Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!! The inner workings of a clockwork grapefruit.

Today is my Dad's birthday!!  Happy birthday Dad!!

I tried to make this manicure look mechanical and industrial.  My dad is a contractor - he builds houses - in fact, he built the house I'm living in right now, as well as the house that he, my mom, sister, and grandmother live in.  I wanted this manicure to reflect the tools and hardware he works with every day.

Color Club Worth the Risque with Konad m65 and China Glaze Recycle
I used two coats of Worth the Risque topped with Recycle using the new-to-me plate m65.  I love this design!  I think it looks like all the pieces inside of a watch or something - very cool.

The flash made the design look more subtle than it is.  IRL, the grey shows up a lot better.

Since it's his birthday, I wanted to share a few pieces of advice my dad has given me over the years.  It's funny - he's said these things many times, but for both I can remember an exact point in time and event tied to each.

*When you go to get your hair done, always choose the stylist with the worst haircut.  You don't want whoever did her hair cutting yours!

*Never stick anything smaller than a grapefruit in your ear.

Have a wonderful Sunday all!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Red Easter Eggs? This one is just not working out!

Sally Hansen Endless Claret and Konad m79
Hmm... one of my worst manis ever?  Lets just say I wouldn't wear this one out of the house.  This Konad plate ended up stamping a lot larger than I pictured it would.  The only one I actually like is my index finger, but in that case I got the lower rows of the design all over my skin since I had to adjust the stamp lower to fit the rose in.  If my nails were longer, this design would have fit fine and likely looked a lot nicer.  This would have looked nicer had I been stamping more carefully as well.  This has been a rough, exhausting week and all I want to do is take a nap!  I have a massive timeline mapped out for the evening and Saturday and Sunday, so no naptime for a while.  Hopefully next weekend I'll have some time to nap though :)

I like Endless Claret.  Kind of silly name, but the color is really rich.  It has a medium amount of microshimmer and is slightly darker than it appears in pictures.  It covered nearly opaque with one coat, but I applied two.  I photographed it with the back of the bottle because there was a big neon pink "50% OFF" sticker on the front that totally clashed with the red polish!

So what are the weekend plans?  Please share!!
I hope everyone has had a nice week!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Abundance of Amethyst, turning 94, and February Birthdays

Today is my Grandma's 94th birthday :D
Happy Birthday, Grandma!  When I was young, she taught me that she would always be 70 years (and a few weeks) older than I was.  I've never forgotten her age :)

Recently I painted her nails and her caregiver's nails China Glaze Anklets of Amethyst.  What a pretty color!

China Glaze Anklets of Amethyst

It took three coats for nearly-full coverage, but it has an incredible sparkle.  I really like it!

Oddly (and I would love to say I did this on purpose but it actually was just an odd coincidence), I am wearing Always Amethyst today, a new polish I picked up a few days ago.

Sally Hansen Always Amethyst
Not exactly amethyst, but a pretty color nonetheless!  It covered great with two coats and dried fairly fast.

Hope you enjoyed the double dose of amethyst this evening!

The Dog Whisperer - Saying Goodbye to Daddy

This morning I learned that Cesar Millan's wonderful Pit Bull, Daddy, passed away on February 19.  He was 16 and had been a part of Cesar's family since he was just four months old.  As a huge fan of The Dog Whisperer, I've watched Daddy practice being calm and submissive for years.  It's hard for me - simply a fan - to know he is gone.  I can't imagine what Cesar and his family must be going through.  You were well loved and you'll be missed, Daddy.

Read more here and here or visit National Geographic to see a tribute to Daddy.
To donate to a fund honoring Daddy's legacy and supporting emergency animal rescue, visit DEAR.

Photo copyright Todd Henderson/MPH - Emery/Sumner Joint Venture

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

That great big fear of the F-word: Failure.

I have rather poor vision.  I was gifted my first pair of prescription glasses in the seventh grade.  I put them on at the beginning of homeroom the next day, only to learn that our Tech Ed. teacher had passed away that morning.  It was a very disheartening way to begin a life with glasses.

