Weekly Nail Wrap-Up

So here we are … Friday yet again. It’s been a super busy week for me. My daughter and I just got back from Texas last Thursday, and we head out again tomorrow for Summer Vacation, Round 2. It will be our family trip this time, so just my husband, my daughter, and me. We are heading up to Maine, and we decided to drive. It will be a great chance to see a lot of the countryside in between Virginia and Maine. I am looking forward to it and dreading it in equal parts. Mainly, I’m just really tired, as I’ve been running around like crazy all this week trying to catch up on missed appointments and get things done for the next trip. Anyhow, I’ll probably be out of pocket all next week.

But, for now … there is nail polish fun! Woot!! The Fall collections are starting to come out, and I am super excited for that. I think the China Glaze Rebel collection looks amazing. I got several from that collection, particularly because there are quite a few blue tones in there, and blue tones are my jam. I wasn’t as crazy about the OPI Washington DC collection. I really wanted to love it, because it’s themed on where I currently live. But … I dunno. It just didn’t wow me. I only picked up four from that collection. I haven’t yet grabbed anything from the Zoya Urban Grunge collection, but it looks amazing, too. There are a few from it that I would love to have, but I am waiting until I come back from our trip. (It would be nice if Zoya did a special promotion, too — ha, ha!)

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These are my grabs from the China Glaze Rebel collection. From left to right, they are: “Heroine Chic”, “Pearl Jammin'”, “Combat Blue’ts”, “Dope Taupe”, “Teen Spirit”, “Holo at ‘Ya, Girl!”, and “Blue-Ya!”. So. Much. Fabulousness! I think this is the first time I have purchased this many from any one collection. Usually, I will get from two to four, as there are colors that typically won’t interest me a lot. I’m not much for pinks or reds, for example. But this collection surprised me. So many of the colors were right up my alley. There are a couple of others that I have since seen swatched online and am also thinking about getting. Just … yeah. So much love for this collection. There are no words.

With that said, I have seen and heard different online bloggers, vloggers, and reviewers comment that they feel this collection is pretty dupe-able. This may be true, as I’m looking at the polishes I purchased and can easily think of dupes I possibly have in my collection for a couple of these. Even so, I still love this collection and think it’s fabulous because, like I said, so many of the colors are right up my alley.

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Here are my four picks from the OPI Washington DC collection. From left to right, they are: “Shhhh! It’s Top Secret!!”, “Never a Dulles Moment”, “Liv in the Gray”, and “Pale to the Chief”. I thought the OPI collection, overall, had a great mix of light and dark shades. I like that in a fall collection because I love to wear dark and light all year long, no matter the season. I’m already crazy for the yellow, and I haven’t even tried it on my nails yet. But it is so gorgeous. It’s kind of mustardy, but light on the brown undertones. I think “Pale to the Chief” is super pretty in the bottle, but I’m having second thoughts about whether it will look good on my nails or not. I guess time will tell on that one. Overall, I was a bit disappointed by this OPI collection. This is a personal thing on my part. It was pretty much full of colors that didn’t interest. There were a lot of red/pink/berry tones, as well as a lot of orangey-peachy tones in it. Given time to think on it and look at swatches, I may change my mind. Who knows? I’m already thinking I should have gotten “Suzi – the First Lady of Nails”, which is the sort of olive green color.

So … on to what I wore this week! I went a little bit polish crazy because there were two new A. England polishes waiting for me when I returned from my Texas trip. I had ordered them before I left, hoping they would arrive so I could take them with me. Sadly, they came a day or two after I left. I had to live for a whole month (!) knowing these were at my house, and that I was unable to wear them. Torture!! Needless to say, I had to wear them right away. And then, both my OPI and my China Glaze orders came a day or two after I got home.

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This is A. England, “Tristam”. Oh. My. Gosh!! I love, love, love this polish. LOVE IT!! I wanted this one for a long time. It’s the first A. England color I fell completely head over heels for, and the first one I wanted to order when I decided to take the plunge and buy from this brand. But every time I looked to buy it, it was sold out. The pain! The frustration!!  Finally, I got lucky and found this one in stock at one of my favorite e-tailers. I was on giddy pins and needles waiting for it to come, and that was made even worse by the fact that I had to wait about a hundred years before I could wear it. (A hundred years … a month … same thing, right?)

This polish is so, so, so pretty. I love the flash of color from the holographic micro glitter in the sun. It throws beautiful rainbows down inside all that amazing, gorgeous, dark, and moody blue. This is such a perfect color of blue, too. I love how deep and intense it is. I can see this one getting a lot of use in the Fall and Winter this year. I’m so happy I was finally able to get it!

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This is A. England, “Spirit of the Moors”. This is another color I drooled over and wished for over the course of a few months. It, too, was always sold out. I think this made me want it more. If all of my polish-crazy peeps out there in the world love this one so much, it must be FANTASTIC! Right? Finally, I got lucky and was able to snag this one at the same time I purchased “Tristam”. So … Is it fantastic?

YES!!! Yes, it is.

I am so completely smitten with this polish. It is incredible — full of holographic, sparkly glitters and rainbows. And the most amazingly gorgeous, in-your-face, electric blue color. It is just perfection. That’s all there is to it. I love this color so much that I asked my stylist to put it on my hair. Oh yeah, baby!!

So, after I got my hair done, I was a bit blue all over. Even getting the color done in a salon, I still seem to end up with color all over my fingers, around my nails, around my hairline, and sometimes on my face. If I did my color at home, I think I would look like I had jumped into a tub full of blue dye, I kid you not. Anyhow, since I already had blue on my fingers and somewhat around my nails, I decided I would continue on with this color as my theme for the week. Who am I kidding? A week full of blue polish is a heck of a good week, in my opinion!

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This is China Glaze, “Combat Blue-ts”. (You know, like “combat boots” … but blue. So clever with the naming thing, China  Glaze. So clever.) This is one of the colors from the Fall 2016 Rebel collection.

I have a love-hate thing going with this polish. It is amazingly gorgeous in the bottle. Just … wow. So the bottle pretty much had me at hello. The formula for this one is very tricky, though. It is mostly opaque in one coat, but it dries on your nails in about a nanosecond. You have to be fast, fast, fast with putting this one on, using a very strict “3-stroke method” for application. If you work the color at all, you will end up with bald patches. Because of that, there is a tendency for the polish to ridge up where the strokes bump up against each other. This isn’t an unusual thing, and you can normally just smooth them out a bit by going over them with your brush. Not so with this polish. You can smooth out the ridges if you go for it right away, as you are putting down each stroke. If you wait at all, the polish will lift up off the nail. This one dries matte, so it looks nothing like the bottle when it’s dry. This isn’t a big deal for me, as I like the idea of being able to get a couple of different looks out of the polish. It’s very pretty matte, although I forgot to take a picture of it. I topped it with a shiny, quick-dry topcoat, and it looked pretty much just like the color in the bottle. Gorgeous!

