Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell, 2012

You guys, a lot of stuff happened for me in 2012.  I remember so well what I was doing last New Year's Eve.  I was sitting around in my apartment in Cleveland--by myself--all day, hoping that the guy I was dating would call and want to spend time with me.  At the end of 2011 I was unhappy for a lot of reasons.  I wasn't in a great relationship, I didn't know what I would be doing for a PhD program the coming autumn, I knew I had to move but I didn't know where, and I was feeling generally burnt out from my worst semester to date.  But in 2012, big things changed and some fun things happened.

I got up obscenely early in February to go to the Jason Wu for Target release with my best friend.  We both scored big, and I love that memory.
I spent as much time as possible at my parents' lake house.  This picture was taken at my grandma's 89th birthday party.  I can't wait for her 90th.
I graduated with my MA.
My mom threw us a graduation party during which we all wore fake mustaches and drank margaritas.
I met Ben.  I knew the first time I laid eyes on him that we had something special.  And I was right.  Maybe it was because his pick-up line was, "you had me at Major League."
I watched sunsets over Lake Erie.
I ate popsicles, played in the sun, and swam in Apple Valley Lake.
I celebrated both of my parents' birthdays with them in June (I didn't notice until now that we all wore blue!).
I visited the Christmas Story house with friends.  Here I am using the decoder on the toilet.  I don't know why, but after that I wanted some Ovaltine real bad.
I moved to New York to start my PhD.  I am reluctantly getting used to it.
I cried in front of countless works of art I thought I'd never see in real life.
Ben asked me to marry him.  I said yes.

We went apple picking.
I discovered the joy of sock puppets when my best friend's mom sent me one to cheer me up.  She also sends cookies and other pick-me-ups!

During the month of December I finished my first semester of a doctoral program, avoided catching the stomach flu, had Christmas Eve with my family, my first Christmas with Ben, spent Christmas Day with my grandma, and went wedding dress shopping with my best friend from high school, Aimee, in Columbus while Ben is here for work.  Oh, and PS, I FOUND MY WEDDING DRESS.  Or at least I'm 95% sure.  I can tell it's most likely my dress because I didn't want Ben to see it.  And as soon as my consultant had it on me and was lacing it up I got all flustered and kept saying, "I love it!"  I came out in it and my friend was speechless.  I can't wait for my mom to see it next weekend!  

Tonight Ben and I will either usher in the New Year with Aimee and her boyfriend, Mike, or we'll stay at our hotel and drink champagne in our pajamas.  Either way, I'm looking forward to it.  And you know what, 2013?  Bring it.  If I can handle a move to Manhattan alone, Hurricane Sandy, and passing out on 5th Avenue, then I'm pretty sure I can handle anything (but I never said I'd do it gracefully).

Happy New Year, everyone!  Thanks for reading this blog in 2012 and for all of your constant support and encouragement.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

Clean and Fresh

The other day, on the second day of my mom's sickness, I was sitting around and desperately wanting to change my nail polish.  But I was wearing glitter and she only had non-acetone remover.  Luckily I ended up having to go up to the store anyway for sick person soup and a myriad of cleaning products. While I was there I got remover that could take off my glitter more easily, and I was good to go.  After holiday colors and holiday glitters I decided that I really needed a palate cleanser. 

Here we have OPI Barre My Soul topped with OPI Pirouette My Whistle.  For a sheer jelly, the formula on Barre My Soul was pretty good.  But as you can see, particularly at my pinky, I had pooling at my cuticles.  But honestly, you can't tell in real life.  These pictures were taken on day three of this manicure, and aside from the fact that I didn't do any clean-up, I think this is holding up really well.  Anyway,  Barre My Soul is a sheer sort of nude/beige color.  I love it.  I used three coats.  Then I couldn't leave well enough alone and felt like I needed some glitter, so enter Pirouette My Whistle, which is small silver glitter with pearly/white hex glitter.  I did one coat of that.  I'm pretty much absolutely obsessed with how this looks.  

I don't have any other polishes from this collection, but now I'm pretty sure that I need Don't Touch My Tutu.  Are there any other polishes from this collection that you feel like were must-haves?  I also did this combination on my toes, and I love it.  I think that maybe I could wear this for my wedding (whenever that'll be) and walk a fine line between traditional and...y'know, GLITTAH.  

Here's a picture of our backyard after the "blizzard" we got on Wednesday.