But I did not begin a life with glasses.  Instead, I went quite blind for the next ten years because I thought glasses dorkified my entire look (ah, silly me. Now I find glasses beautifully chic).  In high school hallways, I would see fairly recognizable figures approach me, perhaps waving.  And perhaps I would wave back - until I came within about eight feet of them and realized they were perfect strangers attempting only to wave at the person behind me - and now giving me odd looks.  This happened many times, so I began ignoring people until they were at close range.  This resulted in lots of "are you ignoring me?" questions and frankly, quite a bit of drama (I'm sure we all remember high school).  College I walked around blind as a bat, sitting near the front of the class if I cared to see, sitting in the back if I would prefer everything to be a blur.  (Biology was, in fact, an entire semester of blurriness.  It is quite a miracle I passed).  Living in a blur was a bit befuddling, to say the least.  I always wore my glasses to drive - that would have been quite hazardous.  I took my glasses with me to the movie theatre.  I once saw Jane Austin without my glasses.  It was an entirely different movie when I rented it at home six months later.

My vision slowly decreased, as these things do, although the change was, as I said, slow, so I really didn't notice much.  I bought new glasses at the beginning of my senior year of college, a pair that have plagued me with perpetual crookedness.  This, of course, made me even more adverse to ever wearing glasses in public - unless alone in my vehicle or seated in a dark movie theatre.  Yet near the end of my senior year, my sister made the brave decision to try contact lenses.  I, being the complete wuss that I am, was terrified of contacts.  Like everyone says, the thought of touching my eye concerned me quite a bit.  Yet my younger sister began proudly sporting contacts everywhere she went.  She was no longer plagued with the, "oh hey!... oh, not you" wave we had both done quite too frequently to strangers.  She could sit in a brightly lit classroom or a dimly lit theatre and see perfectly well in either.  She could see - anywhere, anytime, without glasses.  And so, rather impulsively (for me), I decided that if my younger sister could do it, so could I.  And I got contacts.

It seems really silly looking back at how many years I lived without contacts.  I love them.  I love, love, love them.  I can see!  It is really incredible being able to stand on my back deck and actually see the yard, or to walk into a building and be able to see each room number, or, most importantly, to recognize faces from great distances.  It really is incredible - and it amazes me that I missed out on so much.  And honestly, now that I have adjusted to seeing at about 20/20, I have no clue how I managed to get around so blindly.

I had my annual eye doctor appointment last week.  I was a year overdue.  I wore my perpetually crooked glasses to the exam, popping them off for the vision test.  The chart was familiar - beginning with a gigantic E.  Yet when the doctor asked me what that gigantic E was, I was shocked - no, mortified, that I couldn't read it.  It was a blob - much more similar to an uppercase C than an E, but memory told me the letter was E.  "E," I announced.  "Ok, and the next line?"  I stumbled through a pitiful guessing game, the doctor making "mmm" noises after each of my sad attempts at deciphering letters.  "J?" "mmm" "L?" "mmm" "H?  Wait, no M!"  "mmmhmmm" (so is that right or wrong then?).  It was quite sad - and rather humiliating, although I wasn't exactly sure why I was humiliated.  Is it the fact that I felt silly trying to guess letters that he could clearly see?  Or is it just that we don't like to look wrong in front of others?  Vision is in no way tied with intelligence, yet I felt as if I was failing a test - as if I was saying, "Ah ha, I'm an idiot and I have no idea what any of your letter lines say - now take these silly goggles off of me and just fail me already!"  It was a strange feeling.  And then, miraculously, he was called out of the room.  I quickly turned and looked at his little cheat screen and began hurriedly memorizing letter lines.  EDFCZP, EDFCZP, EDFCZP.  I got this!  He came back in, I leaned up to those goggles, switched to my right eye, and rattled off the letters.  "EDFCZP," I said proudly.  "mmm."  He typed something, and then said, "and the next?"  Well, the next was as blurry as EDFCZP had been, so I was forced to admit defeat.  He began typing furiously (probably writing an email to his wife for all I know) as I came to terms with the fact that I had just cheated on an eye exam.  Who cheats on an eye exam?  That's absolutely ridiculous!  I am so terrified of 'failing' and being 'wrong' that I cheated on the one thing that I could in no way do well on without outside help.  I can force math into my brain, I can train my body to win a race, and I can memorize all the most important dates through history - but I cannot make my vision any better.  I felt, well, quite ridiculous and rather defeated as my eye doctor lectured me on the sins of wearing eye liner and showering with my contacts in.  

