Thursday, June 28, 2012

Here's a baby monkey!

As I am on day 3 of the worst migraine I've had in at least 6 years, I have no fun posts for today. I do, however, have a baby monkey video to brighten your day with. Enjoy!

Also, the imPRESS nails lasted close to four days for me. I had one nail that was squidgy and then came off. If not for that, the rest felt super-solid. I may try them again and see what happens.

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to go lie down in the dark and try not to have my head explode.

Migraines suck.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What would YOU do over, given the chance?

Front cover of my current art journal.
If you were given the chance to go back in time and do something over again, what would it be? Would you go? I've thought a lot about this idea in the past, and overall I think I wouldn't change anything. The life I've lived has shaped me into the person I am today, and I like the person I am. I love my husband and my son dearly, I have amazing family and friends. I'd be afraid that any changes I made would end up with different people in my life, and I wouldn't want to change that.

However, there is one thing that I regret deeply. Given the option, I would love to go back in time and finish my degree.I try not to mention this very often, but the truth is that even though I was in college for 8 years, I still don't have a degree.

I was a year from graduation when we had to move the first time. My husband had graduated and was moving on to graduate school. I had no idea that transferring would set me back so far! When we settled in at our new university I lost 2 years of credits which was not cool!

At that point, I switched my major from mass communication to art. I was beginning to believe I might have some sort of artistic talent, and I wanted to explore it. Besides, I was only really losing a year of basic courses that still applied to my new major. It was a perfect plan, or so I thought.

Back cover of my art journal.
Then I got sick a couple of years in and lost a year due to it. After that year, I had a hysterectomy and my husband graduated, and we moved less than 2 weeks after my surgery. Oh yea, that's helpful! We ended up moving back home and spending 6 months job hunting.

After that, we needed money, so I went to work. I figured I could go back at any point and finish my degree, but as many of you know it's just not that easy. And now, here I am 12 years later, disabled with no degree.

Fact is, I regret it deeply. I don't know how I could have done things much differently, but I feel like I gave up. I know there were options preventing us from staying to finish my degree at the original college, but man I still regret it.

But, that's the past. I've also learned you don't have to go to college to educate yourself, and I'm still learning things even now.  Besides, it's kind of silly focusing on things you wish you'd done differently. That just makes you lose sight of today and what you could be doing now!

Ah well. Here... enjoy the photos of projects I've been working on in my art journal. :D

I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All the opinions expressed here are my own..
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Holy cow, I LOVE imPRESS press-on manicure!!

OMG, y'all. I am so late to this party but I'm absolutely in love with these! I got a voxbox in the mail yesterday that contained all sorts of goodies (expect more info coming soon!), but the thing I had to try first was the imPRESS Press-On Manicure. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I wasn't terribly hopeful.

And yes, that bottle is missing the 10 nails I'm wearing because I'm a goober. I got started fooling with the nails and before I realized it I had applied all 10 without taking any photos!! I'm telling you, some days I'm slow.

That being said, holy cow... these things are awesome! They apply so easily! It really is simple. You scrub down your nails with the enclosed (and mostly hidden) prep wipe, then pick out the nails that fit your natural nails the most closely. Then, you go one by one, peeling back the clear tab to expose the adhesive, line the tab-end up with your cuticle, then press it into place.

I've worn false nails with adhesive tabs before, and wasn't all that impressed. They lasted around a day for me, and by the end of the day they were wiggly and needed to come off. So basically, while they were pretty they were also sort of a bust.

These nails? Holy cow. They've been on for around 24 hours now, and I haven't been delicate with my nails at all. I've been typing, crafting, going about my business like usual. These things aren't budging! They're secure, and honestly they feel almost like my own nails! They're short enough for me to feel very comfortable in them, and honestly I can see these being on for multiple days.

The best part to me isn't their convenience, though. Honestly, I'll put up with some inconvenience if something looks good. But these are not only convenient, they look like my nails! I'm blown away, because these actually look like they're growing from me, instead of being all "My nales are pastede on YEY!" (10 points if you know where that phrase came from!)

Now, I do have a couple of complaints. Even though these were free to me and I'm in love with them, they aren't perfect. However, my issues are with the packaging, not the nails themselves.

My first issue is with the prep wipe that comes with the nails. It's a very thin packet, and it's inside the box behind the paper insert, so that I didn't find it at first. After watching the imPRESS video on how to apply the nails I realized there was supposed to be a wipe, so I dug around until I found it. Had I not seen the video, I wouldn't have used it and my nails might not have worked as well.