Overall, I love the color of this one. So it’s worth it to me to work with the tricky formula. That might not be the case for everyone.

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This is China Glaze, “Holo at ‘Ya, Girl!” over “Combat Blue-ts”. “Holo at ‘Ya, Girl!” is also from the Fall 2016 collection. It is incredibly beautiful in the bottle. It’s a soft, kind of greenish-gold micro glitter in a clear base, and there are some bright blue glitters running through it. The blue glitters are also small. I had seen swatches of this one over black and over this “Combat Blue-ts” color. All of those swatches were so gorgeous, and I loved the look of it.

I did not love it on myself, though. For me, this one was a little bit too opaque to use as a 1-coat topper. And anything over 1 coat, when you toss in base coat, topcoat, and the base color, is really pushing it for me. I don’t love having five or more coats of polish on my nails. It ends up feeling too thick and unwieldy, and I never leave it on for more than a day. Also, I felt like the bright blue glitters, which I loved in this polish, got lost on the darker base. But maybe that’s just me.

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So, I decided to start all over and try “Holo at ‘Ya, Girl!” on its own. Oh. My. Gosh! LOVE!! I adore this polish on its own. The glitters are not holographic, by the way, even though I know the polish name would probably lead you to think they would be. But, on its own, this polish seems to shift color depending on the light. It shifts from a gold to a kind of soft green. And the bright blues in here just seem to pop off the nail. I love the look of it. It’s very sparkly/bright, overall, and it does get noticed. I had to run an errand at the mall today, and I had four or five people comment on my nails. This wouldn’t necessarily be a reason for me to decide to wear it, but, if you prefer to fly totally under the radar, you might not enjoy this polish that much.

The only other negative for this one is that it is sheer. It’s at 2 coats in my  picture, which I felt was pretty adequate coverage. (First coat rather thin, second coat rather thick.) I feel like you can see a bit of bare nail in my picture. In real life, there is so much sparkle going on with this polish that I don’t see that at all, even out in the sun. In some lights, I can catch just a hit of visible nail line, but I actually like that with this one.

I don’t know how this one will be for removal. I did the “foil method” to take it off when I had it over “Combat Blue-ts”, and it came off pretty easily. I don’t know if I could easily remove it without using foil. It felt like a pretty soft glitter going on, and it wasn’t horribly textured or thirsty. I topped it with one coat of Seche Vite, and it was good to go.

Putting on the Blues, Round 2!

I have a very short “bucket list”. Mostly, I don’t bother dreaming about things I want to do one day. I suspect there is some boringly complex reason for this that is rooted in my childhood. It’s hard to remember to dream when the people around you don’t take it seriously or treat it like a joke. Even if they don’t mean it in a cruel or mean way, that kind of thing sticks with you. Or maybe it’s just me. Not sure.

Anyhow, I have less than ten things on my bucket list. I want to visit Iceland. I want to see the Northern Lights in person. I want to visit Ireland. I want to visit the English countryside. I want to dye my hair blue. And I want to get a tattoo. In retrospect, it’s kind of a lame list, isn’t it? Can a bucket list be lame? I don’t know. I mean, maybe not. Everyone’s dreams are different, and that’s okay. Who is to judge which dreams are good and which ones are not? Not me. In looking at my list all written out like this, I’m sitting here thinking I probably should have included “finish my stupid novel”. I think I’ve mentally written that project off as a lost cause.

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Anyhow, this post is about my bucket list, not about whining over how much writing I am not getting done.  For the most part, I think there is very little chance I will accomplish most of the things on my bucket list. My husband, who (of course) is my travel partner, has absolutely no interest in visiting any of my bucket list places. I’m not sure the tattoo will ever happen because of my needle phobia. But, the hair thing is something that’s always felt attainable, provided I ever hit that right time in my life when having blue hair wouldn’t be a drawback professionally.

I’ve slowly been working up to my hair goals over the past several months. I started out with dying my hair a mid-tone brown/black. Then I moved to a darker, blue-toned black, which is a huge contrast with my extremely fair skin. I loved the black, and I loved the contrast. But my desire for blue was still alive in my heart. After wearing just black for a few months, I decided to add a little bit of blue into the mix. I thought this would be enough to satisfy my closet desire. For my first attempt with blue, I asked my stylist to add in little peek-a-boo highlights around my face. On the top, my hair looked like a normal black. Underneath, there was the prettiest sort of mermaid-y blue color that would show when I pulled my hair back. I wanted to make sure I was really okay with blue before stepping up my color game. Turns out, I LOVED it! For my last color outing two or three months ago, I asked her to put in blue highlights all over. It was magnificent. The only thing I hated about it was that it didn’t show up at all indoors. Outside in the sun, though, it was just … wow! So, so, so pretty, and I could not get enough of it. I was head over heels for it.

So, you already know where I’m going with this, right? Right! Yesterday, I dyed my hair blue, blue, blue. It’s oh-so-very blue. Scratch one thing off my bucket list! Woo Hoo! I’m pretty excited about it, as I’m sure you can tell.

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When I got to my appointment, my stylist asked me if I wanted to do the same thing we’ve done for the past few visits. I immediately gave her “the look” — you know, that expression that says “I want to do something totally new and maybe kind of crazy and a little bit scary and perhaps I’m insane for even wanting this at all.” Yeah. That look. My stylist is amazing. She got it immediately. She took one look at my very strange expression and said, “Oh boy. You’re ready to go all blue, aren’t you?” To which I nodded. I was wearing the most amazing, gorgeous sort of bright, electric blue nail polish yesterday, and I showed it to her and asked her if she could make my hair that color. And … we were off!!

It took about three and a half hours. She bleached out most of the black. Black never leaves your hair. Ever. And she couldn’t get it all out without ruining my hair, so she left some of the ends a sort of caramel brown color. On the spots where I already had blue highlights, the color bleached out to a sort of faded, greenish turquoise. Over that, she put the most amazingly gorgeous, bright electric blue. Because I had different tones and colors going on after she bleached my hair, I ended up with a few different tones and shades of blue because the bright blue mixed in with the underlying shades. It creates a lot of depth and interest, and I think it looks amazing. I feel like my stylist is a magician. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again: It’s sorcery, that’s all there is to it.

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I have to admit I was super nervous about doing this. Deciding to do the black didn’t frighten me nearly as much. Maybe because black, although a pretty radical color for me with my pale skin tone, is a normal hair color. People are born with black hair. But blue is … different … weird … unusual … wacky … crazy … Blue is a color that people are probably going to notice. For an introvert like me, the thought of that is a bit frightening. And all the normal doubts kept running through my head: you’re too old to do this … you’re not pretty enough to have wild hair … you’ll look ridiculous … and on and on and on. I have a lot of doubts. Always. And the little Negative Nellie who lives in the back of my brain kept reminding me that I would regret doing this; that I would hate it the next day and every day thereafter, but I would be stuck with it.