Well, I was given a new prescription and sent on my merry way - blinder than when I had arrived due to the dilation drops.  As I sat at home, waiting for the dilation to wear off and gnawing on an over-buttered bagel, I thought more on this fear of failure.  I think many of us are afraid to fail, be it failing at love, failing in our career, failing a test or class, or even failing an eye exam.  This fear has been quite amplified for me lately.  I am absolutely petrified of failing my capstone - the final thesis paper that will determine if I become Master Brooke or not.  This fear has me almost deadlocked - I haven't been able to do anything aside from research.  I know that it is only a fear holding me back, yet each time I go to pull up the word document with my essay in it this overwhelmingly huge feeling of dread drips down over my shoulders and I end up returning to the research instead.  Aside from that rather realistic fear, I am also petrified of somehow failing at being a teacher.  My new class is going well.  But I am afraid.  I am scared that somehow I will fail them.  Perhaps I won't teach them enough, or I won't teach them the right way.  Perhaps they will come out of my course feeling just as ambivalent towards or scared of or hateful for writing as they did when they began the class.  Or perhaps I will fail, as I did today.  When as we were going over the grammar homework my class discovered that I had gotten one of the answers to the homework wrong - which was quite embarrassing (although I was glad they were so on-their-toes about it).  Driving home, I kept asking myself how I had managed to get a grammar problem wrong - and then teach it to them wrong.  I felt as if I had failed them - I had shown all the cards in my hand.  Yup, I'm teaching college English and I'm not a grammar expert - you guys figured me out.  But as I debated with myself back and forth over it during my thirty minute drive home, I began telling myself that perhaps I had not failed them at all, but simply shown them that grammar is difficult - and we all make mistakes.  Even those of us who are supposed to be the teachers sometimes get things wrong too, and that, I decided, doesn't mean we have failed at all, but simply that we are still learning too.  And isn't it only human to be wrong - to sometimes admit defeat?  Failing becomes learning - and if you never try, you never learn.  And perhaps that is the most important thing I took away from my class today.  I can only hope my students walked away with just as useful of a lesson.

Eye chart image copyright Felicia Eye Chart.

Guest Blogger! Welcome to Illamasqua!

Today we have a great guest blogger coming to us from across the Atlantic - Rebecca from Nails Etc!  Rebecca has some fabulous Illamasqua polishes for us today, and since I'm still an Illamasqua virgin (and I prefer to not say the name Illamasqua outloud for fear of mispronunciation) I'm excited to bring you the first Illamasquas to ever grace Babbling Brooke. Welcome Illamasqua, and welcome Rebecca!!

The 2 polishes I have to review are Strike and Muse. 

First is Muse, which is a bright teal creme.

Illamasqua Muse

This pic is probably the most colour accurate but I found it hard to capture as the day was very overcast. It's a gorgeous colour with a very smooth formula that evens out over the nail to give a smooth finish. I'm not sure if it's totally unique though, I reckon there's a decent dupe out there.

This swatch was 2 coats, no top coat though - check out the shine!

Next up is Strike, which is a beautiful blue-green shimmer. In some lights it's blue and in some lights it's green, but I wouldn't call it a duochrome. It just has this gorgeous shimmer finish which is really reflective.

Illamasqua Strike

Sorry the picture is slightly out of focus but this pic shows the colour most accurately. (no flash, artificial light)

The formula was brilliant, as you'd expect for £13 a pop, and it is almost a one-coater. I coudn't let it be after one coat so I did two but if you were in a rush you could cope!

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post. I'd love to read your comments on these polishes or on Illamasqua as a brand in general.


Read more about Rebecca's polish obsession at Nail's Etc, and check out swatches of tons of pretty polishes!  Thanks for dropping by Babbling Brooke, Rebecca - and I hope you are all having a fabulous Tuesday!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Polka Dots Galore!! (LOVE)

I LOVE polka dots.  I am just obsessed.  Especially pink polka dots - but I'm happy with polka dots in any shade.  Which is why I was one of the first in line to order Konad's new polka dot plate (finally!!).  Konad plate m79 is loaded with adorable designs - polka dots, clouds, pearls, and roses.