TAME.  The weather people were making a big stink about this blizzard on Christmas, and then on the 26th they downgraded it to a winter storm.  We only got about 6 inches.  Of course I didn't think it was so tame when I was driving to the store in it for soup and such, but I made it.

Also, I haven't gotten sick yet!  I was a crazy person and confined my mom to her room and Lysoled everything she touched or even breathed near.  Fingers crossed!  Yesterday I went to see Les Mis with my pal Amber, so that was fun.  On Saturday or Sunday I'm going to join Ben in Columbus so we can celebrate New Year's together.  Looking forward to it.

Okay, that's all.  How did you guys feel about the OPI NYC Ballet polishes?  Last March when these came out I was too focused on my comps/PhD programs/graduating to even think much about them, but now I feel like I want them ALL.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sugar Cookie Nails

Sorry I disappeared a little bit.  When finals ended I had one day to Christmas shop in New York, clean my apartment of a semester of clutter and now-not needed papers, pack my bags, and get the hell out of the city.  Unfortunately the day I flew out, December 21st, was the day that winter storm Draco pounded the midwest.  Out of all the flights Cleveland-bound from LaGuardia, mine was literally the only one that wasn't canceled.  It was delayed, though, and that day I spent seven hours at the airport.  I spent every second of those seven hours fretting that my flight would be canceled.  But in the end, it was okay, even though the turbulence was so bad during the landing that people all around me were puking.  BUT I'm home now.  Right before I left New York I decided to give myself these sugar cookie nails, and I really enjoyed them.

For this I used two coats of Essie Marshmallow (which I find so difficult to work with and unbearably slow to dry), two coats of China Glaze Party Hearty, and another coat of Marshmallow.  I love the way it turned out, and I was delighted by how subtle yet festive my nails looked for my last final and my subsequent binge-watching of the first season of American Horror Story.  

On Christmas morning my mom woke up and felt not good.  She thought she might power through, but in the end she was vomiting all day and couldn't get out of bed.  She caught some sort of stomach bug, and now I think I'll get it, too.  I was bringing her ginger ale and water and ice chips and jello, so I kept breathing in her air and stuff.  I'm just waiting to start puking myself.  With my mom out of commission, that left me to make banana french toast and bacon for my dad, grandma and fiance.  I rushed Ben out of the house after breakfast so that he didn't get sick, because he has a work thing where he'll be out of town for seven days and neither one of us wanted him to miss a day with work.  With my mom incapacitated and Ben out of the house, my grandma, dad and I sat around doing nothing.  It was actually pretty nice.  We watched Brave, which I think is such a cute movie.  Not an ideal Christmas, but it was okay.  Ben and I both wanted our first Christmas together to be amazing and perfect, but clearly it wasn't meant to be.  Here's hoping that New Year's Eve can be something special (although he'll probably be working until 10:30 or 11pm; we can't catch a break).

A few pictures from my few days at home so far.
at the airport finally waiting to board the plane
Ben with everyone's favorite Christmas decoration at his place.  Did I ever tell you guys the story about how I'm pretty sure he and I are banned from the Christmas Story house in Tremont, OH? The movie was filmed in Cleveland and we visited the house this past June--maybe that's for another day.  But here's a picture from that day anyway (so strange to look at it now and remember how hot it was when we went):
Okay, back to current events.
We went to Melt Bar and Grilled, and their special was "Mommy's Little Piggy Melt," which is of course Christmas Story-themed.  The actor that played Randy in the movie was stopping by every Melt location that day to sign autographs.  We didn't stay for that because I wasn't willing to wait.  Also, that sandwich was $17 (I didn't get one).  Oh, and my [Christmas] nails here are China Glaze Phat Santa layered with one coat of Shimmer Polish Eva.
I had a few Christmas Ales.  If you're from the Cleveland area you know this is a big deal beer here.  Comes out in October, and people obsess over it until January or so.  Right after Halloween my Facebook Newsfeed was full of my Cleveland friends posting about Christmas Ale, and I couldn't wait to sit down and have one.
Here's my best kitty friend, Alley, who was totally zonked out on Christmas Eve.  She didn't move from this position for several hours and I was (and continue to be) jealous of her cat life.

Mmkay, that's all for now.  For the next day or so I'll be lying low, trying to determine whether or not I'm going to catch my mom's stomach bug.  After that I'll be meeting Ben in Columbus for New Year's.  I hope everyone had a good holiday--if you celebrate that sort of thing--and if not, I hope you had a good Tuesday.

