Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winning Makes Everything Better

Good morning, Kitschies!!

I took too many of these last night...

So I'm moving a little slow this morning.  To make myself happier and forget about the hurt for a bit, I want to announce a *winner*!

The winner of the Zoya polishes provided by Verve 360 salon has been chosen!!  Out of 108 valid entries, who has already responded to her congrats email and chosen by random.org (which picked #35) was...

Thank you to everybody who entered!!  Keep an eye out for another giveaway coming up soon. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

Good morning, Kitschies!  It's shaping up to be another busy day, so I'm going to put together this post while I can.

WAAAAAYYYY back in October, Mason and I took a road trip to Cali to visit my family.  It was time for the annual Walk to Defeat ALS (I walked, well, skated) in support of my Mom who was diagnosed with ALS over 10 years ago.  While I was visiting, I had to make a trip to their brand new Ulta to see what was up for grabs.  I was happy to find two great polishes.  But first, let's look at what I wore *out* there.

I started my trip to Cali with a holo, albeit not a strong holo, but a holo nonetheless.  I mean, how can you visit the Sunshine State without sporting a holo on your tips?!  This is 3D Fantasy from the ChG Tronica collection.  It's a really pretty coral-y pink with a quiet linear holo.

On our Ulta excursion, I lucked out and found L'Oreal Owl's Night from the Project Runway collaboration.  I loved this polish.  Super dark but it has a warm copper glow to it.  So, so pretty!  I haven't worn this since but you can bet it'll see good rotation through my collection.

I also found Skyscraper from ChG Metro collection.  It was the first time I had seen this collection and this was the only one that really jumped at me.  I did two coats of this pretty navy blue jelly with silver glitter (except for the middle finger where I obviously did 3).  This one didn't wear so great on me - I had some big chips within two days. 

Seeing these pics makes me really miss my *long* nails.  While the nubbins are more manageable, I like the way the long ones look.

OK...time to put my skates on...things are ramping up here.  Have a great Thursday and don't forget to enter my giveaway (you only have a few days left).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Nom for Wednesday

Happy Hump Day, Kitschies!!  It's been a bit chaotic here at the clinic the last few days and I haven't been at my work station much.  It's lunch time now and I'm squeezing in a post because...how can I ignore you?

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes; I fix it at least every few weeks.  Chances are you have the ingredients on hand!  I originally found this in a Kraft recipe magazine but thanks to the wonders of the internets, you can now find it online.

Smothered Chicken & Green Bean Skillet
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 cups frozen green beans
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 

HEAT large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cover. Cook 5 to 7 min. on each side or until done (165ºF). Remove chicken from skillet.

ADD beans, soup, water and thyme to skillet; cover. Cook 6 min., stirring frequently.
RETURN chicken to skillet. Cook 1 min. or until hot. Top with cheese. 

NOTES:  I go between using cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken and mushroom soup - it's whatever I have on hand and really, I can't tell the difference.  

See?  You have all that stuff sitting in your cabinets and in your fridge right now, don't you?

Soooo good!  And the boys eat it without complaint (which is a miracle in my house).

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!  I'm off to eat some food so I can get back to the grind.

And don't forget to enter my giveaway (you do not have to be a follower).  You can check it out HERE.

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Giveaway Time!!

Hey, Kitschies!!!  I think it's about time to give back to my lovely readers, don't you?

I have been contacted by Verve 360 to host a giveaway!  Wanna know what you can win?  ONE lucky winner will get two new Zoya polishes: Anja and Jem.  These two colors are great for all skin tones and are prefect for the Winter season.

These are both super gorgeous colors (I have them both)!  So, what do you have to do to win these two beauties?  Fill out the following form then sit back and relax!  

And now for the fine print...
*Open to US residents only.
*Entries will be taken from NOW until 12:01AM EST on 1/30/12 (that's one week).
*I will verify all entries and will announce the winner by 1/31/12.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond.  If I do not hear from them, another winner will be chosen and announced.  The same rules apply to them.

Good luck!!

