Sunday, December 21, 2014

Quick swatch: Emily de Molly Absent Minded

The product in this post was given to me as a gift. All opinions are my own.

Hey guys! I'm posting on vacation! I'm having a great time so far. I just wanted to show you what I'm wearing on my nails right now (and please ignore my mediocre paint job!).

This is Emily de Molly Absent Minded. It's a purple jelly with copper, red, blue and iridescent hexes. I absolutely love it, so deep and sparkly! Unfortunately there was no sun today, so I only have shade photos for you.

The formula was terrific, really nice for a glitter jelly.

See you guys soon! Safe travels if you're going somewhere for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Today's mani: Ikat chevrons for Hanukkah

Good evening and happy Hanukkah! Although I'm only Jewish by proxy, I decided it would be fun to do a Hanukkah manicure since I'm seeing my in-laws tomorrow. Plus, the blue/white/silver color combo looks really good on me!

I decided to try my hand at an ikat-style mani for the first time. I have to say, ikat is a lot harder to do than it looks! It's supposed to be a little messy, but not too messy, and that's the hard part. I'll definitely have to work on this!

The colors I used were Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, OPI My Signature is "DC", Zoya Sailor and OPI My Vampire is Buff.

We'll be traveling starting tomorrow, but I'll do my best to keep you up-to-date on all my nail-related activities!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Recipes from the past six months!

Hi all! Are we getting into the holiday spirit yet? My husband and I will be traveling soon, first to my in-laws and then my parents, so we're going to have a fun and busy couple of weeks!

Today I decided to do some catching up with the food I've cooked for the last several months. I've gotten in the habit of posting pics on Instagram, but I've been bad about blogging. Almost all of these recipes were spur-of-the-moment decisions that I made with stuff already in my pantry. That's the best kind of recipe in my opinion!

Blueberry Crisp

We happened to buy some blueberries one week back in June, and out of the blue I wondered "can I make a crisp with these?" The answer was yes, as long as you have some basic baking supplies around, like flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. The whole process takes maybe half an hour. Unfortunately I don't remember what recipe I used, but I just Googled "blueberry crisp" and got a million very similar results.


I was inspired to make these during a Good Eats marathon on Netflix. (Here is Alton Brown's recipe.) Ridiculously easy to make. Mine are a little smaller than normal because I didn't have a popover pan, only a muffin pan. I think I just baked them for slightly less time than the recipe calls for.

Tuna Croquettes

Another Alton Brown-inspired dish! (Recipe is here.) I used white onions instead of green, and it worked perfectly fine. Usually the only thing I can think to do with canned tuna is make tuna salad (and I make a pretty damn good tuna salad), so it was nice to learn how to do something else! These get nice and crispy and golden-brown on the outside. They remind me of the salmon patties my mom used to make us.

Vegetarian Cincinnati Chili

(Apologies for the ghetto cheese slices.) Cincinnati chili is something my dad would make for us occasionally after he came back from a business trip to Cincinnati. It has a lot of wintery spices like cinnamon, allspice and cloves, as well as chocolate! It's traditionally served over spaghetti with cheddar on top. (I used this recipe.) I replaced the beef with black beans because I had a can sitting around in the pantry.

Thanksgiving Dressing

This Thanksgiving at the in-laws', everyone contributed something to dinner. My husband and I volunteered to do dressing (well, I always call it stuffing, but this was technically dressing!). We used a very simple recipe (here) because we had to keep it kosher and dairy-free. Also, his family doesn't normally eat dressing at Thanksgiving (what???) so we didn't want to overwhelm anyone! This photo is halfway through the cooking process, so it got all crispy and browned after this. It tasted just how a traditional stuffing should taste, lovely and herbacious!

Not Pictured: I made Martha Stewart's chocolate chip cookie recipe and they were AMAZING! Soft and chewy, just the way I like them! I don't know why I forgot to take pics!

That's all for now! Have you cooked anything fun lately? I'll have to write another post all about the ice cream I've made this year!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Swatch: Powder Perfect Grief

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

Happy Friday! Did you have a good week? Mine was pretty good, other than the constant precipitation we've had here! At least we don't have a foot of snow like some places yet!

Today I've got a swatch that my fellow blue polish lovers will enjoy: Powder Perfect Grief. This is a denim blue scattered holo with hidden blue-green iridescent glitter that only pops out in certain lights! It's very understated but still fascinating to look at.

Powder Perfect Grief. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

The formula is good as long as you keep your coats thin. I noticed a tendency for the polish to drag with thicker coats. The opacity and dry time were good.

I don't see Grief on Powder Perfect's Australian shop site at the moment, but definitely check their international stockists!

