Monday, November 29, 2010

OPI Japanese Rose Garden

Found this one in my polish box this evening when I was going through it for green polishes.
Pinks like this usually aren't my thing (exception, Mod About You). I go for hot pinks like China Glaze's Pool Party or glitters like OPI Glow It and Show It. I don't recall how this one came to me. I imagine it happened the same time as Let Them Eat Rice Cake and Miso Happy. I'm pretty sure I've never worn it.

With flash, tungsten lit (I swear I'm trying to get into CFLs)

Japanese Rose Garden is a lovely salmon pink with a silver frost. Very delicate and feminine. I really see this as a princess colour. I can't wait to do some rhinestone nail art or lace Konad stamps with it.
The consistency of this was really off. It took 3 rather thick coats to get full opacity. The formula was rather thin, but runny and streaky, leading to globby bits that got to thick in some areas. I used Rush Top Coat, but can see brushmarks. That's the way frosts go, I guess.
No flash.

I rather love this shade. It's very fun to try out things that don't fit with the Punk Rocker Who Loves Barbies version of myself. I can already see parts where this is peeling off my nails though, so soon it will be back to some kind of glitter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

China Glaze ON SALE

Premier Nail Source has China Glaze on sale for $2.50 a bottle!!

I don't know if you have to provide a beautician's license to shop there, so I apologise if one is needed. Even if they don't require it, a LOT of the products on there are intended for PROFESSIONALS ONLY so please stay safe and limit your purchases to traditional nail lacquers.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I've become rather ill. My doctor has gotten into an accident so we're making other arrangements to get me fully diagnosed and treated, but until then one shouldn't expect much out of me. I have 2 days off this coming week due to the holiday, so perhaps I can rest up and finally post the photos I have of the new Revlon Fire and Ice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: Bed Head Urban Antidotes Re-energize

Today, I tried out my sample of Bed Head Urban Antidotes Re-energize shampoo and conditioner.
Totally a stock image.
This stuff came out over the summer (maybe sooner?) but since I've just gotten back into the salon it's pretty new to me . The Urban Antidotes comes in 3 levels depending on your damage:
Re-Energize to hydrate, strengthen, and add shine.
Recovery for dry, coloured hair that needs damage prevention.
Resurrection for weak and brittle hair .

My hair is currently coloured with a semi-permanent vegetable dye. About  a year ago, it was pretty horribly overprocessed and though I had the ends cut off (what didn't break off anyway) and I've done several conditioning treatments,  the dye took very strongly to the ends and has already faded from the healthier hair by my scalp.
Normally it is... well, normal. I don't shampoo it very often so it tends to seem oily, but the rest of my skin goes more toward the dry end of the spectrum. It has a bit of a wave that can spiral in to ringlets but curl never stays. It straightens easily and I use an iron at least twice a week.

If that kinda sounds like your hair too, this stuff is AWESOME!!!

The samples were 1/4 oz and that was the perfect amount. I remember in beauty school being given 1oz "shot glasses" of shampoo but it being of such poor quality that we sometimes had to argue for another full ounce.
The shampoo didn't lather very much at all and I was surprised to find that it has sulfates in it. Usually, sulfate-free shampoos don't have as much suds. Being that Urban Antidotes has colour protecting qualities, I assumed it was sulfate-free (in addition to being very drying for some people, shampoos that use sulfates as their surfactant can fade colour faster than shampoos without).  Even so, it cleansed very nicely in my incredibly hard water.
The conditioner is nice and creamy. It felt light on my hair like a lotion and rinsed away cleanly, but as my hair dried it felt soft and obviously conditioned.

Today in class, we "carved" 50 pound blocks of salt with metal rasps leaving a powdered sugar-fine dusting of salt on my 3-days-since-I-washed-it hair. It really was a torture test on whatever cleanser I used. Urban Antidotes performed admirably. My hair was left feeling bouncy and soft, and my scalp was cleansed but not dried out in the way that seems to make me oilier in the end.