A BIG thank you to Verve 360 hair salon in Pittsburgh for letting me give back to my readers and for providing the pretties for this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Got Purple-itis

Good morning, Kitschies! We tried to take the boys to the snow play area on Sunday but that was a big fail.  The snow area was closed for "unsafe conditions" - I don't exactly know what that means but I'm assuming that meant don't go sledding unless you want to run in to big, hard rocks.  And seeing as I've sledded in to my share of hard, inanimate objects, we chose to sled at another place.  It was cold and windy and we didn't have much fun, but Nate *did* enjoy himself for the little time we were out.

Every week, Polish-aholics Annonymous on FB runs a challenge.  I've been participating in the challenges, but I haven't done a corresponding blog post about any of them...until now.  Today's challenge was ombre/gradient nails.  In case you don't know, ombre means having colors or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the color is graduated from light to dark.  Don't worry...I didn't know the exact meaning, either.  Yay!  We learned something today.  You can go back to bed now. :) 

On to the pics, shall we?

I initially tried a white to black gradient, but it didn't turn out so well.  I had to hand mix two shades and it just didn't work.  So, I went back to my Helmer and dug around a bit - and viola!  Here's my purple gradient nails!

In the previous picture, the index and middle fingers look pretty similar, but IRL and in more natural light, they're not quite as close in color.

You can see here that while they're similar, they are not the same.  IRL, Mira looks to dry a bit darker than what you can see in the bottle.  But in all the pics I took to compare the nail to the bottle, they look identical.  Strange.

This is the first ombre mani I've done and I like it enough.  I just don't care to wear a different color on each nail.  It kinda drives me crazy even though I like the effect.

Here's what I used.  If you click on the pic you can read the color names better.





I didn't get a good bottle/thumb pic, so check out this swatch HERE for a good representation of the color. 

So...there ya go!  What color(s) would you have used if you had done an ombre mani?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why You No Green!?!

Good day, Kitschies!!  It's FRIDAY!!!  It's supposed to beautiful weather this weekend, so we're planning on taking the boys sledding on Sunday.  I can't wait!  I think it'll be more for me than the boys, but it'll be fun either way.  Saturday will be spent getting things done around the house so we can play on Sunday.  What do YOU have planned for the weekend?

I have a fun mani to share with you today.  I've done a few like this before, but of the 3 I've done so far, this is, by far, my favorite.

I started with a base of a pale, pale pink Color Club (I cannot remember the name of it right now).  I wanted something light but not as stark as a plain white.  This super pale pink worked perfect!

Then I splattered ChG Four Leaf Clover (yes, that really *is* green, almost a neon green, but it would NOT capture correctly at. all.) and Orly Charged Up (purple) alternately on each nail.

For a more color-accurate pic, check out this swatch by ALU.  No matter how I tweaked the settings on my camera and no matter what I did in Photoshop, I could NOT get that green to look green.  Strange.  Usually I have trouble with purple.

I loved this mani!  Some of the polish dragged when I put on top coat and usually that would bug me but this time it gave it an almost watercolor effect, a la David Mack.

And just as a little side note, I've noticed I've picked up a few new followers here and there and I want to say WELCOME and thank you!  It's amazing to me that people are interested enough in what I do on my blog to follow me.  Keep an eye open for a giveaway to be happening very soon!  Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Perfectly Vampy

Good morning, Kitschies!  It's Thursday...what does that mean?  Not a whole lot other than it's one day closer to the weekend.  WOOT!!  The last few days have been much quieter here at the clinic (thank jeebus) and we're getting back in to the routine.  I'm still fighting a head cold (thanks, Mason) so I haven't done much in the way of exercise since the end of last week and I'm starting to feel like a bump on a log.

I have a pretty, pretty polish to share with you today.  I picked this beauty up during Zoya's polish exchange program last spring but hadn't tried it until recently.

Zoya Anja (from the Smoke collection) is a gorgeous vampy deep wine creme.  In the bottle, you can see a few random sparkles, but they're nowhere to be found on the nail.  Indoors or with indirect lighting (this pic was taken indoors under "daylight" light), Anja looks almost black, but I love these kinds of colors!