It’s hard to push ahead amid doubts and insecurities. I’ve been thinking about doing this for years and actively talking myself into it for months. Even so, when it came time to do it, I was so close to backing out. The whole idea seemed too crazy and ridiculous to me. In the end, I told my Negative Nellie to shut up, and I went for it. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. When it was all done and I saw it finished for the first time, I was amazed. And so much in love. It’s so, so, so pretty. And, more than that, it made me feel pretty. And strong. And courageous.

And how did I feel today? I got up and looked in the mirror first thing this morning. I had almost forgotten about it, like maybe the whole thing happened in a dream or something. There was a momentary shock of surprise at seeing all the blue. But it was a good shock. And I told myself, “Self, why didn’t we do this sooner? Why didn’t we do this years ago?” I think my Self agrees. Blue is good.

Gone To Texas

I spent the past month or so in my beloved Texas. Overall, I hate traveling. Being an introvert, I especially hate flying; there’s no way you can go through the airport without having to make very close contact with multiple strangers — often while standing around barefoot. There’s something dehumanizing about having to stand around without your shoes, particularly when you haven’t made the conscious decision to do so. Perhaps that’s just my own brand of weirdness. At any rate, I dread traveling, so much so that I tend to have sleepless nights and unsettling dreams for several days before I depart on a trip. For my Texas, though, it’s all worth it.

I live in a huge metropolitan area in the northeastern United States. Everything moves at light speed or faster here. There are almost too many choices around you, and they are shoved in your face all the time. People are not nice. Or, maybe it’s more that people are incredibly self-involved. Everyone is in too much of a hurry, consumed by the act of getting from point A to point B. Life is complicated here. And, sometimes, it’s hard. I know life is hard everywhere. But to me, it feels hard on a different level here, like hard on an emotional or spiritual level. I don’t feel like I have the words to explain it fully, but our life here, as good as it is, can leave me feeling uneasy and dissatisfied. It almost feels like things aren’t real here. Or like I’m not real.

My trip came at just the right time this year. I was at the end of my rope, hanging off the proverbial cliff of life by the very tips of my fingernails. Dealing with a grumpy pre-teen child and a grumpy, stressed-out husband had left me feeling useless and more than a little bit lost. I couldn’t make things better for my husband. I couldn’t make things better for my daughter. I couldn’t manage to write or even sit down and think. I felt like the most useless failure ever; it was as if life itself was closing in around me. I needed things to be quiet and calm. I needed space. I needed my life to shut up for a bit. I even needed the doubts in my own head to take a chill pill and be quiet for a change. I don’t know … Sometimes, you just need to run away.

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I won’t say that my trip was perfect or without its stresses. Because that would be a lie. We spent the first four or five days in San Antonio with my husband’s family for his  younger brother’s wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, but a bit stressful, as weddings usually are. Even though I’ve known them for a long time, I’ve never been completely at ease with my in-laws. My mother-in-law and I historically have not had the best relationship. She actively hated me for several years and did everything in her power to cause my relationship to fail horribly. In the end, I outlasted her, I guess. She is much kinder to me now, and she loves our daughter so much. I try to look past it, but I’m definitely no saint. I have a hard time with it. I think I’m getting better, though. During this trip, I was able to take a whole day toward the end of the trip to hang out just with my mother-in-law, my mom, and my daughter. It ended up being a really nice day, and I’m glad we did it. Two years ago — or even a year ago — I’m not certain I could have said that or felt that way. It’s nice to realize I’m not the same person I was even a year ago. That, maybe, I’m still growing up a bit.

I went into the trip feeling all kinds of positive about getting a lot of writing done. I felt upbeat and extra creative, and I just knew I was going to be able to break this mental stalemate I’ve had going on for longer than I would like to admit. (Seriously — months and months. It’s so frustrating.) Of course, that didn’t happen. My parents live in a fairly small town, but there is a cafe / book store not too far from their house. I had halfway planned on going there for a bit of writing time every day. Unfortunately, that store is going out of business; it was in the process of being liquidated during my visit, so there was no writing space to be had there. I’m sure I could have gone somewhere else in town — the library or some other restaurant / coffee spot. But I just … didn’t. I’m honestly not sure why. Maybe a mix of things. I doubt I could have gone alone, and having company would have made writing impossible. I felt overwhelmed and shy with the idea of trying to find a new place to go. And I guess I just wasn’t committed enough. I don’t feel like that was the case; I feel like there was a complex mixture of anxiety and avoidance and emotional crap going on. But my husband has told me it all boils down to a lack of commitment; that I just don’t want it badly enough. I don’t know. He knows me pretty well … Maybe he’s right.

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Whatever the case, I decided to try writing at my parents’ house. In retrospect, I don’t know why the heck I did this to myself. I knew, going into it, that it wouldn’t work. Neither of my parents take my writing seriously. They don’t like the type of fiction I write; they aren’t interested in hearing about it or reading it. Overall, I feel my creative aspirations are a bit of a joke to both of them, and always have been. Not that they would admit this out loud, but actions speak volumes. I was a very closeted writer as a kid. I learned, early on, to take the thoughts and ideas that were important to me and hold them close.

My parents — and, in particular, my mom — are pretty high maintenance. My mom talks All The Time. She will talk to me no matter what I’m doing. She talks to me if she sees me with my headphones on, listening to music or watching a movie. She expects me to talk back or answer her questions, which means I constantly have to stop what I’m doing. If she sees me sitting down to work on my computer, she takes that as her cue to get out her own computer so that I can give her lessons. I basically teach her the same five things over and over, which is frustrating. At the same time, I am really proud of her that she is trying to learn something new and that she is actually getting out there onto the internet. I know she is pushing herself way beyond her comfort zone, and that is both a wonderful and a terrifying thing.

I managed to string together a few sentences. It’s not enough to make me feel particularly good about my efforts or to feel that I have managed to break through my hellishly persistent writer’s block. But it’s definitely better than nothing. I did a lot of thinking about my writing — about plots and ideas and characters and where I would like things to go, story-wise. In looking at the positives, I feel this is also important work, even if it doesn’t immediately make me feel as if I have made any progress.

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So, yeah … There are a lot of things I didn’t get done during my trip. But here’s what I did manage to accomplish:

I watched life go by and savored the syrupy slowness of it all. I stood on a bridge and watched the river. I listened to the laughter and joy of the families playing in the shallows. I felt the heat and the sweat of summer, and the simplicity of it made me happy. I watched sunsets. I looked at the clouds and imagined what it would be like to live up there, just build a house in amongst all that solid-looking fluff.  I saw deer meandering through my parents’ neighborhood, so close and so unafraid that I could almost walk right up to them before they decided to dart away. I watched westerns and read books. I played Polly Anna with my mom and daughter. I slept late. I shared old memories with my mom and my daughter, and we made new ones, too. I watched the hummingbirds buzz around my parents’ yard and listened to the cicadas during the heat of the day. I reveled in the feeling of having nothing to do and no particular place where I had to be. I breathed the air and gave myself space for thinking. I laughed every day. I enjoyed my parents. I saw my brother, my aunt and uncles, and my cousins. I hugged and loved them all. I loved how very real the world around me suddenly felt, as if all the cares and worries of my “normal life” had melted away — or, at the very least, faded into the background.

