Thursday, September 30, 2010

Technology + Brooke = FAIL

Good morning, everyone!!  I'm sorry I haven't been able to update; my MacBook broke (which was devastating) and it is curently at some sort of Apple Depot being looked at to see if it can be fixed (keep your fingers crossed!).  Aside from not having my computer (which is AWFUL - I feel lost without it), I also don't have any of my photos, lesson plans, etc. - which is also pretty awful.  My hard drive could be wiped clean at the depot... that would be really, really sad.  I have a lot of pictures on there, a lot of lesson plans I never backed up, papers I wrote, and hundreds and hundreds of pages of a book I've been working on.  So I've been really, really, really stressed out lately.  If I lose all of that stuff I'll be devastated.  I wish I had backed things up on an external drive sooner.  I have some stuff on an external drive, but it is mainly just my music and a TON of polish pictures.  Ugh.  I'm just trying not to worry about it because I can't do anything now.  I just hope it comes back fixed and with the hard drive intact.  My cell phone also quit working (I'm just waiting for my car to die, which isn't too far-fetched - the battery is on it's last legs).  It's like I'm in a technological sinkhole right now.  J gave me his person cell, since he also has a work phone that he can use, and I've been using my itty bitty, teeny tiny HP Mini to check my email.  I don't have microsoft word though, so I've been doing all my lesson planning on the super-slow computers at work.  So all of this is to explain why I haven't been able to post my updates lately.  I have a giveaway, plus I need to announce some giveaway winners, and I have an AMAZING manicure to share that I had done at Biago salon.  I'm also planning on going vegan for a week (starting tomorrow!), so I need to find a way to upload pictures to share the vegan meals I eat for the next week.  They might be cell phone photos, but I'll find a way to show you what I'm eating for the next week (I've never gone vegan, so this should be interesting). 

Aside from my technology difficulties, my life has been entirely consumed by work.  I had NO IDEA how many hours I was going to be working this semester (it's over 50 a week now - I don't know how other people do this!).  I'm just so run down at the end of the day.  All I want to do is climb into bed and sleep (but instead I climb into bed and grade papers).  I had all 5 of my English classes turn in their essays this week (BIG mistake!), so this weekend I have around 115 papers to read.  Ah!  I don't know how I'm going to do it.  My students have also been especially bad this week (I think it has something to do with the rain).  I've felt much more like a circus ringleader than a college professor these past few days.  Hopefully the weather will clear up this weekend.  We keep having tornado warnings and tornado watches here, plus buckets of rain.  On a VERY exciting note, my sister, Kelsey, found out yesterday that she has been granted an interview with the pharmacy school she applied early decision to.  I'm so excited for her!  Her interview will be next week, and I'm sure she'll do great.

I hope you're all having a great week!  Hopefully my MacBook will be home soon (working, and with all the pictures of my recent fabulous manicure on it).  I'll be back tomorrow to share with you the first day of my week going vegan.  Have a great Thursday!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

School Spirit!

Zoya Shawn

Zoya Shawn is the exact forest green as the school colors at the university I teach at.  School spirit time!  I ended up wearing this shade from Tuesday night through Friday (and just took it off on Friday to get a fabulous manicure at a salon - I'll show you that soon!).  How gorgeous is Shawn?  Sorry for the lack of cleanup - I tried to Konad it, then gave up (but didn't clean up my nails before taking this shot).  Shawn covered great with two coats and dried quickly.


This = AWFUL
Definitely not my best Konad, eh?  I've never been able to stamp this design very well, but combined with OPI Who the Shrek Are You, I look like I have some sort of green hand disease.  I promptly repainted them Zoya Shawn.

Bella the kitten is growing up!
I brought my dogs over to my Mom & Dad's house yesterday for dinner to celebrate my Mom's birthday, and Bella decided to hang out in this spot so she could keep a close eye on Emily.  