In the sun though, Anja is a gorgeous deep purple wine color.  So, so pretty.  This is a color that would look good on any skin tone and is good for pretty much all occasions.  Vampy.  Sexy.  Gorgeous.

See?  Three different lighting situations (this one is indirect sunlight), three different colors.  One of the many reasons I love Anja. 

This is the only one I have from Zoya's Smoke collection, but I really want to pick up Cynthia, too.  Do you have Anja?  What do you think of her?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WWtKW: Thinking & Doing

Good morning, Kitschies!  It was a super busy, super sick-y day yesterday.  I'm on the mend today and it's quieter at the clinic, so I'm taking some time to reorganize my desk (and my thoughts).  I'm linking up with the girls (Mamarazzi, CrazyMama and Queso) for the 40th installment (!) of We Want to Know Wedensday.


Queso is asking the questions this week...
1.  Which one of the following phrases characterizes how you live your life?
     a.  You only live once.
     b.  Test the water before jumping in.
     c.  Stability is the key to life.
2.  What were you doing the last time you had a really good laugh?
3.  Who is the last person you hugged?
4.  What song always makes you happy when you hear it?
5.  What was the first thing you thought about this morning?

1.  Which one of the following phrases characterizes how you live your life?
     a.  You only live once.
     b.  Test the water before jumping in.
     c.  Stability is the key to life.
I'm going to take the easy way out on this one and say it's a good combination of all three of those, but definitely more of testing the water and stability.  I crave stability and I very rarely jump in without checking out all options/possibilities/etc. first.

2.  What were you doing the last time you had a really good laugh?
I was watching Mr Bean: The Animated Series with the boys and Mason jumped up and did a little dance to both the opening and closing credits.  I wish I had a good vid to share with you of it, but my phone sucks.  I'll take a vid of his cute little booty shaking to Mr Bean soon!

3.  Who was the last person you hugged?
Speaking of Mr Mason...
This little boy right here!  I always give him a big GIANT hug when I drop him off at daycare in the morning.

4.  What song always makes you happy when you hear it?
That's easy: Michael Buble, Moondance
Oh, that sexy, sexy man.

5.  What was the first thing you thought of this morning?
I'm glad I didn't go to the concert last night!  (The hubs went to a concert last night and while I'm bummed I didn't go - because it sounded like a good time - I was was not bummed that I got more than the 3 hours of sleep that he got).

I wanna know...what are your answers?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Big Purple Monster

Oh, Kitschies!  I have a wonderful head cold that I picked up from my husband...or my son...or a co-worker.  I'm not dying, but I don't feel great, so this post is going to be pretty short.

I went to the Albuquerque ComiCon this weekend, twice, actually.  I went to represent Duke City Derby (of course) but I also went to see what all the hubbub is about.  Now, it's nowhere near as big as San Diego ComiCon, but for Albuquerque, it was a pretty big deal.  I picked up a couple beautiful prints by David Mack and I found a new artist that I liked a lot in Urban Myth Studios.  It's too bad (or is it a good thing?) I didn't have more money to spend this weekend because I could've come home with a lot of really cool stuff.  Who knew all my hubs' comic nerdyness would eventually rub off on me?

Anyway...I have a pretty, pain in the butt polish to share with you today.  I came way of this polish courtesy of my bloggy buddy Emily at Wife, Check. Mom, Check. Now What?  I mentioned I was looking for Studio M polishes and she said she wouldn't mind picking some up for me.

Studio M Purple Medallion.  It's a red-based purple *full* of glitter, both pigmented and holo.  This polish is *super* thick and it eats top coat for breakfast, lunch *and* dinner, but the blingy payoff is worth looking past this polish's flaws.

She's not very pretty to look at in the shade, though the purple color itself is pretty.  But when you get her out in the sun and you see the holo sparkle, she lights up.

