take it with me to B's. #fail Instead, I wore NARS Dragon Girl (surpriiiiiiiiiise! Not.) and it was bomb. My friend's mom said I looked like I was "on the prowl," haha. I suppose that's fitting, given the name "dragon girl." But Technopagan will happen as soon as I can pony up for my favorite makeup remover (Lancôme Bi-Facil -- I know it's for eye makeup, but it removes lipstick better than the Neutrogena wipes!) and an angled brush.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Christmas in July: Deborah Lippmann Dream Weaver

I was so bad last year, you guys. I went HARD with the Lippmann holiday 2014 collection, picking up four of its six polishes. When the first swatches appeared online, I remember going, "WELP" and making an out-of-my-way Sephora trip to pick up ... was it Weird Science or Dear Mr. Fantasy? ... in person (it was probably Dear Mr. Fantasy). I knew I had to get this one, too, but I waited for a killer holiday sale code on the Lippmann site before I pounced.


IDC what you say, Tia Carrere still is a babe. (#filipinopride) But now that I got this out of the way ...

Three coats with SV. Also, sorry, these pictures are not the best. :/ Visit this blog. And this one. Oh, and this one.

I think the official Lippmann description of this polish is a "mesmerizing mood stone," which ... sure, I guess? There definitely is some duochrome, though. It goes from a subtle smoky emerald? teal? to a subtle smoky deep purple, but if you don't have any sun or lots of light, it's just gonna look sort of like a muddy opal pewter. It's a stunner, but if you want something stronger and less plummy/brown, maybe try OPI Peace & Love & OPI or Essie For the Twill of It. I still can't stop staring at my hands.

Formula was surprisingly good on Dream Weaver. Although I used three coats, I really think two would suffice (especially if you go a little heavy on the second coat)! I polished carefully, so I didn't have any brushstroke issues. Dry time was fast, as always, with SV. I only put this on yesterday evening, so I don't know about wear yet, but Lippmanns tend to wear pretty well on me.

Dream Weaver currently isn't available on the Lippmann site, but you can nab it at several other online retailers for $18 (full price); I checked 6pm, which usually has great deals on Lippmann, but it's not there, either. I'd say that maybe the best place to buy Dream Weaver for a bargain right now is gonna be on a blog sale or destash. Anyway, totally in love with this Fantastical polish. I wonder which one(s) I'll end up wearing or possibly blogging this coming holiday season ...

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get this post up today because I didn't have pictures or internet until last night, so I'm really happy this worked out. Plus who doesn't love an excuse for a Christmas in July post AND a "Wayne's World" reference? Not this girl! ;) Schwing, indeed. If you have any thoughts on this Lippmann, the Fantastical polishes, a favorite "Wayne's World" quote, or a favorite duochrome that you would like to share with me in the comments, please do! It's been SO great to hear from you all again.

Anyone got any good plans this weekend? I'm not sure what's going on. I could be good and stay in, finish the last two episodes of "Wolf Hall," and work on more fruitless job applications or blog posts for August ... OR I could be bad and crash with my favorite kitty, watch "Antman" with B, go to a barre class (still doing it, btw, but not often enough to see ~results), and see my friends. The cash flow is not great right now for obvious reasons, but I feel like summer is practically over and I might as well enjoy it. Whatever you do, have fun and stay safe out there. I'll see you at some point next week. Thanks for stoppin' by, San Diego!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Nicole by OPI I Shop Mintage + my first OCC lip tar!

Remember how Deena of "Jersey Shore" (shut up, you know the Shore was the pinnacle of MTV reality programming) would constantly say something was "her best thing"? Mint polishes are not really my best thing. Jade, certainly. Pistachio, definitely. Chartreuse and lime, absolutely. But mint is a tricky color for me, usually because of the potential blue undertones that make it lobstery and weird on my hands. If you have the same problem, don't worry. There is a mint for you out there! It might be Zoya Neely ... it might be Orly Jealous, Much? ... or it miiiiiiight be this polish. Check it:

Three coats with SV.