To celebrate my Mom's birthday, Mom, Kelsey, & I went yard saling in the morning, then went out to lunch together, then we saw a movie (Easy A).  Then we went back home and I made dinner for everyone.  It was a great day, and my Mom had a good time.
Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flower Tips

Flower Tips

For this mani, I started with Incoco Sweet Kiss French Manicure Tips (and sheer base).  Then I stamped OPI Cuckoo for this Color using Konad plate m51.  I topped it all with a random top coat I bought way too much of about 8 years ago and it caused the color on my tips to shrink a bit.  I also have some tip wear since I've been wearing this mani since Sunday am.


Did everyone have a nice weekend?  I spent some time with my family, then went for a great 10 mile bike ride with J (he ran though, since he's training for his next half marathon).  After our bike ride, we went to beautiful Annapolis for dinner.  It was a really nice, relaxing weekend.  I forced myself to wait until Sunday to do any grading and lesson planning; these past few weekends, I've spent so much time all weekend grading and preparing for the coming classes.  Telling myself I couldn't do any work Friday night and all day Saturday really helped me to unwind.  Last night, I made a delicious dinner for a recipe I dreamt up during my commute - I can't wait to share it!

I hope everyone is having a beautiful Tuesday :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why I am a Vegetarian



Seven years ago this month I gave up meat.  Here's my story:

Fairly frequently, I am asked why I am a vegetarian.  Sometimes these inquistors give me options: a) ethical reasons/animal lover, b) for the sake of the planet/environmentalist, c) health nut, d) dislike the taste of meat.  I'm expected to choose an option (people prefer a or b, but tend to argue with those the most) and then shrug with a small smile, dismissing my ideas and opinions in favor of a less controversial or exclusive topic.  And I typically do.

But while I tend to lean quite far to the side of "avoids arguments at all costs," I actually have quite a bit to say on why I became a vegetarian - or more so, why I have continued to be a vegetarian for the past seven years.

The truth?  I became a vegetarian because it was trendy.  It was more or less a misunderstanding that led me to it.  A number of my friends were, and had been for quite some time, vegetarians, and I wanted to give it a try, the same way I took my first swig of beer at seventeen (which I subsequently spit out) and at fifteen abducted my parents' minivan for a brief tour of our small town, friends in tow, driving permit months away.  At the time, I considered myself in transition.  I was at the start of my senior year, fresh out of a long-term relationship (at least in terms of teenage years), and had recently had a very unfortunate mishap with three boxes of hair dye, leaving me with brown, not blond, hair for the first time in many years.  My friends had begun college visits (or for some, already concluded college visits) and were furiously sending off droves of college applications to schools in towns I had no dreams of ever venturing near.  I had yet to take the SAT or even permit myself to think about college for longer than a passing thought.  "College" was a very intangible idea to me at the time, something that would, if I allowed it to, hold me hostage for at least the next four years, then spit me out into the world of adulthood, degree in hand, job-ready (which makes it really quite ironic that now, seven years later, I am teaching college courses).

I went away for the weekend, a very unglamorous trip that involved me babysitting three loud children while their parents attended car shows.  I slept on the ground at the foot of three identical twin beds on a eggcrate sort of thing, yellow and foamy and only minimally better than sleeping on a hard floor.  I sat on the cold, damp late-September sand while three children attempted to bury each other or get eaten alive by seagulls, in turns.  I contemplated piercing my bellybutton (incredibly un-me) and allowed my cell phone to drown in text messages, for once letting myself forget that each message cost a precious 10 cents.

We ate seafood for every meal, and then, on the last day, went to lunch at a sort of tiki bar restaurant.  The parents were asking me questions about my life, then ordered me a pina colada along with their smorgasbord of alcohol.  My 18-year-old lightweight self became tipsy and open, funny and loud-laughing.  I mentioned an idea that had been playing strongly through my head for the past few weeks.  "So you're a vegetarian now?" the mother asked.  I am?  The father went on to tell me about his cousin, or perhaps his niece, who was also a vegetarian.  The three children were running amuck through the darkened bar, disturbing lunch-goers and lushes alike.  I ordered the only vegetarian dish, some sort of wrap filled with tomatoes and lettuce and vinagrette.  It was good - quite good.  And so, that day, I became a vegetarian.

