Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Nail Picks

I noticed a theme while I was putting together my top five (turned out to be top six, whoops!) nail polishes for summer. Bright colors, unusual blues, and nudes are definitely my thing during the hotter months. Am I the only one longing for autumnal burgundies and bronzed shades? Probably. 

My favorites, in order of appearance in the line-up instead of preference, are:

1.) Butter London - Cuppa: A warm nude the color of Earl Grey tea sweetened with vanilla almond milk, my all-time favorite drink. 

2.) China Glaze - For Audrey: A beautiful Tiffany box blue named after one of the classiest, most beautiful women in the world.

3.) Zoya - Kennedy: A more pinky nude that hides chips and tip wear like nothing else — not that Zoya polishes ever chip on me. They grow out first.

4.) Butter London - Trout Pout: A creamsicle orange shade that never fails to make me crave push-pops. Does anyone else remember those? 

5.) Nails Inc - Sheraton Street: A pastel version of slate blue, one of my favorite colors. It tends to wash me out if I wear it near my face, but I can get away with it on my nails. 

6.) Butter London - Cake-Hole: As in “driver picks the music; shotgun shuts his cake-hole.” A vibrant pink that screams “summer.”

What are your favorite polishes for summer? 

Friday, June 27, 2014


I have to tell you guys about one of the most amazing restaurants in the entire south let alone the state of Mississippi. These pictures were taken a while back, and while I was scrolling through old photos, I realized I had never actually written anything about Anjou on my blog. I must rectify this immediately. 

Anjou doesn’t technically claim to be a French restaurant, but its proprietors (and one of the chefs) are French, and the food is extremely Parisian in flair. The menu features brilliant dishes like mussels in wine, salmon tartare, and quiche. Their salads are enormous — and delicious — and their soups are to die for. 

Anyone in the Jackson, MS area should pop over to Anjou for a tasty treat. (And they’re not paying me to say this, though I wish they would. Will blog for food!)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

In Search of Hair Inspiration

Here I am, once again in the dreaded hair rut of growing out a pixie. I always say I’m never going to have short hair again… and then I chop it all off. I really do want to grow it out, at least for a while, and just… have hair. For the time being, I’m in search of styles that will look cool and disguise the fact that it is just an in between style.

I’m heading back to Atlanta next week, so I’ll be dropping by to see Martha. I don’t know why I’m looking at pictures. I always go in and say, “Do what you gotta do!” It’s fun to look anyway. Suggestions?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June Beauty Favorites

My skin is horrendous at the moment. It happens every single time I get sick, so I don’t know why I’m surprised. I guess I just always hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to skip out on the blotchiness that accompanies every cold. Nope! So it’s no surprise most of my favorites are skincare related. What else is new? I promise to be more adventurous in July!

1.) Metrogel: Not the most glamorous product in the world, Metrogel is vital nonetheless. I don’t use this on a daily basis because I’m terrified my skin is going to get used to it. I hear you’re more likely to suffer flare-ups without daily use, but since I haven’t had a terrible outbreak — until now — in a few… Okay, look, I suck. I should just use it daily because it works. I just wished it worked faster

2.) Mario Badescu Drying Lotion: If Metrogel is slow to work, this little wonder makes up for it. I had a humongous zit forming above my lip, the kind that was so painful it hurt to speak. I applied a dollop of this goop on once, and the next morning it had come to a head. I was so sick that day I never left the house, so I slathered on more, and the morning after that, the massive whitehead had become a red mark. A blend of salicylic acid and calamine (with a layer of alcohol on top to keep the product from drying out), this is honestly the fastest working spot treatment I have ever used. 

3.) Mavala Nice Nail Polish*: Mavala, y u no sell your polishes in the US?! This tiny bottle (and they are tiny) was in a swap with a friend, and now I want every single shade they make. I painted my nails a couple of weeks ago and finally had to remove the polish after a whopping nine days because it had grown out from my nails like a gel manicure. I have never used a longer-lasting polish. It was crazy how good my nails looked until the color grew out too noticeably. There was only tip wear on two nails, and only if I looked for it. If you live in countries where they sell Mavala, grab it! Nice is the prettiest deep coral, perfect for summer. 