Blurry to show holo-y goodness.  This one is super thick (even after a few drops of thinner) so the wear was not great.  I only got to wear this for a few days without *big* chunks coming off.  Either way, sometimes a polish is too pretty to set aside. 

What do you think of Purple Medallion?  You can see her sister, Big Red Monster, here at THIS post.  Do you have any polishes that have such horrible formula but are too pretty to ignore?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sugar Plum Yum!

Good morning, Kitschies!!!  I don't know about you, but I am *beyond* happy it's Friday.  It has been a very, very long week.  Work has been a roller coaster.  The boys are being PitAs and the hubs is the hubs.  So, I'm really looking forward to having a few days off.  Well, not really off since I'll be at home, but at least I won't have to worry about work.  Unless they call me.  But I'll worry 'bout that when it happens.

I was at Sally Beauty Supply before Christmas and I had heard some girls who had found some Color Club glitter polishes there.  I was skeptical because my Sallys has never had Color Club, but wonders of wonders, they had the holiday display!

This one was a little hard for me to photograph, but I started with two coats of WnW Black Creme and then used two coats (I think it was 2 coats) of Color Club Sugar Plum Yum (SPY).  I was a little worried about SPY because it was scented and the last scented polish I tried, I couldn't stand the scent, but I pressed on.

SPY is a clear based *packed* with large purple hex glitter and smaller green hex glitter.  The scent on this was not as offensive as Revlon Grape Fizz - I didn't even notice it by the next morning!

The thing I didn't like about SPY was some of the large purple glitter wasn't all the way flat, so it didn't lay flat on my nail.  But, overall, I did like this mani.  I wore it around Christmas and it was a nice change to the other more Christmas-y manis I did.  It was festive without being in-your-face.  You can click on that image to see the pretty, pretty glitter better.

Did you pick up any of the Color Club holiday collection?  What did you think?

Hope you all have a great weekend!!  I have a lot to do this weekend (as always) and I hope I get it all done.  Oh!  And I have to remember to go to the store because we're having THIS for dinner tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Royal Jelly

No, not *that* kind.  Sheesh...get your mind out of the gutter!

It's Wednesday night and I'm prepping this post for Thursday morning.  I have a very short fuse tonight thanks to a sore toe (the same toe I broke *way* back in October) and it's been a really exhausting week at work, so I'm going to keep this one pretty short.

Earlier in the Summer, I finally got my first jelly finish polish and I loved it way more than I thought I would.  And a little while after I found that one, I discovered the jelly sammich.  I had been eyeing this polish for a while because I loved the color but as soon as I found out it was a jelly, I went out the next day and picked it up.

This bright, bold blue is Revlon Royal.  It's a royal blue (hence the name) jelly that is great alone but I was in a glitter sammich kind of mood and threw in some silver holo bar glitter.

Yeah, there's some VNL, but it's a jelly...and that's part of what I love about a jelly.  It's full coverage but it's still a little transparent.  The bar glitter is Rush UFO.  I don't even know if you can get it anymore...I've had it since before I moved to New Mexico (so that means at least 13 years). 

I love the concept of this, but the end result didn't live up to my expectations.  You can't see any of the holo-y goodness of UFO so it just looks like white bars of stuff stuck in my polish.  LOL  As a side note, I already don't care much for bar glitter, so maybe this mani was doomed from the start.

Have you done a jelly sammich?  Which polishes did you use?

OK.  I'm done.  It's been a long day.  I hope Thursday is better because Tuesday and Wednesday left a lot to be desired. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We Want to Know Wednesday: Randomness

Good day, Kitschies!  I haven't linked up in a while, so what better time than now to get back in to the swing of things?


So, join me along with Mamarazzi, Queso and CrazyMama for randomness at it's best!

This week, CrazyMama is asking the questions...let's see what she wants to know.

1. What is your most commonly used word or phrase when you are frustrated?
Starting off with an easy one, huh?  That would be: Oh, good god!  Yep.  I say it a lot.

2.  What random questions do you usually get from strangers or casual acquaintances?
"Oh, you're letting your hair grow out?"  99% of the time, the answer is NO...I just don't have the time/money/energy to get my hair cut.