So, these photos. I was telling Janice I was kind of frustrated with them because they don't look like every other photo I've already seen of NOPI I Shop Mintage, including hers. I guess this is what it is.

But whatever. I love this polish so much that I wore it twice in one week ... I took it off to cut and file my nails, ended up putting it back on, and now I have a nice little usage dent in my bottle. It's THAT good. What is it that makes it so good, you wonder? Well ...
  1. THAT COLOR. With top coat, it ends up being a little more blue than I thought it would be in the bottle, but I'm not even mad. It works for me. It's definitely a variation of mint green, and not blue enough to be sea foamy. Win.

  2. THE FORMULA, oh my God. I ended up needing three coats, but that's not a bad thing. The consistency of this formula is slightly fluffy and jelly-like, not simultaneously goopy and chalky at all (which is what tends to happen with pastel mints). I found the key here is to load up your brush halfway to 2/3 high on one side, work carefully, and let each coat dry for at least two minutes. Although it looks kind of weird after the first coat, it does look much better after the second. --This might sound high maintenance, but oddly for me, this was a pleasure to work with. Here I have to note that much like Hannibal Lecter, I can be frustratingly, exceedingly patient. It's ... interesting.

  3. DUPE STATUS: I don't have pictures of this, but back in February right after OPI Hawaii came out, I was walking around Ulta with this NOPI and a bottle of OPI That's Hula-rious. I think I already had Mintage at this point, and thought that Hula-rious was too close to merit buying it that day. Mintage seems to be slightly dustier, but here's a nail wheel comparison for reference.

  4. THE PRICE: I'm not gonna play, I love the NOPI brand a LOT. Yes, the saggy boob bottle is not aesthetically pleasing. Yeah, some of the collections and collabs skew more tween and teen. But you know what? Generally, the colors and formulas have really improved in the past two years ... and the price is so, so right. Sometimes you can find a good drugstore coupon for one, Ulta will have a great 2 for $10 sale (or something similar) that you can use with your $3 off $10 coupon, and Walmart has them for, what, $5.99? So to me, you're just paying for OPI quality with a saggy boob bottle, and I can't argue with that. ;) I have my eye on That's Just Plain Nuts maybe this fall because ha, that name!, and that color is making me die.

I Shop Mintage was released in Spring 2014 as part of its revamped core line (which is so good, I think). I don't remember where I bought this bottle ... was it Walmart? Was it Target? --BTW, none of the Targets around me sell NOPI in the store any more, but you can find them on the Target site for $5.99. Throw it in your cart next time if you need free shipping. ;)

Snaps to Madeline for picking out this polish via text! Which brings me to this ...

Over the past year, I've really gotten into lipstick. I don't know where it came from, but last summer, it was like someone flipped on a switch and suddenly I had to have all the lipstick. I've amassed a teeny tiny "dragon princess hoard" of lipsticks since then; as long as it's a saturated color with a little blue, I'm game to try it. I've been dying for an OCC lip tar for years, but somehow one never made it into my shopping bag or online cart. With the whole ~fixed income situation lately, though, I figured I'd just live vicariously through Madeline, who texted me with a list of potential purchases during the most recent OCC sale.

Two weeks ago, a small package from OCC arrived on my front door, and I was like, "What the hell? I didn't order any- OHHHHHHH MYYYYYY GODDDDDDDDDD" when I realized this must be the package Madeline had hinted about the week before. But what did she send me, exactly? Instagram friends, you already know.

I'm still hyperventilating, tbh. Madeline and I have been obsessing over Technopagan since it came out last fall. I fell in love with it hardcore when Anna and I were getting Sephora makeovers before Stephanie's wedding; Anna's MUA was wearing Technopagan and it was just emoji heart eyes for me. I'm so excited to have this little shimmery purple tube of amazingness. So thank you again, Madeline!!!