4.) Philosophy Hot Buttered Rum Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath: Okay, so this is more of an autumn/winter scent, but I don’t care. I love it anyway. It smells amazing, lathers well, and doesn’t strip my skin. If they made a Hot Buttered Rum perfume, I would use it daily and walk around smelling myself. It smells that good.

5.) Redken Color Gels 7RO Marigold: I have tried almost every single boxed red hair dye out there in search of my perfect “my color as a little girl before asthma treatments and grays wrecked it” color, but it simply can’t be found in boxed dye. I ordered a bottle of developer and a bottle of color, mixed my own at home, and it’s beautiful. I haven’t taken any pictures yet because I feel like death, so for now you’ll have to take my word for it. You shall soon see, I promise. It’s going to be so much easier to touch up the nasty grays, too. I won’t have to waste an entire bottle to touch up, and that will save money in the long run. Plus the color is better, more natural. Love!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June Non-Beauty Favorites

In spite of being the month of death and shitty internet, June has also been the month of good TV and movies. I’m actually a few days early with my favorites this month, go me!

1.) iPhone 5S/AT&T: No matter what T-Mobile’s head honcho has to say about AT&T, they truly saved my ass this month. I wouldn’t have been able to do half of my work if not for my iPhone’s nifty ability to serve as a wifi hotspot for my laptop while the internet was down. The connection wasn’t uber-fast, but it never dropped, not even during a storm. I was impressed. 

2.) The Bridge: My uncle and I missed this show the first time around, finally sat down to watch it, and got hooked. Anyone who wrote Diane Kruger off as just a pretty face has got to watch it. It’s intricately plotted, gritty, and wonderfully written. We’re halfway through the first season now, and I don’t know who the killer is for sure. Anyone who knows me will know what an impossible task it is for a mystery to retain suspense for me, and this has. I’m looking forward to season two!


3.) Game of Thrones: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” (Cue incoherent babbling and sniffling). How do you like your lion now, Shae? How do you like your lion now?! Ahem. That out of the way, wow. This past season has been intense. I thought it was going to be hard to come close to the Red Wedding in terms of tugging at my heartstrings, but several episodes have really done it. And now the wait begins…

4.) Maleficent: I will preface by saying that, yes, it was predictable. I still thought it was a beautiful movie. It made me happy at a time when I was feeling a little low. Despite the predictable ending, it had rich, likable characters, and there was one scene where Angelina Jolie broke my heart into little pieces. It isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a good movie, and she does a fantastic job. 

5.) X-Men: Days of Future Past: How many of you immediately started singing Time In a Bottle? Show of hands. I enjoyed First Class, but I entered DoFP not really knowing whether I would like it or not, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Like any fan of the comics, I had a few quibbles with certain things, but overall, it was really good. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender play off of each other brilliantly, and Hugh Jackman made me care about Wolverine again. (It’s not personal. They’ve just over-saturated the X-Men world with Wolverine, and I’d like other characters to get some attention). Go see it! 

6.) FIFI World Cup: Ow, ow, ow, ow. Ouch! I almost listed this as a Hell No because England was utterly destroyed… again. Don’t even call me unpatriotic for not rooting for the USA. Donovan’s antics turned me against the team, and even with him out of the picture, I still have a sour taste in my mouth. I guess I’ll heed Derek’s advice and root for Germany. Still fun to watch, but ow. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

I Don't Like Mondays

This has turned out to be quite a lousy month. Three people I know have died. I’m sick with some kind of bug that causes fever, full body aches, a constant headache, and a sore throat. The internet wasn’t working for close to two weeks. 

Enough whining. I just thought I would give a head’s up to explain the abysmal quality of my blog these past few days. 

Happy Monday.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rest In Peace, Brenda Carr

I am speechless. It still doesn’t feel like it actually happened. One of the kindest, bravest women I have ever met died yesterday morning. She was 65 years old. In the short time I knew her, she made me feel like family. I suspect everyone who met her will say the same thing. 

Rest in peace, Brenda. You will be missed. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014


(No, the puppy and kitten have zip to do with the topic, but they're cute!)