And, my very favorite thing of all … Every evening, in the hour before sunset when the air turned a little cooler, I walked. My daughter came with me, and we walked all around my parents’ town. Down to the river, over by the Catholic Church where we attended Mass every weekend, by the Catholic school, down the main street past restaurants and stores to the library, back through the public square, across to the courthouse, and then home to my parents’ house. We hunted Pokemon every night. We visited our normal PokeStops and fought to take over gyms. My daughter tried to explain the fine points of the game to me, but she ended up deciding I am a bit hopeless at it. I did manage to catch about ten pokemon, though. Mostly, we talked and laughed. And, in the quietest moments, I felt my breath catch in my throat and my heart beat a little bit faster. Because life was good.

Dirt Devil

I feel like I have one of these living in my house. Not the kind that cleans up dirt, but the kind that spins around and creates more and more mess.

I’ve been away from home for about a month. Shortly before I left, my cleaning ladies quit suddenly. I’m not nearly as upset about the cleaning ladies quitting as I thought I would be. There are many positives to our new situation, not the least of which is that they had gotten pretty careless with my things. Each time they came, I would find more and more things broken. They were also rather judgmental about my house at times, so having them come had become stressful for me. I’m such an introvert that having strangers in my house — even strangers I’m used to — is pretty upsetting. I feel relieved knowing they won’t be coming any more. Given how stressful it had become for me to have them in my house, I probably should have let them go quite some time ago. But I felt bad doing it, because I worried that it would take away part of their income. Their sudden and abrupt departure relieved me of that guilt, which was a good thing. Also, it’s really nice to know I can now save back the money I was spending every other week to have them clean the house. So, yeah … Lots of positives, even if it wasn’t a change I instigated.

My house is not the cleanest. There are only three of us, but we are all a bit lazy and lax about putting our things away and doing the regular cleaning chores. Things tend to be dusty and cluttered. For the most part, I’m the only one who cleans, and I often feel overwhelmed with all the clutter, so I avoid the whole thing. I feel frustrated and annoyed that I can’t keep my house clean. The nooks and crannies, in particular, will never be clean. I know I need to learn to accept this, but I can’t seem to manage it. And there are the dogs. I love the dogs. Sometimes, I love them a lot more than I love my husband and child. This might make me a bad person … Or maybe not. I’m not sure, but it is the truth of things. Sometimes, I find the dogs much easier to get along with than a grumpy pre-teen and a grumpy hubby. Plus, the dogs are always happy to see me. Always. I don’t feel I can say the same about the rest of my family. No matter how much I love them, though, I have to admit the dogs are a big source of dirt and dust. They shed like crazy. They go outside … then inside … then outside … then inside … then outside … then inside (you get the picture), which means quite a bit of dirt and dust gets tracked back into the house.

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So, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been away from home for a month. Before I left, I cleaned the whole house. I probably didn’t clean it as well as the cleaning ladies would have done, but I did do a whole top-to-bottom thing: vacuum, mop, bathrooms, dust, etc … My husband, much as I adore him, is not a cleaner. He’s more of a clutterer. Even so, I had hopes that I could come home to a relatively clean house. After all, all he had to do was run the vacuum over the floors once or twice and, maybe, refresh the bathroom that he was using regularly. He was the only one at home, so I reasoned this fact alone would help. I mean, fewer people making a mess is a good thing, right?

Wrong. I came home to a wreck of a house. Clearly, my personal dirt devil had a field day (or a whole series of field days) while I was absent. Nothing had been done for the whole month that I was gone. No vacuuming, no mopping, no dusting, no … well, you kind of get the picture, right? There was enough dog hair on the downstairs carpet to make a whole new dog! And a fine coating of dust decorated every flat surface. Thankfully, there were only a couple of dishes left in the sink. I had almost expected to come home to a whole pile of those, too. If that had happened, I think I might have cried a little bit. Even so, it was a little demoralizing. I guess, if I want to look for the positives, I could tell myself that this shows how much I’m needed at home. But, somehow, it didn’t feel that way when I stood in my entryway and stared at the mess in front of me. I almost wished I hadn’t come home. It all just felt like too much, and I stood there, staring at it all in dismay and thinking that I needed a good, stiff drink. Or three.

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Today, though, I have wrangled some sort of order out of the chaos. My husband even helped me. We vacuumed and dusted and mopped and dusted some more. I even got down into all the nooks and crannies, sending the dust bunnies scurrying for safety. There’s still a lot of work to do, but at least I feel like the house is livable again for the foreseeable future. And my dirt devil has been tamed — for the moment, anyhow. Take that, dirt devil!

July Nail Polish Shenanigans

So … It’s been a while, Blog. I’ve been out of town and pretty much off the grid for the past month or month and a half. It was a really good and refreshing break, and I hope to do some blogging about it in the very near future. For now, though, I have a ton of work to catch up on around my house and pictures to put on my computer and edit, which means it may be a few more days before I can do a substantive post. BUT (!!) there is still nail polish fun to be had. I decided I would do a different kind of “wrap-up” and include pictures of pretty much everything I wore during the past month. I think one or two of these might have been on the very tail end of June instead of July, but they haven’t been included in a blog post yet. So I feel like that makes them fair game.

These aren’t in any particular order. Even though I managed to grab pictures of most of what I wore, I didn’t keep records of when I wore them. I was on vacation, after all! With that said, buckle up for a looooong post of nail polish goodness. (eek!)

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This is Native Warpaints, “Bog of Eternal Stench”. Talk about a yucky name for a super pretty polish! I know I wore this one in June, because I already had pictures of it saved on my computer.

So I’m a total sucker for yellow and gold polishes. And I also love polishes that are “ugly pretty”. I think this one falls into both of those categories. In the bottle, it really does look kind of boggy or swampy, in a way. The color seems sort of a muddy golden yellow-brown, but with these surprising flashes of blue and green. I fell hard for this one from the beginning. And, it did not disappoint! I love it so much on my nails. I think it’s a fun color for Spring/Summer, but it will also be fantastic in the Fall because of the deep sort of golden look to it.

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This is Zoya, “Stassi”. I can’t even with this polish. Can’t. Even. It is so, so, so, so pretty. I love this tone of green, but there are blue and golden glitters in here that really take this polish to the next level. I was so happy with the depth and appearance of this one when I had it on my nails. It looks airy and ethereal, and (dare I say it?) mermaid-y. Yep, I totally said it. At any rate, I have so much love for this one. Wearing it made me super happy. Heck, just looking at pictures of it makes me super happy!

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This is Zoya, “Song”. *sigh* What can I even say about this one? It’s no secret that I’m crazy for the blues. But, even if I didn’t like blue at all, I think I would adore this polish. It is breathtaking. Seriously. When I first saw it on my nails, I did that little gasp thing that you do when you’re happily surprised. Yep. Gasp and awe. This polish is a beautiful and deep blue. And it seems to glow from somewhere deep within the polish. I found it to be moody and just gorgeous. It’s destined to be a favorite of mine.

