Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Nails - Candy Corn!

Happy Halloween everyone!

I present to you the third and final installment for this year's Halloween themed manicure - candy corns!

Candy Corn manicure

For this manicure I "free handed" the design. I applied each tier of nail polish in the same way that I would apply nail polish near my nail bed - only about half a centimeter from the previous color. The application is far from perfect, which is why I chose to apply opalescent flaky polish to help blur the lines of polish.

I started with white polish - Orly's White Out. I really could use a new bottle of white polish. This bottle is quite old and took three coats to get the streaks near the nail bed out. Next I applied my orange - Orly's Sol Cabana. This is a nice happy shade of orange, and while I don't wear orange polish regularly, when I do wear it, I should reach for this color more. My nail polish collection began in Sally Beauty Supply and so my polish collection includes Orly. Once I realized I didn't have to buy all my polishes from Sally, I pretty much stopped buying Orly as I found their polishes to be thick, goopey and streaky all at the same time. A good polish should be opaque in one coat, and maybe only need a second coat to achieve a completely even coverage. Orly's performance is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Now I only buy Orly when I will simply die without their unique colors. When Orly came out with their Cosmic FX Fall 2010 collection, I needed it. I knew I would probably have application issues, but that nail polish finish was so unique (at the time) that I happily plunked down my $40+ on the Sally checkout counter for the collection. Other than those rare occasions, I steer clear from Orly.

My final color was Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure in Sunflower. You know, this manicure made me realize that there are some serious gaps in my nail polish collection. I didn't realized that I had only ONE white and not a single, vibrant creme yellow polish. Zoya's Pippa has been on my need to get list for a while, but I'm not sure if I can stop at only that one. Though Sunflower was the closest shade of yellow I own, it has an opalescent finish to it which is why I opted to put a top coat of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Hidden Treasure to add the opalescence to the other colors on my nail.

Let's tally up the coats of polish, shall we? Three white, two orange, two yellow, two Hidden Treasure = 9 coats. I topped this all with a final thick coat of Seche Vite. It got my nails dry to the touch, that was certain. However, I fell asleep before my nails really hardened and some of the polish "moved." My middle finger was dented and nicked so badly that I just scraped the polish off the tip. Instead of trying to build up a new corner of yellow onto my nail, I took a black striper and turned the missing tip color into a bite mark. I know, candy corn are bite size and you really wouldn't bite into one, but you know what? Shut up. It was late last night, I realized my screwed up finger nail early this morning and didn't have time to fix it. This polish will be coming off tonight and I will be giving my UV free gel nail kit a go! I'm more excited for that than this candy corn mani, so sue me!

Just kidding! Love ya and thanks for reading!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Nails - Spiderwebs!

Look at me! Keeping my promises...go me!

Here is the nail I plan to rock until right before Halloween - Spiderweb nails!

Spiderweb nails

For this design I used Zoya's Dovima as my base color. I originally wanted a nude nail, but I wanted to minimize the layers of polish I had on my nail. And with a nude nail it always seems to take at the very least three coats to create opaque coverage. As I was gathering my polishes to start this nail design, I realized I have never worn my Zoya mattes before. I also knew I was going to use glitter in this design and I thought the matte would create a nifty contrast with the glitter on the nail.

Once I got my base color down (two coats) I dabbed some white nail polish (I believe the polish came from a Milani striper polish) and feathered out the polish with the tip of a cosmetic sponge to create almost a cloud of white in the corner of my nail (my left hand - not pictured - was done in a mirror image of my right hand). A word to the wise, if you are going to apply polish directly to the nail instead of on the cosmetic sponge, work quickly. If the wet polish sits on the base color too long it reactivates the polish underneath and creates a murky mess.

After I made my "cobweb" cloud, I repeated the above stippling process but this time with a silver glitter polish (I used a Milani glitter striper.) This step isn't necessary, and I think if you want a more realistic looking cobweb you can definitely skip the glitter. But what can I say - I love a little sparkle. And if I am going to take the time to do nail art in my mani at all - I want the full treatment!

Once my glitter cobweb was complete, I used a black Color Club striper to draw four long stripes beginning at the corner of the cobweb. Now comes the tricky part: take a well-wiped striper brush and make U-shaped swoops, connecting all the four diagonal lines on the spiderweb design. I did two tiers because I made my cobweb area too small for three tiers. I'll be honest - making the U-shaped swoops is difficult. The larger the U, the easier it is. But my smaller tier was basically straight lines connecting the diagonals. My other option was to use my Migi Nail Art pens, but it is difficult to control the flow of polish coming from the tip when you draw and I knew I would end up with a squiggly, goopy mess. If you have a better, steadier hand than me, by all means use nail art pens. Drawing a U is much easier than bending a striper brush.