No, I haven't worn this yet. BUT! I'm thinking about taking Technopagan on its maiden voyage this Saturday for my friend's mom's housewarming party. (To say the woman likes purple is an understatement! And while my friends are going to take one look at this and tell me it's not Halloween yet ... I don't really care. If I run into B's friends later, I'm definitely going to get a couple of raised eyebrows.)

ANYWAY, the whole point of posting this was to ask you if you have any tips or warnings for wearing OCC lip tars. Madeline already told me to go ahead and get an angled eye or lip brush to help form straighter lines, so I'm gonna get on that. Three "YAY NOW I HAVE THIS ... BUT WHAT THE HELL DO I DO WITH IT????!!" questions, though:
  1. Do you think I'd need to wear a lip liner for this? If so, what would you recommend? I recently got a UD Ozone chunky pencil and I love it, but I wonder if a colored liner would help me a little more here.
  2. General SOS here: Any lip primer recommendations? I'm currently using a NYX one, and it's okayyyyy, but it could be better. I've heard good things about MAC Prep & Prime, but I don't wanna drop coin right now unless you can guarantee brilliance.
  3. If you've used Technopagan ... how hard is it to remove? How stainy is it? This might be the clincher as to whether I'll wear it on Saturday, honestly. I don't want to take it off, then go to bed and spend the next day looking like I gave a weird alien beej. (Which, hahaha^infinity, but seriously.)

If you can answer any of these questions, that'd be so helpful! I'm such a makeup n00b -- reading about shit is not the same as using it. Makeup is hard for me because it's such a subjective, expansive thing and it's so ~YMMV. But the gift of Technopagan makes my questions SUPER IMPORTANT. I'm sure it'll be worth it. :)

Thanks for reading! If you have anything to say about mint greens, NOPI v. OPI, Technopagan, surprise gifts, or any answers to my lip tar q's above, please spill!!! I'll try to post next week, and I'll let you know if I ended up wearing it or not.

P.S. Did anybody catch the "Jersey Shore" reference in the most recent "OITNB" season finale? I'm determined to work that phrase into my vernacular, because it's 2010. HAHAHA.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sally Hansen CSM Tupelo Honey

When it comes to social media, Twitter is my network of choice. However, I laid off from tweeting for most of last year and have been experimenting with Instagram. I think IG's biggest advantage simply comes down to its more visual nature (duh); IG also allows for more than 140 characters in a post, which is such a novelty after years of Twitter's 140-character limit. And the filters are wayyyyy better than they used to be, so that's great, too.

Of course, there are a SHIT TON of nail polish and nail art accounts on IG, which is terrrrrrrrible for your wallet. They don't even have to be solely nail accounts, though. Take Eva Chen's account, for example. (I don't know too much about her, but I do enjoy her #evachenpose posts, normcore mom wardrobe, and her adorable baby! Also: boy, her high heel immersion program is reaaaaaally not working out, haha.) She posts a lot of polish and NOTD shots from time to time; one day, she posted a picture of a LE Tracy Reese SH CSM that made me go, "OH. SHIT. DO WANT." Lucky for you guys, I don't think this polish will have quite the same effect because, well, it's not easy to pull off.

Three coats with SV.

Dang it, I should have posted NOTD shots with my little jar of honey from the bridal shower. That would have been sorta meta. Oh well.

True story: When I texted a crappy iPhone photo of this polish to Stephanie, her reply went something like, "Of course this would look good on you." (I'm too lazy to scroll all the way up in iMessage and check. You'll just have to take my word for it.) Anyway, see what I mean about Tupelo Honey being tough to pull off? This is not going to look good on you if you are of the melanin deficient variety with red undertones because it's going to look like pewp. Sorry, ladies. On me, though, yasssssssss! I love it. Thanks, Eva Chen! ;)

I don't recall anything weird about this polish. Formula was good, it's opaque in two coats, dry time was good, and it's basically your perfect SH CSM creme. I had this on for four days and save for my SV scratches, it still looked great. Honestly, it just comes down to whether this is a color you can wear, but I just covered that, so. There you go.