My other problem is with the packaging itself. I love the little polish-bottle-shaped container, but I could not figure out how to get the black top off to save my life! I pulled, I twisted, I pushed, and nothing worked. I actually went online to find out if anyone else had had problems! Finally I found a video explaining that someone else had the issues I did, and she explained how to open the package.

Basically, you have to twist and pull at the same time. It's awkward, but it gets easier each time. Once it's open, you've got a great little container for your nails!

So overall, this is definitely a win-win! The packaging says these will stay on for up to a week. I'll continue to update you on how well they stay on. But considering my nails are nubbins, I'm absolutely LOVING these!!

imPRESS nails can be found whereever Broadway nail products are sold. The solid colors are a bit less expensive than the patterns, and oh are there patterns! Animal print, water marble, glitter and dots... There are 36 styles in all, so I'm pretty sure you can find something you'll love!

So what do you think? Would you wear these? Do you think they look real? Leave me a comment, I want to hear what you think!

imPRESS nails were provided by voxbox for consideration.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I've finally learned to draw faces!!

Everyday Victories logo

Thank you to P&G and Kroger stores for celebrating “Team Mom’s Everyday Victories”! Please visit the P&G's event page to play games, win money off your next Kroger trip and more fun!

Being a mom is a never-ending job, even when your kid is older. It seems like you never stop worrying, even once they're grown! Thankfully, I'm learning ways to turn off that worry line of thought for a little while using art. (Yes, it's another art post... :D)

Take the piece on the right. I started out with a blank page one night when I was feeling really down. I wrote a journal entry that filled up the entire page, writing about how sad I was, how overwhelmed I felt. Then I turned on my music and began to work.

Although I was really sad when I started this page, the process helped me feel so much better. I feel like I was able to confront those feelings and convert them to more positive ones, and eventually the journal page reflected my new mood- strong, creative, and happy.

I'm especially excited because I've finally learned to do something I've been working on for years- I finally figured out how to draw a pretty female face! I can't even begin to tell you how excited this makes me. I've been drawing for years, and although I could once in a while make the eyes look like they matched, or make pretty lips, I had lots of problems making the whole face work together.

I drew lots of faces with a big swoop of hair covering half the face, so I didn't have to attempt an eye. Still, I was never satisfied. I knew they weren't the faces I wanted to draw, and I just wasn't satisfied.

Thankfully, something clicked for me in the last couple of weeks, and I've been drawing lots and lots of pretty girls since! I've also been having lots of fun coloring their faces in with my new Prismacolor pencils. They're so buttery that I can easily blend the colors into gorgeous smooth tones. So much fun!!

So that's my personal victory of the moment. I'm having a ball art journaling and drawing, managing my pain with big sweeping gestures instead of tiny little motions for nail art. I'm not finished with nail art by any stretch of the imagination. I just love having multiple outlets for my creative expression.

Til next time! xoxo

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Before hitting the store, visit P&G’s event page on

You can play games like basketball, track and gymnastics to win money off your next Kroger trip, download digital coupons, print a shopping list, and learn more about P&G products!

And as part of this event, consider trying one of these fab products from P&G: Vicks Nature Fusion, Charmin Basic, Downy Unstopables, and Swiffer Duster Extenders!

I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sparkling Hearts

Salon Express plate #21, Zoya Lara, and a silver
Sally Hansen Color Quick nail polish pen.
Whee, I'm back with actual nail art! So exciting, even though this is not exactly a groundbreaking design. Still, it's fun and maybe I'm back in the saddle again?

This look started out simply enough. I was sick of looking at my bare nails, so I reached for my Sally Hansen Color Quick polish pen. Unfortunately, I have no idea what this color is called because this is the pen I keep in my purse for emergency manicures. You never know when you're going to need to paint someone's nails!

As a result, this pen looks like it's had a very interesting life! At first I wasn't very fond of these pens, but then I figured out how to use them. It's important to press the button enough times to have a drop of polish visible at the top of the brush. It will ease its way down the brush fibers to apply beautifully. If you don't have that much polish, you'll struggle to get the polish to apply even though the brush looks like it has enough color. Once I figured that out, I was really happy with these pens.

I've had this pen in my purse now for over a year, so I guess that's a good example of how sturdy they are. It's never leaked, either, and the cap stays on wonderfully. I definitely need a few more of these!

So, back to today's nails. Once my nails were painted silver, I realized I wanted a bit more something on them. I decided to go with Zoya's Lara, from the Summer 2012 Beach collection. It's a gorgeous pink creme that applies like a gorgeously. As you can see, it stamps nicely too!

