Friday, February 27, 2015

Leopard Print and Navy Nails

This was not my original plan for today's nails, but while innocently scrolling through my Instagram feed yesterday, I spotted this outfit post from ASOS, which immediately inspired me to abandon all other plans and do a leopard/navy mani instead. See how spontaneous I am? So spontaneous.

Navy nails with leopard print accent
According to some (myself included), both leopard and navy are suitable to be considered neutrals. So g'wan then. Pair them with WHATEVERTHEHELL you want, ladies. It's your world.

Navy nails with leopard print accent, Essie Case Study

The blue I used was a generically titled "Navy" polish from Forever 21's Love & Beauty line. It's actually a really nice polish, despite what the $2.80 price tag might have you expecting. It's shiny, self-leveling, and is opaque in 2 coats. It's also shimmer-free, which gives it some class, I think.

Navy nails with leopard print accent

For the leopard accent nails:  the base is 2 coats of Essie's Case Study, the spots are a gorgeous silver-infused cocoa polish from Love & Beauty (aptly called Cocoa), and the darker brown accents are a suuuuuuper old Sally Hansen "New Lengths" polish called Mink Stole Creme.

Navy nails with leopard print accent, Love & Beauty navy nail polish

After cleaning up the edges with acetone, I topped everything with a coat of Seche Vite and gave my hands a nice dose of Aveeno Skin Relief hand cream. My poor hands have been so dry lately that they've been cracking and even bleeding a little. A sign that a) winter is a bitch, and b) I'm possibly dehydrated? Oops.

Navy nails with leopard print accent nails

Tonight I'm going to see one of my favorite comedians perform in Somerville! Ted Alexandro has been a fav amongst my siblings and I for over a decade now, and this will be the third time I've seen him live. Mayhaps you even remember the write-up I did about the time I saw him in Vancouver in 2013 - if not, here it is! I'm not sure yet if anyone else is coming with  me to the show, but whateva - big girls can get their laugh on by themselves if they need to.

In other weekend news, on Sunday afternoon I'm going to be doing something kind of scary: I'll be filming some short workout videos with a local fitness professional for my company's YouTube channel. The girl who was slated to demo the exercises in the shoot had to back out for scheduling reasons, so I volunteered to step in. It's a pretty well-known channel with kind of a lot of subscribers, so I'm nervous fo' sho, but I'm trying to be better about embracing the "if it doesn't scare you, it's not worth doing" mentality to step out of my comfort zone. Wish me luckkkk! And depending on how the videos turn out... maybe I will share them here on my blog ;)

On a related note, I've been going to the gym a lot lately and am thinking about starting back up my "Workouts of the Week" series this Sunday. Would that be of any interest to anyone? Let me know... but I might just do it anyway because it is my party, after all.

What are YOOOOU up to this weekend?
Doing anything outside of your comfort zone?
Whatcha got on dose nails doe?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Looking for a New Book?

WELL DAMN GIRL, you are in luck. My blogging buddy - the talented and endlessly sweet Joey from Hodges Podges - has released her self-published e-book, Yeah, Maybe, and it is on HELLA SALE this week!

Yeah, Maybe, is normally $7.99 but you can buy it this week for $1.99... and y'ought'a. Here's the blurb for the book:

For quiet, reserved, and focused 15 year old Annie Mackey, school was a sanctuary.  But when her bubbly and beautiful neighborhood best friend joins her at Willow Point High for freshmen year, her world is turned upside down.
Everything Annie could count on for stability is shattered, and she's left feeling more alone than ever before.

Just when she's about to lose all hope, someone unexpected swoops in and gives her a much needed lesson in perspective.

Yeah, Maybe, Joey Hodges, ebook

The book is available on Amazon here: (not an affiliate link)

If you are a lover of books and are looking for something new to read, why not spend just $2 to support a self-published writer with a heart of gold like Joey? DO IT.

Friday, February 20, 2015

50 Shades of Blue Nails

Nope, sorry that was a total lie. It's only 2 shades of blue. Just enough to do some diagonal color-blocking on my accent nails.

Two-toned color blocked blue nails
I used 3 coats of Essie's Lapiz of Luxury on all of my nails. Once those were dry, I placed a small strip of an Essence Nail Art sticker (shown here) across my ring and thumb nails on a diagonal, then painted above the sticker with Sally Hansen's Pacific Blue.

