Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Talking about talking: good grammar, bad language

I was inspired to write this post by the George Zimmerman trial (yep, it's been in my head for a while!). I wasn't actually following the trial, since I knew it would make me mad and/or depressed--and hey, I was right. But I stumbled across this post about Rachel Jeantel, the friend of Trayvon Martin's who testified at the trial. Apparently her testimony was seen as unreliable because she wasn't speaking Standard English (among other reasons); she was even accused of not being able to speak English fluently at all. The post deals with a question that gets right to the heart of what linguistics is all about: what does it mean to use "good" or "bad grammar"? While the author discusses the answer briefly, I'd like to go into a bit more detail, since it's pretty important!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm finally back! (plus a recipe)

Hey there, readers! Did you forget about me? It took us a few weeks, but we've pretty much completed our move to the Boston area, and today we finished unpacking the office so I have my computer back!

It's been a pretty big adjustment moving from a small college town to a huge metropolitan area, but our new apartment is pretty nice and the doggie has a backyard to play in. Oh, and can I just say that Boston traffic is THE WORST. Absolutely nuts. I keep getting honked at because apparently in Boston you're not supposed to wait for a gap in traffic before're just supposed to GO!

But enough complaining! I had to cut my nails down to stubs since so many of them broke during the move, but I'd like to get polishing again soon! All I wore for the past two weeks was Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment, and I must say it held up pretty well to all the beating it got! Oh, and also in nail news, I got a Helmer at Ikea!

Here's my nail setup. My polish collection occupies five of the drawers in the Helmer, although with a lot of extra room in each drawer for more. Sadly, my lightbox was a victim of the move, so I'll have to make a new one, but that's no problem since we're swimming in cardboard boxes!

Finally, I'll leave you with a good pasta recipe I made up tonight. I didn't manage to take a picture, so you'll just have to imagine...

I cooked some whole wheat penne and set it aside. In a pan I put a healthy amount of olive oil and sauteed some minced garlic; after a minute I added some cherry tomatoes and frozen kale. Once the tomatoes started bursting open I turned off the heat and added salt and pepper, lemon juice and fresh basil. The result tasted really fresh and summery, and had beautiful, vibrant red and green colors!

We're trying to cut costs when it comes to groceries, so it'll be interesting trying to come up with new recipes I can make on a budget!

OK, I'll be making sure to blog regularly again--I've had a language-related post planned for a while now, so I'll try to get that up tomorrow. And if anyone has any suggestions for fun stuff to do in Boston or good restaurants to try, let me know!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Swatch: Essie The More the Merrier

The polish in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Right now we're in the midst of packing up to move to a different state, and our apartment is an absolute mess. We're both a bit frazzled at the moment (although we did get our marriage certificate in the mail today! It's official!). I decided to put on some fun summery polish to keep my spirits up!

Essie The More the Merrier. Two coats with one coat Out the Door topcoat.

The More the Merrier is a cheery, bright chartreuse creme from Essie's summer 2013 collection. It makes me wish I was BBQing instead of packing!

The formula, like all Essies, was a little strange for me--kind of runny and gloopy at the same time? But it did even out pretty well and I only got a couple bubbles. And it's nice and opaque at two coats.

You can get The More the Merrier at ($8 for 13.5 ml) and also in lots of drugstores and beauty supply stores. And it's 3-free!

Wish me luck with packing...I'll need it!

The polish in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Swatch: Ninja Polish Divinity

I received the polish in this post as a gift. All opinions are my own.

Recently I participated in a summer Secret Santa nail polish exchange on a forum I post in. My awesome Santa sent me multiple polishes off my wishlist, including this one! (If you're reading this, thanks again!!) Ninja Polish Divinity is a gorgeous plum-colored polish with some amazing color-shifting shimmer--it's gonna take me several photos to show it off fully!

(Apologies for some of the weird angles in these shots; the color shift shows up best when your nails are off to the side of the light source, so I had to do some acrobatics with my hands.)

Oh, and I'm back to my old square nails, not entirely willingly--one of my nails finally snapped off when I was opening a car door, grrrr!

Here's how the shimmer looks most of the time, especially in sunlight: a sunset orange color.

Ninja Polish Divinity. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

Then, at certain angles, it starts to change to a golden brown...

...and finally to green!

Quite a change, huh? This polish is so cool to look at, and the color shift tends to take me by surprise just as I think I'm getting bored of its default color! I only needed two coats for (almost) complete opacity; the formula was fine other than a little streakiness if I painted over the same spot too much.