Until later!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Green and Gold (Sinful Colors Leap Flog)

Guys, I'm exhausted.  I spent all weekend studying, and I think I'm just out of steam.  On Saturday morning I woke up and without even getting out of bed pulled my study materials toward me and went over things until I felt I had to move on to memorizing slides for my other exam.  Ben called me late in the afternoon and all I could do was repeat to him in a small voice, "I'm so...tired" over and over again in response to basically whatever he said.  I can't wait for this week to be over.

To keep my spirits up I decided to cover my nails it real gold leaf.  Because if there's one thing that's necessary in life, it's that.  The base of this is Sinful Colors Leap Flog (yes, Flog; I don't know what the people at Sinful were smoking when they typed out the final copy of this label.  Unless it's a pun I totally don't get.  In which case, good work, Sinful.  Good work), which came out this past summer.  It's a really nice sort of blue-based evergreen color.  Like a blue spruce.  It never looks dark enough to be mistaken for anything but green, even in super low light, so that's great.  The formula was wonderful.  I used two coats.  Over Leap Flog I did two coats of OPI The Man With the Golden Gun.  I think it looks pretty great.  I was writing about a fresco for one of my classes, which I mentioned a couple posts ago, and one of the textiles in it looks like this:

So I may have been subconsciously influenced by this nice green brocaded velvet.  Either way, it looks pretty holiday-ish to me.  I'm happy with my nails.

I kind of quit drinking coffee at all this past week and decided to just go with tea, and I'm wondering if that's contributing to how lackluster I'm feeling.  Either that or I'm getting sick.  I don't know.  Earl Grey, although my favorite tea of all time, is just not giving me the kick I need.  Wish me luck today, though.  I have a final in my photography class that I feel totally unprepared for.  But, if there's one thing that being in school so long has taught me, it's that no matter how prepared for a test I actually am, I always feel completely unprepared.  So maybe it'll be okay.

Until next time.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bobby Pin Polka Dots

I'm still in the festive Christmas spirit.  I got a sugar free peppermint Americano at Starbucks yesterday and everything. 

OPI Smitten with Mittens lasted forever on me.  Alas, it chipped, so I decided to do some dots.  This is two coats of OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls as a base.  The red dots are Rescue Beauty Lounge Chinoise and the sparkly green ones are China Glaze Mistletoe Kisses.  I've had that China Glaze since it came out in like 2010 and I still haven't actually used it for a full manicure.  Whoops.  I didn't wait long enough between the dots and topcoat, so that's why there are some smudges.  But I think it turned out pretty cute.  Once upon a time I owned a dotting tool, but I long ago misplaced it.  I made these dots using a bobby pin instead.  Now looking down at my nails makes me smile.  And I'm going to need to smile over the coming days.  There is some major studying ahead.

And yes, I'm still trying to take it easy and rest.  I'm doing my best to get plenty of sleep.  I have a presentation today, which is the thing that I'm probably the most stressed out about.  When it's over I think I'll feel a lot better and I can just study in bed all weekend while intermittently watching Sex and the City and Frasier.  Sounds pretty good to me (aside from the studying and memorizing slides thing).  I feel overwhelmed, but it'll all be over soon.

So, the dots.  Not bad for a bobby pin, right?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Here follows a tale of how my body failed me in a most ridiculous and 19th century gentlewomanly way.

On Monday morning I woke up and felt pretty normal.  I'd had trouble sleeping the night before, but that was nothing new.  I went through my morning routine of caffeine, makeup, hair-pinning, straightening, etc.  I got dressed.  I wore a black skirt with a skinny yellow belt (pilfered from one of my Jason Wu for Target dresses).  I packed up my stuff for my class at 2.  I would be way early to school, but I was planning on eating lunch and memorizing slides before class started.  I walked down to the subway.  As I was standing on the platform I started to notice that I was feeling a little funny.  The train came, and I got on and sat down.  As it turned out, that car smelled like bleach--an overpowering smell--which made me queasy.  I switched cars at the next stop.  When I got into the next car I felt like I had to sit down right away.  I couldn't bear to stand.  So I found a spot and squeezed in between a couple people. I thought if I loosened my belt (which was not even tight as it was) I might feel better.  I settled in for the ride.