Bottom line: would recommend. Excellent value and performance.

This product was a free sample found at the salon I'm working at.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blimp my Pog

I've started "monetizing" my blog here. I don't know what I'm expecting out of it, but if you see anything you like please click and check it out. I'm hoping I can start getting ads from some of my favourite brands like Benefit Cosmetics and OPI or links to the newest stuff from Sephora.
I've also added the Amazon doohickey. From now on, you should assume links to Amazon are sponsored - but most other links will be just stuff I like. I'll let you know so nothing seems shady.

I know a while back the FTC decided that bloggers and Youtube reviewers needed to disclose where they got stuff from. Unless I say otherwise, I have purchased everything myself. I am a licensed stylist and a working makeup artist so I often get steep discounts on items and hair companies send me things from time-to-time (I have some Bed Head to try out tonight, in fact) but so far it's not been anything that other professionals can't get.

I'll be trying to find out how else to promote the things I love as time goes on. I don't wish this to end up being a fruit salad of links and promo codes, but I will be adding more.
Everything you will see here is stuff I love, have tried with success (often on other people!), and wish to share just because I think you'll love it too. I'm not paid to say "Absolutely Alice is the greatest nail polish ever made". The only money I'll get is the few fractions of pennies that Google and Amazon send my way.

And that's all I think I need to say about that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30's moon manicure

Felt like busting out my fave red, Finger Paints' "Expressionist Red". For Veterans Day, I thought I needed something to match the many paper poppies I'm sure I'll be picking up.

This was my first time doing the moons. I didn't have a brush to take the moons out so I used a little bit of cotton wrapped around an orange stick. I think using a brush would be a lot better.
I can't wait to try this again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Makeup, first day of work:

Today, I had my first day at my new salon. It has been a while since I've had to care at all about what I look. Well, I mean that I care... We all care or we'd never buy a hairbrush. I just mean that I haven't "had" to get done up in the morning for quite some time.

Last night, I took my shower, tweezed my unibrow, shaved my upper lip (I just can't handle wax there) and all that business so I could sleep in a little more. I only wash my hair about twice a week because it seems to make my hair loss* worse. I also don't bother shaving my legs because I always wear trousers. Sadly, because of this, I've really gotten out of practice and it takes me almost 10 minutes to shave.
Anyway, when I woke up, I feel like I woke up pretty fresh...
Or as fresh as one can be with not enough sleep. :(
It's a little embarrassing that this is the first glimpse of yours truly, but we might as well get the glamour shots out of the way first off.

To get ready for today, the very first thing I did was iron out my hair. I love the texture of my hair first in the morning, but by midday what looks like lovely beachy waves turns into some kind of white trash lookin' hot mess. You can see also that my hair is all separated and a bit chunky looking. I sweat really bad at night and I wake up kinda goofy - but that's also what makes it curly. To counteract that greasyness, I use Bed Head Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo.

Next, I used Benefit Cosmetics' EyeCon eye cream because it makes undereye concealer go on smoother and That Gal primer all over my face. For "foundation", I use Hello Flawless. I dust it on with the brush all over then use the sponge on my spots. I really hate foundation. Halfway through the day, it makes me itch. All of it. I have yet to find a brand that doesn't make me want to claw my face off. Even Hello Flawless makes me want to pick at my face... Which, sadly I did halfway thru my day.

For colour, I used the new holiday Her Name Was Glowla kit. Coralista blush really looks good on everyone even though it looks like crazy 80s stuff in the box. I'm quite fair and it is so nice and glowing on me.
In fact, you can barely see Coralista in this pic!
I also used Revlon Just Bitten lipstain (the new marker type) in either Flame or Gothic - I have both - under the lipgloss in the Glowla kit and Benefit Brow Zings to cover the fact that I really don't have much of an inner 1/3 to my eyebrows.

