Thursday, August 15, 2013

SinfulShine Alfresco

Today is moving day.  At least mostly.  Some burly guys are coming to pick up all of my big furniture from my parents' house:  the couch stored in the basement from my Cleveland Heights apartment, my bedroom set, my Harlem apartment stuff.  There will still be some things to move after today, but I'm glad that the furniture will be taken care of.  I'm a little stressed out about this whole moving thing, so what better to take my mind off of it than a niiiiiiiice blog post?

My cuticles, you guys.  I can't even explain why they look so shitty.  But they do.  So, that.  These pictures were taken on a particularly sunny afternoon on my parents' dock.  I finally decided to try SinfulShine polishes, and my first pick was Alfresco.  I'm crazy about blues lately and I'm not sure why since I usually kind of hate them.  I really like this color.  It's sort of a cornflower blue with a slight periwinkle feel.  For some reason in these pictures the ridges in my nails are very visible and I'm not sure why that happened.  The formula was good; a little thick, but it covered nicely in two coats.  As promised by the name of the line, Alfresco dried to a very high shine.  It is lovely.  There's a price bump for the SinfulShine polishes.  Instead of the traditional $1.99 these are $2.99.  Still affordable and totally worth it, judging from the couple I've tried.

Remember when I said that it was a very sunny afternoon?  I was so delighted by the gorgeous day that I went kayaking, as planned:

I went on a long ride by myself and then floated around just enjoying the sun.  But was I satisfied?  No.  Because then I did this:

And there's Alfresco, chilling in the background.  Anyway, the sun felt so nice that I was lying out there for...well, I'm not sure how long.  Three podcasts worth of time.  Then suddenly I remembered, oh yeah.  Sunscreen.  I had been lying outside in the sun with my paper-white skin for A WHILE, you guys.  So I packed it in and hoped for the best.  Instead, this:

My left thigh and the left side of my stomach and chest got pretty much fried.  Guys, I never lie out in the sun.  And even if I'm stepping out into the sun for ten minutes or so, I always put on sunscreen.  This was a pretty bad brain fart.  I tried not to let this ruin the whole weekend, though.  As soon as I realized how bad it was actually going to be I went to town at got some of that aloe+lidocaine gel stuff and I was popping tylenol a couple times a day.   I still went on a few boat rides, sat in the sun with my mom, and went to the Dan Emmett Festival in town (we had kettle corn and fried pickles:  success).  Now this stupid sunburn is in the OH MY GOD THAT ITCHES stage, but it's getting better. 

I think I was so excited by the sun because this summer has really been full of rain.  In fact, one day it rained so hard while Ben was doing a show at Whole Foods that I got trapped in my car when I went to see him for lunch.  Thankfully I had a latte with me.

(that's Illamasqua Maneater on my lip-parts; favorite lipstick everrrrr)

You can't tell how hard it's raining, but it was pretty bad.  So bad that the nice Whole Foods employees were coming outside with golf umbrellas and escorting people into the store.  I opted to stay in the car with my latte until it let up.  That day I also picked up my veil, which was exciting.  It was the only piece of my wedding ensemble that I hadn't seen yet.  

The other nice thing about the weekend was that my parents and I did these wish lantern things.  They're large lanterns made from thin paper that you light from underneath and then they just float off like hot air balloons and incinerate themselves, taking care of any clean-up.  You're supposed to make a wish when you let one go.  We did two.

first attempt



I love this picture.  That's the water and the lights from the houses on the other side of the lake.  The big light is the moon, and the three little lights you can barely see are wish lanterns floating off over the lake.

So anyway, that was my weekend.  I see a lot of moving excitement and stress in my future, as well as trips to Target and Ikea for shelving and other things.  Ben decided that he would orchestrate all of the moving stuff so I wouldn't worry (a good attempt, but I'll always find something to worry about), so all I've really had to do is make sure stuff is all ready to go and open the door for the movers.  Oh yeah, and move back from Manhattan.  

Moving sucks.  I can't wait for it to be over so I can start to nest.  I've been avoiding doing that in every place I've lived in for years because everything always feels temporary to me.  Hopefully this move brings me some stability.