Konad m79 (silently cheering)

China Glaze Black Diamond with OPI Mod About You

For this design, I started with three coats of China Glaze Black Diamond.  Then I used Konad plate m79 with OPI Mod About You to create the adorable dots :)  I tried using hot pink at first (you can kind of see the hot pink dots on my index finger) but that looked too subtle.  I love how retro 1950's this looks!!

I also tried this plate in two other shades, green and silver.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get over how much this looked like dragon eggs, so I quickly changed it to black and pink.

Dragon Eggs much?
China Glaze Watermelon Rind with Color Club Worth the Risque

For this design, I painted the base with two coats of China Glaze Watermelon Rind (love this one!) and then used Konad plate m79 with Color Club Worth the Risque to make the spots.

More polka dot love?  For Valentine's Day, my sweet Valentine bought me polka dot silverware :)  I absolutely adore each pretty dotted utensil!  Last night for dinner he cooked us Emeril's Very Veggie Lasagna - YUMM!!  He spent HOURS in the kitchen though - tons of chopping, sauteeing, and baking.  But the results were totally worth it!  (Well, I thought so at least - he said it was 'missing something.'  I don't know what it could be missing - there were over 20 ingredients in that dish!).  But we both enjoyed eating Emeril's lasagna with our polka dot forks and knives :)

Have a fun day all!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

And the WINNER is...

I have finally drawn the winners of my Polish and Fing'rs giveaway!!  My sister has been harassing me to draw the winner all week, and I finally had some time yesterday - although then I put off posting since I wanted to make that pretty "and the winner is" thing you see above.  My sister was really, really hoping she was the winner, so  I was quite surprised when gave me #33 because the winner has the same name as my sister!  I thought that was quite funny and a bit ironic (although I'm sure my sister feels differently!).  And the grand prize winner is...

She is such a sweet person, so I was really excited that her number was drawn :)  Congratulations Kelsea!!!
Kelsea of KelseaLaurel won China Glaze Ruby PumpsChina Glaze For AudreyColor Club Magic Attraction, Maybelline Shooting Stars, Maybelline Natural Pink, Sally Hansen Denim CremePRO10 Pedal to the GunmetalPRO10 Chocolate Truffle BrownPRO10 Peach ShimmerFing'rs Edge Pink and Black Argyle NailsFing'rs Edge Skull & Rhinestone Nails (they glow under black light!)Fing'rs California Girl Beverly Hills Chic NailsFing'rs 4-sided Nail GrinderFing'rs Brush-On Nail GlueFing'rs Flirt 3D Nail & Toe Art StickersTwo Basic Nail FilesVaseline Healthy Hand & Nail lotionNail cleanup Q-tips Purse Pack, and a Caress Velvet Bliss Beauty Bar.  Whew!  

Our second prize winner is...
Distant Dreamer!!
Congratulations!  Hope you enjoy these fun nail goodies :)  Distant Dreamer of Glamorous Geek Chic won Fing'rs Edge Rainbow Argyle Nails, Fing'rs California Girl Ooh Laguna NailsPRO10 Chocolate Truffle Brown, PRO10 Peach Shimmer, nail files, and a nail cleanup Q-tips Purse Pack.

Congratulations to both winners!!  I will email each of you for your contact information so I can get your prizes mailed out.  Thank you to EVERYONE who entered!  I currently have two other giveaways running (with a total of four more winners!) so do not despair if your name was not drawn this time around.

To enter to win one of three Nailene French Manicure Sets, click HERE.
To enter to win a Blog Makeover from Designer Blogs, click HERE.

Disclaimer: I originally drew another name for the second place winner but she was not a follower, and was unfortunately therefore disqualified according to the rules. then chose #143 (Distant Dreamer).

Diamond Cosmetics - Spring 2010

Diamond Cosmetics
Spring 2010 Collection
Diamond Cosmetics' Spring 2010 Polish Collection is loaded with fun spring shades in pinks, blues, and orange.  There are lots of jelly-based shaded, which are perfect for these coming warmer months - plus, I love all of the shimmer!