I wasn't sure what sort of design I wanted to use, so I decided to go with the clustered hearts on SE21 from the Salon Express stamping kit. I've had trouble with the larger stamps, so I thought it would be good practice as well as being cute.

Also, instead of stamping the whole image in the center of the nails, I decided to place them more near the tips of my nails. This actually worked pretty nicely, and although I liked the final look, I felt like there was something missing. (I bet you can guess what it was, too, if you've been reading me for very long!)

That's right... I decided to add some glitter! I couldn't find a glitter polish that worked well with Lara's pink tones, so I pulled out my loose glitters. I ended up using a pot of glitter that Melissa from the Daily Nail sent me last halloween. It's a fun hot pink that seems unsure if it's a deep hot pink or an electric purple. Whatever it is, though, I absolutely LOVE it!

To use it, I put a few drops of clear polish onto a palette (the back of my stamping plate in this case), then put a bit of glitter on top. A quick mix and I had custom glitter polish to dab on top of a few hearts! This added just the kick I felt they needed, and I was finally happy with this look!

So what do you think? Does the glitter take it over the top? Is it something you'd wear? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this one.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Polishes were provided by the brands for consideration.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Shppping fun and ACEOs

This is the first ACEO I've finished in ages.
The purple wasn't intentional, but... whatever.
Wow. I was a busy bee this evening. We went back to the big box store, where I found three more Nailene Gel Perfect polishes, which I managed to grab for a whopping total of 51 cents. Gotta love a coupon! Now I have 6 of these, four in awesome spring shades (Grape- a very pretty lavender, Salsa- a warm hot pink, Tango- a bright orange, Bayberry- a sky blue, and Lime- a gorgeous green) and one in a deep shimmery, almost metallic dark blue. That comes out to $3.68 for $65.00 worth of polish!!

I also decided to share the art cards I've been working on. I've been needing LOTS of pain management, and my meds just aren't cutting it all the time, so I'm doing lots of art. There is a silver lining, sometimes!! The first one I've finished is this purple lady. I hadn't intended to make her purple, but things happened, and well... now she's purple. :D

I might try painting some wings for her. She looks like she'd be a fairy, giving someone the side eye up there.

Then there's the one that really shows how I felt as I was creating it. I often joke that I'm broken, but that night I was really feeling like I was defective, broken. Instead of crying  and feeling sorry for myself, I let it out onto a card. And you know what? Looking at it now, I feel like it's lovely, something beautiful even with its flaws.

The funny thing? This isn't artist paper. No, it's something with a much more humble beginning. The base for this card is a toilet paper roll! I flattened it and realized that it was the perfect width for a card, and then just cut it into two, and trimmed off the half inch extra length. Et voila, a beautiful, flawed, weird substrate for art.

I used the other half of the toilet paper roll on the next card, which is pretty much the opposite of my broken card.

This one is colorful and bright, and makes me very happy to look at. I started with a rough, partial coating of gesso, then used colored pencils to color on a gradient. I blended those out with a blending stump, so that they were soft and faint.

Then I used a pencil to sketch leaves and flowers, colored them in with more colored pencils, and added swirls with my Sakura Gelly Roll pen in white. A quick outline in black and I had this fun, whimsical floral ACEO.

Then there's the book I told you about. I did a bit more doodling on it by adding the words "I'm CRAZY" in the lower left corner of the back cover. Then I decided I wanted some sort of linear elements, so I applied masking tape crossing the cover. Then, I drew a quick highlight and shadow for the tape strips, and gessoed over the various bits.

The back cover needs a bit more work, and I haven't really even started the front yet. Once they're both done I'll use clear packing tape to seal them up and protect the artwork on the covers. That way, they'll stay pretty no matter what I put the book through!

Then there's the inside. I was rather strange in how I put it together... my husband thought I was insane combining the bits the way I did! I tore the drawing paper out of the drawing pad I'd bought ages ago, then folded them in half. Then, I laid a piece of duct tape on my surface sticky-side up and pressed the aligned folded edges onto it, pressing the tape up onto the sides of the stack.

Once I had this all together, and had the basic form of the book set, I grabbed my stapler and a piece of styrofoam. I opened the book flat and also opened up the stapler so that I could reach the inside fold of the paper. I placed the book over the styrofoam and stapled into the fold so that the staple points went into the foam. I then pulled the book up and bent the staples down onto the tape. I did that for each page, making sure the staples were in different sections so that I could actually keep the staples from making a jumbled mess.

Then it was just a matter of adding another strip of tape onto the back of the stapled tape, then gluing the covers to the outside pages. I also added duct tape along the back to secure everything into place. Now I have a hard-backed book I can paint in, or draw in, sketch and collage and just go crazy with! I expect to have lots of fun with it, and it's exactly what I wanted- it opens flat so I can get to all the pages, it's the size I wanted, and it's 100% made by me! (Well, as close as it can be without me making the paper!)