I have always been a picky eater - my mother calls me a "weird eater" - so forgoing meat wasn't entirely difficult at all.  There were concerns about protein, but my parents quickly settled back into their former days as vegetarians many years before, cooking dishes with fake meats and beans and tofu and cheeses as easily as they had formerly prepared chicken and steak.  Those first few months after declaring my vegetarianism I was really only a trendy vegetarian - proud to tell all about my new lifestyle and happy to subsist on pasta and popcorn.  It wasn't until I learned more about vegetarianism, sometime around winter break of my senior year, that my resolve hardened and my forgetfulness cleared.

So now we get to the reasons why I have remained a vegetarian, the reasons I employed on J nearly six years ago to coerce him to convert to a vegetarian diet, and the reasoning that convinced my sister to give vegetarianism a try for six months.  My reasons for being a vegetarian don't necessarily fit nearly into the categories I outlined at the start, but they do spread across all four in some ways.  

I am certainly an animal lover.  Since the time I was 14, my family has rescued and rehomed many, many cats and dogs.  Our house was, for many years, a foster home for abandoned and neglected cats and dogs.  We took in pregnant cats that people had neglected to spay but no longer wanted once they were about to multiply into 4, 5, 6, 7, or more.  We adopted dogs that had spent their entire lives living in puppy mills breeding over and over, living in small, filthy cages and completely unaccustomed to human contact.  We rescued cats from a hoarder, a mid-aged couple living in filth with nearly 150 cats, both dead and alive.  We volunteered on transports with Friends of Rocky Mount Animals, helping move the few lucky dogs saved every few weeks from high-kill NC shelters to foster homes.  On one of those transports, I met Cara, my exceptional dog, friend, and of course, blog mascot.  She was supposed to be put to sleep - killed - that very day, but someone at Friends of Rocky Mount Animals decided she was one of the few dogs at the shelter that day that could potentially find a new home.  She was given a lucky chance.

I have seen the horrors of neglect and abuse, the fear of abandonment, and felt the sick dread of knowing I can only do so much.  One out of every three cats that go into animal shelters come out alive.  Two out of every three are killed.  That is a sad, sick fact, and it is perpetuated by neglect, lack of education about or funds for spay and neuter, and pet shops and puppy/kitty mills.  I read about animal abuse, I have met pets abused and tortured, and one of my own pets was murdered in a cruel, sickening incident of animal abuse.  I am extremely passionate about animal rights and I feel, as an animal rights activist, that I should protect the rights of the animals that we consider food - not pets - as well.

Animals raised for meat are typically not free-roaming, grinning, milk-giving, 6 am cock-a-doodle-doing creatures.  Typically, they are factory farmed, meaning chickens are kept in rusting wire cages, one stacked on another stacked on another.  When they are to be killed, they are hung by their feet with ankle cuffs, then sent down a conveyer line, upside down, to a blade that chops off their heads.  Watching their fellow kind slaughtered ahead of them sends them, obviously, into a terrified panic.  Some will twist their heads up, avoiding the blade that severs their neck, and instead be plummeted into a scalding pot of oil - boiling them to death, while removing feathers.  Cows, as you may have seen in Food, Inc., are kept in similarly deplorable conditions.  They do not roam free through bountiful pastures, but stand knee deep in wet manure, side by side in long rows, until they are shuffled to slaughter, where they will be hung upside down, sliced open, and bled to death.  Veal is even more cruel; instead of waiting until the cow has matured, veal is, as we often disassociate it, baby cow.  Young, unable to even taste an ounce of life, baby cows are lead, wobbling legs and delicates faces, to their cruel, bleeding slaughter, so that a diner may sit down and eat a piece of tender meat with a fork and dull knife.  Pigs, some of the more intelligent animals, are kept in conditions similar to cows.  Often overloaded onto trains or trucks, they are sent to their death (some dying on the trip, others making it to their execution alive).  The smell of blood and sight of their friends being slaughtered sends them into a panic.  They scream, begging for life, until the last second, and then, miraculously, that bleeding, crying animal begging - without words to do so - for life, becomes a piece of bacon popping away in a frying pan, or someone's Easter supper.