I tend to order things beginning with my favorite, and this review is no exception.  Razzmatazz was the stunning star of the show and my absolute favorite.  It is a beautiful, beautiful polish.  Razzmatazz is an iridescent jelly-based rose with a moderate amount of microglitter.  The formula is excellent - thin and quick drying, yet it covered with just two coats (although as a notorious over-polisher, I am wearing three coats here).  I really love this pink and I don't have any other shades like it.  In some lights, it was warmer and in others it had a dustier aspect.  It is almost a duochrome also (I spent a LONG TIME staring at my nails debating if this one was a duo - it really is right on the line between duo and solid).  Really pretty.  Plus, at $2.25 a bottle, you can't beat it.

Serendipity was the very, very close second to Razzmatazz.  I knew I would like this one the instant I saw it.  Serendipity is a light silvery blue with hints of grey - a very 'now' color.  It has a minimal amount of extremely fine silver microshimmer.  Serendipity covered in three coats, but like Razzmatazz, it dried fairly quickly.  Again, I don't own any colors just like this one - it feels pretty unique to me.

Hot Lips
My third favorite is definitely Hot Lips, which I am currently wearing.  Hot Lips is quite appropriately named - it is a hot fuchsia-toned jelly.  Hot Lips applied very nicely and covered with two quick-drying coats.  I think this is a super fun shade and I love the way jelly-based polishes give that light, slightly opaque look near the edge of the nail.  Jellies just seem so appropriate for spring.

Gypsy Pink
Gypsy Pink is one that I was a little wary of in the bottle.  It looks pretty red (and I'm not a huge-huge fan of red), but it has some silver swirls through it that really intrigued me.  I was really impressed with Gypsy Pink though once I put it on my nails.  First of all, it covered with one coat!!  Yippee!  I just love discovering one-coaters.  Plus, it turns out it is actually a pink - not a red.  Gypsy Pink is a deep hot pink with a minimal amount of fine microshimmer.    It is slightly frosty but not so much that brushstrokes become visible.  This one really surprised me - and I like it!

Tranquility is certainly one to add to the Tiffany blue line (like Diamond's Oh, Tif!, China Glaze's For Audrey, ORLY's Gumdrop, and Essie's Greenport).  It is a thick robin's egg blue creme with no shimmer or frost.  It covered with one coat, but it was thick and a bit difficult to work with (some polish thinner may have helped that).  I love the color - I'm a huge fan of Tiffany blues.  I'd like to see how it compares to some of the other Tiffany's.
Another thing?  I love the name :)  Makes me think of the lake house we visit each summer!

Orange Blush
Ok, admittedly, I'm not an orange polish kind of girl.  When Elle Woods was told that orange is the new pink, trust me - I nearly cried.  I'm a pink polish lover and I tend to shy away from oranges (except on October 31).  But Orange Blush really surprised me, mainly because it is a jelly-based orange rather than a creme.  This gave it a slightly sheer aspect that made it so summery and fun - almost like a melting orangesicle on a hot summer afternoon.  I used three coats to get full coverage, but each coat dried fairly fast.  The color really reminded me of the beautiful Koi you see swimming in those fancy ponds.

pictured left to right:
Super Dry, Razzmaztazz, Serendipity, Hot Lips, Gypsy Pink, Tranquility, 
Orange Blush, Super Base

All Diamond Cosmetics polishes are free of Toluene, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl, DBP, and Camphor.  All Diamond Cosmetics polishes can be purchased at for only $2.25 each!  The Spring 2010 collection is available now.

These products were sent to me for review purposes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Win a Blog Makeover from Designer Blogs!

Winner will be announced March 28 at Babbling Brooke.

Babbling Brooke has teamed up with Designer Blogs to offer our fabulous readers an INCREDIBLE prize -
a brand new blog design of your choice!!

Designer Blogs is the AWESOME blog design studio that totally revamped my friend Anne-Marie's blog into the sleek, gorgeous little number it is now - but you can see their fabulous blogs all around town.  Look at some of their other snazzy designs here.