Everything wore pretty nicely during the day. I ate some lunch at work but the stain made it so I didn't have to carry lipstick with me. Even better, I had time to iron my shirt and sit and relax for about a half hour before leaving for work.
So, of course, myspace shot!
And there it is! I'm so good lookin' for work!

* I've been having problems with alopecia for some time. Off and on through most my life, really. Over the past year, I've lost about half my hair density. It's gotten so bad that my man compares me to a shedding cat. I had enough hair to create a 1 square foot portrait of myself in a week. What can I say, I'm an art student...
Anyway, this past weekend, it was discovered that I have seriously minimal adrenal function AND my thyroid is really sucking. I have an appointment on the 22nd to see what's going on. It's likely that both glands are having some sort of dysfunction, so it could go wither way as far as fixing the problem. 

Monday, November 8, 2010


On Wednesday, I start my new job!

When I was still in Chicago, I worked for the Benefit Brow Bar at Ulta in Arlington Hts. It was awesome. I loved the job and actually cried when I had to tell my boss that I was moving to Indianapolis. But I found a job that had promised me everything I could ever want - central location, exclusivity, pricing structure for extension services, plans for expansion, and brides brides BRIDES!

Sadly, tragically really, none of that came to pass. There were weeks where I had only 2 clients. Not that I was horrible and only had 2 clients, but that only 2 people came in to the salon while I was on shift. Then I got cut to 9 hours from 25 because of some odd personal beef. Then I came to see that that odd personal beef was a result of my boss' paranoia. Then I came to see that my boss' paranoia was a result of her cocaine use. Then it dawned on me that her boyfriend, that spent every day in the salon, was dealing cocaine.

Then I walked out and never looked back.

So for a year, I've been looking for a job. I've been putting in almost weekly applications at Supercuts, Great Clips, Regis, Mastercuts, Sport Clip... Each time, expanding my reach further and further... but nothing.
I started getting really super bummed. I thought something was wrong with my computer so I started going in to the salons in person only to be brushed off and pretty rudely told to do an online application (one woman even scoffing, "Well if we wanted you, we would have called you"). Then I started to think something was wrong with me. I got in to a pretty deep funk when I was interviewed, thought I nailed it, was really qualified for every aspect of the job, but got the "we're going with someone else" call...
Thankfully I realised that it was just the job market here and I would have to be patient and wait for things to perk up.

Of course, once I got the flu, I got a flurry of interviews (and I think the constant traveling and being "on" for 4 straight days is what got me hit so hard with the flu). I drove all around this town from south suburbs to north suburbs and sold myself as hard as I could.

Thankfully, it paid off!
I'll be starting at a salon on Wednesday.

It should be good. I've been looking at the chain salons because I have no clients and salons here don't seem to use assistants Note to salons: Assistants are indispensable not only as an asset to your workflow but also to ensure your stylists are properly trained. If you're hiring outside help without promoting your assistants, you're not doing something entirely right.
Anyway, this place is "medium-tier" with a cut and style being $26 and is full service. I'm hoping we can work pricing for specialty services like extensions and eyelashes. Glue-in's around here run about 90 bucks and I can get one done in about 30 min.

The last salon I really gave my all to, I was a certified educator and started working hair shows for manufacturers within 2 years. I think I can really get some work under my belt and really get at something I'll be able to take to Toronto with me rather than starting over again in a few years.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

For Pat.

My "stepmother" Candy's mother is a lovely wonderful woman.  Though Candy and my dad are not married (long story...), Pat welcomed me warmly into the family from day one. When her mother died well into her late 90's, her jewelery was shared with me as though I was a rightful heir to it. I always had a spot at her table and when I went off to college, I had a better send off from Pat than from my own birth mother.

So when I found out she was losing her house of 50+ years (through no fault of her own, for the record), I was devastated. Though I'd only known that home for 14 years, it was more of a home to me than any of the 29 places I'd rested my own head.  I had this mix of anger over the situation that led to her going from paid off for over 30 years to foreclosed on an "equity" loan. I raged against the family member that pissed away the money on a new truck and next-gen console gaming systems. I raged against the system that allowed a $45,000 house get $91,000 in the hole. I lamented the loss of her things, her late husband's things (sadly, I never met him), her mother's things, and just her space in general.

