Sunday, June 30, 2013

GHP follow up

So what did I think of my first experience with gel nail polish? First off, I received tons of compliments on the polish. People really seemed to love the shine/glossiness. I was pretty darn impressed with it's lasting power and chip resistance. The polish lasted 7 days before chipping (my norm is about 3 days). In that time I worked in the garden, pulled weeds, washed the Jeep, cleaned house, and cooked dinner every night. Work was probably the hardest on my nails. Typing on the computer always leads to tip wear. There was no, nada, zero tip wear with this polish! This week, however, I was doing hardware upgrades and I think that was the ultimate undoing of the gel.
  Even so, I only have 3 chips after 8 days.
I didn't break a single nail this week, despite the heavy abuse of ripping apart computers.

The big downside though is that removal was a nightmare. I read the instructions and watched a bunch of instructional videos. All showed soaking a cotton ball in acetone, putting it over the nail, wrapping the nail in aluminum foil and waiting 15 minutes. They show the polish just peeling off at this point. Uhuh. Not even close. I ended up having to soak my nails in acetone and scraping the polish off with an orangewood stick. Several of my nails peeled in the process. Not happy at all. I had finally gotten most of my nails to stop peeling through several months use of OPI Nail Envy. This was a pretty big step back.

Maybe removal is easier if you wait longer than a week, I don't know. At this point I'm not even sure I want to try again. I love the idea of long lasting manicures, but not at the cost of my nail's health. If I try again it will be a gelly sandwich (gel base and top coat with standard nail polish in the middle). Perhaps this doesn't create such an impenetrable barrier.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gel Haute Polish - first thoughts

Recently Living Social offered a Gel Haute Polish starter kit for $30. I've been wanting to try gel polish but starter kits run anywhere from $50 and up so I kept putting it off. $30 sounded like a fair price and I had the money so I figured, why not?

I hit a stumbling block almost immediately. The kit came with the basic gel nail supplies (base and top coats, cleaner, remover and light) along with 3 color polishes. There were 3 color trios to choose from but the kits were not identified. I thought maybe the names were in the same order as the pictures (apparently not the case). I ordered the Fundamentals kit. Turns out this included a brown, tan and orange polish. Not my style. Thankfully LS issued me a refund so I could order a different color set. Unfortunately, they could not identify which name went with which kit. I really wanted the purple set and had a 50/50 shot at getting it when I ordered the 2nd time. This time I went with the Impluse trio. Still not right. This one includes hot pink, neon orange and turquoises green. I didn't feel like hassling with another return so I just went with this one. (FYI, if the kit comes up again and you want the purple kit, the name is Timeless).

When I redeemed my code there was an option to buy additional polishes at 50% off. I went ahead and ordered 2 purple polishes. The kit arrived in a little over a week (I paid the extra $2 for express shipping). Just in time for my long weekend.

The directions are simple to follow. The products are amazingly low in odor, much less even than regular nail polish. The process takes a while because you have to cure each coat of polish under the LED light for 2 minutes. You have to do the 4 fingers on each hand and the thumbs separately.  This is where I could see an advantage to buying one of the higher priced kits that include a more powerful light (I've seen cure times as low as 30 seconds on some of them). I didn't mind much, though. I loaded up my Youtube queue and just watched videos as my nails cured.

I found the color polish a bit difficult to apply. The instructions stress using multiple thin coats, rather than one or two thick coats. I had to apply 3 coats of color to get a decent opacity, and even this is a bit sheer for my taste. The polishes self level, which is sort of nice, but it seems to pull away from the tip of the nail. Even though my nails feel like the polish goes all the way to the edge when I touch them, they look like there is a sliver of white at the tips, giving the appearance of tip-wear. I've seen suggestions to "tip"the nails with polish (run the brush along the free edge to coat the edge with polish) but my nails aren't quite long enough to do this. I'll have to practice and see if I can't find a way around this issue.

All in all it took a little over an hour to paint and cure both hands (a normal manicure for me takes less than 20 minutes plus dry time). I love the way my nails feel. They are smooth as glass. The shine is gorgeous. I put them to quite a test yesterday afternoon...I washed the deck furniture, worked in the garden, pulled weeds, cooked dinner. Any one of those tasks would normally result in at least one chip, especially on a fresh manicure. The pictures in the post were taken today. As you can see, there is not a scratch or dent on them. Color me impressed.

They say the polish can last up to 14 days. We'll see. A standard mani lasts maybe 3-4 days on me before showing tip-wear or chipping. I'll post back how I make out with this gel polish. I'm a little anxious about the removal process (anything that involves wrapping your fingers in aluminum foil with acetone soaked cotton balls doesn't sound overly fun) but we'll see how it goes.

Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 Garden report

I feel like I'm a little late getting this post up this year. We considered not doing a garden at all this year after last year's disappointing season. But I just couldn't resist the call of nature and we've ended up with quite a nice setup.

In the long bed I've got onions and tomatoes.

This year I sort of blocked the main garden out a little bit in the Square Foot Gardening style, with all the plants in groups.

I've got 2 squash,  2 cucumbers, a boat load of peppers, both hot and sweet, 2 more tomatoes, 3 varieties of eggplant, a small patch of lettuce, a patch of spinach that did not sprout (will probably plant pumpkin here) and 2 rows of okra. Ants have been a huge problem this year. I'm trying to fight them with homemade bug spray which is working to a point.

In the far bed we moved our blueberry bush (which will soon have ripe fruit!), I also planted some Stuttgart onions (supposed good for storage) and a variety of sunflowers. I love sunflowers and can't wait for them all to bloom.

So far the weather has been good for the garden. We've had some good rain and nice sunny days. Hopefully we'll have a better summer than last year!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June Ipsy bag

My June Ipsy bag arrived this week and once again, I am delighted. This month's theme is "On the Wild Side" hence the leopard spotted bag. Here's what was included in my bag:

Cailyn Line-Fix Gel Eyeliner in Iron. I've never tried gel eyeliner so I'm excited to have received this one. The color is a silvery medium grey. It comes with a brush in the handle and applies like a dream. Full size with a retail value of $21.

StarLooks lip pencil in Bare. I am on such a nude lip kick right now and this is a perfect nude shade. Full size with a retail value of $12.

NYX Mosaic Powder in Cafe. NYX is on of my favorite makeup brands so I was psyched to see a NYX product in my bag. I am unfamiliar with their Mosaic powder. I think it is a blush or possibly a bronzer. The shade I received definitely leans towards bronzer. Full size with a value of $7.

Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter. This is a soft, creamy highlighter pencil. I love a pop of highlight under my brows and this one looks great. Not sure if this is full size, probably is, retail value $18.

J.Cats Sparklng Cream Palette. I thought this was eyeshadow, but according to Ipsy's site this is for use on the body only. It appears to be straight up glitter in a bit of a gel base. Perhaps for a Halloween look or for someone who maybe goes idea. Definitely not for me. It's going straight to the donate box. Full size, retail value  $4.49.

So, final count... received 5 full size products, 4 I will definitely use, retail value of products $62. So totally worth the $10 I paid. Truly loving Ipsy! Click here if you want to check it out.