Designer Blogs has tons of incredible premade designs - all you need to do is choose the design you love and the computer-savvy ladies at Designer Blogs will custom fit it to your blog.  How awesome is that?

But if you want a totally unique, one-of-a-kind design that completely reflects you, Designer Blogs will build you a custom design from the ground up.  The options are limitless and custom blogs start at just $30!

Check out some of my favorites:

So how would you like a fancy new blog design of your own?
Designer Blogs will gift one Babbling Brooke reader a fabulous premade design.
The winner gets to choose from any of these designs.
This giveaway is open to all Babbling Brooke followers and will end at 
11:59 PM March 27, 2010.

*    *    *

You MUST be a follower to win.
To enter:

1. Follow Babbling Brooke and leave me a comment here with your email :)

Want more entries?  Each one of these will earn you an additional entry!
2. Check out Designer Blog's premade designs and let me know which one YOU would choose if you won!
3. Follow Designer Blog's fabulous new blog!
4. Go ahead and tweet about this giveaway (@BbabblingBrooke)
5. (for 2 additional entries) Blog about this giveaway!!  Just leave me the link here.


Polish Bloggers Network: Lacquer Link Love! 2/19/2010

The first article up I'd like to bring your attention to is nothing nail related, but is definitely worth a read, especially by all the bloggers! Helen's Nice Thing's wrote a wonderful article addressing the question, should bloggers be considered as media or press and I think she expressed her views quite remarkably.
Naive Nails wants to show off a mani she's titled "Love Be Hanged". A very cute and quirky design.
French Mani anyone?! Well, Babbling Brooke has you covered! Check out her Nailene French Mani Blog Giveaway. She's gifting three of readers with these fabulous sets... so you better make sure that you're one of them!
Bye, Bye old man winter, let's bring on the sun and the pool... as The Swatchaholic brings us wonderful swatches of China Glaze's Poolside Collection.
Have you been able to view swatches of almost the whole OPI Hong Kong collection? If not, the Nail-Design bring you 9 out of 12 of them.
Maigic Maid has snagged a duochrome drugstore brand polish and nope, I'm not telling you what it is! ;)
This week Tuli's Nails has a broken heart and she letting her mani tell the story as to why. Check it out!
polishSWATCHES gives you a sneek peek at Tracy Reese's Fall 2010 Sally Hansen Shades as well as a glimpse of the nail trends that were sported at her show.
You will NOT want to miss out on what Polishing the Nails is cooking up on her blog! Even I'm in the kitchen for this one!
It's safe to safe everyone loves a good konadicure right?! And even more so when your showing off a gorgeous polish! Cucumpear is donning some very pretty artwork on her tips as well as showing off the gorgeous color p2 Rich.
Looking for a interesting blue nail polish to add to your stash that you might not already have? Then Polish Freak and China Glaze have you covered, but shhh, she said the color is a secret!
Nail foiling and minx like applications are all the rage, but why not try using a nail polish for the same effect? Manicure Mommas swatches Orly Foil FX's and shows how you can turn your nails into precious metal.
Have you ever heard of Piggy Paints Nail Polish or even considered buying it but haven't? Well if so, Laquerholic has just given you the incentive to go ahead and plunge. She's secured a 10% off privelage coupon for all of her readers as well as written a full review
Nail-Design is having a special giveaway to celebrate the fact that she has received over 300, 000 Youtube views on her channel. Wow! Congrats on the great accomplishment!
Lambchop is having a really nice giveaway for readers, but she really needs for you to help her out... by ENTERING!
Today's you last chance to win some Milani Holos, so be sure to enter Naive Nails contest if you're one of the many who can't seem to find them and are lemming.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Major Purple Comparison - Thunder Road, Do You Lilac It, Miley, Pure Petunia, Ate Berries in the Canaries

OPI Do You Lilac It? vs SpaRitual Thunder Road vs Zoya Miley

color boosted, sunlight, & without flash

Index: OPI Do You Lilac It? (3 coats)
Middle: SpaRitual Thunder Road (2 coats)
Ring: Zoya Miley (4 coats)
Pinkie: SpaRitual Thunder Road (2 coats)

Do You Lilac It? is a deeper purple than Thunder Road.  Thunder Road has more blue tones than Do You Lilac It.  Miley is a much paler purple than either, although it is closer in color to Thunder Road than Do You Lilac It.