Hope you guys are doing well, and I'll talk to you next week!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Funky Fingers Mood Ring

My fiance really likes watches.  This is relevant because one day last week we were in a plaza that had a jewelry store in it.  He pulled up and said, "I'm going in to check out their watches."  I looked at my surroundings and noticed a Five Below just a couple stores down.  "Okay," I said.  "I'm just going to pop into that store down there, then..."  That is how I acquired Mood Ring along with several other 3 for $5 polishes.

The color of this one just screams summer to me.  It reminds me of mermaid tails and the ocean.  Also sometimes the name of a polish just suits it so well I can't even stand it; that applies here.  I always remember that when I was a kid and I begged my mom to get me mood rings from Claire's and the like they always remained that sort of medium-toned sparkly blue (because I think that's the color that corresponds with one's resting body temperature, right?).  That beautiful metallic blue color is in the base color of this duochrome polish, along with a more of a green-y-teal and maybe a golden color.  

I included that last picture there because different types of light were hitting different fingers and you can really see the duochrome in action.  That lovely blue color is there on my pointer finger, and then the green/gold is popping out on my ring finger.  Plus my eye looks kind of awesome.  I can't remember what lip color I was wearing, but I think it was Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in Celestial (more on that to come at a later date).  Anyway, the formula on this one was fine.  It was a tiny bit brushstroke-y, but not too bad.  I used three coats.  Just like my last manicure with Maybelline Poolside, this one lasted a whopping five days without a single chip.  This has happened to me a couple times in the past month, so I feel confident in chalking it up to NYC Grand Central Station topcoat.  LADIES:  If you don't have that polish you need to RUN, not walk, to a drug store and throw down the $1.99 for it.  It's not quite as shiny as Seche Vite and it doesn't dry quite as quickly, but it wears like iron and really protects your polish.  I'm convinced; it's the end-all-be-all of topcoats for me.

Anyway, I'm glad I was able to get this post up!  The rest of the month is going to be totally bonkers for me.  I've been traveling with Ben for work, just keeping him company and trying to relax.  We've also been binge watching The Sopranos (it's our first time!) and just generally...being.  It's a nice feeling.  Today I'm going to the lake to hopefully get in some major kayaking.  I've been out of the gym for a long time and I'm starting to get worried about my fat.  Then next week we move into our place!  Soon after that I'm taking a trip with my mom and auntie to go to a family wedding, and then immediately following that baby Remy kitty comes home.  Things--they are a-changin'.  I'm just trying to be confident that it'll work out and that I made the right choice to come home.  

But at least my nails look good.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Ch-Ch-Changes (Maybelline Poolside and a Surpriiiiiise!!)

Hey everyone!  I'm here!  I made it back to Ohio.  I meant to post last week but it just never happened, so here I am today.  The move actually went really smoothly.  The drive back was relatively shenanigan-free.  Ben came on a Friday night and we went to dinner at Mission Chinese, which was great (if you're in New York and you can get reservations I HIGHLY recommend it).  In the morning we woke up, cleaned up my apartment, packed up our little Civic, and then we were on the road by 1pm.  It was a long drive, but we stopped for dinner and chatted the whole way.  

I am suuuuuper impressed with the wear on Maybelline Poolside, which I'll be showing you below.  I put it on on a Saturday evening, and it survived packing boxes, cleaning, several showers, and general stress.  It lasted on me for six full days without chipping. Wuuuuuuut.  Color me shocked.  And here it is:

Poolside is from the limited edition Maybelline Color Show summer collection.  I got it at Rite-Aid on clearance for $1.99.  I wasn't sure how the formula would be, because I haven't really had the best of luck with Maybelline pastels in the past.  My biggest problem with Poolside is that it didn't really self-level when I put it on, which you can probably see in the pictures.  But it still looked great and I loved the color.  I used three coats.  The secret to this one was to wait a good five minutes between the second and third coats to avoid any patchiness.  I topped it off with some NYC GCS and it lasted forever and looked adorable the entire time.  If you can still find this one at the drug store I suggest picking it up.  It's a really pretty color for the summertime.