I waited for my spiderwebs to dry and topped just the corner tip with a coat of Seche Vite. No need for a top coat for the Zoya matte polish - it dries super fast and should remain chip-free because the tips of the polish is protected with SV.

That is all for now! I picked up a what could could be awesome UV light-free gel nail polish system! I may have to wait until after Halloween to show you, but I am excited about the possibilities!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Nails!

Hello. To brief my readers from the last post. Yes, I kept the camera. Las Vegas was not too thrilling, but thoroughly exhausting. Our activities were...let's just say, not exactly my cup of tea.

Oh, and I still don't have a teaching job and am growing in my bitter disappointments each and every day. The OCCUPY movements and the I AM THE 99% movements are really speaking to me. However, this has my mind thinking about ways to earn other money. I am trying my darndest not to get a second job. I told myself I would be done with that crap after college.

But I also told myself I'd have a teaching job, so...

Onto the nails!

Mummy Nails!

For these nails I followed a tutorial by and used a base of Essie Sand Tropez, with Essie's Sew Psyched and Zoya's Dove stippled with a cosmetic sponged on top to give it a dusty and dirty appearance. Then I used my Color Club striper in black to outline the bandage wraps and made a thicker black strip towards the top. I used a larger dotting tool for the white eyes and an smaller dotting tool for the red pupils, paying attention to the direction the eyes would flash. After 30 minutes of dry time, I topped with Seche Vite (and still got freaking streaking) and voila! Mummy nails!

The plus side to this design is that people think the nails are so cute! (So cute that my boring ole' "only berry tones, please" Mom asked if I could do it on her nails for Halloween!) The downside to the design is that most people can't tell what they are supposed to be, but they do understand them to be creepy, which I guess is good.

Again, I am offering a lame apology to this blog and hope that this gets me out of my nail funk. I hope to try at least two more Halloween themed manicures before the season is over!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guess Who Found Her Camera?

Gah, you're good! You should come with me to Las Vegas this afternoon! You can use one of my cameras.


Yep, when I was cleaning out my car for the trip to Vegas I found it. The camera had slid under the driver's seat. And I swear looked for it there too. It must have gotten caught under the rug. Hmmm. Now I have a decision to make. I can actually return the new camera I purchased. I have about 26 more days to think it over. I do like the camera and can see a difference in the picture quality between the two cameras. Like I said, I'll think it over.

In other news, here is my NOTD! Trying to get back into the swing of things.

Essie's Mesmerized

I swear, ever since Essie moved out of salons and into my drugstores, I feel like the formula has greatly improved! More daring and unique colors (because I love ballerina pink as much as the next girl, but come on - how many shaded of ballerina pink does one nail polish line need?)

That is it for now. As I mentioned, I am going to Las Vegas later today and the first stop on this list is The Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace! YAY! I'm so excited! I can't wait to have my first experience with Inglot! I've got quite a chunk of money set aside for that!

I'll share it with you when I get back!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guess Who Got a New Camera?

Good guess!

I got the camera I was whining about! I actually almost repurchased my lost/damaged camera because Best Buy was clearing them out (I guess they are discontinued now because they were sitting right next to the Flip cameras, also on super clearance.) The clearance price was $100 cheaper than the new camera I purchased, but due to the truly stellar salesmanship skills of the employee who helped me, I purchased the Canon PowerShot ELPH 300HS camera. I am indeed happy with this purchase. Over the duration of the past year I have learned that there is more to the the performance of a camera than the number of mega pixels. I am enjoying the wide angle lens quite a bit on this new camera, even though most of my point and shoot camera pictures are use with the macro setting. Like this picture:

China Glaze Crushed Candy (crackle) over Zoya's Kelley.

This is picture is not actually taken with the macro setting due to the heinous quality of my cuticles and manicure right now. It was late, I needed something on my nails, and this is the first paint that has been on my nails since the last time I posted a NOTD picture on this blog. Plus I wanted to prove to you that I had a new camera with this picture.

The bottle I am holding is MiO Liquid Water Enhancer in Fruit Punch. Having this stuff on hand makes water consumption a breeze! I love this stuff. I have tried all the flavors and I think Fruit Punch is my favorite flavor tasting the least artificial. These are zero calorie so they have some artificial sweeteners in the (but some natural ones too) that I usually try to stay away from. But while I am trying to lose weight, this is a little excitement in an otherwise calm diet.

