Friday, September 30, 2011

Gameday Nails - Week 5

Hey, football fans!

This week my Cornhuskers start conference play, and face their toughest test to date, and possibly the toughest of the season. The Wisconsin Badgers are a potential National Title contender, and will pose a serious challenge for Nebraska.

An interesting note for this game is the similarity of the uniforms.
Nebraska's Uniforms

Wisconsin's Uniforms
As you can see, both schools are rocking classic uniforms in red and white from Adidas. As I've mentioned before, Nebraskans pay attention to nearly every detail of our football program, uniforms included. Speculation has been flying about the uniforms since Wisconsin was added to the schedule and rumors have been circulating that we may change up the uniforms and incorporate some black to make it easier to differentiate between the players on the field. I'm hoping this isn't the case. If these guys can't tell the difference between red and white jerseys on the field, I am going to start questioning our academic standards, but I get the idea.

Both schools are known for filling the stands with a sea of red, and obviously, this game would make it hard to tell whose fans are who. This has prompted Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne to call on the Nebraska fans traveling to "pack the black" in support of the Nebraska Blackshirt defense.

The name "Blackshirt" traditionally refers to the starting defensive players. In short, black jerseys were once used to differentiate between the offensive and defensive players in practice. Eventually, they were only handed out to the starting 11 defensive players, and are now only given when coach Bo Pelini feels his players deserve them. Blackshirts can be lost if performance standards are not met. Nebraska's defense has traditionally been known for being tough and a little nasty (it's a violent sport), and the merchandise usually features a skull and crossbones.
Sweet gloves worn on the field.
The skull and crossbones is why you see Nebraska fans and players "throwing the bones" when the defense makes a big play.
Nebraska All American, Heisman Trophy Candidate and now Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndomukong Suh "throws the bones" for Nebraska fans. Suh is and was known for terrorizing quarterbacks and led the resurgence of the Blackshirts after a brief period of lackluster play.
Even if you're not a hardcore football fan, the Blackshirt tradition is actually a pretty cool story. You can read more about it here.

Now, though, the part you've surely been waiting for. In honor of the "pack your black" theme this week, I opted for a black polish. I've been wearing a lot of my standard black, Liquid Leather from China Glaze lately, so I decided to switch it up a little. I finally settled on Revvvolution from Color Club. It's black, but with holographic glitter. The name seems fitting, since Nebraska's decision to leave the Big 12 conference in favor of the more stable B1G TEN seems to have started the collapse of the Longhorn Conference, er, Big 12. It's a nice, edgy color. I couldn't resist amping it up a little, though with a glitter ombre with Color Club Starry Temptress Topcoat. Starry Temptress leaves a rough finish with all the rainbow glitter, so I topped it off with 3 coats of my usual top coat to give an awesome gloss.
Indoor, Semi-direct Sunlight

Indoor lighting with flash

Fuzzy, but sparkly!
The Nikon has decided to only take shots in macro mode when it feels like it, so these are all courtesy of my Thunderbolt's phone camera. Also, I was running out of sunlight, so I didn't clean up my cuticles at all. Thankfully, Color Club has nice brushes.

Postgame Update: Sadly, my nails looked better than Nebraska today, even with a chip or two. Rando was concerned about the yelling and hid under my bed for the majority of the game, and the majority of my tweets and facebook posts from fellow fans were in all caps. Not pretty at all.

Julep Maven American Beauty Box #1 Review

Some of you may have heard of Julep. They're a new-ish nail polish company and they have a subscription program similar to Birchbox (for those of you not familiar, keep watching the blog for more info). You pay $19.99 per month, and they send you a box with over $40 worth of their merchandise. The selections are based on the style quiz you take when setting up your account. I just received my first box, and here are my thoughts thus far, along with some serious photo spamming:
The Box

Card with Product Info

Letter from Company (and Rando)

Maven Program Info

Nice Presentation

Other Side of the Bag

Rando Claimed the Ribbon
The Goods

Hand Cream Sample

My Surprise, All Wrapped Up

Cameron, Basecoat, Alfre

Rando messing up my backdrop

Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub
Cameron, natural light with Nikon camera