But then I calmed down and I thought about the VA apartment she was going to get to live in now. I remembered the way I was able to blossom as a person when I moved into the dorms at my university and saw how her new place was like a senior dorm. She was going to have other women to hang out with, parties she didn't have to set the table for, and a space of her own for the first time in her life. I even started hoping a little that she could meet a nice man and have an autumn boyfriend.

So I got off my duff and made a housewarming gift.
Pat is a very old fashioned lady - really a page right out of a 50's Better Homes and Gardens. Her husband, Don, built a fallout shelter in the backyard... and it still stands today. Sadly I doubt that was a selling point at the sheriff's auction.
I went old fashioned with my gift and crocheted a nice set of coasters and a doily. Since it's getting to be that "most wonderful time of the year", I picked out a pretty Christmassy yarn.
Round little donuts of Christmas  
I've just learned how to crochet this summer. I do living history and we're all a little strange. At a friend's birthday, the boys all went out in the garage and talked about guns and jeeps and moustaches or whatever dudes talk about when chicks aren't around and the women sat in the living room drinking and stitching up various historical costumes. Without a chatterling (I'm sure I misspelled that) to create, I was taught how to knit.

 I wasn't half bad for being pretty drunk at the time. My friend sent me home with a pair of needles and a ball of yarn so I could practice on the long, long drive home across southern Michigan.
Almost as soon as I got home, though, I lost one of the needles. I put my project down for a moment to get the phone, or save the bird from the miniblinds, or wake the boyfriend... I dunno... and when I came back the needle was just GONE. Still is gone!

The doily. You can tell I've just learned to crochet, but I think it's charming in its own way.

I found a crochet needle for 49 cents soon after though, and taught myself how to crochet from a book called Get Your Crochet On! by the gal that makes hats for Common. (Disclaimer: I've not yet figured out how to make money off Amazon links, so I'm not just pluggin that book for cash.) It was really awesome and though I never finished a hat in the time I had with the book (I got it from the IMCPL who, by the way, NEEDS your money), I learned how to crochet in the round and started making some cute bun covers and will make a snood for myself soon.

So here I am with my little old fashioned present for Pat. I really hope that it helps her feel at home when she gets it. I think of her new gal pals coming over and having tea, setting their mug down on this happy circle of Christmas joy (while making it, honestly, all I could think of was the Italian deli on Northwest Highway in Edison Park... Boy do I miss Chicago), and thinking that Pat really has it together.
I know that a lot of her stuff is going to sit in storage for most of the winter... and honestly, nobody is very sure what exactly they were able to get out of the basement. Is it all crap? Well, we'll find out soon.
 I couldn't fit the doily into the box, so it became the decoration. Now I don't have to wrap it! Yay!
I'll be giving it to her, and seeing her new place, Sunday night, so I should report back on what she thought of it. I'll report back. Hopefully, I will have figured out better how to post photos and stuff so I can not look like a total blog noob.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More of my fave polishes!

When it comes to nail colours, I like to think I'm quirky or a little different. In some ways I may be, but I haven't really changed much at all for years. I've always gotten the same colours - green, pink glitter, blue, and black.

This week's new purchases were no different. When I moved from Chicago to Indianapolis, very little stuff could come with me, but I was sure that my best nail polishes did. Here's what I had (with my new ones now added)

1) Absolutely Alice from OPI's Alice in Wonderland collection.
This is by far one of the best glitters OPI ever made. Once I moved all my stuff from Chicago to Indy (a year after I moved my body here), I found a box of nail polish dating from 8th grade to my beauty school 8 years later. In it, I found 4 or 5 different blue glitters. Not a single one is as good as Absolutely Alice is. Not a single one could have such nice coverage in only 2 coats. This polish is perfect. Absolutely perfect.