Okay, and the surprise.  So, when I was in college I got a kitten, Raven.

here he is reclining with Borghese Almondine (the last Borghese polish I could get excited about, by the way)

That kitten used to be on my blog a lot, but then he went to live with my parents when I graduated in 2009 and couldn't find a job.  For the first year or so that Raven lived with my parents he hid either under my bed or in the basement. Finally, little by little, he started to come out and be social.  And then it happened:  my dad seduced him.  I don't know how it happened and I can't claim to understand their love, but it is readily apparent. They talk to each other and cuddle together on the floor.  It's pretty cute.  Raven also has problems traveling and adjusting to new places.  For a while Ben and I were considering taking him with us when we moved into our place.  I asked my mom a few times, "Should we take Raven?"  Each time she said, "We're not ready to make that decision."  You'd have to know this cat to understand how he snuggles his way into your heart.  After thinking about it for a while, we decided that it would be best to leave Raven with his manfriend (my dad) in the house where he has been king of the castle for the past four years.  Not to mention he's pretty much in love with Alley, our other cat.  Don't get me wrong; we would have been glad to take him.  He's the best cat in the world.  Very kind, very cuddly, never bites, never has a harsh meow for anyone.  But this is his home now.

That long preamble was all for this:  Ben and I picked out a kitten.  Or I guess I did.  Ben was pretty vocal about wanting me to choose one.  He'll be traveling for work about two weeks out of every month, so he wanted to make sure I'd have a friend to hang out with while I'm home alone at night and stuff.  Once we agreed to get a cat I did a lot of research.  By that I mean I Googled "friendliest cat breeds" and did my reading.  I wanted a companion.  The type of cat that would want to be around us all the time and be friendly to visitors and generally just be awesome.  After I found a list of friendly breeds I ended up falling in love with the idea of a Ragdoll.**  I found a breeder in Ohio at the beginning of July, and it turned out that a litter of kittens had just been born at the end of June.  She encouraged me to pick out a kitten right away, but I exercised what I consider to be INCREDIBLE RESTRAINT and I said to Ben, "If these kittens are still around at the end of July we'll get one."  Out of anywhere in the state of Ohio that this breeder could have been based, she was literally ten minutes from my parents' house.  It seemed like kismet.  So we went to visit the babies.

The eight Ragdoll kittens were presented to us, not even kidding, in a wicker basket.  I had no idea how to choose one and Ben wasn't really helping.  But the woman was incredibly nice and patient and let us stay there with them for about an hour.  One of them sort of stood out to me right away because of his lighter coloring.  He was also the first one to approach me.  He wasn't shy at all.  He played with Ben, climbed on my shoulder, licked my fingers, fell asleep on my lap, and was the only one that purred.  He's on my lap in that above picture, flirting with me.  So finally I made an executive decision:

(uuuhhh so Poolside looks great, doesn't it??)

This is Remy.  He's about five weeks old right now.  Much too little to come home, but he's our boy.  He'll probably come home at the very end of August or beginning of September, when he's ready to leave his mom.  I went through a few names while we were thinking of getting a cat, but when I thought about "Remy" I knew it was right.  I wasn't really thinking of any reference in particular.  Not Ratatouille or the cognac.  Actually I watched House of Cards (which I can't recommend enough) about a month ago and there's a secondary character named Remy.  I didn't love the character or anything like that; I just think the name was in my head.  

So that's our news!  We'll have been in our apartment for about three weeks by the time I go pick up little Remy, so we'll be all settled.  We're really excited!  Anyway, hope all you guys are well and I'm sorry I disappeared for a little while--lots going on.  Oh, and I really enjoyed reading everyone's comments on my Essie Using My Maiden Name post.  There's a lot of food for thought there, for sure.

**Just a quick note on our decision to go to a breeder.  My parents and I rescued both cats that they still have now.  I'm an advocate of shelters and the APL, etc.  But with my concerns about having a companion cat, I didn't want to leave demeanor up to chance.  I know some cats that come from shelters are perfectly lovely and social, but a lot (like our little tabby, Alley, and to some extent also Raven) have behavioral issues.  We're hoping that choosing a Ragdoll will be a good decision for a lot of reasons.  I also know that a purebred cat can have behavioral issues too (I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the environment in which the cat is raised), but we decided that we really want to try out this breed.  And by "try out" I mean "live with and love this cat for a decade or longer."