Fellow bloggers, what do you do when you don’t know what to blog about? I recently went through a patch where I had absolutely no inspiration whatsoever. Now I have tons of ideas I’ve jotted down and plan to work on over the next few weeks, but paranoia has started to creep in. 

What am I going to do when I’ve done everything on my list?

How do you keep things fresh? Where do you turn for inspiration? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Wants #8

Being as pale as I am, the summer sun is my worst enemy, so I have a fairly large hat collection. I don’t technically need another hat, but sometimes I see one and fall in lust. This find from Urban Outfitters is a bit pricy for the material, but if they have it on sale, I may yet pick it up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Don't Dismantle Your Mantle

Your acid mantle, that is. The acid mantle, which contains lactic acid, amino acids, and fatty acids, is a thin, somewhat acidic layer on the skin that provides a barrier against pollutants, the elements, and bacteria. A normal person’s skin has a pH of between 4 and 6.5, and it’s recommended that cleansers stay around a pH of 5.5 just to make sure the skin isn’t stripped. 

The problem is that most cleansers available in the United States have a pH of 9.5 to 10.5. Let that sink in. Even “gentler” cleansers, such as the oft-recommended Olay cleansers (their Foaming Face Wash — even the sensitive skin version — and Emollient Cleansing Lotion) have a pH of 6 to 7.36. The much-touted Cetaphil cleanser has a pH of 6.7. Not good, especially for those who suffer from dry or sensitive skin.

So what happens if the acid mantle is damaged by the detergents in overly harsh cleansers? The skin’s functional barrier is altered, leaving you more prone to damage and infection, and it takes anywhere from a couple of hours to over twelve hours to restore the balance, and by then you’ve washed your face again. It’s a vicious cycle. 

I’m not saying you have to throw your cleansers into a bonfire and perform a spiritual cleansing of your bathroom counter to rid the air of nasty pH levels. If your skin gets on well with your current routine, awesome! But if you’re having troubles, pH could be the root of the problem. 

Non-stripping cleansers include:

Dermalogica Exfoliants: 3.4-3.9
Dermalogica Cleansing Bar: 5.5
Earth Science Clarifying Facial Wash: 5-5.5
Earth Science ADE Creamy Cleanser: 5
Earth Science Apricot Facial Scrub Cream: 5
Earth Science Aloe Gel Cleanser: 5
Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser: 3.8-4.6
Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser: 2.8-3.8
Olay ADS Daily Renewal Cleanser: 2.9-3.25
Olay ProVital Revitalizing Cleanser: 2.9-3.25

Paula’s Choice (All): 5.5

Monday, June 16, 2014

On Olive Oil (with Guest Author Marta Pujol of Chemist Direct)

Remember the thing I mentioned being excited about? Well, now it’s ready to go live. I was contacted by Chemist Direct about a week ago about a collaboration that will not only offer a helpful tip to my readers but will introduce some of you to a website you might not have heard about.

Similar to, Chemist Direct offers a variety of health and beauty products — and UK readers will be able to pick up prescriptions through them. Best of all, they offer worldwide shipping for loads of their products. That mascara every British blogger is raving about? Yeah, you can get your hands on it now. You’re welcome.

I am not being paid for this post. I would not be hosting this post if I didn't respect the company or think it would be beneficial to you guys. I mean, who doesn't want to know about a hair treatment you can find in your kitchen? (Olive oil also makes a great moisturizer, and some even use it as a cleanser, but more on that another day...)

And now here’s the lovely Marta Pujol singing the praises of one of my favorite things in the universe.

We all dream of beautiful natural or dyed hair which is shiny, soft and smooth, but unfortunately, our hair is constantly submitted to external aggressions. It's not only the winter cold that causes our hair to dry out making it prone to breakage and splitting ends, but also the UV rays from the summer sun that dries out your hair making it fizzy, along with the chlorine from swimming pools which can leave it damaged and lacking in moisture.

Hair products we normally buy and use, contain a huge amount of chemicals that can be beneficial, in most of cases, but if put together with natural healing remedies will leave your hair shiny and soft. One of the best natural remedies can currently be found in everyone's kitchens: olive oil. Olive oil goes beyond use in the kitchen and has amazing properties beneficial for skin and hair.