3.  Did you ever correspond by mail with anyone?  Who?  Do you still have the letters?
Yes I have and yes I do.  I used to have a couple pen-pals, one, in specific, I met while camping when I was a tween.  Her name just happen to be Meghan and we wrote back and forth for a few years before we both got too busy to keep up with it.  No, I don't still have the letters.  Too bad because I'm sure those would be an entertaining read.  I still send letters by mail.  There's nothing better than getting something personal, like a letter, in the mail!

4.  Do you dance in public?  Why or why not?
Nope.  I just don't.  Why?  Because I don't dance.  I just don't.  And if I did, I'd probably look like Elaine from Seinfeld.  Seriously.  You're lucky I can coordinate myself enough to roll around on skates twice a week.  I'm one of those people who can barely walk and chew gum.

5.  What's your favorite kind of chapstick/lip balm?
Funny...just the other day I posted on FB that I needed some cherry Chapstick...cuz I really needed some chapstick.  I just wanted to see what kind of response I'd get.  ANYway...my favorite is Softlips, any flavor as long as it's not *pearl*.

That was fun!  Join us...you know you want to!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Caramel Corn: Recipe

Good morning, Kitchies!!  It's been an insanely busy morning, but I need to take a breather, so I thought I'd throw down a post.  I'm pretty sore from derby practice last night and it's making the day that much harder to get through. 

But good, sweet, not-good-for-you food always makes things better, right?  You know I am!  I was going to save this recipe for next week, but most of the comments said they were interested so I bumped up that post to today.  You're welcome.

I was craving caramel corn around New Years and I finally remembered to sit down and find a recipe this last weekend.  I started out looking for a salted caramel sauce recipe (because that's my new cooking obsession) and I stumbled across this awesome caramel corn recipe on my new favorite recipe blog: Recipe Girl.  I had flagged another recipe, but this one just called to me.

Caramel Corn
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 cups popped popcorn

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in a 1 gallon pot over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer undisturbed for 4 minutes. Stir,then continue to cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is a deep golden color. Turn off the heat and whisk in salt, baking soda and vanilla. Set the whisk aside and stir in the popcorn. Scoop up the syrup from the bottom and over the top. Keep stirring and scooping the syrup over the popcorn until it is evenly covered and there is no syrup left on the bottom of the pan.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the caramel corn has turned a deep amber color. Remove the caramel corn from the oven and spoon it onto a waxed paper-lined surface to cool. When completely cooled, store caramel corn in a covered container- it should stay fresh for up to a week.

NOTES:  *You can use air-popped popcorn for this recipe or stovetop too. Here's an easy stove-top method to follow. Microwave popcorn will work as well, but it's not recommended as being the best choice.

My boys *devoured* the remaining stove-top popped popcorn...luckily they were already in bed by the time the caramel corn came out of the oven.  It killed me to work in the kitchen while this was baking.  It smelled soooooo good!

Now, my caramel corn didn't come out near as coated as Recipe Girl's did, but I'm okay with that because I think *that* much coating would be overkill.  And remember I said I was looking for a salted caramel sauce recipe?  This recipe kinda kills that craving because it's a bit salty, but not too much so.  It's just salty enough to enhance the sweet.  Soooo good! 

I have half a gallon baggie full of this and now all I want to do is run home, park my butt on the couch and throw on some trash TV and eat the rest!!!  Somebody asked about calorie content on this, and while I don't know what the count would be, I don't imagine this would be considered a "diet" food.  LOL  Not when your ingredients are sugar, corn syrup and starch. 

Either way, you need to make some of this.  NEED!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Marble Madness

Happy Monday, Kitschies!  I hope you had a good weekend.  I started my weekend a few hours early as the hubs had his office holiday party Friday afternoon/evening.  I also had derby practice that night.  It was such a small group that night, but we had FUN!  We played games the whole "practice" but we still got a good workout.  Then Saturday and Sunday were spent getting caught up on chores and stuff around the house.  Nate got to go to one of his schoolmate's birthday parties.  OH!  And I made some caramel corn (maybe, if you're lucky, I'll post about that one later)...and it was goooood.

