Sunday, December 30, 2012

Red Flowers

More adventures in stamping, this time stamping over a chunky glitter!

The base is two coats of L.A. Colors - Goddess. This is a very sheer polish, definitely needs undies if you're opposed to VNL. Personally I don't always mind it, in this case it didn't bother me at all. 

I stamped with Wet & Wild Wild Shine - Burgundy Frost and BM03. 

I love the chunky holo goodness in Goddess, and how fabulously Burgundy Frost stamps! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Dry Clean Only": The Myth

I've noticed something interesting, in an it-kind-of-irritates-me way. "Dry clean only" on the care tags of clothing that has no reason to need dry cleaning.

I have a coat that claims to be "dry clean only". It's made of polyester, which is impossible to damage with water or laundry detergent. The weave of the outer shell makes it require some minimal care in washing, rather than throwing it in the machine, but there's absolutely no reason not to wash it by hand, which I have done several times. 

Dry cleaning is expensive, and everything that gets dry cleaned smells like a chemical swamp. Nasty! Why are so many clothes unnecessarily labeled for dry cleaning? I can't say I know, but the best I can come up with is that they're trying to make it seem fancier than it actually is, since dry cleaning is usually for really nice clothes.

I'll cut right to it. There's only one material that always, always should be dry cleaned rather than hand washed, and that's leather. If it's not leather, unless you really want to make 100% certain that it won't fade, don't bother. Even leather can usually be safely spot cleaned with a soft damp cloth, though it's always a good idea to test it in an inconspicuous area to make sure, and never ever stretch dampened leather unless you're trying to shape it!

Common materials to see labeled as "dry clean only" are silk and cashmere. While some of the particularly fine silks can be damaged by water, 99% of silk clothes are just fine being hand washed. If it's not high-end designer, chances are good it'll be just fine. Test it if you're worried by wetting a hidden spot, like an inner seam or facing panel. Cashmere will never be damaged by water, though like wool it will become felted and shrink in hot water, so wash it in cool. Both silk and cashmere are delicate materials and should be treated gently, never put in a washing machine, and always allowed to air dry. Don't wring them out! 

The best way to wash delicate fabrics is to dissolve the detergent in water, swish the garment around for a minute, just enough to get it thoroughly wet, then let it sit for five minutes. Swish it again, drain the soapy water and fill up the sink with fresh water, repeat the swish-sit-swish setup. I like to rinse it twice to make sure of getting all the detergent residue out, as it can be a skin irritant.

If the garment is wool, cotton, or any synthetic material, unless it's particularly delicate or has beading/rhinestones on it, it's fine to machine wash (though I like to hand wash most wool to avoid pilling). Pay attention to the 'cold' or 'warm' directions on the care tags; if it says to wash it cold than it will almost always shrink if washed warm, particularly cottons or wools. Of course, this can work to your advantage when there's a great shirt that you can only find in a size a bit too large!

Cottons and silks are the fabrics most inclined to wrinkle. Unless they're a blend, they'll probably need ironing. Use the cool setting for silks, cottons can handle higher heat. It's a good idea to iron anything inside out, to avoid making it weirdly shiny.

Hopefully this is helpful! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Magnetic Leopard

I haven't seen much nail art done with magnetic polishes beyond changing up the magnet pattern, or using several colors in skittles... so I've decided to push my creativity a little and see what interesting ideas I can come up with using them. 

Here I used the gold magnetic from Claire's, with the magnet it came with, and stamped over the top of it with RA107 and Color Club - Rev'd Up. 

If I were to re-create this, I'd probably pick a more heavily pigmented polish to stamp with. Other than that, I love how it turned out!

These have got to be on my top ten ultimate party nails! What do you think? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Snowman nails

My housemate got me some adorable nail stickers for my birthday, all snowmen and Christmas themed!  Here's the first mani I did with them: 

The base is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear - Pacific Blue. What a pretty color this is! And almost a one-coater too, with a careful thick coat. I did two here for full coverage since I tend to paint thin. 

What do you think of the pinky accent nail?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dancing Gold

Another quick manicure, just a glitter topper:

The base is Sinful Colors - Dancing Nails, and the glitter is an unnamed gold glitter from a Bonita set I found at Ross. 