Cameron, natural light with Thunderbolt camera

Alfre, Natural light with Nikon

With Flash, Thunderbolt camera

Natural Light, Thunderbolt camera
What I like:
*The packaging is really nice. I don't feel like my entire $20 was wasted on excessive fancy paper, but it looks classy. The fact that the letter was hand signed with ink was a nice touch.
*The formula on the polish is very nice. It's a little thicker than some brands, but not at all hard to work with. The brushes were decent, though they could have been problematic with a thinner formula.
*While not really unique, the colors were nice and would work well with most skin tones.
*I haven't had a chance to test the longevity, but the base coat applied very smoothly.
*My order shipped when it was supposed to and I had the package in hand within a week.
*The hand scrub is really nice and didn't leave my hands feeling dry. Unlike a lot of hand scrubs, this one doesn't feel like they dumped sugar into regular hand soap and called it a fancy scrub. This one is made with glycolic acid and apricot seeds, so the base to the scrub actually softens and exfoliates, too.
*The hand cream is fantastic. You barely need any to coat your hands, it doesn't leave your hands feeling greasy or slimy, AND it contains SPF 30, which is hard to find.
*Decent value. While the price tag is a little high when purchased separately, the Maven program gets you 3 polishes and a goody or two for $20.
*You can refer friends and get a $15 Julep gift certificate.

What I didn't like:
*The color selection is a little bland. There isn't much from their whole collection that I haven't seen twice already.
*The price tag is a little high. Maybe a lot. The polish is $14 per bottle, and the bottles are only .25 oz. Basically half the polish for twice the cost (and then some) of most brands. At most, I pay $8 for Zoya's unique colors or Essie's great selection. The formula IS nice, but it's not THAT nice. The hand cream and the scrub run about $28-30 each. The Maven program is a decent value, but considering I just bought 13 bottles of Color Club, China Glaze and Orly for $40, and they're all unique colors.
*The polish bottles are tall and thin, making it easy to tip them over if you're not careful, or if you have a curious cat who likes to walk on your desk while you're doing your nails.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the first box. I'm going to give it a few months to see if the selection gets better, and what other products they send. If you're interested in the Maven program, you can click on this link to sign up (Full disclosure: This is my referral link. No pressure. I am not offended if you don't want to use it). I'm not sure if this works after October, but you can use promo code WELCOMEMV5 to get your first month for $5.

One final note: I have heard stories online about poor customer service and people not getting their referral bonuses. I used my referral link above to test the validity of the program, and to see if the rumors are true or not. I am proceeding with caution with this subscription, but I feel like I should give Julep a fair shot. I work for a large company that gets badmouthed in the press because people incur large bills or want to break contracts, especially if the company declines to issue credit for valid charges. Having been on the receiving end of MANY of those calls, I prefer to get experience firsthand. Read the agreement before you sign up, and pay attention to cancellation policies.

**Update: While Rando was trying to climb into the gift bag (which was hilarious, since he is far too big to fit in that little bag), I found another sample packet of the glycolic hand scrub in the bag. Not sure why they included a sample and a full size, but only one sample of the hand cream. Weird.**

Back from Hiatus!

I really must apologize for my absence. I have been fighting a cold the last couple of weeks, and haven't been motivated to much of anything...except sleeping. That I can ALWAYS get motivated for.

I did make a feeble attempt to post last week, and while the nails were great, the Blogger app for Android leaves a little to be desired where layout and photo quality are concerned. Also, it kept force closing and deleting half the text of the post. I gave up and accepted the magic only happens from the desktop. *sigh*

Here are the high quality pictures from the phone camera. I got the look with I Love You Cherry Much from Nicole by OPI's fall collection with China Glaze Liquid Leather stamped on top using plate M69 from the Born Pretty Store.
Indoor lighting.
Blurred for extra sparkle.
I've gotten several little goodies in the mail recently, so there will be plenty of posts to come. I would save so much money if I couldn't shop online from my phone...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gameday Nails - Week 4

I know. I'm late. Busy weekend with lots of company and little time for posting. On top of it all, I've been sick for the last week, so every spare moment has been spent napping.
I DID have time, however, to do my nails. As usual, my Nikon dislikes red and thinks any polish containing red, berry or pink should be mauve and fuzzy. Pictures are courtesy of my HTC Thunderbolt.
This week, I was doing good to get my nails painted and stamped, so there's no real theme besides the obvious red and black. I used I Love You Cherry Much from Income by OPI's fall 2011 collection for the base, Liquid Leather by China Glaze for the stripes, an plate m69 from Born Pretty for the stripes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gameday Nails - Week 3

Hey, kids!

Thus far, my Huskers have been victorious, despite a few blunders. This week, I had every intention of some awesome football-inspired nails, but then I started to play with my red and black polishes...and my mani ended up being more girlie than planned. It still works into the color scheme, so I'm keeping this one, and I think we'll pay homage to the hot girls of NU.
The Cheerleaders of NU

Nebraska's Scarlets
Aren't these ladies lovely? Okay, okay. I'll get to the nails.
Natural Light
This week's nails feature Red Velvet from Color Club as the base coat. Red Velvet is almost nail art on it's own. It's a sheer black base with red glitter. After about three coats, you end up with a gorgeous black that glows when the light finds it. I almost couldn't bear to stamp over it, but then I found a criss-cross pattern in my stamping plates, and used OPI's An Affair in Red Square to create what I think looks like fishnet stockings over this beauty. I was worried it would interfere with the red glitter in Red Velvet, but they seem to work really well together.