When I walked up the two flights of steps to street level after getting off of the train I knew something was wrong.  I took my belt off to see if that would help, but I had a nagging tight feeling sort of below my chest but above my stomach--where I imagine my diaphragm is?--and I couldn't shake the feeling.  I started walking to school.  After a block and a half my breaths became smaller and smaller because of this constricting feeling I had.  About half a block from school my vision started to blur at the edges.  I stumbled to the door just as I started to literally see stars.  There is a big security desk in the entrance hall, and when I got to the desk apparently I just slumped over on it.  Yes, I fainted.  

After only a few seconds I opened my eyes and asked the astonished security guard something like, "Please, I need to see a nurse."  The guy didn't know I was a student; I obviously hadn't presented an ID upon entering the building.  So he assumed I was just a person who wandered in off of 5th Avenue, fainted on his desk, and then asked for a doctor.  He called over two other cops in uniform, and they took me up to the nurse.  Who wasn't there.  Of course.  It was at that point that someone said, "Are you a student?"  Yes.  "Let me see your ID.  What department?"  Art history.  And they start writing down my symptoms for what I assume is some sort of incident report.  I made it to a lounge with a couch.  In a supine position things were better.  They brought me some orange juice and I drank that.  The lady cop told me that if I didn't feel better in 15 minutes they were calling 911.  I perked up REAL GOOD after that.  I had already gone down like a sack of potatoes in front of like 40 people so I really didn't want EMTs fussing over me.  I felt a little better after the juice.  I felt it wise to perhaps skip class that day.  These cops would not let me out of their sight.  I'm sure it was a liability thing.  I went down to the art history department to tell my professor that I needed to leave, and they followed me, within arm's length, to catch me if I fell.  You guys, so embarrassing.  Of course my professor was like, yes, go home!  So I did.  I took a cab because the cops thought I shouldn't take the subway again.  When I got home I ate a chicken sandwich and got in bed.  By around 4pm I was fine.

So what happened?

I don't know.  I guess forgetting to eat breakfast may have had something to do with it, but I only eat something in the morning about 50% of the time anyway.  The security people gently said to me, "Is it final exams?"  To which I replied, "no, of course not."  I was perplexed.  I am not stressed out.  Until I really thought about it.  On Sunday night I had had sort of a blow-out with my mom that left me upset and unable to sleep (resolved now), I live hundreds of miles from my finace and family, Ben had a terrible week at work, and when he feels stressed, I feel stressed; we found out his grandmother is very, very sick, and he is so distraught.  I keep stressing that I haven't been able to plan even one little thing pertaining to our wedding.  Add finals and a general lack of sleep to all of that and apparently it ends in:
But seriously, I've been under ungodly amounts of stress before and my body has never just full-on revolted.  I guess there's a first time for everything.  I feel fine now.  I'm just worried it'll happen again.  I got a multivitamin in case it was some weird deficiency.  I am drinking a ton of water and cutting way back on the caffeine.  And I stocked up on granola bars for breakfast.  I'll probably go see my family doctor when I go home.

To keep it pertinent, here's some glitter.

One coat of Shimmer Polish Carmen over Rescue Beauty Lounge Santa Fe.  I wore this last week and really liked it.  Carmen is a bronze and gold glitter with holo bits thrown in as well.  Very fun.  Perfect, smooth application.  I feel like it was made to be worn with Santa Fe.  If you're looking for STOCKING STUFFERS check out Shimmer Polish here.

Alright, that's it.  If you read all that you deserve a medal.  I'm taking it easy for the rest of the week, just studying at home and stuff.  And just to repeat, I feel fine now.

Over 'n out.

Disclosure:  the polish in this post was provided to me for review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, December 10, 2012

OPI Smitten With Mittens

I'm starting to feel in the holiday frame of mind, so I pulled out a favorite sparkly red of yesteryear, OPI Smitten With Mittens.

This one is from the 2009 OPI holiday collection, and I remember it being super popular.  It's a pretty close dupe for China Glaze Ruby Pumps, but less sparkly.  As you can see from the second picture, there's gold glitter in the bottle that shows up as red on the nail beneath the blue-based red jelly base.  The glitter looks like it's glowing in low light, and in artificial and sunlight it positively explodes with sparkle.  I used two coats here.  Also, this polish has probably the cutest name ever.

I wore Smitten With Mittens for a couple days on its own.  Then I sponged on some China Glaze Party Hearty, the epitome of holiday glitters.

On Friday a package from Modcloth arrived with presents for me from Ben.  For absolutely no reason. My fiance spoils me.  This is one of the things he got me.
Isn't it just the cutest thing ever?  The pendant is only about the size of two pennies, so it's very dainty.  He also got me this skirt, which I've been wanting for years.  