Another cool thing about Divinity is that, according to the review at Pointless Cafe (who has much better swatches than me), you can use it as a layering polish as well and get a totally different look!

Divinity is available at ($11 for 15 ml), although currently it's out of stock. Ninja Polish is 4-free!

I received the polish in this post as a gift. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Swatch: Incoco Star Spangled nail appliques

The products in this post were provided to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Happy (almost) 4th of July to my fellow Americans! I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend planned! We're still recovering from the wedding, so we'll probably just do a lot of sitting around. How will you celebrate the 4th?

This post is very special for me--it's the first time I've been sent a product to review! I feel like a real blogger now! But rest assured, dear readers: I'm still going to be giving you my 100% honest opinion.

I received the Star Spangled nail polish appliques from Incoco just in time for Independence Day. As you may remember, my last experience with nail wraps didn't go so well, so I was slightly wary of trying more. But the Incoco wraps are different from the L'Oreal ones in that they're made of nail polish rather than plastic, and claimed to be stretchable. So I had high hopes for these!

In each set of appliques you get two sets of eight strips; each strip has two slightly different-sized ends so you can pick the best fit:

To apply them, you just peel off the backing, choose which end you want to use, stick them on the nail and stretch them to remove any wrinkles. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that I was indeed able to get a smooth, wrinkle-free application! Finally, you fold the excess over the end of your nail and file it off.

Incoco Star Spangled nail polish appliques

This particular design is packed with glitter and makes me feel really patriotic! The texture of the wraps is not quite as smooth as regular polish, but that might be due to all the glitter--I'll have to try some of their solid-color appliques to compare. And once again, there are no wrinkles or bunches! (Can you tell I'm really happy about that?)

Some notes about the application process: first, although the Incoco appliques are indeed stretchy, they are also fragile--if you stretch them too far, they'll rip. (That's what happened on my ring finger.) So you just have to be gentle.

Second, although Incoco claims that you can stretch the wraps horizontally if they're too narrow for your nail, I had a hard time doing that. What I did instead was use wraps that were slightly too wide for each nail. Then, since they're made of nail polish, I was able to grab my cleanup brush and acetone and remove the excess from the sides of the nail. That only added about 5 minutes or so to the whole process.

One more thing I noticed--although the appliques are claimed to include base coat and top coat, they are still vulnerable to chipping since you can't wrap your tips. The edges of the appliques were actually snagging on my clothes. And while I was washing my face before bed last night, I noticed some flecks of polish coming off. So after I took these pictures, I slapped some Out the Door on my nails for extra protection.

To sum up:

Incoco Nail Polish Appliques--Pros:
  • quick and pretty easy to apply
  • no dry time
  • no wrinkles
  • pretty designs that would be hard to do by hand
  • remove with polish remover
  • can tear easily
  • you will probably have to throw out some strips from each package (they dry out if you don't use them immediately)
  • can't wrap tips--prone to chipping (not sure they would last 14 days as claimed without extra top coat)
Are they worth the $$?: Yes.  I wouldn't use them all the time, but I think these wraps are great for special occasions where you want a really intricate design that might be very hard to do by hand. They look really nice as long as you're careful not to tear them.

Star Spangled Nail Polish Appliques, along with many other patterns, are available for $8.99 at They also sell French tip sets, pedicure sets, and solid colors (which, frankly, aren't worth the money unless you really hate waiting for polish to dry). Incoco appliques are 3-free.

You can follow Incoco on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

The products in this post were provided to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My wedding nails!

I'm back, everyone! On Saturday my fiance and I got married. We had an absolutely wonderful time with our family and friends, despite the weird weather we've been having on the east coast--in fact, it was raining about 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after our outdoor ceremony, but during the ceremony the sun came out and it was beautiful! The whole weekend went by in a blur, and I think it's still sinking in for both of us that we're actually married!

Of course I decided to do my own nails, since I thought it would be a lot more meaningful than just getting them done in a salon. I didn't choose anything complicated for the sake of my sanity, but I still got a lot of compliments on them!

(Sorry they look a bit scruffy--it's been a rough weekend!)

I used two coats of Essie Waltz, a white jelly, and then did the flowers with acrylic paint, purple to match my wedding colors. (It wasn't as simple as it sounds; I had to redo them multiple times...) Then I topped everything with a coat of Orly Love Each Other, a clear base with very subtle purple/pink/blue shifting shimmer. This was barely visible, but it made me feel a little more special! You can just see a hint of the shimmer on my thumb and ring finger.

Anywho, I'm looking forward to getting back on the horse when it comes to blogging, and I should have a fun post for July 4th!