Monday, December 31, 2012

My 2013 New Year's Project (With nails somewhere at the end)

Everyone who reads my blog likely has far more stuff in their life than they need.  I, for one, have collected probably somewhere around 400 bottles of nail polish in the past 5-7 years, and I have no intention of disowning any of them any time soon.  However, this does not particularly mean that I have to add to that number.  Last year I made a rule that I could only buy nail polish that was a good deal on clearance (no $4.99 marked down to $4.19 "clearance"), a limited edition color that I really liked, etc.  However, I've come to realize that there will always be colors I don't have that I really like.  There will always be clearance polish that doesn't look like something I already have.  But I don't need it.  I have enough nail polish to last several people several life times.  And yes, it is what I do for fun.  I don't regret owning it.  I still use a lot more of mine than most people can believe, with all the different designs I do.  It's nice to be able to find the exact, or almost exact, colors for any nail art I think up.  My nails are the one thing I do where I actually utilize variety, as opposed to my makeup, which, if I do anything at all, is neutral and understated, and my wardrobe, since I frequently pass up all the cute things in my closet for jeans and hoodie.

I don't want to own any more, though.  I want to be happy using what I have.  There will always be something I think I might use for something.  And when I get it into my head that I want a certain design, I frequently will end up being bothered by the idea of it until I do it.  But at this point, if it came down to it, I could probably mix just about any color I needed, even if it wasn't quite the exact finish I wanted, and make something close enough to do my nail art.

Beyond nail polish, in just about every aspect of my life, I am a master of excess.  I save practically useless things in the event that I might use them for something someday.  My habits over the past several years have led to me possessing a whole lot of stuff that could eventually be useful in a very specific and unlikely scenario.  In addition to that, there's a whole lot of stuff I would totally use, if I ever got around to fixing it.  Clothing I find at thrift stores that I would wear all the time, if only it fit a little differently.  But because I have so many clothes already, I don't really prioritize the alterations I intend to do, and it sits in a pile indefinitely.

This blog post nicely summarizes my attempted change in thought process over the past year or two.  I did make significant progress in going from "Well it's cheap, and I might use it for x" to "Okay how likely is it that I'll ever encounter a x?"  But this year, I'd like to make it, "Do I even need x?"  The answer is probably no.  Yes, I'm sure there are articles of clothing that will be donated to Goodwill that I would love and wear often.  But I don't need them.  I have plenty of clothing I already like wearing just fine.  If I really wanted to, I have plenty of fabric I could sew into new clothing.

A little over a year and a half ago, I met a guy who started the shift in my habits from no regard for the extent to which I lived in excess, to the conscious thought process of trying to eliminate it from my life.  But at that point, at least somewhat, what I did was because I felt he demanded of me.  I had no problem with that, because I wholeheartedly agree that minimalism is a good think for which to aim.  But now I'm finally making it all me.  This isn't to impress anyone, though I hope I might inspire others to take similar--if smaller--steps in their own lives.  One of the best feelings I had was getting rid of probably 75% of the clothing and makeup I owned at that time.  I have not once missed a single thing I gave away.  This past summer, I gave away a significant amount of the clothing that I did wear sometimes, and I did enjoy wearing, but either had other things similar, or nothing similar enough to justify keeping it around on the off chance I decided to plan an outfit around it.  I have also not once that I can recall missed any of those things, either.

So I encourage you all this year, to take a step back, look at your life, and try to target areas where you live in excess that brings no significant enjoyment to you.  For many of those who read my blog, those areas probably do not include nail polish and cosmetics.  That's fine.  Look for other areas to try to minimize spending and consumption.  My motivation comes, well, largely from being a broke college student, but beyond that, from a concern for the rate at which the planet is consuming resources.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.  It's not.

I do not wish to contribute to that cycle any more than necessary.  Maybe the way you can make your change is by biking to work/school rather than driving, or biking to get groceries, when the weather allows.  Not only does that save you money on gas, you get exercise, and biking is just pretty darn fun!  For those who don't regularly explore them, thrift stores can be a great way to add interesting pieces to your wardrobe, without consuming new goods, and at a fraction of the cost.  Possibly a bit "extreme" depending on your personal preferences, I'd still recommend checking out both /r/frugal and /r/Anticonsumption on Reddit.  Even if you don't follow every single bit of advice posted (I certainly by no means come close), maybe you'll find something really useful for your particular situation.

Now for my personal goal.  In the year 2013, I aim to buy no more than 1 superfluous item per month.  What I do buy will be used or secondhand, if at all possible.  I will ride my bike wherever feasible, rather than driving.  (When I limit myself to riding my bike, I end up around stores a lot less, and in wheat fields a lot more.  I just really hate stop lights.)  I may eventually add more to this after consulting my bff at Nanjing Morning (who, by the way, lied to me and said she was going to start posting again today.  Or possibly it's the middle of the night in China.  It probably is.  I'm bad at time zones), but for now, this is the basic outline of what I want to do with my life for the next year.  As much as I'd like to add eating vegan and lots of other things that are not exceptionally practical given my living in the dorm, there will be other areas of my life where I am attempting changes rather than issuing ultimatums.