Light blue and bright blue nails

Before that dried, I quickly used a pair of tweezers to peel away the sticker and then topped everything with a coat of Seche Vite to smooth out all the lines.

Essie Lapiz of Luxury, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue nail polish

I was actually originally planning to do this two-tone mani with a kelly green and a turquoise, but my bottle of Turquoise & Caicos was SUPER gloopy when I removed the cap! Guess I'll need to replace that. Both Lapiz of Luxury and Turquoise & Caicos came from the same Resort Collection from Essie, and I featured them together in one of my more Pinterest-popular manis here.

Color blocked blue nails and cute coffee cup wire ring

Also - I'd love to draw your attention to the adorable rings in the picture above. I spotted the coffee cup ring on Pinterest and literally clicked right through to the Etsy page and bought it. For only $9 plus shipping, it was absolutely worth it. And to my delight, the seller, Lorelei, included a little hand-written note in the parcel, as well as a surprise extra midi ring!

I didn't yet own any midi rings so this was pretty exciting for me. Bonus point to you, Lorelei! #FistBump. And just FYI, she had no way of knowing that I have a blog or that I was going to shout out her shop, so this isn't at all sponsored. But if you are as charmed by these delicate and affordable rings as I am, you should prolllllllllllly head over to her Etsy shop - My Rings and Things - and support some hand-made craftsmanship. Tell her I sent you, for good measure ;)

In other news entirely, this has been a week of dental issues and acupuncture... separately, not at once. (Though maybe the acupuncture could relieve the gum pain I'm having.) I've got a wisdom tooth coming in that's not treating its host very kindly right now. It's growing in at an atrocious angle and digging into my cheek, so I had to get a consultation today with an oral surgeon to see what I should do about it. Perhaps you remember the tale of getting my first wisdom tooth removed (if not, you should go check it out - it's even illustrated). Well I should probably have gotten all four of them extracted back when I was living in Canada with affordable dental insurance... but the first one just hurt SO MUCH that I couldn't really bare the thought of getting the others removed. Especially because none of them were even erupted yet - they were all still chilling deep under my gums.

Anyway, now it'll probably cost me quite a bit to get them removed, so.... to everyone who told me to just bite the bullet and get that shit taken care of when I was in Canada... you were right, you sonsofbitches. I was wrong. HAPPY NOW?

As for the acupuncture - that was just a random thing for me to try out, because I figured with all of the emotional and physical turmoil I've been through over the last 6 months or so... it couldn't hurt to try. My friend Kara has been going to an acupuncture place in Cambridge, so I headed there on Wednesday to check it out. The place I went to - Acupuncture Together - has you sit in a comfortable chair in a room of others who are doing the same, and you just kick off your socks/shoes, roll up your pant legs... and relax while they stick you with needles. The needles - shockingly - don't hurt as they go in. I know, you probably don't believe it. They do feel a little itchy/burny if you move the wrong way while they're in you, but it's nothing as bad as what I'd been anticipating. And no, I didn't feel any differently after my first session, but Kara and I are going back there together tomorrow morning for another round!

Alright I've clearly rambled enough for now... I hope you have a great weekend!

Anyone else dealing with unruly wisdom teeth or have any tips about relieving teething pain?
Have you ever tried acupuncture?
What are you rocking on your nails today?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Last 10 iTunes Downloads

There's something delightfully voyeuristic about peeking into another person's iTunes account, isn't there? Seeing what they've been downloading and which songs have the most plays. Having recently received $50 worth of iTunes gift cards, I allowed myself to go on a bit of a mini music binge and thought it would be fun to share my most recent 10 music downloads with you here.

Let me know if you're loving any of these jams as well!

7/11 - Beyoncé

Habits - Tove Lo

Love Never Felt So Good - Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake

Understanding - XScape

One Wish - Ray J

Dangerous - Busta Rhymes

Break Ya Neck - Busta Rhymes

Pendulum - FKA Twigs

I'm frequently guilty of only downloading single songs, rather than entire albums... but prior to these ten, I'd downloaded the entire Kaleidoscope Dream album from Miguel. He is one of my favorite current R&B singers - and I say "current" because normally my R&B selections lean very heavily towards the 90s and early 2000s. But Miguel's songs often remind me of 90s jams, so it's not really surprising that I enjoy them so much.