Tupelo Honey was released a couple months ago as part of SH CSM's ongoing seasonal collaboration with several designers including SH favorite Tracy Reese, who gave us this very shade. Should you decide you want this, too, I don't think it's very HTF right now -- it actually might be on clearance at Ulta because I can't see this being a super popular polish, at least, not compared to Teesta Turquoise (EMOJI HEART EYES!). So go check it out. Maybe you've got CVS Extra Bucks, I don't know. Go use it on that. I actually picked up this bottle at Kroger one day after coming back from Anna's wedding because I was searching for SH CSM Perfect Pair (from the bridal collection), couldn't find it, and decided I couldn't justify a quest across town without buying *something.* (And that is how I get into trouble. /csb)

I'm curious, though, so tell me: Would you wear this polish? Are shades like Tupelo Honey something you would try out? What are your favorite IG nail accounts? What's the last thing you bought after seeing it on Instagram? What's your favorite SH CSM Tracy Reese shade? --I have a LOT of questions ... it happens when you've been gone for a while. ;)

In closing:

This song kind of goes on forever, but whatever, it's nice. Sometimes dad rock isn't so bad. ;) Also, RIP, Grooveshark. I miss you so much right now!

All right, I'm out. I'll catch you later this week. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Essie Brides No Grooms: Mitten State Wedding Megapost/"Rach vs. Mercury"

Today is my 4th blogaversary, but since I'm in a weird place right now, we'll have to postpone the fanfare. Let's just say I didn't expect to be hit with the random urge to blog, so unlike Ron Burgundy and his "yazz flute," I am extremely unprepared. It's been a strange time and I'd rather celebrate when there's something to celebrate, so let's do that, shall we?

Anyway, if you're still reading my friend Stephanie's blog (which you should) or following us on Instagram (which you also should if you love Remy and SMA), then you know we both attended our girl Anna's Michigan wedding back in May.


--Not the wedding, of course. It was lovely, and I'll get to that in a second. No, the entire process of getting to Michigan was such an ordeal-slash-clusterfuck; I guess you could say that things went as well as they possibly could've during retrograde. I never put too much stock in all that fauxstrology? superstition? before, until Madeline and I kept texting each other "#blamemercury" because the entirety of this last retrograde was beyond brutal. Some boring and annoying details went awry while preparing for this trip, but throw in awful weather on our leg to Cleveland, a nail in the tire of my rental car during a major U.S. holiday travel weekend, Steff's dad's motorcycle accident (!!!), and a handful of other minor snafus on that trip alone, and there you have it. Looking back -- and it feels like a million years ago now -- I cannot believe B and I got there and back in one piece.

But we survived, so let me show you what I slapped on my nails all of TWENTY MINUTES before running out of our hotel room to Anna's ceremony. In the days leading up to this trip, neither Steff nor I had had a chance to do our nails. Although we managed to pull it together in the end, the struggle was so real.

Three coats with SV. Only two should be necessary, but this is me, come on now.

A few weeks or so before the wedding, I didn't know what I wanted to wear, so I polled some of my nail-savvy friends with outfit + nail options via text. Almost everyone voted for Brides No Grooms, maybe for the wedding/bridal vibes. I wasn't super keen on it because it seemed like it was going to be a little matchy-matchy with my cardigan, buuuut it turned out to be the best choice in the end.

For one thing, you can see that the color, while not particularly unique, is pretty bombass. For another, the formula was FANTASTIC, whether you're taking your time applying it or hurrying before your friend's wedding starts. It's that good. No problems here! (Which is good, because I feel like I had problems with too many things that weekend.) I wore it for another week and I'm pretty sure I had some chips and tip wear, because hey, it was a rough few days.