I have already (earlier this year as well as since being home for Christmas break) gone through my closet and room in general and donated anything I don't use regularly.  I will continue to do so on a somewhat regular basis, and I would encourage others to do the same.  Really think about when the last time you used something was, and how likely you are to miss it if it were gone.

And for anyone who wasn't bored into exiting after finding all that rambling on what turned into a nail polish blog (if you read my original posts, this blog started out a lot more like this, then turned into nail art), here's the manicure I did while taking breaks writing this, trying to figure out what I was trying to say and how to say it.

This is three coats of a Love & Beauty polish from Forever21 called Mint, but their polish selection changes so quickly, I'm not sure they'd still have this, as I got it over a year ago.  It's a pretty medium seafoam green, with gold shimmer.  I'd been wanting to try a bottom glitter gradient for a while, and this was the perfect chance, as I smudged the base of one of the nails on my other hand.  I used e.l.f. Twinkle, but that hardly showed at all, followed by Sinful Colors I Miss You.  I really love how it turned out, but unfortunately, with the numerous layers, it got goopier than I'd wanted, and a couple of my nails have smudged already because they're taking forever to dry :(

It would have been nice to have broken 10,000 blog views as of today, but I'm not quite there yet, so a slightly less dramatic, but no less heartfelt, thank you to everyone who has shown their interest in what I post here.

So again, I hope that something in this post might have inspired you to make a change in your own life this year--and hopefully permanently.  Whether it be buying less, or simply taking on the challenge of using every nail polish, cosmetic item, article of clothing, or whatever, at least once this year.  When you make changes that really matter to you, you don't end up feeling constrained, you feel liberated.

NYE Sparkly Gradient

First off, a happy NYE to everyone....

...Okay, I think I'm hilarious.

I'd initially painted my nails with 3 coats of NOPI For Gold Times Sake, but then decided that one sparkly, multicolored polish wasn't enough, and I had to add more!  Fortunately, this was a perfect use for Milani HD, the gold "holographic" polish I got recently that has just about no holo effect compared to the rest of the line.  But I figured it would go very nicely with this, as a gold tip with just a little bit of multicolored shimmer to it.

I thought it looked very nice, but then I also topped it with CoverGirl Gold Front, which as near as I can tell, is fairly similar to the Northern Lights topcoat, but I got this one a while ago at Dollar Tree and never really used it.

My camera didn't do a good job at all of picking up the detail of the sparkle, especially on For Gold Times Sake, which is an absolutely gorgeous multicolor glass fleck polish.  It requires 3-4 layers to get opaque, but you could also layer over another color, which is what I think I'll do when I next use it.  I'm also really happy that I found a use that I actually really liked for the Milani polish, as I was sure I was just going to have it sit in a drawer until I forced myself to use it eventually.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blue Glittery Nails to Match My Skirt

I recently got a couple polishes from the Revlon Brilliant Strength line and wanted to try them out.  One of them, Intrigue, just so happened to very nicely match the skirt I was wearing today, and then I couldn't resist topping it with some glitter accents with Milani Gems.

Well this was a bit of a boring post, I suppose, but I didn't have much to say about it.  It went on very smoothly and opaque in two coats.  I could have gotten it opaque in one very, very thick coat, but after trying that on one nail, decided that two thin coats gave a much better finish, and didn't take ages to dry.  So far no chipping, but at this point I've not even had it on 12 hours, although I did do the dishes earlier.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wet n Wild Ferguson Crest Syrah

Yesterday at Rite Aid, I was for some reason looking in the Wet n Wild Fergie collection display--which I normally pass up, as the colors don't appeal to me, and for Wet n Wild, they're rather pricey--and noticed a nice shimmery purple.  When I picked it up to take a closer look, it immediately struck me as being very similar to NOPI Shoot for the Maroon, which I've had my eye on for some time, but at $7-8 a bottle, I just can't justify the few times I'd actually wear it.  At $3.49 a bottle, this seemed like a viable option, and since it was BOGO 50% off, I chose another polish as well, and decided to try it.

Here's what Ferguson Crest Syrah looks like in the bottle, hopefully you can see the shift between purple/magenta and coppery orange.  The shift actually doesn't show up so strongly on the nails, especially in indoor lighting.

(Indoor lighting)

(And the rest are outdoor)

A bit out of focus, to pick up the shimmer

I was overall very impressed with this polish.  It went on nearly opaque in one coat, and while I used two, you could probably get away with one thick coat just fine.  The only con was the absolutely enormous brush.  Extremely wide as well as thick, it made it incredibly difficult to control where the polish went, and for a dark color, that makes cleanup rather annoying.  In the pictures above, you're probably able to see the remnants of the polish that flooded my cuticles.

I can't speak for it being an exact dupe of Shoot for the Maroon, since I don't have it to compare myself, but in looking at swatches online, they seem to be similar enough that I won't have any need to own both.