Next on my list of to-download: a Childish Gambino album and a Kendrick Lamar album. I currently own nothing at all from either artist, but am very interested in remedying that. If you have any favorite songs/albums by either of those artists, leave me a comment to let me know what it is!

Now - what are YOU downloading? Share your most recent iTunes download with me below!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Craft Club #4: Creating Collages

I've attempted to write this blog at least five times, but it just keeps getting knocked off the table, so to speak. How's about we do this thing now, hmm? LEGGO!

On the last Sunday in January, it was my turn to host Craft Club! For our fourth meeting of the crafty minds, we spent a few hours making collages and nibbling on apps and pizza.

Before Stephanie, Kate, Kim, Lauren and Abby arrived, I set up a table in my living room and covered it with the craft supplies for the day's collaging:
  • magazines
  • rulers
  • cutting boards
  • x-acto knives
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • rubber cement
Around the perimeter of the living room, I also set out several framed collages that I've made over the years. These were for both inspiration and decoration, since my place was pretty bare at the time.

Once everyone arrived, I gave the girls a rundown on the techniques that I typically use when making my own collages. Then we all just dug in and began poking through all of our magazines, pulling out pages and figuring out what kind of collage each of us wanted to make.

Craft Club: Making collages with friends in the living room

Craft Club: Magazine pags laid out for collages

Craft Club: Sorting through magazines and glueing collages

Craft Club: Cutting magazine pages for her collage

Craft Club: Glueing down scraps for collage

As usual, it was awesome to see how differently everyone's projects turned out.

Here's Kim's - her collage has some ornate gilded age details to it:

Kim's collage, red, black, white, gold
.  kim's  .
I loved Lauren's woodsy, animal- and nature-inspired collage:

Lauren's woodsy, nature, animal collage
.  lauren's  .

Steph's was filled with just the right amount of crafty angst:
Stephanie's Brave angst collage
.  steph's  .
Abby's was pretty and peaceful and seemed to fit her personality perfectly:
Abby's beautiful garden collage
.  abigail's  .

Mine was just nowhere near finished by the time my guests left, because I apparently take days longer to make collages than anyone else does! Here's what I was playing around with on my canvas... and hopefully it will be completed someday.

My first attempt at a pink and blue collage

And apparently I didn't get a picture of Kate's because it's nowhere to be found. OOPS! Sorry Kate, I'm sure yours was beautiful.

Of course, Craft Club would be a sad affair if there was no food involved, so for munchies we had:
  • vanilla frosted mini-cupcakes
  • carrots/cherry tomatoes/hummus
  • crackers
  • pizza
  • soda
Kim has offered to host our next one, when she's going to show us some of her favorite tips for putting together floral arrangements. That's going to be a fantastically useful craft to learn, for sure. Can't wait to share that with you!

What sorts of crafty projects have you been getting into lately?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Boston Snow, Pretty Valentine's Nails... and Annie Lennox

Happy Friday the 13th y'alllllllllll!

Don't mind my lack of posts this week. I'm somehow going to blame it on the snow. We've got lots of that up here in Boston these days. Apparently it's a record amount of snowfall in a 30-day period, and the city is kind of losing its shit. They don't know where to put all this snow, so streets have become narrower, snowbanks have gotten higher, and malcontent has juuuuust about reached its saturation point. Personally, I take my life into my hands each time I creep my car - inch by inch - out of my building's parking lot, because the snowbanks are so high that there's absolutely no way to know if there's a car coming or not. It's a real gamble every time - one that may soon cause me to experience either a car accident or a heart attack. I'm hoping for neither... wish me luck.

Obligatory weather-talk aside, guess what else I've been doing like a champ this week that's kept me from blogging...

Working out! HEYO! #BetterFasterStronger.

It's been so long since I've been able to have a normal-ish gym routine, thanks to the many aches, pains, ailments, troubles, et ceteras that I've been bitching about since the summer. With physical therapy now in my rear view and the numbness gone from my arm, I'm back to taking advantage of my Gold's Gym membership. It feels amazing, and I can't wait to see myself tone up again! It's been hard to eat whatever the hell I want and maintain my girlish figure at the same time these last few months. ;)

Anycrap. [Insert normal segue.] I know last week's nail polish blog was rife with grumpiness about Valentine's Day, but something inside me insisted upon an official VDay mani after all. Whatever. Shut up. Here it is:

Valentine's Day nails

No hearts though. Eff that.