Speaking of the diet, erm...I wish I hasn't mentioned it now, LOL! On Sunday morning I was ONE POUND away from a total 20 lost. However, after yesterday's birthday party (my sister is turning 21) that number is closer to 4.3 pounds away from 20. :-( I have about 4 days to reverse that number to make my goal for Las Vegas. I'm going to the gym this afternoon for a hard core workout. Today is my sister's actual birthday, so the family is going out for drinks at a local Mexican restaurant for Margarita Monday. Maybe I will limit myself to one...hopefully.

On a somewhat happier note, I did a littler retail damage at Lane Bryant. I was able to buy two pairs of jeans in a smaller size! Yay!. But I didn't buy any smaller tops yet. If I am going to go down one jean size, I need some forgiveness with the shirts. If you have ever suffered from a muffin top, you'll understand what I mean. Anyway, everything I bought was on sale or clearance, plus I have $50 to spend in free money AND $25 off a $75 purchase. I bought lots of lovely things! The best score was a pair of Seven7 Cropped Jeans originally $70, on clearance for $20! I tell you the best time to hit Lane Bryant is in the changing of the seasons collections. All the new stuff comes in and all the old (like 2-3 months old) stuff goes on super sale to clear it out of there. So the next time you get a catalog in the mail with the new collections (for any store) go shopping ASAP to swoop in on last season's collection!

Lastly, I will leave you with long overdue FO pictures of some socks I knitted.


These are Monkey by the well known sock pattern writter, Cookie A. Super easy, and very rewarding pattern for such an uncomplicated pattern. This is Cherry Tree Hill Super Sock SemiSolids in Mango. Although when I started knitting with this yarn it reminded me more of Muenster cheese rather than mangoes. The second picture is more color accurate.

And here is a picture of my newest sock:


The pattern is called Nine-to-Five (Ravelry Link) with a nifty faux cable stitch. Though the stitch isn't easy to maneuver, though the Signature Needle Arts DPNS make it infinitely easier, it is still way easier than making a traditional cable. These socks are for my Oma, the only one who wears my knitted socks. So far she's received a self-striping stockinette pair, a gansey patterned pair, and now for Christmas she will receive a cabled pair. Last on the list will be lace, but something tells me she won't go in for the lace. Too much of a chance for wearing through.

The yarn is Madeline Tosh Sock (my current FAVORITE yarn) in the colorway Calligraphy. At first look it seems like a greige (gray/beige) color, Oma's favorite, but once knitted it has subtle shadow pooling, showing tones of lavendars, washed out gunmetals, and sweet peachy pinks. That is the beauty of Madeline Tosh, the colorways are so complex, but in the most sophisticated ways. No clown barf colorways to be found. And with names like Earl Grey, Malachite, and Fjord, the company takes luxury knitting to a new level!

Ta-ta for now!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Have an Addictive Personality

I know I do. Thank God I have always been too scared to try any drugs (save for alcohol...and though I indulge occasionally, it puts me to sleep more than gives me a high) or else I would probably be on the streets doing...never mind.

The reason why I felt compelled to comment on this is because I am close, so close, to losing a total of 20 pounds. The last time I lost this much weight was in high school, preparing for prom, trying to squeeze down into a smaller dress size. And even then I am not sure I made it to 20 pounds.

I have been exercising (at least twice a week...I wish it was more) and I have been really limiting my calories. I have become addicted to watching the numbers on the scale drop. And I know there are things I am doing that are not healthiest (I've taken up smoking....just kidding!) like skipping breakfast and just having a couple cups of black coffee in it's place (I've always had the black coffee, I just used to eat some buttered toast, or croissants, or breakfast burrito too.) I know that is bad for my metabolism, but I figure there are other things I am doing to help my metabolism, like the exercising and strength training.

And as for my other meals, I am really trying to stick to vegetables. I am lucky to find inspiration everywhere these days. The Youtube vlogger, ShayCarl, has been doing weight loss vlogs on his Shayloss channel. has been doing healthy eating and weight loss updates on her TheThirdShift Youtube channel. In fact, I have fallen quite in love with her bean salad and always have it on hand as my "go to" food to eat whenever I get hungry. Aside from the olive oil in the dressing, it has no fat and tons of fiber.

Oh, and another thing too is that my best friend recently became a vegetarian (and an environmental nut, erm, advocate.) She makes me want to be a better person. I have no (NONE) intentions of becoming a vegetarian, but it did prompt me to add more veggies and beans to my diet.

Anyway, I know this kind of stuff is not originally what the blog started out regarding subject matter, but I did want to meet my goal of a post once a week. I intend to keep up the at least once a week posts, even if the subject matter goes a little off topic (because staying on top of weight control is definitely NOT one of the things I enjoy about being a girl.)