So now I hurt, but I have lots of options to zone out and get into my artwork. It's a lovely thing... and now I'm considering using nail polishes in my book too!! *grins* This could be FUN!!

Coupons make me happy!
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Really? Seriously?? Update...

Ugh. I had a day where I was feeling decent, so I was excited to do a manicure I'd been thinking about for days. I also found some Nutranail Gel Perfect on clearance for $2, and inside were coupons for $1 off and $2 off, so I bought 2 more for a buck! So excited...

Except there's always something, right? I lost my balance and grabbed for the doorknob in my bedroom and managed to tear off 3 nails on my swatching hand. And when I say tear off I mean there is no white left. *sighs*

And of course, this comes after breaking my thumbnail almost that far. I decided to hell with it and just cut them all off, so they can grow back evenly. Til then, I've got super nubs.

At least they grow back. :D

So instead of painting my nails, I made a book. I used sturdy drawing paper, stiff cardboard from the back of the drawing pad, staples and duct tape! And believe it or not, I love it to pieces! I've been decorating the covers, so I snapped a quick pic of what I've done so far. I think I like it!

So cheer me up, guys! Tell me something funny, share a link to an amusing site... even tell me about a time you had a nail disaster.  I could use some distraction.

Some day it's not worth crawling from the wreckage...
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jessica Cosmetics - Lime Cooler

Lime Cooler by Jessica Cosmetics
OMG, has it really been a whole week since I blogged?? Sheesh. I saw the doctor and we tweaked meds again, but unfortunately I've still been feeling all fibro-hit-by-a-truck. But I seem to be looking up a bit, maybe... I even managed to paint my nails last week, and I loved the color so much I'm STILL wearing it!

Some of you may know I love lime green. If you weren't aware of it prior to now, well... now you know! When I opened the box that contained the Summer 2012 collection from Jessica Cosmetics, I squealed loud enough to make my husband cringe. I knew Lime Cooler would be the first polish I tried!

Let me say it one more time, I absolutely love this polish. This green creme is bright enough to make me happy, but not so bright and in-your-face to make me feel uncomfortable. It's a chic take on summer brights, and I'm in heaven!

Application was a bit unpleasant for me, but this was mainly because my bottle was sort of thick and gloppy. I have a feeling a couple of drops of nail polish thinner will make this baby perfect. As it is, it's almost opaque in one coat!

So, if you love lime green, this is a total keeper! I know this one will be one of my special bottles of polish, the ones I love to wear, but am afraid to run out of!!

Also, since I've been out of touch for the last week, I figured I'd show some of the stuff I've drawn to help keep myself sane. My husband got me a big set of colored pencils, complete with neons and metallics, so I've been having a ball coloring in my drawings.

This drawing is probably my favorite one I've done in the last month or so. She looks thoughtful, and sort of... I can't quite find the words. Anyway, I like her a lot!

She was drawn one of those nights I was up all night, just hoping meds would kick in, or things would stop spasming enough for me to sleep. I didn't sleep, but I got a pretty drawing out of it!

Then there's this one. Not as happy with her, although she's still interested. She looks kind of spastic, though...almost like she's frightened.

I've changed her since I took the photo... I gave her eyelashes and brought her eyelids down a bit. Now instead of looking afraid she looks all sultry and smouldering. I love seeing the difference such slight changes can make!

There's also this lady. She looks kind of like a pirate to me, maybe. She started out as me attempting to copy a drawing in the book Doodles Unlimited by Tracy Bautista. I didn't like my rendition, so I kept tweaking and tweaking until I was satisfied. While you can definitely see the inspiration, I think my drawing has a lot of my own style to it.

Then there were a couple of basic doodles, one all my own and one a way of decorating words that I found on Jaqueline Koh's blog. I've had a lot of fun tweaking it to my own style!

I colored this one with colored pencils, metallic colored pencils, and metallic gel pens.
I think the gradient petals are my favorite part!
The top bubble is the style I got from Jacqueline Koh,
although the one I saw on her blog was all black and white.
I had fun incorporating dots and a heart smiley face.
And that's it! I've rambled enough, and now my husband and I are going to finish watching a movie I fell asleep in the last time we tried to watch it. Sometimes I'm an awful movie buddy! I hope you've had a great week so far, and that your weekend is even better!

Til next time!

Polish was provided by Jessica Cosmetics for consideration.
See my disclosure statement for more information.