I have a water marble to share with you today that I can't decide whether I like it or not.  I don't hate it, it's just not one of my favorites.

I *love* the colors, but the execution wasn't as great as I wanted it to be.  The black seemed to bleed a little in to the pink.  The colors?  Zoya Elke and SH Black Out.  Elke looks more red than this in the bottle, but it's a really pretty red-toned pink with a really pretty gold shimmer.

This is my right hand.  I had a hard time getting good pics of this marble for some reason.  Seeing these pics makes me want to give this one another shot.

My index finger was my favorite out of all my fingers.  I like this pic because of the lighting - even though it doesn't show the water marble all that much.

They can't all be winners and it's not a complete failure because it *is* a water marble.  I haven't used Elke for a mani since this - maybe I'll give her a chance to be beautiful on her own.  Have a great Monday!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Funky Ahoy!

Good morning, Kitschies!  It's Friday.  Finally.  How is it the short weeks feel longer than the regular weeks?  It's been quite tumultuous at the clinic the last few days - makes me wonder what's in store for us over the next year.  Or maybe I'd rather just be surprised.

I have a mani to share with you today that's been sitting in my "waiting to post" folder for a while.  How long?  I have no idea.  No clue.  Either way, it's a good one.  I was in a Funky French phase for a while and this was a product of that phase.

This is ChG Ahoy! from their Summer 2011 collection.  I only picked up 3 from this collection (Ahoy!, Starboard and White Cap) and this is the one that stood out the most to me.  Above pic taken with flash.

I love, love, LOVE this color!  It's a raspberry jelly with raspberry shimmer.  I think Ahoy! and Strawberry Fields are my ultimate favorite ChG colors.  I liked Ahoy! on the tips alone but I can't ever leave well enough alone, so I used my black striping polish to line between the polish and my nail beds.

In the direct sunlight, you can really see more of the shimmer in Ahoy! and here you can see that my nail beds aren't completely nekkid.  LOL  I used a base coat (Nail Life Gripper) and top coat (ChG Fast Forward).

And one more picture for good measure.  This was taken in indirect sunlight.  I love Ahoy! no matter what light it's in. :)

I'm off to get some work done.  I have a feeling it's going to be a busy day.  I wish you all a great weekend and I'll ya'll next week!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Give Me Some Lovin'

Good day, Kitschies!  It's been an up and down, roller coaster kind of day.  I got to read my book for more than two solid hours last night = good.  Nate woke up in a *bad* mood this morning = bad.  Mason screamed on and off for the entire 45 minute car ride to daycare this morning = bad.  Got to go to lunch with the hubs = good.  Bad prognosis for a long-time patient of ours = bad.  Helped a co-worked get caught up on referrals and such = good.  *sigh*  I'm ready for bed!!

I have a really pretty polish to share with you today.  This came out with a Summer collection and I don't think it got the attention it deserved in the blogosphere, so I'm giving it a little love.

This beauty is Orly Rock Solid from this summer's Mineral FX collection.  It is a gorgeous charcoal glittery base with scattered micro holo glitter.  This one is a stunner and it's hard to truly capture it's true appearance.

It's pretty on it's own, but I had just gotten the new BM plates for my birthday, so I used the snakeskin full nail image (BM 209) with SH Black Out for a subtle effect.

I like how this one looked a little darker in artificial light and a little lighter in sunlight.  Either way, those little micro holo particles glittered!

Here's the obligatory blurry shot to show the holo micro glitter.  Yeah, I know.  These pics make my eyes hurt, but they're so pretty!  LOL

Sure...the other polishes in this collection were pretty, but this was the only one that jumped out at me.  And I'm a little disappointed it didn't get the lovin' I think it deserves. 

What do you think of Rock Solid?  Do you own it?  Do you want it?  I know I've seen this at Ulta within the last month or so...maybe, if you're lucky, you can find it in one of the clearance bins now.