I think I am getting a salon (not DIY or DYM) pedicure this afternoon! Maybe I'll post a picture of that on Saturday because I think that is when I am getting my new camera! Talk about fate! I went into Best Buy to get the camera I was interested in. Because of some advertised pricing issues, I didn't end up getting the camera last Friday. Then I started to rethink my purchase entirely...maybe I didn't need another point and shoot. Maybe my DSLR would be good enough. But then my favorite vlogger ShayCarl posted a vlog in beautiful 1080i quality. He recently purchased a new camera (as a rule, he and his family films with Flip cameras) and was testing out the quality. It turned out beautiful, so he said he will be switching cameras. He didn't mention the brand or the kind of camera he purchased. I just kind of assumed it would be a traditional video camera. BUT, he filmed himself in a mirror and he was holding the camera close enough for me to read the make and model of his new camera. WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT!!!! It was the EXACT SAME CAMERA I was going to buy! I take signs like that very seriously. I am going on Saturday to BUY THAT CAMERA, PRICE BE DAMNED!


Friday, August 5, 2011


...about my horrible friggen track record with point and shoot digital cameras. I really cannot tell you how many I have owned. Far too many for me to keep track. I think my very first post (OK, the second) for this blog was regarding a new camera purchase to replace my old camera purchase. Well folks, it seems to be that time again.


If it isn't cracking the screen, or spilling a soda on it, or simply losing it, it's gotta be something!!!

This time it was a combination of numbers 1 and 3.

On the Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS I'll admit, I was careless. I use my camera so much (yeah, I know you wouldn't know for the lack of pictures posted to this blog. I'll kindly thank you to shut your mouth.) I let it roll around my purse without it's case and I cracked the glass on the screen. However, I did not damage the working parts under the LCD screen and it still showed the pictures just fine. I carefully hand cut a piece of tape to fit over the crack in the glass (it was only on the lower right corner) and the camera was absolutely fine. In fact, I just used it to post pictures to my Flickr account with my newest finished objects for Ravlery.

I had to remove the SD card from the camera to put the SD card into my laptop's card reader. Fine, we're good. Then I remember taking the camera with me to take a picture of something at work - OF COURSE forgetting the SD card in my laptop. So I knew I wouldn't be taking any pictures that day. But I also didn't know that I would be losing the camera that day either. I remember shoving it into my jeans pocket and then...never seeing it again. Dang it if it didn't fall out of my pocket at some point.

Lame. Really lame.

So I have been on the hunt for a new point and shoot. I love Canon cameras (although, maybe there is a curse that comes with them...) and since Circuit City is extinct, my only in-store option these days is Best Buy (or maybe Sears.) I've read some positive reviews on this camera and think that this will be my next purchase. I love large LCDs, and the fact that it shoots 1080p HD quality videos. The HD video quality is important because one day I will make videos on Youtube and it will make me rich...

It's nuts: I have losing cameras...but I love buying new ones. I can't pinpoint why it gives me such a thrill.

I need to get my hands on this one within the next few weeks because my sister is having her 21st birthday party in a weekend trip to Las Vegas. And though I love my DSLR and probably will still take it with me, it is just not practical for those candid moments that I want to capture.

Well it's been just over a year, but I must presume you dead Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS even though your status is officially MIA. Out with the old, in with the new.

Who knows, maybe when I get a new camera the posts will even improve!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fitness and Weekend Update

Hey ya'll! I have to admit, sometimes I don't know what to post. And I am already a little late meeting my challenge this week :-/ Sahrry.

I thought I'd give a little weightloss/fitness update. So far I am down 12.4 pounds. I have been slaking off a bit, but I am recharged and ready for a fresh Monday start! I skipped every single regular gym day last week which explains the stall and minute backslide on the scale. I have a goal to meet. I agreed with my sister that I would lose 20 pounds before we head to Vegas for a weekend 21st birthday celebration for her. I have about 3 weeks left to crank up the disciplined eating and physical activities. I know I can meet this goal if I really try.

FYI, my sister wants to lose 20 pounds too. She won't meet that goal, though she did lose a bit a weight before her vacation. She'll probably put that lost weight back on during her vacation (don't we all put on weight on vacation?) but she might lost anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds before we head off to Vegas. My mother tells me I look thinner, and I can definitely tell it in my clothes, but the weight isn't coming off in the places I would like (LOL, it never does). But my arms are starting to look thinner, which is great because I definitely like to rock sleeveless styles in my wardrobe.

But enough about the weightloss...