It is troubling, startling, and sickening, but as consumers, we typically disassociate ourselves from the process.  They little yellow, styrofoam package with two glistening pink hunks sitting on the grocery shelf barely resembles the chickens we imagine pecking at grain and gifting fresh white eggs on a red-siloed farm. 

There is meat that is considered organic and free-range, allowed somewhat more space to roam and denied of growth hormones that inevitably enter the consumer.  I am thankful that some farmers are still able to produce meat this way, and that some people are able to afford it, but unfortunately, most people can't afford to pay a premium for meat and farms cannot continue to compete with factory farms.  I support farmers - those run by families - and it makes me sad that they are vanishing as our country in continually driven to produce more and more, cheaper and cheaper.  

If everyone in the world were to adopt a vegetarian diet, a feat that would be frankly quite astounding, world hunger would end.  Meat is simply not efficient, and meat is not green.  The resources needed to raise animals for slaughter could in turn provide more than enough food for the entire world.  Most likely, the world will never go entirely vegetarian, but lately people have been recognizing the benefits of eating less meat.  Meatless Monday has grown in popularity, allowing one day weekly where people forgo meat entirely.  Many schools have caught on to this initiative, serving Meatless Monday school lunches.  This is not only healthier, as it promotes good-for-us vegetables, grains, and fruits, but it also benefits our environment and economy.

Now for the final point - the dislike of meat.  I do not dislike the taste of meat.  It would be a lie to said I did.  I was never much of a red meat eater, but I enjoyed turkey and chicken.  Yet now, I oftentimes forget that my diet is any different than the majority.  I eat yogurts and beans, cheeses and tofu, and especially Quorn "chicken" patties and Quorn "turkey" roasts, as well as various brands of vegetarian lunch meats.  Quorn "chicken" patties are one of my favorite foods and yes, they taste like chicken (or what I remember chicken tasting like).  I am not a vegetarian because I dislike the taste of meat.  I do have serious concerns about meat though.  It carries diseases and viruses.  Growth hormones have been proven to cause cancer.  Before I was a vegetarian, I caught colds, illnesses, and flus frequently.  Scarcely a month went by where I wasn't ill.  I very rarely catch ill now.  J has only been sick two times in the last six years we've been together (and one of those times was right before he went vegetarian).  Prior to dating me and adopting a vegetarian diet, he was frequently ill.  His resolve is less based on ethical reasons than on a desire to be healthier and to avoid eating meat because it isn't sanitary.  

What do I hope to provide to you by explicating my reasons for becoming a vegetarian?  Knowledge.  As my mother has always said, knowledge is power, and knowing more will only help you make the choices that guide you through life.  Do I hope to turn every reader to a vegetarian diet?  Of course not.  I hope only that you will take this knowledge and make your own intelligent decisions.  Perhaps make a meatless dinner, or try eating vegetarian for two weeks, or maybe cut out one type of meat for a few days.  Or, perhaps, take what I say with a grain of salt - that is absolutely fine as well.  Is being a vegetarian right for everyone?  Surely not.  Will adopting a vegetarian diet be a healthy decision?  Absolutely.  High blood pressure, high chlorestoral, heart attacks, stroke, and even some cancers are associated with a meat-based diet.  But eating vegetarian without achieving enough protein could also be hazardous to your health (of course, too much protein is also quite bad).  Understanding where meat comes from - and the process that these animals go through, day after day, so that hot burgers may be flipped on greasy grills and chicken can be laid across the top of a dish of pasta - is necessary.  We as a people make our decisions based on knowledge, and this knowledge I have shared today is what helped me make my decision to continue eating vegetarian.  Being aware and conscious of what you eat is important because, as you have surely heard many times, you truly are made of what you eat.

I do not fault those that eat meat, much in the same way I hope none of you will fault me for choosing to be a vegetarian.  To each their own, right?  I simply wanted to share my story with you.  Thanks for listening.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yard Sailing

OPI Shanghai Shimmer

I picked up OPI Shanghai Shimmer for $1 at a yard sale last weekend.  My mom and I LOVE going to yard sales together; driving around town and hunting out exciting finds is one of our favorite things to do together.  This past weekend was our last hurrah of the season, since yard sales are winding to a close.  I got this OPI, along with three others (each $1), plus some new Stampin' Up stamps (I paid like, $10 for all of these!), and tutus for my dogs to wear for Halloween (sold to me by my former dance teacher's sister - weird!).