With Flash
Closeup of the Smaller Fishnet Pattern
 Sadly, 3 camera phones and my Nikon failed to capture how pretty this is. This is a perfect combo. It twinkles from a distance and glows up close. For your viewing pleasure, here are some shots of the Red Velvet by herself.

I feel like I need to put on a red dress and go out after the game...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yellow Stopper Base Coat

My name is Daanielle, and I'm addicted to nail polish.

You all could probably figure that out. As any fellow polish junkies will tell you, painting your nails regularly with bright and dark colors can lead to some yellowing. I'm currently experiencing some of that, so I thought I would use an anti-yellowing base coat while my nails are growing out and getting back to a healthy pink.

I had a bottle of Yellow Stopper (purchased at Sally Beauty Supply) that I'd only used a couple of times and thought I'd give it another try.
Scary Yellow Nails, Pre-Yellow Stopper

Now I remember why I stopped using it.

The polish says it will prevent yellowing, and apparently, they plan to do that by making sure no polish stays on your nails. No polish = No yellowing.

I tried the base coat under my Gameday Nails this week. Application was fine. The formula is smooth. I didn't make a huge mess with the brush. It adds a neat purple-y shimmer to your nails, which makes the still-pink parts look great. Nails were nice and shiny. The primary polishes used on the nails were from Color Club, Essie and China Glaze, all of whom I've had great results with and usually last at least 2-3 days before major chipping begins.

Not this time. They were fine when I woke up, but within a couple of hours, I'd already chipped the index finger, apparently by folding laundry. By game time (6 PM), I'd chipped most of the nails without doing any serious cleaning or cooking. After the football ended for the night, I washed a few dishes by hand, and within minutes, my polish was peeling off. Like stickers. From every nail. All of them. Peeled right off. I couldn't even take pictures, because they came off in single pieces.

I decided maybe it wasn't designed to be used with polish on top. Fair enough. I painted over my nails last night, just to see how it would hold up as a clear coat with UV protection between manicures.
With Yellow Stopper

With Flash
Yellowness. Ick.
 Epic Fail. I had a few places where the base coat flaked off during my day of typing and mouse-clicking at work. After I washed my hair tonight, the tips were peeling up. Not in huge chunks like before, but like skin after a sunburn. Gross imagery, I know, but that's the best comparison I've got.
See the peeling on the tips?

Peeling, With Flash
Basically, unless you intend to paint your nails every day and don't ever get your hands wet, this stuff doesn't seem to do much, except shine and peel. Back to the box it goes.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gameday Nails - Week 2

Well, the good news is Nebraska won last week against Chattanooga. The bad news is they didn't look 100% ready to play against a somewhat lesser opponent. This week's game is against another unranked team, but Fresno State has a reputation for taking down superior teams, then falling off once conference play starts. It's a good thing my nails are covered in polish, or I might be biting them.

...which brings me to this week's gameday nails. Being a lover of fashion, the fact that a slight change was made to this year's uniforms hasn't gone unnoticed. While I am nowhere near talented enough to actually re-create the uniform on my nails (or with actual writing utensils and paper, for that matter), I decided to play with elements from the uniforms, particularly the stripes.

Here is a history of Nebraska's uniforms, dating back to 1890:
The uniforms from the 2011 season haven't changed very much. The biggest difference is that the sleeve has been shortened a bit, and there is no longer a number on the sleeve.
Also, the model used in this photo has a head and limbs to fill said uniform. Unless you follow Oregon football, you probably don't pay much attention to the minor changes in uniforms, but this is Nebraska and we scrutinize EVERYTHING if it pertains to our beloved Cornhuskers.

I've always liked NU's uniforms. They're clean. They're crisp. They're classic. While red isn't universally flattering, it is easy to reproduce and really never goes out of style. Heckuva a lot better than burnt orange (*cough*Texas*cough*).

Without further adieu...

These were taken with my HTC Thunderbolt, partially because my Nikon seriously dislikes reds and pinks in macro mode, but mostly because it has a kickstand and I don't have a tripod for this camera yet. Yeah, my phone has a kickstand. It's pretty awesome.

For this week's nails, I used Essie's Fishnet Stockings, Color Club's Art Club in White and China Glaze Liquid Leather. Throw in a green towel from the bathroom, and we have a turf-like backdrop.