For more fun stuff, I went to an outlet mall this weekend. There is one in Carlsbad, CA (near San Diego) and I showed AMAZING self control. I am trying to hang onto any superfluous funds right now so I have a little money to play with in Las Vegas and so that I can afford my spinning wheel when it is ready to ship (sometime in mid to late August.) Oh, you didn't know I spin fiber (wool, silk, mohair, etc) into yarn? Well, that's whole different post for another time...

At the outlet I saw lots and lots of goodies that I REALLY wanted to buy. But I mad a deal with myself: look through all the stores first, without buying anything, then go back and make the rounds on things you still want to buy. I am glad I did because every time I went into a cosmetics company store, I had a handful of items I wanted to buy before I got to the back of the store! But I kept telling myself "Self, you have so much makeup as it is. You work hard for your money! Does a new makeup item similar to something you already have really make you that happy?" Plus, before we arrived at the outlet I told my mom that every time I took out my wallet to buy something to whisper into my ear, "but, I thought you wanted that new spinning wheel?" Boy, that worked! Eyes on the prize, Ashley!

I did end up making a few purchases based on pseudo-need and an insanely good deals on something that I would have gladly paid full price. I splurged on a pair of Coach sunglasses. Buying designer sunglasses always scares me a bit. It is only a matter of time before I scratch ANY pair of sunglasses I own - cheap or designer. I had a penchant for Ed Hardy sunglasses (please, keep the poser/douche comments to yourself - I LIKE THINGS THAT SPARKLE!) but my current pair, aside from being a little scratched, pinches my head behind me ears pretty badly. I am the one who always drives everywhere and I find that a workhorse pair of sunglasses is a necessity. When my sunglasses pinch, it bugs me. I drive long commutes sometimes and the pinching gets to be a pain. The particular pair of sunglasses I picked out are much lower profile (I usually opt for huge Jackie O sunglasses) and were a very comfortable fit. Considering that the sunglasses only rang up to $67.00 with tax, I thought I did fairly well. I would have paid more for a pair of Ed Hardys or Michael Kors. Now I just have to work up the guts to wear them, LOL! J/K!

The other purchase I made was a Khiel's packaged set of facial creams and treatments. I have been eyeing Khiel's for a long time - particularly the facial cream and avocado eye cream. I saw that they had two boxed sets with these creams. The other items in the sets were a facial oil (I have extremely oily skin and applying more oil to it freaks me out) and the other product was a wrinkle treatment. I couldn't decide which I wanted to try, so I marched up the the checkout counter and told the sales person I wanted to buy whichever set was cheaper. The set with the wrinkle treatment was $30 cheaper, so that's what I bought! The cheaper set did contain a trial sized facial oil, so I can still give it a go! I am really happy about the find because I would have gladly paid full price for those Khiel's items a la carte, and I was planning to when I made my trip out to Las Vegas. Major score!

So I passed up the Bobbi Brown color corrector, concealer, and shimmer brick for Coach and Khiel's. I'm happy I kept the spending down because I do really want that spinning wheel!

Thanks for reading. I have misplaced my point and shoot camera and would like to provide ya'll with pictures. I gotta find that freakin' camera!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Yesterday I took my very first Zumba class. I have to admit, I felt a little embarrassed and awkward stepping into the class. I was never the girl dancing in the middle of the circle at high school dances. I was the girl making the circle, clapping in time to the music chanting "GO INSERTNAMEHERE!! GO INSERTNAMEHERE!!"

However, I let that insecurity go when I saw that I was not the only gal in the room who lacked body rhythm. The experience actually brought me back to elementary school when each grade level put on a dance skit for the Founder's Day show at the local middle school. It freaked me out back then to learn a simple dance routine but I still remembered the basic "shuffle-lefts" and "travel-ups." But letting loose with the hips was something I was never good at. I'd like to blame that on a chronic bad back, but it has never been in me shake my butt, wiggle my hips or pelvic thrust.

On the whole the class was really fun. It really mixes up the workout. Plus being crammed into a 20' x 40' room with 50+ other people (mostly women) had me checking out all the bodacious bods of the Zumba vets and made me really want to give it 100%. If these women got their bodies by doing Zumba, then I am all in! It also played into my competitive nature. When I saw the Zumba vets hustle, I wanted to hustle. When I saw their perfect dance posture, I wanted to have perfect dance posture (and this one is really important because keeping that elevated and elongated posture give the abs and core a real workout!) When the chicks with the bionic booties started shaking it, I WANTED TO SHAKE IT!

Also being a lover of music I was completely engaged for the duration of the hour in the mix of current popular dance hits, Latin beats, and world music.