Dancing Nails is one of my favorites from Sinful Colors. It's similar to my much loved Mama-San, which I must've been either a LE or discontinued shortly after I discovered the brand, I haven't seen it since. 

I really like this color combination, a shimmery rose tone with gold glitters! Kinda similar to the layering I did here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First ramble! (possible TMI warning)

Ok, so this feels really awkward to write! I know I have a tendency to get off on tangents (one reason I stuck to nails for so long, it's easy to stay focused!) and ramble in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way... gotta practice to get better though, right?

So for my first non-nail-art-centric post, I'd like to reference another blogger. One who is AMAZING and deserves tons of love and internet cookies! That would be Dan of Single Dad Laughing. I'll admit I'm new to actually following his blog on a regular basis, but I've seen several of his articles linked around Facebook and other places, and always found them fantastic.

In particular, I'd like to reference his post Anything Other Than Straight.

(Before I get to the real ramble, I should mention that there might be a little bit of TMI here in talking about sexual preferences. Fair warning. I promise, no details!)

I've been going through a similar struggle coming to terms with being asexual. It's not even as easy as bisexual, or gay... most people, even if they don't understand being attracted to someone of the same gender, at least can understand it in "the way that women are attracted to men/the way that men are attracted to women".  

And that's not to belittle the struggle of other non-straight people, at all! Of course not. It's just that I felt like it was easier to come out as bisexual (I'm attracted to men and women equally, that is to say, almost never at all -- I'm gray-asexual and in 23 years have only ever felt what I'm pretty sure is what people mean by "sexual attraction" to three people, and in two of those cases it was very fleeting and might have been more like general horniness -- hey, I was a teenager!). 
People understood bisexual. I was lucky enough to have understanding friends, several of whom are bisexual themselves, and family who were either accepting and really couldn't have cared less or simply made it clear that they were uncomfortable talking about *that* subject but didn't turn it into a fight or big drama event, and if they only ever tried to set me up with men, well... I can take a thoughtful gesture for how it was meant, being not gay it never seemed that they were ignoring my preferences entirely. 
I'm still struggling with asexual. It's so incomprehensible to people, how I can be in a sexual relationship and happy in it and be asexual. 
The answer is, I experience sexual drive the same as an average person, it's just usually in the abstract and not connected to thinking about people sexually. It's more like, "I really want to get off right now, where'd I put that vibrator?" There's no fantasy about some hot celebrity or that one guy/girl at work. The idea of actually having sex with any of 99.9% of everyone kinda grosses me out. The rare exceptions to that rule are just that, exceptions. People I'm attracted to on so many other levels that sex with them doesn't gross me out and I actually do enjoy it, even if it's not that person, themselves that "turns me on". Even if it's just biological drives latching onto a convenient and not-unappealing person. Even if I'm not yet entirely sure whether or not I'm actually sexually attracted to that person, or just find them aesthetically and romantically attractive and happen to also enjoy sex with them.  
I know, it's hard to understand. It's hard to understand even for me! When sexual preferences come up, people rarely mention that it's possible to just not have those attractions to anyone, period. I never understood the "boy crazy" girls in middle and high school. I didn't get it, it seemed like I was the only person with any sort of grip on my emotions regarding boys. 
Now I'm realizing it was just because I wasn't having the same experience, because that particular kind of attraction that was making all my friends crazy just wasn't there for me. I hit puberty and my attitude toward males didn't change, except through outside pressures and the desire to seem normal. I started mistaking other attractions for what my friends were experiencing, trying to understand it in the only frame of reference I had. I figured that aesthetic appeal must be what made a person "hot". Maybe a little intellectual appeal, and of course getting along with them as a friend. I even understood romantic and sensual attraction, so I understood wanting to hug or kiss someone, cuddle with them. It just didn't make sense how that could lead to the kind of obsessions and emotional drama my friends dealt with on a regular basis, how that could overwhelm all other considerations for them. 
(this sketch is a great reference on explaining different kinds of attraction, I highly recommend checking it out!)
It's kind of a relief to know why it never made sense. To realize that it's not them being crazy, but them being sexual people with sexual attractions that are different than my experiences. But at the same time it's hard to realize that I'll never be viewed as "normal" by people who know.