Benefits of olive oil for the hair

Olive Oil promotes hair growth and scalp health due to its antioxidants which aids the skin on the scalp prevent, fighting off fungi, bacteria and dandruff and improving blood circulation.

It contains fatty acids that are gentle to the scalp keeping it healthy and protected from the damage created by external aggressions such as weather, heat from hair dryers, flat irons or the use of hair dye. Olive oil also provides a natural condition to the hair, covering its damaged outer layers, giving it a shinier, smoother and healthier appearance.

Olive oil can help making dull, frizzy hair manageable too, nourishing brittle hair and smoothing down the split ends. Moisturise your dry ends with a warm olive oil massage after styling to tame it and leave it smooth, especially those who straighten their hair daily.

It moisturises the hair to combat dandruff as well. When massaging the scalp with olive oil, it nourishes deeply, reducing the appearance of your dandruff in a natural way. This treatment can be used as often as needed or just once a week to prevent undesired reappearance. 

An olive oil hair mask per week can also add shine to damaged and dry hair making it look healthy while keeping it soft and conditioned. Moreover, enriching your diet with hair supplements, good foods like almonds, seafood or Greek yoghurt can also help in preventing hair loss and promote hair growth.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cspire, I Hate You

Dear Cspire Employees,

So much for returning to business as usual. I’m posting this from my phone instead of my regular scheduled posts because the internet doesn’t work. Again. You need to get your shit together, Cspire. You’re almost as lousy as Comcast, and that’s saying something.

I may be posting pictures and micro-reviews for the next several days. I'm hoping I'll take my usual weekend off and have the internet again Monday, but who knows? Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

On Travel and Coffee

What is it about the rain that makes people drive like morons? One would think torrential rain would make people more cautious. Not so. Instead they go barreling down the highway at 85 MPH, honking their horns when more mindful motorists are, you know, trying not to die in the process of getting from Point A to Point B. 

One awesome good thing about a three-state trek in a single day? It’s a great excuse to mainline coffee! I love you, Starbucks. Your Light Caramel Frappuccinos are made of sunshine and caffeinated goodness. 

We shall return to our regularly scheduled talk of pretty things after I recover from my bring jaunt to Atlanta!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Temporary Secrets

I have something in the works that I’m very excited about, but I can’t say what it is yet. Argh! It’s the first time I’ve done something like this, so I hope it goes over well. We shall see. 

It’s late as I’m writing this, and I need to be up early, so that’s my microscopic post for the day. I’ll have something more useful up tomorrow. Until then, I’m excited! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

True Colors

I’m so pale that I was known as “the Unbearable Whiteness of Being” in school. I have to give my tormentors props for creativity. Being so pale, I’ve defaulted to wearing a lot of black. I figure since I look like a ghost already, why not? 

For those who are equally clueless about what colors to wear to compliment our skin tone, look no further than WhoWhatWear. They have a nifty guide that will point you in the right direction. They don’t list a ton of colors for each skin tone — the article would be five hundred pages long if they did — but it’s helpful all the same. Look for the lovely lady whose coloring closely matches your own, and hit up Google for color inspiration!

Monday, June 9, 2014

From the Inside Out

I’ve been a vegetarian for the better part of my life. I never experienced any “symptoms” due to the lack of eating red meat, at least not that I could tell. I recently embarked on a two-week protein binge. I ate seafood on ten out of fourteen days, and one night… I ate veal. 

Please don’t go off on a tangent about how I’m a monster for eating veal, okay? Hateful comments will be ignored and deleted. 

During the past two weeks, I noticed something very unusual. My horribly brittle nails that refused to grow suddenly began to increase in strength and length. They’re not long, diamond-hard talons, but they’re not as paper thin as they once were.

I do think I might have been hasty in my judgment of OPI’s Nail Envy. It’s likely my continued use had something to do with the improvement, too, and I just hadn’t given it enough time to go to work for me.

So, for the curious, here are the steps/products I’ve been using. (Note that the polish used changes, but the base and top coats don’t).  