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This is Zoya, “Ivanka”. Oh. My. Good googley gosh!! I think this polish might be my favorite green. It is cool and deep and lovely. I like the way you can see so many darker flakes down within the polish and on the nail. It gives this one a lot of depth and beauty that shines through in every light. I’ve never considered myself much of a green fan. I don’t hate it, but it’s just not my favorite shade to wear on my nails. Even so, I really didn’t want to take this one off. It’s just that fantastic.

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This is Sinful Colors, “Mist-erious”. I love me some Sinful Colors. This polish brand is a great deal, and they have a really great selection of colors. They usually have a fabulous formula, too. Usually. Sadly, I would have to say this polish falls into the exception  pile, formula-wise. I found it to be a bit too thick and gloopy because of the strong shimmer running through it. I feel like I’m pretty experienced with doing my nails, and I had to fight with this one to get a decent manicure. It wasn’t possible to get anything other than a thick coat on my nails, but the polish had a tendency to pull up with the brush. So, I had to do at least two coats (and three on a couple of nails). I ended up feeling like this manicure looked too thick, overall.

Color-wise, I really like this one. It’s a super pretty light blue color with silvery shimmer. I thought the shimmer showed up quite well in the bottle. But I didn’t feel like it showed up as much on my nails.

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This is OPI, “Today I Accomplished Zero”. I have no idea what rock I was hiding under when the OPI Coca Cola collection came out, but, for whatever reason, I didn’t get any of these polishes when they were released. Of course, I later looked at swatches of them online and fell hard for several of them. By then, they were nowhere to be found in my corner of the universe. But I got lucky (yay!) on my recent trip, because I found my favorites in a store near where my parents live. This polish was one of them.

My daughter actually picked this one out for me to wear. I had been wanting to try it, as it looks fantastic in the bottle. But, I kept hesitating because it felt so Fall/Winter to me. Not that I’m usually one to care much for seasons when it comes to polish. I pretty much wear what I want when I want. But there is something about 100+ degree weather in S. Texas that makes one a bit reluctant to bust out the dark colors! I don’t think I would have put this one on right away if my kiddo hadn’t insisted.

Man, am I glad she did! This polish is FANTASTIC. It is just as amazing on the nail as it is in the bottle. I felt like the glitters, which seem so packed when you look at it in the bottle, applied a bit sparsely on the first coat. With the following coats, though, I got a good scattering of them onto my nails. There is something about the coppery orange-red glitters combined with the black base that just gets me where I live. This one reminds me of bubbles in a glass of soda, and I love that! One drawback with this polish is that the base is very sheer (jelly/crelly), so I had to use three coats to get the opacity I wanted. Also, I wasn’t expecting the base to be as thin as it was, so I had some trouble with the polish flooding into my cuticles and the sides of my nails. Even so, I adored this polish, and will happily wear it again. And again. And again. And again …

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Apologies for the lack of a bottle shot in this picture. This is OPI, “Petal Soft” over OPI, “You’re So Vain-illa”.

“You’re So Vain-illa” is another polish from the Coca Cola collection, and it was one that I loved when I saw pics of it swatched online. Sadly, I’m not sure I adore it on me in real life. It was a lot more yellowy-brown than I expected it to be, so I found the color to be a bit disappointing. Not that it’s not a pretty color, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Still, it could be that I just wore it on an off day. I might love it the next time I wear it.

“Petal Soft”, the glitter topper in this picture, was a bit of an impulse buy. I honestly have no idea what possessed me to get this one. It’s not at all like what I would normally buy. It has beautiful matte hexes in it, which are all different sizes, as well as matte flowers (although I didn’t manage to get any of the flowers out onto my nails). It’s all shades of pink and white — very soft and very feminine and very dainty. It’s not at all me, as I am not any of those things. And  yet, I love, love, love this one. I think it’s so pretty, and I can’t wait to try it out over some different tones of blue and gray.

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This is OPI, “Orange You Fantastic”, another polish from the Coca Cola Collection. I surprised myself by LOVING this polish. It is so, so pretty in the bottle, and I was drawn to it immediately. Even so, I hesitated (a lot) because it’s orange. Orange is not a color I usually buy or wear. Now, though, I’m glad I got this one, because I truly adore it. It is such a fun and playful polish. I love the orange base color combined with all the different sizes of gold glitter. This one is super sparkly in the sun, and it (much like the “Zero” polish above) looks like bubbles in soda. So, so fun and pretty!!

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This is China Glaze, “UV Meant to Be”. This is a lovely polish. From what I can remember, it had a pretty decent formula. I don’t recall it being super streaky or difficult to apply, although I think I had to do three coats on a couple of my nails. That might have been “user error”, though. I love the color. It’s a perfect and perfectly beautiful mid-tone blue. Not as exciting as some of the things I wore during July, but I feel this one is destined to be a staple in my collection. I also think this color is going to be fabulous under several of my glitter toppers.

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This is A. England, “Excalibur”. I thought I had already blogged this polish, so I’m pretty sure I wore it either on the tail end of June or early in July. But … I looked back over previous posts and didn’t see it listed anywhere. Apologies if I missed it and am sharing it a second time. (Although, it’s such a fantastic polish, I suppose sharing it more than once isn’t a huge crime.)

What can I even say about this polish? It is stunning. I love the mixture of silver and gold, which gives this polish a beautifully warm glow on the nail. It reminds me of a soft, comforting kind of light — like the light from a house’s windows falling onto snow on a cold winter night or the warm and cozy glow of a fireplace. Just … yum. I loved this one so much. And, like all the other A. England polishes I have tried, this one was absolutely perfect, formula-wise. Seriously — does that company even make a bad/difficult polish?

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This is A. England, “Excalibur Renaissance”. Funny story about this one: I originally ordered the gold/silver Excalibur pictured above, but the seller accidentally sent me this all-silver version, instead. It’s understandable, as the names are so similar. Once I contacted the seller, they sent out the correct polish right away and told me to keep this one, too. Talk about an exciting and lucky bonus for me!

I’m not sure I would have ever purchased this polish on my own. It’s a bit too metallic and silvery and kind of hard in appearance, so it never appealed to me enough to push me into ordering it. With that said, I’m really glad I ended up with this one because … WOW! It is spectacular. It’s such a perfect and beautiful color of silver. And, for a very metallic polish, it applied easily. I don’t have perfect nails, so I wasn’t sure if this one would even look good on me. But I was pretty happy with it. I think this one would be a lot of fun to wear again for the Christmas and New Years holiday season.

Weekly Nail Wrap-Up

I can’t believe it’s the end of another week. I swear my summer is going by at super lightning-fast speed, just like the school year did. I had been looking forward to the end of school so that we could enjoy lazy days and just spend time relaxing. This did not happen. Thankfully, I have my ever-growing nail polish addiction to keep me (sort of) sane.