I don't love Shanghai Shimmer - it looked a lot nicer in the bottle (which is probably why they were selling it!).  In the bottle, it has a cool purple/green iridescence that didn't transfer to the nail at all.  It covered well with two coats and dried at a medium speed.  It is VERY neutral, so I guess that is a plus.  The other three polishes are: Pinking Of You, Who the Shrek are You?, and Gargantuan Green Grape (color got distorted in this photo).  


I don't think I've ever posted any of my stamping stuff on here before (well, other than Konad!).  I love making cards for birthdays and holidays.  Well, I guess I don't LOVE making them, but it can be fun, plus I think they are a lot more meaningful than anything Hallmark comes out with (although Hallmark is pretty good).  I love the polka dot stamps - how cutesy mod are they?  Stampin' Up stamps are SO expensive - all the ones I own are from yard sales (these came out to be less than .50 cents each stamp!).  

I'll save the photos of Cara and Emily wearing their tutus for Halloween.  I might have to change Cara's costume - she is a pretty masculine dog, so she looks silly in a tutu.  She might wear her Dolphins jersey this year instead.  But we'll see!

I hope everyone had a great week!  Thank goodness it's Friday!!  Any fun plans for the weekend?  I'm thinking of going to a movie - it seems like there are a lot of good ones coming out.  Have a fun weekend :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound(stooth) Dog

Recently a reader sent me a message asking about how to recreate my houndstooth mani from November 2009.  I can't believe I haven't used my Houndstooth stamp for nearly a year!  Since it has been feeling so much like fall here lately, I decided it was the perfect time for a little houndstooth.  You may (or may not) know that I kind of adore houndstooth, so I just love this fabulous, fun little mani.

Houndstooth

How to Houndstooth?  I started with two coats of Color Club Positively Posh, then stamped Konad m63 using Konad special white polish.  How easy is that?




Hey Hound Dog!

So what do you think of houndstooth?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Positively Posh

Color Club Perfectly Posh

Today I'm wearing Color Club Perfectly Posh, a rich chocolaty grey (sounds weird, but it really is a brownish grey).  It looks very chic.  It covered with two coats and dried at a medium-slow speed.  I stopped it with crazy-shiny Seche Vite, which helped it dry much quicker.  
Can you tell I'm getting more adventurous with the colors I'm wearing to work?  You all really inspired me, so I wore a wild leopard mani last week, following by a mouse-toned grey.  So now I'm going with an awesome fall shade today.  




I also decided to try Covered in Diamonds over Covered in Cashmere.  It is an OK combination, but I liked it better over the darker Recycle.


So what do you think of Positively Posh?
Have a great Tuesday :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kelsey's Gone French!


French manicure that is!  Today my sister Kelsey has stopped by to share her perfectly professional french manicure.  Check it out below!


I used "French Manicure Kit" by Kiss for this look. First I painted the tips white with two coats of French Tip Nail Enamel. Its so tough to find a white polish that isn't thick and gloppy, so I was really impressed when I opened this bottle and it was actually normal nail polish consistency! Its the perfect white for french manicures!

To shape the tips I use a Q-Tip dipped in nail polish remover and shape each nail until its just right :) This can be a little difficult (and time consuming!), so you may want to try using the nail guides, which are included in this kit.

After letting the tips dry, I brushed on a coat of Bio-Strength Nail Enamel followed by Glass Shine Non-yellowing Top Coat. I love this top coat because it has a great shine and is nice and thick so it lasts the whole week :)


I used a flower decal on my ring finger just to spice up the french tips a little bit. The Kiss French Manicure Kit includes a ton of different nail stickers and I love how chic they look!  What do you think?





Another one of the beautiful Kiss nail stickers- this one has rhinestones! I love how they glitter in the sun!