Thunder Road only takes two coats for full coverage.  Do You Lilac It typically takes three coats, although I have used four.  Miley takes four coats and honestly could use a fifth coat.

Thunder Road and Do You Lilac it apply very nicely.  Miley has some application issues - it is fairly streaky and goopy.  The color achieved looks nice, but it takes centuries to apply 4-5 coats since it takes so long to dry.  

Here I boosted the colors to help better illustrated the differences (my fingers are not half that tan in real life!).  These images of the polish colors are the most accurate.

Which purple is your favorite?

ps: Click here to see my full Thunder Road mani :)


More purple comparison!

ORLY Pure Petunia vs OPI Ate Berries in the Canaries
They look pretty similar in the bottles, right?
But not so much on my nails!

Index: OPI Ate Berries in the Canaries
all others: ORLY Pure Petunia
Ate Berries is much more red toned than Pure Petunia.

Any other purples you want me to compare?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Anti Valentine's Day Mani!! LOVE STINKS!


For the end of Valentine's Day, I have a little Anti Valentine's Day mani for you all :)

I used OPI That's Hot Pink topped with OPI Princesses Rule.  Then I painted my tips with China Glaze Black Diamond using Nailene French Tip Guides.  Next I used Konad special black polish to Konad the heart design all over the background.  Then I used Nailene's Skinny French Tip Pen to draw the hearts, then my LAColors black nail art pen to draw the cracks in the hearts.  Then I topped it all with Seche Vite!  I had a lot of fun planning this design with my mom - we had all kinds of ideas!  Then I spent a few hours trapped inside one snowy day painting this.  My favorite nail is the middle finger - which is so totally appropriate for an anti Valentine's Day mani!!

My design, as well as Tuli's, GildedAngel's, The Dutch Nail Blog's, & Cucumpear's are all entered in the Polish Blogger's Network's Anti Valentine's Day Mani contest - head on over there, check it out, and cast your vote for your favorite (Brooke's, Brooke's, Brooke's!).

Thanks everyone, and have fun voting (seriously, they are ALL amazing!).

Happy Valentine's Day! Day 14 of 14 Days of Pinks!

Happy Valentine's Day my lovelies!!

So I asked and you all voted!
In a poll, I asked what color polish I should wear for Valentine's Day and OPI I'm India Mood for Love won!  Thanks for all the votes!

So today I'm wearing OPI I'm India Mood for Love to celebrate Valentine's Day :)

Thanks for following my last 14 Days of February Pinks!  Enjoy the 14th pink!

OPI I'm India Mood for Love
I'm India Mood for Love is a very pretty cool, blue-toned hot pink.  It applied really nicely and covered with just two coats (although I certainly made a mess of those two coats, didn't I?).  The dry time was average, like most OPI polishes.  I stamped the heart designed using Konad special white polish, and then topped everything with CND Super Shiny topcoat.  This color is VERY similar to OPI La Paz-itively Hot, except without the blue iridescence and shimmer.  Otherwise, the two are basically the same shade.

Today is the VERY LAST DAY to enter my 
Polish and Fing'rs Giveaway!
I'm excited to draw a winner tomorrow!!

Plus, don't forget to enter to win one of 3 Nailene French Manicure sets!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

And the WINNER is...

So how many of you guessed the correct name for Anne-Marie's mystery polish - the Sephora by OPI Beauty Junkie dupe?  There were lots of great guesses...

-OPI Boris and Natasha
-OPI Suzi Says Da
-OPI Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ
-OPI We'll Always Have Paris
-OPI All Lacquered Up
-OPI Can You Tapas This?
-OPI Vampire State Building
-OPI Lincoln Park After Dark
-OPI Can't a Berry Have Some Fun?
-OPI Bastille My Heart

Click HERE to see what the mystery OPI was... 
and to see if you're the winner!!

ps: Anne-Marie is totally awesome... there isn't just one winner!

I took the plunge and finally got a haircut & color!