All in all, it was a pretty cool class. I am definitely going back and getting there early. I had no idea how many gym rats would be into Zumba. It took me 10 minutes to find a parking spot and once I saw the crowd, I contemplated ditching the class altogether. But I am totally glad I stayed. I have been seriously slacking on the gym (but consequently really being vigilant about limiting my calories - so I still see results on the scale each morning.) I think this Zumba class is just the thing to get me remotivated!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yep, every two months is about right...

Hello again. I can't believe I have even more readers. I don't deserve you. Really, I don't.


I watch a professional Youtuber named Shay Butler. He presented himself with a challenge. On his 29th birthday he wanted to do something he considered epic. He decided he would post a vlog (video log) on youtube everyday for the last year of his twenties. Shay completed his year long challenge and is now a top 100 Youtuber (his channels hold the number 42 and 47 spot on the most subscribed to users on Youtube) and is living an incredible life because of his self-imposed challenge.

I've always liked challenges...

I am going to challenge myself. Recently, I have been losing weight. I am about a month in and have lost 10lbs. This has been a slow process. I hope to have another 10lbs gone by mid August. But if there is something I have learned about weight loss is that it is a marathon and not a sprint. It's been hard coming to that conclusion, but it is the reality.

So I figure I will start out slow, just like the weight loss. It's been a long month, and the numbers on the scale seem to take two steps forward and one step back on a daily basis. I realize my challenge in blogging may take two steps forward and one step back, but at least it will be progress.

Here is my first blogging challenge. Blog once a week for a month. That's it. It could be more (like the pounds on the scale) but it can't be less. And the blog can be able whatever I want. No pressure will be on the subject. Most of the stuff that interests me is girly anyway, so it should still be relevant to the title of this blog.

You can do it Ashley; I know you can.

Oh and by the way, this entry doesn't count.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

See, the thing is...

...that I am a perfectionist. I tend not to attempt things if I don't think I can give it 110%.

Like this blog, for instance. I think all the time to myself in my everyday life, "this should be a blog post" or "you should upload these pictures to flickr and write a blog entry about it." But then I fall back to that perfectionist mentality and decide to skip it.

I am pretty proud of the blog entries I have so far. I would like to add more entries of which to be proud.

1.) Stop avoiding posting to this blog because you think you won't live up to your own idea of perfection. Who would read a blog that only receives update once every two months?

2.) This isn't War and Peace or Homer's Iliad. Keep your updates concise and to the point. Post shorter blogs more frequently, if necessary.

3.) This blog is primarily for your own enjoyment. You do not supplement your income with this blog nor are you being policed by readers or your 11th grade AP English teacher. Just write. For fun.

That is all. Don't think, just do.

...but it's OK to think while you do...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Man I Love Finding A Deal

Saturday kicked my butt. Badly.

Sunday wasn't as bad, but still busy. I did manage to get a manicure in, but no picture.

Instead I will share with you what I did get:


Yeesh, bad lighting. I know better than to trust my point and shoot's auto mode. This is a little haul from the Ross right next to my gym. I can't believe the steals in beauty products you can get. I got two sets of Color Club polishes. The top set is the Electro Candy collection. The colors are insanely bright. Some flat neons and some with a beautiful shimmer. I will definitely have to swatch these.

The bottom set is from the Rebel Debutante collection. Soft cremes, no shimmer to be seen in the bottles. Nothing terribly exciting, but I ask you, could YOU pass up SIX bottles of polish for $7.99? See, I knew you couldn't.

Oddly enough (or maybe I'm just a n00b) but the bottles that came in the packaged set do not have labels on the bottom of each bottom with names. Kind of lame, but in no way a deal breaker. When I post swatch pics, I will label each one.

Lastly, I was able to find a Nailtek set which included a bottle of Nailtek II, for soft peeling nails, a bottle of Speed 10 polish drying drops, and a bottle of hand cream. I have used Nailtek products in the past with great results. So for $8.99 for all three products, I knew I had found another steal. However, some of the claims on the back of the products are amazing claims. We'll see if the stand up to their promises.

Not pictured, but equally as exciting, I bought a bottle of CHI Enviroflex Hairspray for $7.99. The bottle was dented and didn't have a cap, but I would have done those things to the bottle myself anyway. About a $5 savings.

I have also been using L'oreal's Sulfate Free hair care system for a while. I like the results I get, but I also get restless. Plus, per ounce, it get's quite expensive. The cheapest place I can find this stuff is my local Bed, Bath and Beyond for $5.99 for a 8.5 ounce bottle.