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: Old Factory Soy Candle Gift Set in Fall Harvest

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

Hey kids! As you might know, I love basically everything that's scented. Lotion, lip balm, whatever--the smellier the better! So when I had the opportunity to review a set of scented candles by Old Factory, I was like "heck yes!!"

Old Factory candles are made of soy wax and hand-poured in the US. They come in sets of three different candles, and each set has a theme. Since I can't get enough spicy fall scents, I chose the Fall Harvest set, containing Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry and Autumn Leaves candles. Yummm...

Each of the scents is fantastic! My favorite is definitely Pumpkin Spice, although it reminds me more of a cinnamon bun. But I can't complain about that! The Cranberry scent is tart and has a bit of spice to it as well. Autumn Leaves is the most subdued and has a natural woodsy fragrance.

The candles are fairly small (2 oz., about 2 inches in diameter), so they won't smellify your whole house, but the fragrance is definitely strong enough to fill a room plus a little more. The company claims these will burn for 20 hours, but I can't vouch for that. I didn't notice any problems with smoking or sputtering.

I appreciated the sturdy glass jars the candles come in. I love the packaging too! It feels rustic but still professional. And of course the punny name is great!

So, overall, I had a great experience with Old Factory candles and would definitely consider buying more! These are sold exclusively on Amazon ($25 per set right now), and it looks like some of the sets are sold out at the moment, so I would go check and see what's available! These candles would make a great holiday gift!

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

Today's mani: Sideways ruffian for my birthday!

Good evening ladies and gents! Today I turned 29. That means after today I've officially stopped aging forever (right???).

The highlight of my day is the chocolate cake, still upcoming, but of course I did a fun mani as well. I used a brand new polish that I bought myself as an early birthday present: OPI My Dogsled is a Hybrid. It's a pretty light teal that I think is different from anything else in my collection. I decided to do a sideways ruffian, because I've just started seeing the design everywhere and it's really classy!

The sideways ruffian is very easy if you want to try it. First you polish your nails with your base color and let it dry completely. Then stick down a French tip guide along the curve you want for the ruffian (use tweezers to make it easier). Paint the side of your nail with color #2 (in this case Zoya Ziv) and immediately remove the tip guide. Done!

Friday, December 5, 2014

November's Museum-Worthy Manis!

Hi again! Happy Friday! Any fun plans for the weekend? My birthday is Monday, so we might do something fun this weekend, but I'm not sure. At least my cold is going away!

So today I have my favorite nail art from last month. I didn't notice until I put the collage together that they're almost all black + metallic. Funny! But if you can't do that color combo in winter, when can you do it?? As usual, please go and look at the original artists' blog posts for details!

1. Give In To the Darkness by Chalkboard Nails

This mani is like a creepy take on the traditional French tip! I love the fuzziness of the border of the French tip--it's like an evil force slowly crawling up the nail! Plus the combo of black and nude is just so eye-catching.

2. Edgy Purple and Black Holo Fishnet Gradient by Simply Nailogical

Sexy!! Check out that reciprocal gradient on the accent nail. I really need to check out some of her gradient tutorials, because she is the master. I also love the slight hint of purple--it doesn't pop out, it just adds a little extra interest.

3. Light Years Spiral by Wacky Laki

Whoa, I'm getting dizzy! What a great choice to use this stamp over a holo--it just screams "carnival" to me. I don't usually go for 3D nail art, but those studs really pull everything together.

4. Inspired by Chuck Pinson by PiggieLuv

It wouldn't be Museum-Worthy Manis without one of Narmai's astounding freehand manis! Please go read her post and see the closeup photos of those trees! It's really mind-boggling to me.

5. #WNAC2014 Metallic Colorblock by Lacquerstyle

This is just straight-up classy to me. Love the mod colorblocking pattern and the choice of metallic polishes: they're different enough to be distinguishable, and you get these glints of different colors, but they give a monochromatic effect overall. Super cool!

Honorable mention: Green Hills of Africa by May Contain Traces of Polish

Thursday, December 4, 2014

November's Gimme That Polish!

Good evening everyone! I finally have my top five lemmings from my Pinterest wishlist for November! (Better late than never, right?) We're now entering the realm of holiday and winter collections. I don't know about you, but I found the commercial brands' winter collections to be pretty uninspired this year. Even Zoya's was kind of disappointing. As usual, we have to look to the indie brands for the cool stuff!