Valentine's Day nails, Essie A List, red, silver, black and white polka dots

The red is A List from Essie, silver is Diamond Texture from Revlon, and the middle finger is Snow Me White by Sinful Colors topped with Clearly Spotted from Maybelline.

Red nails with silver accent and black and white accent

The red nails all required 3 coats, and they're still not totally opaque. The formula of A List is really beautiful... but it's thin. Much like Giuliana Rancic.

Valentine's Day Nails, red, silver, black and white

Speaking of her and that (hey look, a relevant segue!), I didn't watch the Grammys last week because I don't have cable, but I have watched some of the highlights online. Two damn words y'all:  Annie. Lennox. Two more words: SHE TOOK ME TO CHURCH 'N PUT A SPELL ON ME, FOR REALSIES. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please behold:

Mmmmmmhmm. Spectacular.

This weekend I'm going home to Pittsfield to visit my family - seemed like a nice way to spend Valentine's Day, plus it's my little sister's 23rd birthday. Yeah, my baby sister is turning 23. Time, AMIRIGHT? Shit marches on.

Wish me luck in my travels this weekend because there is another round of snow/blizzard coming our way. I have a feeling the 2.5-hour drive from Pittsfield back to Boston may be closer to a 5-hour drive through the snow on Sunday! Eesh.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Call Them Valentine's Nails If You Want To... (and Highlights from the Week)

Yesterday I spent time scrolling through Instagram looking at the #valentinesnails hashtag, cultivating some ideas for a heart-filled mani today. I even went so far as to decide on a theme and pull out a bunch of cute pastel polishes with which I was going to paint lots of small, dainty hearts onto my nails.

But then I realized I don't want to do any effing Valentine's Day nails this year. DO I SEEM IN THE MOOD FOR VALENTINE'S NAILS???

Sorry for yelling at you.

Pink and glittery nails
After abandoning most of my pastels and telling my heart-making dotting tool to go eff itself, I settled on another look entirely... a look which still ended up being semi-Valentinesy, much to my chagrin. The pink polishes used might give off a V-day vibe, but this was really just a way for me to use a Deborah Lippmann polish that I received as a 100-point VIB gift from Sephora a couple months ago. The polish, absolutely adorably called 99 Luftballons, has a sheer fuchsia base that's glitter-packed with multi-colored rounds and hexes.

Deborah Lippmann 99 Luftballons and Sally Hansen Pink Blink
Pastel pink nails with multi-colored glitter accent nails

My nails each have 3 coats of Sally Hansen's Pink Blink, and my thumb and ring fingernails each also got 2 coats of 99 Luftballons. Pink Blink is such a streaky bitch of a polish, but it's still a pretty color!
Pastel pink nails with multi-colored glitter accent nails, Pink Blink

I didn't realize the base color of 99 Luftballons was going to be so colorful until I applied it over the top of Pink Blink. The fuchsia color surprised me, since the polish is so packed with glitter in the bottle that you can't really discern a color in the base. I thought it was going to be clear!

Pastel pink nails with multi-colored glitter accent nails

This has been another snowy week in Boston, and we are due to get another 3-day storm in the coming days. I'm not going to say that I hate the snow... but it's taking some getting used to, after enjoying balmy Pacific Northwest winters the last few years. Honestly, I'd much rather have rainy winters filled with lush green grass and trees than snowy winters where everything looks dead and depressing. Maybe a pretty strong sign that the Pac-NW was a good place for me... #LifeDecisions.

Despite the snow, I've been trying to not be a hermit. On Tuesday evening I took the T into downtown Boston to meet my friend Kara in the Back Bay for a post-work drink. We intended to go to a regular bar but Kara inadvertently discovered a freaking CHOCOLATE bar, which you may have seen me RAVING about on Instagram:

Milkshakes from Max Brenner, Boston

Max Brenner is a chocolate bar, restaurant, and all-over goddamn EXPERIENCE, people. Hot chocolates, choctails, milkshakes, desserts, crepes, waffles, and a full restaurant menu as well... I mean, it was like Willy Wonka opened a classier place for adults. I got a salted caramel milkshake (right) and Kara got a Mudslide milkshake (left). We both felt pretty good about ourselves afterwards. And by that I mean... I think we both skipped dinner that night.