While at Ross I found some Big, Sexy Hair products. I am familiar with the brand, and have used the hairspray, but was never impressed. Lately I have been on a more "natural product" kick, which prompted my switch in haircare to sulfate-free products. I decided to skip out on the Big, Sexy Hair products, but decided to give Healthy, Sexy Hair a try. Though it isn't sulfate-free, it's claims are what I want, "Smooths hair cuticle and detangles. Helps prevent damage and enhance shine. Preserves color." Seems achievable. I was able to get a 33.8 ounce bottle for $9.99 - again $5 cheaper than prices listed online.

L'oreal Sulfate-free shampoo: 71 cents/ounce
Healthy, Sexy Hair: 30 cents/ounce

Like I said, I love finding a deal. :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Projects Keeping Me Busy

Time for an update in my hobbies. Picture time!

I bought a camera. The Nikon D5000. I did a lot of soul searching on this camera. I've been wanting a DSLR camera for quite some time and I always thought I would buy a Canon when the time came. But after tons of online reviews, I just felt like this was the best bang for the buck. And with a closeout price at Sears, it pushed me over the edge. I still have a lot of playing around to do with the camera (I even bought a Nikon D5000 for Dummies book) but these two have been my best test subjects:

Sleepy Elphie


And these shots are as good as my amateur abilities allow me. Once I get through that book, I hope I can use a lot more of the features.

Onto obsession number two: Spinning.

BFL on my Ashford drop spindle

Skeined on a cookie sheet
Skeined on a cookie sheet (I now own a Niddy Noddy)

Water, Neon Purple Food Coloring and White Vinegar
Dyeing with Neon Purple Food Coloring

Rinsed and Drying

My First Handspun
And KNITTED!!! (But not blocked)

I took a drop spindle class at Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, the LYS by my alma mater, CSULB. I would have been happy keeping my very first handspun in a neat little hank or center-pull ball forever, but my instructor, Angie, says that you should knit everything you spin (short of spinning commercially, like she does.) And so I knit it. A little lace sample of what I produced.

But drop spindling is what I would call a "gateway drug" in the world of fiber. Once I spun with a spindle, I knew I wanted more. And so I signed up for the spinning with a wheel class. Here is a sample of a single I produced:

Gray Merino Top Single
A dyed gray merino top, 2 ounces. I am currently in the middle of plying this. Stay tuned for more.

Endeavor number three: a vegetable garden.

2011 Garden
My Container Vegetable Garden

Each square container is 18 inches. I purchased seedlings from Lowes. One of each: Roma tomato, red bell pepper, zucchini, cucumber, and one strawberry plant. I love the idea of starting a vegetable garden. When I was a girl, I had a Molly doll from the original American Girl's Collection. Molly grew up in the World War II era, and I remember reading stories of her victory garden she kept with her mother. Times were tough then and they are nearly as tough now. My family regularly searches our local 99 cents only stores for produce. It's funny, but when times were better, we could get top quality produce for a buck. Now that the economy has gotten worse, so has the produce selection. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini are the vegetables my family eats the most. I thought I'd give growing them myself a go. The total startup cost for this project was just under $70. My family spends far more than that in a season's worth of vegetables. Hopefully I can call this undertaking a "victory garden" one day.

Strawberry Plant
Strawberry Plant

Zucchini and Cucumber
Cucumber and Zucchini

Red Bell Pepper and Roma Tomato
Red Bell Pepper and Roma Tomato

And just to round things out, here is what I currently have on my needles:



If you're interested in how these projects turn out, follow the Ravelry link. Otherwise, I may post FO pictures when I get these babies off the needles.

And finally for my lacquerheads, I will post a new manicure tomorrow after I handle my chores. I've got some heavy duty things to do and I don't want to risk screwing up a manicure.

Until tomorrow!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Blog FAR Better Than Mine To Follow

Hey guys. I've been snapping up pictures of things I have been doing to keep me busy. I have been blessed with steady work (for now) and find projects to work on in my down time. I have joined a gym :-) and now that I have a more regular schedule, I should have time to really concentrate on losing a lot of my college weight.

But I have still neglected to post regular updates about my life and hobbies. I will return shortly with news of my doings. Promise!

In the mean time, I would like to tell you about a blog that I enjoy reading as much as she enjoys writing. Anita at A Splash of Serendipity writes a nail blog. And she does it with admirable regularity (unlike someone we all know (coughAshleycough.)

Anita somehow manages to keep up with all the latest collection (a hobby I attempted that just about broke me :-/) , trends and treatment, and posts pictures for all to see. Now, I suppose you could go an any nail blog and see swatch pictures, or even directly to the company's website to see swatches. What makes a nail blog special is the care, attention, and personality the write puts into each and every entry. Come for the swatches, stay for the content!