1.) Make sure there is nail polish (or just a coat of Nail Envy) on the nails before filing, as this provides a bit of resistance to the filing and keeps them supported. I exclusively file my nails now unless I have to cut one because of breakage. The pressure of the clippers coming down around my nails was causing them splinter up past the quick and bleed. 

2.) Two coats of OPI Nail Envy, not just one. I make sure my nails are dry before I use a polish. 

3.) Make sure the polish is free of drying ingredients (look for polishes that are “three free,” referring to DBP — dibutyl phthalate — toluene, and formaldehyde). 

4.) Allow the polish to dry before applying Sally Hansen’s Dries Instantly top coat. 

5.) Every day, apply another coat of Nail Envy over the top coat. It will help, and it coats the cuticle, aiding in protection and growth.

6.) Watch your diet. Bulking up on protein has helped me tremendously. Keep a food journal, make a note of what could be missing from your diet, and try to work it in.

7.) Wear gloves when washing dishes and doing laundry. It helps a lot, as does using hand cream after each hand-washing.

8.) After polish removal, coat the nails with more Nail Envy and wait a few days before repainting. I know, I know. I have the ugliest nails when they’re bare, so I’m aware of how much it sucks, but it’s good for your nails. 

9.) Cuticle oil. I alternate between Essie’s apricot oil and coconut oil. Both seem to work about the same.

10.) Watch the length! Because I work with my hands constantly, I know I can’t have ultra-long nails. Know how long you can go before your nails suffer and maintain that length.

So that’s it. What’s your nail care routine?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Gone, Baby, Gone (Empties #5)

I’m showing you my trash again. Isn’t that the strangest thing to do? Oh, well. If I’ve used something up, that means I like it (well, most of it), and that means some of you might like it, too!

1.) Earth Science ADE Creamy Cleanser: This is a cleanser that made it into at least one favorites list as well as something recommended to rosacea sufferers. I may need to amend that to “rosacea sufferers who don’t have active break-outs.” It’s extremely gentle and usually very non-drying, but since I’ve been using Metrogel twice a day to combat a massive rosacea flare-up, I’ve found switched to an oil cleanser because my skin feels a little tight when I use the ADE cleanser. I do love this stuff, and I have four more bottles stockpiled for when my skin calms down again, but proceed with caution. 

2.) Broo Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner*: I had never heard of beer-based shampoo or the brand Broo before, so when these turned up on my doorstep a few months ago, I was excited to give them a go. Holy brewhouse, Batman! They smell like caramel and chocolate and very faintly of beer. As the name would suggest, they’re extremely hydrating and worked wonders for my damaged hair. They’re sulfate free, also a huge plus, and only around $13 a bottle. I’ll definitely be looking into more from the brand.

3.) Ren Hydra Calm Cleansing Milk: This was a wee sample included in a Sephora order. I took it to Biloxi with me in April thinking it would last me the weekend. It actually held out for close to a week and was wonderfully calming after I got a little sun. I love Ren as a brand. When I do work through my collection of cleansers, I may pick this one up. (Note: It's called Evercalm, not Hydracalm, on the Sephora website).

4.) Luster Power White: After reading up online, I discovered the cause of my dry lips could actually be the sulfates in my toothpaste, so I picked up this sulfate-free variety to try. It came highly recommended; users touted its whitening abilities. I expected so much, and it was a great big fail. I do drink quite a bit of coffee and tea, and my teeth aren’t that discolored, so I thought, “Yeah, this should work!” No difference. None. I will say that my lips are a little less dry.

5.) MD Solar Sciences Mineral Cream SPF 50: I love this sunscreen so much it’s actually ridiculous. I recommend it to everyone. It doesn’t leave a white cast (who would notice on my pasty skin, though?), dries down to a matte finish so I don’t look like an oil slick by noon, and doesn’t cause any skin naughtiness of any kind. What’s not to love?

6.) Crest 3D White: This is what I was using before the Luster toothpaste, and while I did see a subtle difference, it’s not worth it to use something that dries my lips out so much. They were literally cracking and bleeding as much as they did during winter, if not moreso. I wonder if I’m allergic to something, or if I’m just that sulfate sensitive. If you don’t have finicky skin, it’s great stuff.