Anyway, I finished all of my papers.  They could use a quick read-through before I turn them in, but they're all finished, footnoted, with images, bibliographies, etc.  Ahead of schedule.  I have a presentation on Thursday--perfect excuse for new skirt-wearing--and then two exams next week.  Then I'm outta here.

Okay, that's all.  Anyone else pulling out the holiday polishes?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Funky Fingers Pink Pixels and a Fancy Hat

YOU KNOW.  Finals are the worst.  They're just the worst.  There isn't TIME for EVERYTHING.  How long have I been in school now?  YEARS.  My entire life.  And I'm still not used to this.  Thankfully the PhD level of finals stress has been about on par with the MA level of finals stress, so at least it hasn't gotten worse.  MEET THE NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS or something.  Can you tell I'm tired?  Okay, nails.

Funky Fingers Pink Pixels was another gift from Rach.  I thought it was time for the internet to meet it, because I couldn't find any swatches of it online.  And it's amazing.  It's a shimmery, metallic rose gold that has a mauve duochrome to it.  I'm smitten with this color.  I thought it might be brushstroke-y or sheer or something, but the application was amazing, and this is just two coats.  I think that this is a nice palette-cleanser color.  I've been wearing a lot of GLITTAH lately, and sometimes it's nice to pull out a neutral-ish pink that has a bit of pizzazz to it.  I love this one.

Yesterday I walked away from a public computer in the Graduate Center library and left my little flash drive.  It has all three of my final papers on it.  I didn't even think about it for literally three hours, and then suddenly I remembered and I had to race down there in heels and a dress and hope it was still there.  It was.  Someone had set it neatly on top of the computer tower for me.  So thank you, anonymous GC stranger, for saving my life and my [alleged] sanity.
I'll be writing all about that guy this weekend.  And other figures from the same fresco.  Look at his hat, you guys.  Flawless.  I could write pages and pages about that hat.  AND I WILL.  I vow to be done with that paper by Monday at the latest, and you are all my witnesses.

Aaaand I'm out.  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Rescue Beauty Lounge Santa Fe

A little while ago Rach over at stuff i (s)watched posted about her lackluster feelings over the color of Rescue Beauty Lounge Sante Fe.  So I told her that I would take it off her hands.  Literally.  Being the awesome lady she is, Rach sent me not only RBL Santa Fe but also a package full of goodies.  Including chocolate.  That chocolate is gone now, but I can show you the polish.
this one is most color accurate
I'm pretty great because I have Jasper Johns' Map hanging in my apartment for just such an occasion
this is how it looks under a lamp

I haven't really been keeping it a secret that I'm not a huge fan of Rescue Beauty Lounge anymore.  I posted a while ago about how the polishes just don't last on me, and that's the biggest reason (but not the only reason) I won't throw down $20 plus $7 shipping. 

Santa Fe isn't a color I would have chosen to buy on my own, and I wasn't sure I would like it.  But, I absolutely love it.  I love it.  I think it suits my skin tone and I love how it looks on me.  It's sort of a burnt orange that leans coral, and we all know how I feel about coral.  It has really delicate gold and green shimmer running through it that's not visible all the time, which is my only complaint.  The shimmer is what makes this orange special, so I'd like to be able to see it more often.  As always with Rescue Beauty Lounge, the formula was impeccable.  Thick but self-leveling and a joy to apply.  I used two coats.  It's still in stock if you want to purchase it here.  

Thanks, Rach!  This one made me really happy.  I'm glad to give it a good home.

What I did this weekend:
snuggled way up in my cold-ass apartment writing two papers and one presentation.  I'm still enjoying my Halloween blanket in December.  Jack Skellington would be proud.
My best friend's mom makes me homemade fortune cookies.  She writes all the fortunes herself.  I got this one while I was struggling to write the conclusion for my paper on Carleton Watkins, and I decided to just stop thinking.

A hipster set up a Christmas tree lot at the corner of 118th and 3rd.  If you zoom in you can see his sweater with a buffalo on it.  I covet it.  These trees smell great.

Anyway, just truckin' along.  I have a presentation of the Watkins paper today at 2, my textiles seminar paper was due yesterday, and when I go home I immediately have to start super intense work on a paper that's due on the 12th.  After that I have one more presentation and two final exams.  Eff.  That's a lot of work.  

Happy Monday, all.