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This week, I started out with Zoya, “Muse”. In celebration of the 4th of July holiday, Zoya ran a special where you could order three polishes and, then, get three polishes for free — plus free shipping. You can bet I was all over that lovely deal! So, I happily scratched six new Zoya polishes off of my “need to get it” list. That’s always a good feeling, even if I know my list will only continue to grow.

This polish was one of the ones I got in my Zoya order. I honestly was not sure what to expect from this polish, because the pictures of it on Zoya’s site look nothing like what I saw when I unwrapped my bottle. I was halfway expecting a sort of metallic-frosty kind of finish that was, more or less, solid. I was NOT expecting mermaid glitter goodness! Talk about an amazing surprise!

Oh. My. GOSH! I love this one so much. Just look at those pinkish, iridescent sparkles in the bottle! And, even though they are super hard to photograph properly, those sparkles show up on the nail. I adore this color of blue, too. It’s peaceful and relaxing and perfect for summer. It definitely hits my happy spot, color-wise. This really is the perfect mermaid finish polish. Love it so much!!!

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I guess it was the week of glitter for me, because I moved on to this: Sinful Colors, “Army Brat”. I layered it over China Glaze, “Change Your Altitude”. Honestly, I am not much of a pink polish or pink glitter person. I was immediately drawn to this topper when I saw it in the store, and that surprised me. Because, you know … pink. Lots and lots of pink.

But (!!) I really loved this one on my nails. I also loved it layered over this particular gray. Change your Altitude is a kind of warm-toned gray, so I think it went well with the pinks in this glitter. It was neutral but also let the pinks kind of pop out. I really liked the combination of holographic glitter and matte glitters in this topper. I’m a sucker for matte glitter, in particular. And the different sizes and shapes gave this polish a very pretty look, depth, and texture.

Overall, I loved this whole manicure. I thought it was very pretty and girly, but also kind of had a little bit of tomboy edge to it. I felt like it made my nails and hands look prettier than usual. (Is that nuts of me? Ha, ha.)

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The one thing that bugged me, at first, about “Army Brat” was that I could see these cute-looking, larger matte black glitters in the bottle. But I pretty much could not get any of them out on my nails. I am seldom willing to use a toothpick to fish around for glitter pieces. I think I’m just too lazy or something. But, I ended up getting one of these glitters to show up on my right pinky nail. I realized I am not a fan. Suddenly, not getting any of the larger matte glitters out of the bottle didn’t seem like such a bad thing.

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But the next glitter I used had matte black glitter to spare! This is Sinful Colors, “Under Cover”. I wore it over Orly, “Kiss the Bride”. Honestly, I’m not sure exactly why I decided to give this one a try. It looks like a hot mess in the bottle. There’s such a jumble of everything in there. In the store, I pulled out the brush and caught a glimpse of what I thought were smaller blue glitters in amongst the matte black. I think that’s what sold me on trying it. I wasn’t expecting much.

I’m happy to say, though, that this topper is fantastic! I love the juxtaposition of the matte black glitter pieces with the light pink base color and with the pink glitters, too. There were smaller blues in there, along with very sparkly holographic pieces. I thought it was a fantastic look, overall. And I enjoyed the heck out of this manicure.

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I’m rounding out the week with Native War Paints, “Sir Didymus”. This is part of their new Labyrinth collection. A week or so ago, I pre-ordered my three favorites from this collection, and I was happily surprised when they showed up in my mailbox yesterday. Yay! Of course, I immediately had to try this color out. I mean, look at it! It’s right in my favorite color comfort zone.

I’m loving this polish so far. It went on in two easy coats. The blue is vibrant and gorgeous. But there is so much more to this polish than just the beautiful blue color. It has a sort of silver shimmer running through it, as well as darker blue pieces. I’m not sure how to describe them. They aren’t exactly glitter, but they do give the polish extra depth and dimension. I love the finish, and I think this polish is beautiful. I’m looking forward to trying out the other two that were in my order. (One of them has already gone onto my toes!)

The Witchy Itch

I’m still struggling with back, hip, and knee pain from our car accident. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like such a wimp over this. I feel like the accident was three weeks ago, so I should be feeling better already. Especially because I’ve been hitting the PT in a fast and furious sort of way. Not by choice, but because I only have a limited amount of time before I have to leave town for a month. I’m trying to fit in as much as I can before I go. I didn’t have any broken bones. According to the orthopedist, I had a lot of bruising and soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries sound … well, soft, right? Yeah. Wrong. I’m beginning to wonder if a broken bone would have been easier to heal. At least I could put a broken bone into a cast or splint or something. Not that I want to have broken bones. I’m really happy and feel very lucky that I walked away without breaking anything. It’s just that the injuries I have are starting to wear on me a bit, mentally and physically.

My physical therapist and trainer both tell me I need to be more patient. They both like to remind me that the accident wasn’t really that long ago — not even a month yet. And that I haven’t been in PT for that long. And I have made progress. There is a part of me that understands what they are saying and that knows they are telling me the truth. But then, there’s this irrational, annoyed part of my brain that’s like, “NO! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! I want things back to normal, and I want them that way NOW!!” I like to think of this part of my brain as my inner three-year-old. And she is tossing off some major tantrums. I’m tired of feeling worn-out and exhausted. I’m tired of dragging around my aching hip and of feeling that dull ache and burn in my back at the end of the day or after performing tasks that used to be easy for me. I’m tired of feeling like I’m going to be sick and/or pass out when anything accidentally bumps up against my sore knee. I’m sick of not being able to work out. I just feel … annoyed and petulant and pissed off.

I’m not mad at my physical therapist. My husband was driving our car, and I know he feels bad about the accident. But I’m not mad at him. How could I be, when none of this is his fault? I’m not even mad at the guy who T-boned us. It was an accident, after all. I’m sure the accident ruined that guy’s day, too. I’m mad at myself. Because I just feel like, “Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I feel better already? Why can’t things just be fixed?” I know I’m being spoiled, irrational, and unreasonable, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The thoughts are still there.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping since the accident happened. I generally have trouble falling asleep at night. (Thanks for that, middle age hormones.) Now, though,  I can’t manage to stay asleep once I finally drift off. I’m too uncomfortable. Everything hurts, so I end up tossing and turning for most of the night. After struggling through this for about a week or week and a half, I finally decided to take my husband’s advice and call my doctor. I was reluctant to do this because I’m stubborn and because I have this irrational idea that things should just be “back to normal” by now. Also, I was pretty sure my doctor would be suspicious as heck and think I was a potential drug addict in training if I asked for pain medication.

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My doctor was pretty cool about the whole thing. She only mildly treated me like a budding drug addict. And she prescribed Tylenol 3 for me. For the first few nights, it was bliss. The Tylenol 3 doesn’t necessarily help me fall asleep, but it did a heck of a job at knocking out my pain so that I could manage to stay asleep all night once I did drop off. I felt ever-so-much-better for having a few nights of decent sleep under my belt. It was great to wake up in the morning and feel refreshed, as opposed to feeling like something a cat dragged in, barfed up on the rug, ate, then barfed up again . Yeah. Not a good feeling.  Finally, I thought, I’m making some progress. Finally, I am going to start feeling like a normal person again. I was all kinds of happy.