Brides No Grooms was released this spring for the Essie's 2015 bridal collection. I heard so-so things about the other polishes in terms of formula, nor are the colors unique compared to previous Essie bridal offerings (including this polish), so you probably could live without them. --I say this, but now I'm slightly interested in Hubby for Dessert despite its cringeworthy name, after seeing a model wear it in a magazine. It'll probably pop up at TJ Maxx in a few months, so I can wait. Now that the drugstore displays for Essie Bridal 2015 might be gone by this point in the summer, you still should be able to snag it at Ulta or quite easily online.

So: good nails, good friends, good party. Retrograde or not, I would call it a success! Here are some snaps from that weekend that you might've already seen on my Instagram.

We left a little later than I wanted to and braved torrential rain all the way from Virginia to the Ohio state border in a little Mazda 2 that clearly was not meant for those conditions on a highway. Oddly enough, the traffic was worse in Maryland than it was leaving NOVA/D.C., but that was the worst we dealt with on the drive to Cleveland. And at least we didn't get stuck in construction traffic (thank you, federal holiday!). We made good time, considering; the drive also was a little easier due to us having made that same trip last September. But there were a couple of moments on the highway where I reaaaaaally thought we were going to die. I'm glad we didn't, because this was waiting for us on the other end ...

Stephanie got the phone call about her dad's accident on her way to dinner, so she left Ben to eat our well-deserved grilled cheese with us while she went to be with her dad at the hospital. (Side note, I can't imagine what a terrifying phone call that was to get, and I'm very glad the accident wasn't worse than it was. And to that end, no matter what Steff's gonna say about it, it meant a lot to me that she was cool with having us spend a couple nights at her place, even under those circumstances. So thanks again, Steff, Ben, and Remy!)

B: "Are you going take pictures of the cat all night?"
Me: "Maybe. But I'm doing it for the Internet."
Ben: "That's fine, he loves it!"

He loved it.

Watching "The Road Warrior" with Ben, B, and me. #demasslesschapsdoe

Before leaving for Michigan, we were able to make it to the Inn on Coventry, famous for its lemon ricotta pancakes. Believe the hype. So jealous of you guys who live in the area and are closer to these pancakes than I am!

The drive to Michigan was long, but it was really beautiful. I was snarking a little bit and thinking, "Oh, now I'm here, am I going to be all #PureMichigan now?" I would've taken some shitty iPhone pics, but that's kind of hard to do when you're (1) driving in unknown territory and relying solely on GPS, and (2) laughing so hard at "How Did This Get Made" that you can't sit up straight. The weather was nice and sunny and even though we made a wrong turn that had us arriving at our hotel minutes later than Steff & Ben (who left Ohio after we did!), it was still a good time. We did have dinner at a strangely empty wine bar that night and an awesome lunch together the next day ... Steff was able to do her nails before lunch, but since I let myself sleep a little later, I only had time to do something to my hair before that. As soon as we got back in the hotel room, I ironed my dress, put it on, and *barely* had time to fix my nails and attempt to put on lipstick. (Also a struggle, because I forgot my lip primer. Sigh.) I slapped on SV, stood next to the air conditioner to dry those suckers, then made B grab my purse before running across the street to Anna's ceremony venue.

And then it was time for my most photogenic friends to get married.


Oh hi, Brides No Grooms.

Anna's dad's toast

First dance

I keep saying everything was a struggle, but when I got to hug Anna in the receiving line, it was so incredibly worth it to see her happy, beaming little face. It was fun to see her dress in person (I remember when she bought it) and I'll be real, Steff and I were like, "YOU'RE HARDLY WEARING ANY MAKEUP, WHY ARE YOU SO CUTE?" Seriously, Anna and Bryant are so adorable, it's ridiculous. It was funny when Anna sat down at our table for a few minutes, so Steff and I were able to chat with her a little bit and get some face time. :) Thanks for inviting us, Anna!