Aside from simply plugging this amazing blogger, I speak of her for another reason. Owing it to her own merit, Anita has earned over 100 followers on her blog and is hosting a giveaway: the entire Katy Perry Collection, by OPI including the lemming Black Shatter Polish. PLEASE check out this giveaway here.

Now I can tell you that if you are a polish hoarder, like myself, you should enter this giveaway if only to win Black Shatter. I stalked my local Sally Beauty Supply for the Ching Glaze Crackle polishes for WEEKS, only to spontaneously show up in the store one day to find they had just been delivered, still in the shipping box. Was the salesperson happy I made her open the newly delivered? No. Did I care she was put out? No - because after weeks of stalking I really felt I deserved them. Did I feel bad for the other people awaiting the arrival of the polish because I had them purchase exactly one half of their entire shipment of this polish? Only a little bit...I really did feel entitled to these. I had missed so many collections delivered to Sally's in the past, I just knew I deserved this one, LOL!

But after knowing how tough it was to get a hold of special crackle polish, I am telling you reader that if you love polish, you would be a fool to not at least leave a comment on the giveaway post. Who could regret having a free bottle of Black Shattered polish delivered to your door?

That is all for now dear reader, but I also leave you with this. Another nail blogger I followed just came out - she is a knitter.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Think I've Found My Mojo

After bugging the snot out of the ladies as Sally Beauty Supply, I finally got them before they even hit the shelf:

China Glaze Crackle Collection
From left to right: Fault Line, Crushed Candy, Black Mesh, Broken Hearted, Lighting Bolt, Cracked Concrete

I haven't posted any nail related content for a cool minute on this blog but when I got these I couldn't resist and immediate rockin' mani:

China Glaze Crackle Cracked Concrete over Nubar's Lavender

I am so excited about these polishes. I had a crackle polish when I was in the 7th grade. I thought it was spectacular then as I think these are spectacular now. It has been a long while since these type of polishes have been around. And now it seems like when one polish company releases a new collection, every other polish company must duplicate the flavor of the week. Whereas OPI released a single shattered polish, CG released 6 of them. And for $4.99 with my Sally's Card, I had no problem skipping out on OPI's retail $8.99 price tag.

Expect more NOTD posts with these polishes. I'm getting my groove back!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Time For An Update On My Life

Hello ten readers!

I can hardly call you readers when there is nothing to be read.

Well, I have finished last part of my non-elective formal schooling. College was never a maybe for me. It was always something I assumed had to be completed. First you go to elementary school, then middle school, then high school, and then college. I assume one day, if I ever find a traditional job as a public school music teacher, I will work on a Master's degree. However, it may not be in music. Unless I develop some kind of passion for a facet of teaching I don't currently have, I assume I will try to earn a master's degree of the purpose of earning at a higher pay scale. Currently, most school districts pay based upon the number of years a teacher has been teaching with the district and based upon the number of units a teacher has beyond their baccalaureate degree. Simply put: the more units you have beyond your bachelor's degree, the more money you get paid.

I chose to say "the more money you get paid" versus "the more money you earn" because there is no correlation between the more units a teacher has making them a better teacher. With our current state of the economy, soon government will force teachers to be evaluated and will adjust their pay based on performance. I am not totally against this idea. People in general should be paid largely based on their performance, and I don't believe teachers should be an exception. In high school I was a victim of too many crappy teachers who had already obtained their tenure and in turn decided it was "OK" to babysit classes rather than teach them. And I went to a good school with good programs. But I still found myself sitting in these type of classes. If I was in an accelerated program and I occasionally sat in these type of classes, students in the mainstream population must really receive the crap education that is so often shown in papers and on the news.

But back to the original point, if it is still profitable for teachers to earn their masters for higher pay when I find a PS teaching position, I probably will go back to school one day.

But for now I am finished.

And today I find myself without (official) employment. In our current economy there are no jobs available for anyone let alone people with degrees. At one point while I was earning my degree, I had three jobs. Now I find myself with none. I fear that when I submit applications I am passed over because I list a degree under the education section. A person in HR once told me that they often passed over applications and resumes listing a bachelor degree when they were hiring for an entry level (aka minimum wage) position because they knew the person would be unhappy in the position. At this point, I would LOVE to be earning minimum wage.

I wonder if I should leave my bachelor degree off my applications when applying for a job. I don't want to be passed over for any reason. Even minimum wage will pay my bills.

I promise a more optimistic post later. There are some promising things happening in my life right now too. But it's always easier to bitch than to brag...for me anyway.

On the plus side, no job has offered me lots of time for knitting. If you are on ravelry, you can check out my latest FOs. I had a dry spell for a LONG time. But now I am back in action.