2) DS Divine from OPI's Designer Series
The Designer Series is everything it has ever said it is. It has amazing coverage, intense holographic sparkle, and long wear. Divine is 100% pure Barbie. I'd pair it with Stila's or MAC's Barbie cosmetics collections (more on Stila's later). When I wear this, I have trouble not looking at my nails. Now that I'm going to take a job back in a salon, this will have to be vacation polish. Yes, it's that distracting for me.

3-7) See yesterday's post.

8) Russian Navy from OPI's Russian Collection 
I believe this is now in the normal stock. At least, we had it in line at Ulta last year. I remember when it came out everyone was ga ga for the fact that it was "off black". It really is deep. When the Russian Collection hit shelves, I was spending too much money on fine art supplies (though little of what I've ever made could be called "fine" art) so I got a knock off version. Too blue! The OPI version has this... something about it. It's blue, true, but it's not dark blue. It's something different.

9) "Summer French"
This was one of the new polishes I got this week too. I hate the way it looks on the wheel though. In actuality, it's a very sheer red shade. This is very like the polishes used in the 20's and 30's. I'm trying to get a more retro aesthetic to my fashion lately, so I figured I'd give this a go. The jury's still out on it. It seems to be a "private label" polish and I got it at the pro supply store but Orly's Beverly Hills Manicure is very much like it.

10) Miso Happy With This Colour from OPI's Japan collection
Sadly, I think this one is discontinued. I have always called it my "going to court" polish. On my skin tone, it is very natural but still finished. It can have a sheerer coverage, but I always do 2 coats - usually without base and top because it gets removed rather quickly... Not because it's a bad colour; because it's just not really "me".

11) Let Them Eat Rice Cake from OPI's Japan collection
I'm pretty sure this one is supposed to be a sheer coat. When done with only one, it doesn't get streaky like so many other sheers do. It's a little light for my tastes, but it was given to me at a beauty show so it went into the grandmother-approved collection. I've worn it several times to go do bridal trials or office job interviews. Sometimes, you have to play dress up.

12) Barefoot in Barcelona from Espana by OPI
Holy crap holy crap holy crap this is my FAVOURITE COLOUR!!!!!
I know I don't usually tend toward the neutrals, but this one is just so timeless and classic I don't think anyone can pass it up. In fact, the ENTIRE Spanish collection was perfection in a bottle. I call it my "rich lady" colour. My hands just look so refined and my nails look long and well formed when I wear this. It really goes well with any skin tone. I think everyone should own it. Even better - it comes in a no-chip gel polish form! Just be sure to see a professional to have it applied. OPI's UV gels are NOT for consumer use!

13) Can You Tapas This? from Espana by OPI
Lucky 13 - Can you Tapas This? NO YOU CAN'T!
If I had the money for the whole collection, I would have bought it. Can You Tapas This is a perfect deep burgundy with just a hint of brown to bring it neutral. It's another of my "rich lady" polishes. Very chic, very vintage! This is a wonderful colour for the 20's smokin vamp. I think this one has gone into the in-line collection as well.

Looks like I have a few more spots on the colour wheel. I can already think of a few that are missing. Lincoln Park After Dark, for one. Black Satin from OPI's Tuxedo Collection belongs on there too.
What do you think? What colours would you put on your wheel of favourites? As an inaugural blog contest, the first commenter to this post will receive a full-size OPI polish in my choice of colour. Perhaps one of my faves will become your new fave!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Nail Polish

I have ALWAYS been a fan of nail polishes!
As a young girl, my mother subscribed to a faith that did not allow the wearing of cosmetics or nail polish (or slacks, or jewelery, or modern hair styles, or...). That faith worked for her, but as a fan of New Wave bands like Culture Club and Missing Persons it didn't work for me.