Milani 3D Holographic - Currently 75% off at most CVS stores!

Today I have my first attempt at an official-ish review.  The Milani 3D Holographic line, currently on clearance at CVS for 75% off (and probably still available for quite a while at various online retailers).  I'm currently home in California for Christmas break, and I bought the entire collection from a CVS near my house for $1.45 each, plus I used a $6 ExtraBucks coupon, meaning I actually only paid about $3 for all of these.  However, I'd previously owned the pink, green, blue, and purple colors, and bought these as backups because I really really like them, and a single manicure goes through quite a bit of polish.

Digital, 3D, HD, Hi-Tech, Cyberspace, Hi-Res

I've worn Digital and HD alone as manis in the past week, so I have pictures of those on all my nails.  Then for the others, I just painted one on each finger, because they use so much polish, as I'll explain below.  Most photos were taken outdoors, with a few indoor ones for comparison.

(Digital, indoor)

(HD, indoor)


I tried to capture the rather subtle linear holo effect these polishes have.  They're definitely not what you're looking for if you're after a strong linear holo such as the Layla ones, or the recent Color Club collection, but especially in bright sunlight, there is a definite linear aspect to them, not purely scatter.  I really like the effect, but it's present in varying degrees in the different colors.  The pink (Digital), green (Hi-Tech), and purple (Hi-Res) are the ones I would definitely recommend buying if you find them on clearance.  At least to me, they seem to have the strongest linear effect.  The blue (Cyberspace) was also not bad in that regard.  I didn't think the gold (3D) had much of a holo effect at all, much less a linear appearance.  There seemed to be more a few sparkly flecks in a gold base than a gold holo polish.  Definitely my least favorite from the line, though I tend to not like gold polish much to begin with.  The silver (HD) had a decent linear holo effect, but it went on much sheerer than the rest.  And they all go on sheer.  

Shown above, for all but HD, is 3 coats, and you can see in a few areas it still looks a tad sparse.  For HD, I used 4 coats, and it still wasn't enough to completely get rid of the thin areas on the nail.  Fortunately, I don't mind the appearance on the nail, as it doesn't go on excessively goopy.  But it uses quite a bit of polish, thereby making you run out faster, which is sad :(

Overall, I really like these.  For the $5+ regular price in drugstores, I was never quite sold on them, but now that they're on clearance, I say absolutely pick up any that look interesting to you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I suppose I could always go back to what I did best...

I intended to do--and even brought home a bunch of festive polishes for--several Christmas/holiday/winter manis, as well as enter the awesomely-themed nail art contest at Ooooo Shiny! one of my favorite nail blogs to read.  I somehow managed to get past my "issues" just long enough to post once about it, and then proceeded to go back to hiding from everyone, both online and in real life.  Since I haven't done any real nail art recently, just a few solid colored manis, I figured I could always go back to doing what I did so well on Youtube--hauls.  I've tried to not buy so much recently, and was doing well until I encountered the Rite Aid clearance sale....

NYC Golden Glam, Jesse's Girl Flirt, e.l.f. Futuristic, Revlon Entice, Intrigue, and Fergie Ferguson Crest Syrah (wat?) These weren't on clearance, just on sale at various CVS/Walgreens/Target I went to.

Petites Peach Blush, CQ Silver Taupe, Petites Wizard, Periwinkle, CQ Tropics, Petites Wicked. All 75% off at Rite Aid

Chameleon Hula, Mist, Fandango, Waltz, and Nucleus. All 75% off at Rite Aid

Sally Hansen Gentle Blossom, Perfect Plum, Naked Ambition, Gilty Pleasure, and Griege Gardens (backup for the one I alread have). All 75% off at Rite Aid

Milani 3D Holographic collection: Digital, 3D, HD, Hi-Tech, Cyberspace, Hi-Res. All 75% off at CVS, plus I used a $6 ExtraBucks reward I had.  The pink, green, blue, and purple were all backups.

Before I came home on break, I saw a display at Walmart of Pure Ice holiday polishes, including lots and lots of glitters!  I was going to just grab a few, but my mom had sent me a card with $20 in it, so somehow these were justified....  I really love them, anyway.  There's also a blog sale purchase I made around the same time.

Revlon French Roast, Salon Perfect Sparkling Sapphire, Maybelline Twilight Rays - All from Walmart

Pure Ice Silver Mercedes, Sugar Cookie, Sleigh Ride, Twist and Shout, and Playtime

Pure Ice Emerald Crush, My Wonderland, Bring on the Joy, Strapless, Twinkle

And from the blog sale...

Sally Hansen Sea, Air, Whisper, Sorbet

Kleancolor Peaceful Heart and Chunky Holo Purple, ORLY Fowl Play 

China Glaze Glitter All the Way and Running in Circles

I do hope to be getting back to nail art soon.  Part of my problem is that I left most of my tools at my dorm, so all I can really do here is simple striping, dotting, and just painting solid colors.  But I'm not sure I'm going to take all of the newly-purchased polishes back with me, so I'll have to just play with some of them here before I go back.

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