It didn’t last. For the past four nights or so, I haven’t been able to sleep because I’ve been too itchy. Just itchy all over: face, head, arms, legs, torso … Basically, if there’s a place where I can itch, I’m itching. I can’t manage to fall asleep because I’m too busy scratching and tossing-turning to get comfortable or to find a sleeping position that won’t make me itch.

I never made the connection between the itching and my Tylenol 3 because I had taken it for a few days with no issues. Last night, though, I broke out in hives. That was a new and not-so-fun experience. Few things are as annoying as hives at 2AM. As I’m standing in front of the bathroom mirror, watching the hives spread across my left shoulder and chest, I started thinking about anything I’ve eaten or done or taken that’s different or unusual. And it hit me like a ton of something really heavy: the Tylenol 3. I looked up possible reactions and, sure enough, there it was: itching and hives.

I don’t know if I’m allergic to this medication. I don’t know if it’s the Tylenol or the codeine causing the itching and hives. I do know I am going to have to make another call to my doctor’s office this afternoon. And the perpetual three-year-old that lives inside my brain is not happy about it. At all. She keeps reminding me that the doctor will FOR SURE think I’m a drug addict this time. What’s even worse is that the rational, adult side of my brain has, apparently, decided to let three-year-old me take control. And so, I’m left with this overriding sense of … Do. Not. Like.

Ugh. Just … Ugh.

 

The Day of Doing Nothing

Happy 4th of July to my fellow US peeps. As I sit here typing, there are fireworks going off all around my house. It sounds like I’m in the middle of a mini war zone or something. My dogs are none too happy about it, either. I can hear them downstairs, howling. Poor pups. They hate fireworks. And thunderstorms.

I don’t know how everyone spends the 4th, but, for us, it’s usually a day of hanging out together. And spent mostly outside. We grill. Sometimes, we take a walk or hike. Maybe we go to the pool. We might go see a movie. And my husband and daughter usually go to see our town’s fireworks display. We are within walking distance of a  pretty good viewing area, which is nice. Around here, it’s always nice when you don’t have to fight traffic or search for parking.

Our 4th of July plans this year were a bit derailed by the weather. It rained all day, which meant no grilling or pool. None of us much felt like getting out in the rain to see a movie. The official fireworks are rescheduled for tomorrow. And I’m still feeling the pain from our car wreck a couple of weeks ago, which  meant walking or hiking was pretty much out of the question. Instead, we ended up with a very long and very boring day spent at home.

It. Was. Glorious.

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I can’t remember the last time I did absolutely nothing without feeling (very) guilty about it. We cleaned the house last night and finished that up this morning. My daughter had a friend over for the day, and they had fun baking and playing video games. At least, I think they had fun, if the giggles are any indication.

I’ve been feeling sore and tired and grouchy and stressed and just … well, worn-out. The past several weeks  have become a blur of running around and trying to keep appointments while also searching for a somewhat affordable new car. It’s been difficult for all of us, I think. My husband has been more stressed than usual. I’ve been more stressed than usual. Things have just not been very happy in our house.

Today, after my daughter’s friend arrived, I decided to go back to bed. I planned to rest my aching back and hip a little bit while playing Dragonvale and reading. Just for an hour or two. I fell asleep and ended up sleeping for about three hours! This pretty much never happens for me. Now, I’m sitting here looking at the clock and thinking about going to  bed at about 9 o’clock in the evening. Oh yeah, I’m a total party animal today.

Tomorrow will come soon enough, with its demands and worries and cares. For today, I think I will while away my time doing a little bit of nothing. And enjoying every moment.

 

Weekly Nail Wrap Up + June Favorites

I can’t believe it’s July already! Just … wow. The past several weeks have been super busy in my neck of the woods, with doctors’ appointments, physical therapy appointments, errands, summer camp, and car searching tossed in on top of the stuff of every day living. Even so, I feel like June flew by in about a nanosecond. Or less. I don’t know what happened. June, what happened to you! Yikes!! Before I know it, I’m going to be closing in on September and the start of a  new school year. I’m already dreading that. Must. Not. Think. About. It.

So, to make up for my week of no blues last week, it seems I kind of went into “blue overload” this week! I keep on saying I should do a week or two of all blues. This week almost fell into that category, but I have one black polish that swooped in to save the day (so to speak). And, since we’re into a new month, I’m going to stick my June favorites at the end of this post.

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So, I started off the week wearing China Glaze, “Rain Dance the Night Away”. I. LOVE. THIS. POLISH. LOVE IT!! This color is perfection. It’s pretty much the perfect turquoise in my eyes. And wearing this made me so, so, so, sooooo happy. I didn’t want to take it off.

Formula-wise, this one wasn’t super fantastic. I don’t know how this works, but this polish was thin and runny and thick and gloopy all at the same time. It was very weird, because I felt like, if I wasn’t careful enough, it would slide down off my nail and flood my cuticles. At the same time, so much came out on the brush that each coat seemed to go on super thick. I’m not opposed to thick coats of polish, but I generally try to stay on the thinner side, application-wise.  Because of the thick coats, it took forever to dry. And I almost had a bubbling problem. I was able to fix it before it set.

I will definitely wear this one again, even though I think I will have to work with it quite a bit. The color is amazing and perfect, which makes all the hassle more than worth it to me.

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This is A. England, “Heathcliff”. I think I’ve already mentioned (five or a hundred times) how I’ve recently fallen hard for this brand of polish. I think it might be my new favorite brand, and I am basically in “want to buy ALL the polishes” mode. Which, I know, will never happen. But I’m super happy whenever I can add two or three of them to my ever-growing polish hoard.

“Heathcliff” was part of my latest A. England acquisition. There were three polishes in my order, and two of them were dark colors. I felt a little bit weird about this because it’s Summer, and I know we all think about bright and vibrant polishes during the Summer. I’m weird in that I don’t really follow the seasons with my polish choices. Even so, I had a little bit of “What the heck are you doing?!?” running through my brain as I completed my order.

But. But, but, but, BUT!!! Oh my gosh, this polish is so beautiful. In some lights, it looks black with kind of silvery sparkles/glitter. And then, you see it in a different type of lighting and … BOOM (!!): RAINBOWS. There are so many different colors of glitter in this polish. And all of them show up beautifully on the nail. I don’t know how A. England does this. It’s sorcery, I tell ‘ya! Sorcery! And I love every bit of it.

Like all my other A. England polishes, this one applied like a dream. I did two easy coats, although I probably could have done just one. I can already tell this polish will be a favorite, and I’m going to enjoy the heck out of it in winter (when I can wear it without anyone giving me the side-eye — ha, ha!).