You mean Boy George is a boy?! All the better!
When my father married a cosmetologist in October of 87, every holiday spent with him was like an act of rebellion. I spent my days in the salons where she worked and played with the haircolor swatch rings, putting the samples up against my own hair (Level 5 Ash Brown, I discovered) and thinking of all the cool punk rock things I would do when I grew up. Punk would never die, after all... Not like disco!
His wife was also certified to do Tammy Taylor nails. Acrylic nails were the new hotness back then and not every salon offered manicuring services. Tammy Taylor was (and still IS in many ways) the best system available so as word got around that she used the best products, her reputation grew... And as her reputation grew, her collection of nail polish colours grew!

When I was younger, I could only paint my nails with my right hand. The boys I played "superhero" with would tease me and call that my "COOTIE HAND!" It was a bit of a duality - I only "had cooties" when I would do things outwardly girly. Otherwise, I was just one of the boys - except for that one hand.

Back then I would usually wear whatever my dad's wife had available. There were always beautiful reds but also shades like "Muted Wine", "Dusty Plum", and "Windswept Arbor". In other words, "mauve". There was also tanning beds in her salon (nothing I ever took part in) so she always kept around "California" colours like neons and pastels. I always gravitated toward neon pinks and various greens.
The mid-90's came and her design focus changed. She opened her own salon and put aside nails for styling people like Courtney Love and Beck. My tastes still leaned toward obnoxious nail colours though.  My mother and I finally came to an understanding on nail polish so I started buying from the Delia's catalogue and brands I could get at K-Mart like Street Gear and Jane.

As I grew up, I found the only thing that changed was my brands. I started wearing Orly, OPI, and Creative (now CND).  I would sometimes have to mix shades to get what I like but eventually my generation "grew up" and started making the decisions - like putting BLACK NAIL POLISH (3 shades, in fact) into OPI's fashion collection! For the first time, I didn't have to stock up at Halloween.
OPI continued the trend of previously avant-garde colours and the rest of the salon brands followed suit. Today, I can find most any shade I could ever dream of having....

And in fact, this week I found 5 shades I dreamed of having!
1) OPI Burlesque Collection; Sparkle-isicous (gold, red, pink, and blue sparkles)
2) OPI Burlesque Collection; Show It and Glow It (various pink and silver sparkles)
3) OPI Shrek Forever After Collection; Who the Shrek are You? (an intense chartreuse green)
4) OPI Coleccion Espana; Here Today, Aragon Tomorrow (dark, almost black, green)
5) China Glaze Rainbow of Hope; Ovarian Cancer/Four Leaf Clover (light blue-green)

Aren't they all just so interesting and beautiful?
I can't ever resist glitter nail polish. When I saw a preview this summer that OPI was doing a collection based off the movie Burlesque I was pretty excited. OPI polishes and strippers? Well that's gotta be a HOT collection. Then I found out that CHER was going to be in the movie and I just went over the moon. CHER?!??! I LOVE CHER!!!!! As always, these glitter polishes are a wonderful quality. They only needed 2 coats to get the coverage shown and dried as quickly as the other polishes.
Shrek and Aragon took me some convincing to buy. I have always loved green polish but I never get the coverage I expect. I loved every other colour in the Spanish Collection, but shied away from Aragon. I had a manicure at my favourite place in Indianapolis and decided on that colour and was not disappointed. It opened the door to not only add it in to my collection but to also try Shrek and the China Glaze Four Leaf Clover.
A "psychic" once told me that seafoam green is my "power colour". I'm not very sure what she meant, and she said that I would be stinkin' rich by now, but neither of those points detracts from the fact that Four Leaf Clover is one of the most lovely shades I've seen in a long time. And when you purchase any of the Rainbow of Hope colours, China Glaze will donate funds to cancer research organizations. Check out the shades - they are raising awareness for not only Breast Cancer (pink, of course) and Colon Cancer (brown, LOL) but also Male Breast Cancer (a lovely blue) and a very fall chic grey Brain Cancer.

I really love all these shades. I've gotten out of my usual practice of weekly polish changes. I'm hoping this new purchase reignites my passion for this simple accessory.