1. Delush Polish - Green With Ivy

While this is a pretty traditional holiday color, I LOVE how squishy this jelly is! The glitter coordinates with the base, so you get this beautiful variety of green shades that doesn't smack you in the face with "CHRISTMAS!!" So you could really wear this polish year-round. (Delush Polish shop | swatch by Wondrously Polished)

2. Crazy Polish Lady - Coco Avant Chanel

I realize this one might not be everyone's cup of tea, but as a proud wearer of brown polish, I'm in love. I just love the texture that all those different flakes and flecks create. I imagine this might look like marble from a distance! (Crazy Polish Lady shop | swatch by Love Varnish)

3. Femme Fatale - Embercrush

Unnff, more gorgeous shimmer and texture! Dark and fiery but not too vampy. This one definitely deserves a close-up view, so go look at the original swatches! This polish is a Color4Nails exclusive, which makes it easier for us Americans to get our hands on it! (Color4Nails shop | swatch by Royal Milk Tea)

4. Serum No. 5 - Don't Peek

My first reaction to this polish was, "I don't even care that it glows in the dark, I just love that glitter mix!" And I still feel the same way. As an indie maker, I can say that coming up with unique and attractive glitter mixes is extremely tough, and Serum No. 5 nailed this one. It's not a traditional holiday look; it actually reminds me of nature. (Serum No. 5 shop | swatch by The Mercurial Magpie)

5. SuperChic Lacquer - Baker's Hunger for a Bun in the Oven

This polish is from a collection inspired by the Into the Woods musical/movie, and while the musical isn't my style (I'm more of a Phantom fan, as you know), the polish definitely is. Look at the way that shimmer just glows! I love the combo of muted colors and bright metallics. (SuperChic Lacquer shop | swatch by KellieGonzo)

Honorable mention: Reverie Nail Lacquer - Polar Night

What are your favorite holiday polishes this year?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ALIQUID Lacquer Saturnalia Duo!

Hi kids! I've been a very bad blogger lately, haven't I? It's not all my fault though. We left for Thanksgiving a day earlier than we had planned thanks to the weather, so I didn't get to write a post last Tuesday like I wanted to. Then as soon as we got home I caught a cold. So I've basically been lying around amidst piles of used kleenex for the past several days. I seem to be slowly getting better though, hooray!!

Anyway, first off I want to say that my Fantastiversary was great, and I'm so grateful for everyone who placed orders in the past couple weeks! There's still a day left to get your entries in for my nail art contest on Instagram!

On Monday I released two new polishes in my shop. I had been thinking about whether I should do a holiday collection, but I always feel like those are a bit cliche. Too many reindeer- and Santa-related puns. Then it hit me that I could incorporate one of my interests into some holiday polish AND make it an ongoing thing, not just for December!

The result is the When in Rome collection, which is going to be a catch-all for any Rome-related polishes I make. I am a huge nerd for Ancient Rome and Latin (it's my favorite language), and in fact I have a B.A. in classics. One thing that's always interested me about the Romans is all the ways their culture is a bit alien from a modern perspective. It's strange, because they helped create the foundation for all of Western culture, and in movies they're usually portrayed as "Brits in togas", but they really did think about things differently than we do in a lot of ways, the biggest to me being religion. You can learn a lot about people from their religious practices!

Long story short, I'm going to release one or two polishes per month that are inspired by a Roman festival that was celebrated in that month. They had plenty of festivals, so I could keep this going for a couple years at least!

December's big festival (and the biggest one of the year) was Saturnalia. It was like Christmas, New Year, and Mardi Gras rolled into one, and actually helped inspire later Christmas traditions. Saturnalia lasted for several days around the winter solstice and honored Saturn, the god of agriculture, wealth, liberation, destruction and renewal. Saturn was an ancient Italian god and king of the mythical Golden Age, when all people were equal and enjoyed the fruits of the earth without having to work. He was also believed to be an ancestor of the Latin people (including Romans and their neighbors).

Here are the two Saturnalia polishes!

Io Saturnalia!: A metallic foil finish with a blend of silver and gold particles, as well as flecks of blue and purple and holographic microglitter and shimmer.

Once the solemn rites and sacrifices of Saturnalia were done, the nonstop partying began. Everyone got a break from work and spent the festival feasting, drinking, gambling and exchanging gifts (often small things like candles and figurines). The streets echoed with shouts of "io Saturnalia!", sort of a more enthusiastic version of "happy holidays!"

Saturn Unbound: A deep berry jelly with shimmers of gold, copper, red and green, plus holographic microglitter.

The legs of Saturn's statue were tied with wool for most of the year, but during Saturnalia he was released. Roman society was also released from most of its social expectations, an echo of the lost Golden Age. Masters served dinner to their slaves and had to endure a lot of backtalk. Male citizens abandoned their togas for less formal, more colorful clothes, and slaves and citizens alike wore felt caps usually reserved for freedmen.

But there was a dark side to Saturn's liberation too. It was rumored that early Romans had practiced human sacrifice to the god, and in the later empire, gladiators fought to the death in Saturn's honor.

These are both for sale now, and you get $3 off if you buy both together! I think they're perfect for the holidays even if you don't worship Saturn...

I'll hopefully be back tomorrow with my top lemmings from November!