Rhinestone nail sticker shown in the shade, still incredibly beautiful and chic!

I had a lot of fun using this French Manicure Kit by Kiss and it really did make painting my nails a lot easier. 

Friday night Brooke (you remember her, right? The Babbling one?) took me and our parents out to dinner. We went to Olive Garden and got the Never Ending pasta bowls- I love being able to try so many different pastas, yum yum yum! My waistline is punishing me today ;)
Saturday I took my manicure (and my cat) to Petco and got pictures of my adorable little Kobe taken. I'm entering him in the cutest pet contest, and I really hope he wins! Even if he doesn't win this contest, he's always the cutest cat in my book :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and enjoying the beautiful weather!
(Thank you to Kelsey for stopping by, and thank you to my dear readers for letting me know that all the photos weren't showing up!)

Kelsey's Gone French!




French manicure that is!
Today my sister Kelsey is stopping in to share her perfectly professional French manicure (with some very cute designs).  Read on to see more!

DSC00774.JPG

I used the "French Manicure Kit" by Kiss for this look. First I painted the tips white with two coats of French Tip Nail Enamel. Its so tough to find a white polish that isn't thick and gloppy, so I was really impressed when I opened this bottle and it was actually normal nail polish consistency! Its the perfect white for french manicures.
To shape the tips I use a Q-Tip dipped in nail polish remover and shape each nail until its just right :) This can be a little difficult (and time consuming!), so you may want to try using the nail guides, which are included in this kit.
After letting the tips dry, I brushed on a coat of Bio-Strength Nail Enamel followed by Glass Shine Non-yellowing Top Coat. I love this top coat because it has a great shine and is nice and thick so it lasts the whole week :)

DSC00753.JPG

I used a flower decal on my ring finger just to spice up the french tips a little bit. The Kiss French Manicure Kit includes a ton of different nail stickers and I love how chic they look!  What do you think?

DSC00758.JPG

DSC00764.JPG

Another one of the beautiful Kiss nail stickers- this one has rhinestones! I love how they glitter in the sun!

DSC00768.JPG
Rhinestone nail sticker shown in the shade, still incredibly beautiful and chic!
I had a lot of fun using this French Manicure Kit by Kiss and it really did make painting my nails a lot easier. 

Friday night Brooke (you remember her, right? The Babbling one?) took me and our parents out to dinner. We went to Olive Garden and got the Never Ending pasta bowls- I love being able to try so many different pastas, yum yum yum! My waistline is punishing me today ;)
Yesterday I took my manicure (and my cat) to Petco and got pictures of my adorable little Kobe taken. I'm entering him in the cutest pet contest, and I really hope he wins! Even if he doesn't win this contest, he's always the cutest cat in my book :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and enjoying the beautiful weather!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Age Science Personal Microderm from SkinCareRX

Age Science
Personal Microderm

SkinCareRX.com sent me the Age Science Personal Microderm to review near the end of July.  I started using it when I got back from Vermont in early August, and I wanted to make sure to use it for one month before I shared my results.  Overall, what I found was that the Age Science Personal Microderm made my skin significantly smoother and it really helped to reduce the dark melasma patches I have.


The Age Science Personal Microderm uses aluminum oxide crystals (just like those found in professional microderm equipment at the dermatologist) to smooth skin, eliminate age spots, and diminish wrinkles.  The Personal Microderm comes with an instructional DVD, which shows you how to use it, but it is quite simple (and fun!).  The tool includes various sizes of varying-grained microderm discs.  These heads revolve at a high speed, quickly smoothing skin, while the tool suctions skin closer to the exfolitating disc, allowing for an even and thorough 'abrasion.'  You only leave the disc in one place for a couple of seconds, and then move to a new area, repeating until you have covered your entire face (or neck, hands, or chest).  You can see the entire instructional video here: Personal Microderm Video or click HERE to learn more about the Personal Microderm.