So that’s it for my latest empties. What have you used up lately?


Thursday, June 5, 2014


I can be a finicky eater (“big surprise!” said no one in my family ever), and once I have it firmly cemented in my mind that I hate a certain food, I’m loath to try it again. Until last night, tuna was one such food. 

I’ve tried it a few times and have always found it much to beefy for my taste. Even when I ate burgers, I despised steak, so a fish that was like steak was a big no in my book.

Enter Ely’s. 

Ely’s is one of the best restaurants I have ever visited, and I have had the pleasure of dining at some of New York City’s finest establishments. I should have known that if ever I would try tuna and enjoy it, it would be at Ely’s. I ordered “Eggplant Ely’s,” eggplant medallions topped with crabmeat (something else I used to dislike), and my uncle ordered the tuna. It looked… like tuna. Not appetizing, or so I thought.

After much coaxing from my aunt and uncle, I tried a bite. Either my tastebuds have done a 180, or every single time I’ve tried tuna, it’s been manky. My bet is the former because the few times I’ve tried it, everyone else was raving about it. 

So there you have it. I’m a convert. Who knew? I know one thing — my next meat at Ely’s will be tuna. 

What foods have you discovered you love after thinking they were gross?


Wednesday, June 4, 2014


No, not the 1990s movie with Dustin Hoffman. A rosacea outbreak. I don’t get as red as some rosacea sufferers — my poor mother turns the color of a tomato when she breaks out — but I’m covered in hard, under-the-skin bumps. My face feels sore and tight. Oh, and I’m nauseous.

According to an FDA study, under three percent of subjects with rosacea suffer from nausea and vomiting as a side effect. Of those who do, 87.5% were women, and 12% were migraine sufferers. Migraines, like rosacea, are often triggered by stress, and women are shown to internalize stress moreso than men do. 

Hm. Not sure if queasy because my face is broken out or because my head hurts. Whatever the trigger, stress seems to be the root cause. Or maybe the root cause is that I’m a woman. I will probably never know the answer. For now, Metrogel and Mega Mushroom Skin Calming Cream to the rescue!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

On Animal Cruelty

Maybe it’s shallow of me, but I generally try to avoid blogging about sad things and instead focus on pretty things. I figure we have enough sadness in our lives because of what’s in the news every day, so why read about it on blogs?

This, I can’t let slide without a mention. I was reading Delightfully Tacky, a wonderfully written and beautifully photographed blog, when I read about Mocha, a horse a girl had to sell after graduation and later repurchased after discovering he was malnourished and neglected. She gave up her home to care for her horse. 

I honestly can’t understand why people will spend so much money on an animal and then not care for it. In Mocha’s case, they insisted they fed him tons, but they never took him to the vet or they would have discovered the worm infestation and host of other problems. 

People, if you can’t afford to care for an animal, if you don’t want to take the time to care for one, please turn it over to someone who can and will. Take a look at this horse. This isn’t Mocha, but it’s in similar shape. Take a good look. Maybe you aren’t a horse person. Imagine it’s your golden retriever. Imagine it’s your cat. Don’t do this

And if you have a few bucks to spare, every little bit helps. Donate to help Mocha. Donate to the Humane Society. If we all gave just a few pennies, imagine how much it would add up to and how many animals could be helped.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Birthday Wishes

If I didn’t bungle the use of the scheduling feature, this should go live Monday. Fingers crossed…

Before I tackle serious daily blogging (on a trial basis ‘cause, let’s face it, I could flake and drop back to twice a week), I’d like to wish a happy birthday to two of the most awesome guys in the world. In addition to sharing a birthday, you both have the distinction of being guys I honestly wasn’t so sure about when we first met. 

I thought you were both kind of weird and standoffish, and when I think someone is weird? They’re weird. I was right about the weirdness, and it’s seriously an awesome personality trait. The standoffishness, I could not have been more wrong about. Once I got to know you guys, I can’t believe I ever thought two of the warmest, kindest individuals I have ever met were anything but.

So I will drink a toast to the two of you and wish you good health. Thank you for being awesome, and I speak for all of the Nerd Collective when I say we love you. :)