Which brings me to this: You know that thing where on top of how obnoxious you already are as an individual, you become even more obnoxious when you're with certain friends? It's probably for the best that Steff and I aren't able to get together often, because we're pretty good at being bad together. Part of me thinks we might have trolled Anna and Bryant's friends at our table a little bit ... we said my hairdo had been accomplished via goat sacrifice. Also at one point, Steff was joking that maybe I should try on her wedding ring and my somewhat loud, inebriated response went in the vein of


Yup. #getthatmarcjacobsbussybianca

The next day, B and I drove back to Cleveland juuuuust in time to meet Ben and his friend for "Max Max: Fury Road" in 3D before the Cavs game. OMG, that movie was unreal. I loved it. I love Bane. I think I want my next birthday party to be either "Hannibal" or "Fury Road" themed, I loved it so much.

I also loved hanging out with Remy, but who doesn't? I was curious to see if he would end up in the guest bedroom with B and me, and he totally did. He was such a little ham, but his parents are kinda hams, so. ;)

B and I didn't discover the nail in our tire until we parked right in front of Steff's apartment, and by that point, it was too late to do anything about it on a holiday weekend. :/ Steff offered to let us stay the holiday/Monday night with her, too, but B had to be back at work on Tuesday, so he changed the donut and we limped the 30-40 minute drive from Steff's place to the airport, which was the only rental car branch open on the holiday. That was extremely not a fun drive, but again ... we survived. I didn't get charged extra for a new rental and we were able to make it safely back to Virginia that night. --Sure, I ended up leaving my Kacey Musgraves CD in the Mazda 2, buuuut I would rather that than, say, a car accident or other disastrous delay on the way back.


After the Mazda 2, I could not have been more in love with this Toyota Yaris than I was.

Mr. Archer was happy we made it home, too. B's mom watched him again while we were gone, and he was a very good boy. I just think he missed us. :)

The night before we left:

The morning after we got home:

I ended up spending a few days with B and with my sister after we got back ... the getaway after the getaway was a welcome little change from the monotony, for sure. It was nice to relax after stressing nonstop because Mercury is one thing, but Mercury when you are miles and miles away from your normal environment is quite another.

Oh, and here's this thing we found in B's tire on the way to return the Yaris. Madeline and I were basically all, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?1?!?!!" because of course.

And you know what, that nail is still in there. It's more or less plugging its own hole (ha) for now, though I think B will replace it eventually, i.e., when it gets worse. Oh well.

There you have it, my quick trip Midwest for Anna's wedding, over a month later. I'm sorry if this post was sort of anticlimactic or lame, but it is what it is. I'm just glad I was able to share some of it. I'm glad we survived the retrograde! (My next wedding in September is the weekend the next retrograde starts. Should I just save the trouble and RSVP no now? Haha.) Mainly, I'm glad I was able to see Anna on her big day, and that I was able to stay with & spend some time with Steff. It's been such a wonderful, trippy thing to be able to attend both their weddings. I do love those girls -- girls who I definitely would not have gotten to know were it not for our love of polish. Not too shabby.

Those same feelings, might I add, extend to all of you who read Stuff. You've seen me through the good NOTD photos, the questionable ones, some real life highs, some word vomit-tastic lows, and everything in between -- sadly, that's more than some of my friends have gotten to know about me lately because we're all spread out and rarely get to talk. I'm annoying and messy, but what twentysomething isn't? Look, if you're gonna read someone who's annoying and messy, you might as well hang out here and look at my nails. ;)

It's been a lot of fun sharing the polish love with you, and to those of you who've taken a few minutes to read, comment, or e-mail me: Thank you for everything these last four years! I hope I made it worth your while. As long as I keep posting here, I hope I continue to do just that ... at least, until the next retrograde. ;) ;) ;) But I'll hang in there if you do, too.

One more time, THANK YOU. <3 you, mean it.