I wrote about my results after each week for the past month (I used it every Tuesday and recorded my experience at the following Tuesday).  Check out what I thought:

Week One
After the first week, my face is feeling very, very smooth.  I am 24, with combination skin, and melasma (patches of darker-toned skin that kind of looks like a lot of freckles) directly above both cheekbones and above my upper lip.  I made the mistake of putting lotion on immediately after using the Personal Microderm, which was VERY PAINFUL because (obviously) your skin is sensitive after use.  Please listen to the instructions: they specifically say to wait to use any lotions, and they mean it!  I haven't noticed my melasma or freckles looking lighter yet, but I'm happy with how soft my face feels.

Week Two
I used the Personal Microderm for way too long on the dark patch of skin on the left side of my face (which was my mistake - I was trying to read while using it).  You are only supposed to leave it in one place for a few seconds.  The spot was kind of rough and irritated for a few days, but now the patch is perfectly smooth and my melasma (and freckles) and completely gone in that spot.  My melasma has significantly faded in the other two places.  

Week Three
My skin is still feeling really smooth.  Each time I use the Personal Microderm, I can actually see the skin cells that have been exfoliated off (you need to clean out the removable facial cap after each use).  My makeup goes on so much smoother than it used to and my face looks fresh and glowing.  Make sure to wear sunscreen after using the Personal Microderm because your skin will be more sensitive to light.

Week Four
The melasma above my cheekbones is gone and the darker skin above my upperlip is significantly faded (to the point that I don't even notice it!).  I am so happy, because I have stressed about those darker spots for a long time.  I used the green discs this week (which are coarser) and I think I like the blue ones better for my face; for tougher skin, the green discs would be ideal, but for the sensitive face skin, I think the gentler blue discs are preferable.

This is where the dark spot above my cheekbone was.  As you can see, it is smooth and light (even the freckles are faded there).

I have been really impressed with the Personal Microderm.  I am really happy that I have finally been able to fade the darker patches of skin on my face, and I also love how smooth and soft it makes my skin feel.  The Personal Microderm can also help fade scars, so I plan to use it on the scars from skin I had biopsied once they are fully healed.  The Personal Microderm is also ideal for reducing fine lines and wrinkles.I have been very happy with the Personal Microderm, but I think it is important to follow the directions and make sure not to leave it on any one spot too long.  I believe it is important to continue to use the Personal Microderm; once you have achieved the desired results, you can move to using the Personal Microderm every other week or every three weeks.  For those with fine line, wrinkles, scaring, skin darkening/melasma, keratosis, or mild acne, the Personal Microderm by Age Science could prove beneficial.



The Age Science Personal Microderm sells for $179 at SkinCareRX.com.  It includes the personal microderm tool, 5 discs (3 fine, 2 coarse), 2 facial caps, 1 reusable filter, and the instructional DVD.  Visit SkinCareRX.com to learn more.


Check back soon to find out how to win an Age Science Personal Microderm from SkinCareRX.com and Babbling Brooke!
Product provided by SkinCareRX for review purposes

Friday, September 10, 2010

Feeling Fall

In Maryland today, it was COLD!  It's funny how 70 degrees feels cold at the end of summer, but in March, a 70 degree day feels fabulous.  Everything felt so autumnal today: the cool weather, the falling leaves, and this pure, crisp smell in the air.  This cozy mani was inspired by the changing season.

Color Club Soft As Cashmere

This is a difficult color to describe (and photograph).  It's grey... but also brown/taupe.  It covered with two coats and was kind of medium-slow to dry, but not terrible.  The above picture is with flash (I hate taking pictures with flash, but the sun is gone) and it makes it look a little more grey than it is.  The below pictures are without flash.  They make it look somewhat browner than it is.  I'll take a shot tomorrow in the sunlight so we can see what this crazy color looks like outdoors.  I like it though - it feels so cozy (like cashmere? I would not know - I don't have any cashmere!).  Do all grey/taupe colors look this different in varying lights?


Thinking of fall, has anyone else started decorating for Halloween?  We've only just started; we go ALL OUT for Halloween, so it is a process - a little bit each weekend :)

This is my new Halloween kitty dish.  What is it for?  I have no clue, but it keeps my apples nicely organized.  How fabulous would this look with some caramel apples in it?  YUM!