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Next, I wore China Glaze, “Bahamian Escape”. I originally purchased this color because the inter webs say it’s a possible dupe for OPI’s “What’s with the Cattitude?”. “Cattitude” is on my lemming list because it’s such a gorgeous shade of blue, and, also, because I hadn’t gotten back into nail polish when the collection containing that polish was released. And so, I am relegated to searching out possible dupes. Obsession is real, people! *heavy sigh*

Is this one a dupe? I dunno. I mean, a lot of internet denizens think it is. Based on different pictures I’ve seen, I’m not convinced. I feel like “Cattitude” is a lighter sort of blue. But, this polish is amazingly gorgeous, all on its own. I absolutely do not regret purchasing it, even if it’s not a dupe for my lemming-obsession. This is such a beautiful, sort of mid-tone blue. It’s bright and vibrant without being too in-your-face. And the formula was pretty terrific. From what I recall, it was two easy coats for this one, although I had a little bit of trouble with the color pulling off a couple of nails when I applied too much pressure from my brush.

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Last, but certainly not least, I have Zoya, “Rebel”. I have a long, long list of Zoya polishes that I super-duper-must-have-it-now WANT. Luckily, Zoya doesn’t seem to discontinue many colors, so time is on my side. Right now, Zoya is running a 4th of July special where you can buy three polishes and get three free + free shipping, too. Talk about a fantastic deal! Since “Rebel” was on my ever-so-long list, I wasted little time in popping it into my shopping cart and running for the hills.

In seeing pictures of this color online, I didn’t realize it was kind of frosty/metallic looking. I don’t think it really qualifies as “frosty”, but I don’t think it’s exactly “metallic”, either. Maybe something in between the two? At any rate, I love the finish to this polish. It goes so well with the color and, I think, gives the polish a very light and airy sort of feeling.

And I love this color. It’s such a beautiful and light blue. It reminds me of a favorite pair of blue jeans, after they have been worn and loved and washed. It is soft and comfortable and goes with just about everything. I think it’s a beautiful color for Summer. But I think it will also be really pretty in the winter, since it’s kind of an icy blue.

JUNE FAVORITES:

These were my favorites out of the polishes I wore during June. Again, these are not listed in any particular order. I usually list from oldest (first worn) to newest (last worn), but I think this list is even more random than that. I’m having a magpie moment today, and I didn’t pay attention to writing down my favorites in the correct order. Some days, the concentration just doesn’t happen.

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China Glaze, “In the Lime Light”. This one won my heart because of the green to blue sort of flash it has. It gives the polish a very other-worldly sort of appearance, and I don’t have anything even remotely like this in my stash. Win!

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Glam Polish, “The Wrong Alice”. I loved this entire collection from Glam Polish. I thought every color in it was beautiful. But this blue glitter was probably my very favorite out of them all. And I love how it looks on my nails. There is such a pretty mix of glitter sizes, and it looks sparkly and fun and magical.

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Color Club, “So Crumbly”. A beautiful, light blue color mixed with matte black glitters? Yes, please!! I love the black speckles in this polish. It’s such a perfect color combination, and the formula was perfection, too. Wearing this one just made me so happy.

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A. England, “Sparks Divine”. I loved this one because it’s so elegant and feminine. It made me feel beautiful and special when I was wearing it.

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A. England, “Whispering Waves”. Such a beautiful color. I feel like it falls somewhere between blue, turquoise, and teal. And the silver shimmer — wow! This polish just seems to glow.

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A. England, “Order of the Garter”. I love this polish so much. It makes me want to run around in circles and scream like a crazy woman. So, yeah … LOVE.

No Pain, No Gain

No pain, no gain! I’ve heard this expression my whole life. I’m sure most of us have heard this expression our whole lives. Or, well … I’m sure most people who are my age have heard it. I’m not sure if anyone still says it now. But I grew up hearing it. And hating it. I’ve had coaches yell it at me during PE and extracurricular sports activities. I’ve had band directors shout it through a megaphone as an entire band grunts and groans through marching practice. I’ve had my parents say it to me about a thousand-million-gazillion times. (Is that even a number? I don’t know, but it should be.) It is one of THOSE phrases. You know, the ones that can inspire a person to murder and mayhem because they are just that darn annoying and trite.

(Side note: “A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” is another one for me. My mom loved trotting that one out constantly. If she saw me eating anything remotely fun and flavorful and bad for me, I would hear this little piece of anger-inducing wisdom. If I even looked at whole milk growing up, I would hear it. Ditto with cheese. Yadda, yadda, yadda. You get the idea. A good part of my childhood and pretty much all of my teenage years have this saying playing in the background on a continuous loop. It’s a wonder I never punched anyone in the face. But I digress …)

I am entering my second week of PT, and this will be my first week of going the whole week, for three sessions. I always thought PT stood for “physical therapy”, but I’ve begun to realize it actually stands for “physical torture”. Because, oh my googly gosh … I feel I understand that “no pain, no gain” saying. For the first time in my life, I GET IT. In the most excruciating detail possible. Because there is pain. There is so much freaking pain. I feel like I’m about a million and five years old right now, and it’s not a happy thing.

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What’s crazy is that I went into PT after our car accident, but I was in relatively good shape. Or, at least, I thought I was. I was very active before the accident. I worked out for about an hour or so three to five times a week, usually clocking in at least 4.5 miles each session. I’m not much of a runner, but I walk very swiftly. I thought that, other than whatever soft tissue damage happened in the car accident, along with the accompanying knee, back, and hip pain, I didn’t have any major problems. Well, scratch that. I’ve always had trouble with my right hip. I’ve had bursitis in it since I was around nine years old. It flares up at times, but it’s never been a constant in my life.

Unbeknownst to me, my body has been automatically adjusting and compensating for my bum hip my whole life. I didn’t even realize it, but everything on my right side has become weaker and weaker over the years, while my left side has become stronger and stronger. I was completely unbalanced! (In so many ways.) Here I was, bebopping along in my life and thinking everything was great, when it really wasn’t. And hasn’t been for quite a long time. In a way, I think I was lucky to be in the car accident. Not that I love having the knee pain, back pain, extra hip pain, and injuries that came along with it, but, without the accident, I never would have gone into PT at this point in my life. I never would have realized how much my body was compensating. I would have, likely, ended up in my sixties or seventies, suddenly being unable to move freely or perform everyday tasks.

So now, I’m trying to relearn how to do a lot of things. I’m trying to wake up muscles that have become a bit lazy. I’m trying to teach my right hip to move and work properly. She doesn’t like it, by the way. She’s a bit of a diva. I’ve become acquainted with the evil of the Lacrosse Ball on a painfully intimate level as I try to loosen up muscles and tissues that are all stiff and grumpy. It’s not a bad pain. I mean, at the time it’s happening to me … Yes, very bad pain. And I feel very grumpy about it. But, once I leave therapy, the pain feels like a good thing. No pain, no gain. It makes sense to me now.

And yet, I can’t help thinking I like my daughter’s saying much better as a touchstone for my life. She always tells me, “Mama, you’ve gotta push through — like a bulldozer!”