Before and After!

So I hadn't had a haircut since later April/early May 2008 - I grew up with long hair and desperately wanted it back.  So I kept putting off getting it cut because I wanted it to be long-long.  Plus, I have such a hard time paying for haircuts (the same way I can't pony up the $40 for a new pair of jeans), so I kept reminding myself that I was saving lots of money forgoing the haircuts and coloring my hair at home.
So I was 22 when I got my last cut and 24 when I got this one!  And I was in undergrad the last time I had a cut... and nearly finished grad school when I got this one.  My poor hair.

I've also been highlighting my hair since 8th grade - that's more than ten years!  So it is very overprocessed (as you can see from the 'before') and the ends are totally fried.  I straighten it daily (although in my before picture I hadn't - that's why it's kinda wavy) and I use cheapy shampoos and conditioners.

Going into the appointment, I decided I could handle 4 inches.  Apparently, my version of four inches is much different than a ruler's is.  So once I finally agreed to going for the full four inches, my stylist somehow coerced me into going for five inches.  I'm sure her ability to coerce me into giving up another inch of my hair had something to do with my brain being over-heated by the dryer during my deep conditioning treatment.

I went in there intending to get highlights, but to bring back some more of my natural brown.  Somehow that translated into all-over brown - but honestly, I'm glad she interpreted my poor directions ("natural" and "less blondish... I guess") into the color she gave me, because I love it.

So I'm back to brown!  Plus, my hair is SHORT!  Well, short for me.  Looking at this picture, it still looks long, but it feels so short when I go to pull it into a ponytail.  I'm sure I'll get used to it soon.  But what I REALLY LOVE is how incredibly healthy it feels.  It just feels fantastic.  And I'm glad my hair looks healthier.  

I plan on keeping you all updated on how my Back to Brown transition goes over the next few months.  And I need you all to make sure I get a haircut within the next six months :)

Oh blonde, I'm trying not too miss you too much...

OPI In Sync With Pink - Day 13 of 14 Days of February Pinks

Wow, tomorrow is our last day of February Pinks!!  I still have a bunch of pinks I meant to use for this 14 Days pink polish extravaganza - but I've got to admit, it will be VERY NICE to wear a different color come Monday.  For my birthday, my sister gifted me a polish I have been DESPERATELY wanting, so I am really excited to try it out soon :)

For our 13th day of February Pink Polishes, I have (yet another) OPI - In Sync With Pink!!  Ok, can someone tell me if this polish is somehow related to N'Sync?  I have been wondering this since I bought it about a year ago.

OPI In Sync With Pink

OPI In Sync With Pink is an awesome pink.  During these last two weeks, I've discovered that I certainly like some of my pink polishes better than others - this one ranks up near the top.   It is a blue-toned cool hot pink (that always sounds so contradictory, doesn't it?) with no glitter or shimmer.  It is probably a dupe for something - it isn't particularly unique, but it is really pretty.  It covered with three coats and dried faster than most OPI polishes.  It is warmer and a bit brighter/hotter than it appears in these pictures (on my screen at least).

And I tried to do Valentinesy hearts, but I messed them up.
So here are the two half-decent nails:

I watched Transformers 2 while I painted this one.  Oh my goodness, could they have drawn that movie out any longer?  My sister walked away for 20 minutes and returned to the same fight scene!  It was like the neverending movie.  This is the kind of stuff I end up watching when Redbox is sold out of everything else.

Oh, and I have to tell you guys about this:  The two kids I babysit wanted to surprise me on birthday, so they lured me to their house by telling me their mother needed to run some errands for an hour.  When I got there, they had written a song for me - which the girl sang (along with her friend) while the boy played guitar (he's really good at guitar).  They even burned a CD of it for me!  Then they surprised me with heart shaped cupcakes that they made, a balloon, a giftcard to my favorite vegetarian restaurant, and (this was adorable) confetti that they had made by coloring paper with scented markers and cutting it up.  It was BEYOND sweet.  I was just blown away by their kindness.  They are such awesome kids!!!!

I'll have the winner to Anne-Marie's mystery OPI for you later today, plus pictures of my major hair transformation (OMG!).  Check back later on!
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