Is it feeling like fall where you live?
Hope everyone is having a great Friday!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Covered in Diamonds (and Leopard Spots!)






Today I have a picture post to show you what is to come.  I am so excited about the new polishes that just showed up from Color Club that I had to try out Covered in Diamonds, Color Club's new flakey Hidden Treasure lookalike.  I tried Covered in Diamonds on my thumbnail (over my leopard-print mani, which I have been proudly wearing in the classroom this whole week).  I used two coats and both dried very quickly.  I'm so excited to try out this entire new collection!!

If you've been looking for Hidden Treasure's cousin, here it is. I'll have more pictures of Covered in Diamonds this weekend.

I hope everyone is having a great week :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wildly Tame with Greys

China Glaze Recycle, Zoya Kelly, Konad m57

I really appreciate all of your comments on my last post (Going Nude), and I decided to take your advice and spice up my nails a little bit.  Polish Insomniac suggested doing a tone-on-tone Konad design, so since I've been so desperate to wear grey polish (it just feels so fall, doesn't it?), I chose to do a grey tone-on-tone design today.

I started with the miracle worker, Seche Rebuild, then applied two coats of China Glaze Recycle.  Once that had dried, I Konaded a lovely leopard pattern using Zoya Kelly and plate m57.  I topped everything with super-shiny Seche Vite.

I love it!!

China Glaze Recycle


The polishes: Seche Rebuild, China Glaze Recycle, Zoya Kelly, Seche Vite


It matches my blue leopard print shirt!!

Thanks for the inspiration, everyone.  I think that this is tame enough for teaching, but still fun.  I hope you are have been enjoying the extra-long weekend!  I love having this bonus day off!  My cold is starting to go away too (yippee!).  
Have a happy Labor Day!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Going Nude (all week!)

...just on my nails, of course!  I've been slightly obsessing over my "teacher image" these past two weeks.  Since I'm so close in age to my college students (and younger than some), I wanted to make sure to portray that image of authority for the first few weeks.  That means I've been wearing a lot of skirts and heels (ugh) and I've been completely stuck on light-colored polishes.

The reason I stick with light polishes?  One day, when I was teaching the summer semester, I decided to paint my nails dark blue.  At the end of class, a student came up to me, not to ask about the homework but about my nails.  "Is that black nail polish?" he said, sounding disgusted.  I pulled my hands (and their offending nails) towards me.  "No, it's blue," I replied.  "Oh good.  I wouldn't want to have a teacher with black nail polish," he replied, chipper once again.

That student in mind, I decided to paint my nails OPI Pearl of Wisdom for week one and OPI Sand in My Suit for week two.  I am just desperate to paint my nails grey or dark green, but I don't want to ruin that "teacher image" I've been working on.  So I think I'll do nudes for at least another week, then consider moving into more interesting colors.

But that is not to say I don't love these light colors I've been wearing.  Sand In My Suit is a gorgeous, shimmery golden nude that matches my skin tone fairly well.  I've been wearing it all week, so there are a few chips, but because the color is so light, they barely show.

OPI Sand In My Suit

It covered great with two coats, but this one was pretty slow to dry.  Sorry about the not-so-fab nails - my middle finger nail broke at this weird diagonal, so I had to file it down.  I haven't been wearing fake nails (again with the whole "teacher image" thing), but I might this weekend.  I can't wait to paint my nails some wild colors and designs again!
(These pictures were taken by window-light.  It's grey and drizzly outside!)


And for those of you wondering where I have been, I'm so sorry I haven't been able to update all week.  Work has been exhausting.  I have never been so tired in my life.  I am really, really wishing I had decided to go back this semester for my MFA, or that I had applied for a PhD program. Teaching 5 classes and tutoring 4 separate kids is a lot, but right now, I'm ecstatic that I have a free Friday afternoon to do what I want - even if "doing what I want" means catching up on grading, replying to all the emails from students, cleaning the house, and sleep.  Which is why I'm here, blogging instead :)

What is your favorite nude or sheer polish?  Do you have a color that you turn to for work-appropriate nails?
 
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