On Wednesday afternoon I was on my way to a doctor's appointment (a follow-up orthopedic appointment about my neck/shoulder problems) when my entire car started to shake on the highway. Thinking I'd gotten a flat, I immediately pulled over on a super shitty part of I-93 - right at an off-ramp - and risked my life to check all four tires, which were all perfectly plump with air. Getting back into my car and driving off, the damn thing starts shaking again. Obviously worried, I pulled off at the next exit, parked in a bank lot, got out and looked underneath my car...

... where I saw something very metal and very important-looking dangling, half-attached, from the underbelly of my poor Toyota Yaris. "What the actual fuck?" I wondered to myself. Getting AAA on the phone was a 25-minute process in itself (busy day in Boston, thanks to all the snow), and then I was told that a tow truck would be out to help me by 5:45pm. I looked at the clock. It was just before 3pm. Fahk. Cue waiting in the cold car for nearly 3 hours with a dying iPhone, using bubble wrap as a blanket:

Using bubble wrap as a blanket

At 5:45 on the dot, the tow truck rolled into the lot. I described my problem to the driver, who looked under my car, identified the dangling atrocity as my heat shield, and told me it was no biggie and that I could very safely drive the car to a repair place myself. No tow needed.


YEAH. Really fantastic way for me to spend 3 hours. I even had to cancel my doctor's appointment. On the bright side, the heat shield is so unimportant (apparently) that the guy at the Monro Muffler place simply removed it for me, no charge! Thanks, Monro Man. I'm sorry I didn't get your name.

Last night I went to dinner at (Boston's famous) Regina's Pizza with Jenna and had a fantastic evening of catching up and eating carbs. Tonight I've got a sushi dinner date with Steph and her friend Cris at Sei Bar in Medford. Friends and food seem to be my big themes of the week :)

Hey, how the heck has YOUR week been going?
Did you eat anything super yummy this week?
How is your car holding up through your winter season?

{Linking with Fab Favorites and The Nail Files}

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Where Surf Meets Snow: Revere Beach in the Winter

A beach under a layer of winter snow is probably not something that you see very often. Maybe you don't live near a beach... Maybe you don't live where it snows... Maybe you live near a beach in a place where it does snow... but never thought to take a venture down to the water's edge during a snowstorm to check it out.

Well I have, and it's pretty cool

Revere Beach in a snowstorm
Revere Beach is a short enough drive from my apartment that it's straight up silly that I haven't been there yet. To remedy this, I decided a couple of weekends ago to head there with my camera to take some pictures and see what the shore is like.

I awoke that Saturday morning to heavily falling snow, but rather than letting that deter me from my plans, I just became even more excited to photograph the wintery beach.

The shore at Revere Beach in the winter

I drove straight out to the coast, then headed north alongside the beach on Revere Beach Boulevard, where I eventually pulled over to the side of the road and parked. Battling the fierce wind and whipping snow, I climbed over the seawall and trudged through the snow to the shore.

The snowy shore at Revere Beach in the winter

The line where the surf meets the snow always makes for terrific pictures, if you ask me. And the higher the snow level, the cooler it looks. (At the end of this blog, there's a 2010 photo of a beach on Cape Cod, with about 2-feet of snow at the shoreline!)

The shore at Revere Beach in the winter

Not surprisingly, I was the only one on the beach that day... except for these three beach bums:

Snowmen on Revere Beach in January 2015

This guy.

Big snowman on Revere Beach, January 2015

When David and I lived in Cape Cod, back in 2009-2011, we lived within walking distance of Falmouth Heights Beach. Here it is under 2 feet of snow, which proves my point about wintery beaches looking even cooler when the snow is higher:

Falmouth Heights Beach under 2 feet of snow
.  don't mind the blurry photo quality; digital cameras have improved tremendously since 2010  .

Have you ever seen a snowy beach?
Want to come build a snowman family on the beach with me?
Let's go! Bring your green hat!

{Linking with Finding Beauty Friday}