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Happy Monday everyone!  This week Mani Monday is jam packed.  As you know, I’m becoming a big fan of indie polish brand Different dimension. Well, Missi was kind enough to send me a few  samples to review. Before I start with the reviews I want to let you know that I did not pay for these polishes. I have, of course ordered from this shop before. As always, anything I say is my own opinion. If you know me well, you know that nobody can make me say or do anything I don’t want to anyway. ;)   Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get on to the good stuff!

First up, I have two polishes from the Love’s A Punny Thing Collection.

All Red-y In Love is made up of  red, pink, and holographic micro glitter with larger red and pink circle glitter and bright red holographic hearts. It’s sparkly and full of Valentine goodness.  As usual, I have swatched two coats of this polish on it’s own. I like to give you an idea of what each creation looks like without any layering , so that you can decide what other colors in your collection might best suit your style or mood.

All Red-y UniquelyBrandid

Aorta Miss You, But I Don’t! is an incredibly pretty combination of  fuchsia, purple, and holo micro glitter. There are fuchsia circles and garnet hexes and purple hearts. This one is so jam packed with glitter that my husband asked if there was black glitter in it as well. I was a little confused, but then I realized that the spaces between the glitter in the bottle are so small that the empty space just looks like tiny black glitter! I plan on buying a full size bottle of this, because it is just too gorgeous on the nail.

Aorta Miss UniquelyBrandid

There are four polishes in the Love’s A Punny Thing collection, and after trying these two I’ll definitely be checking out the other two.

Mystic Falls is a polish inspired by The Vampire Diaries.I have to admit that I’ve never seen the show, so I’m not sure what the inspiration behind this polish is. It’s  a black base packed with multi-chrome pigment; so it shifts depending on what light you’re in. I have never had much luck with color shifting polish in the past. They always look so amazing in the bottle, but I never seem to get the same effect on my nails. So obviously I was expecting that this would be another womp womp. But to my surprise it totally came through for me. It shifts from a really pretty pink shimmer, to purple, to a sort of green/  gold/bronze look. It was really hard to capture the full range of color shifting on camera. The bottle shot is the best representation of what you will see when you wear it.

Mystic Falls UniquelyBrandid

Last, but not least there is Orbital. I was super excited when I saw this included in the samples. I had been eye balling it for a while because it looked so cool. I feel like this is galaxy nails in a bottle. Start off with a black jelly base. Then add in multiple sizes of pink, blue, and purple holographic glitter. The final product makes me want to book a flight into space!  I have to warn you, this stuff eats top coat. It’s weird because the others only required one coat of quick dry topcoat to become perfectly smooth, but I had to pile 3 coats on top of this baby to get it smooth. It’s totally worth it IMO.

Orbital uniquelyBrandid

Did any of these tickle your fancy?  Be sure to check out all the other amazing offerings from Different Dimension.

And of course, be sure to get on over to the MANICure Monday link up to get all of your weekly nail inspiration!

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Hey everybody. It’s Friday, and I hope you’re all having a great start to your weekend. I try to keep things pretty light on here. And I never like posting anything about a problem without also leading to hope or some sort of solution to that problem. But today I’m just going to be honest, and hope that maybe one of you will have an idea to help.

I want to go home. I know you’re probably wondering what that means. I’m a mom and a wife and obviously I have a home. All of that is true, but I’m not at home.

I moved here to Savannah a little over 6 years ago to be with my husband. We had been in a long distance relationship for much too long, and we both decided that it would be easier for me to move here than for him to move to California. At the time I was so excited to start a new chapter of my life that I didn’t realize all the things I was going to miss by leaving the only home I’d known.  Of course I thought about how much I would miss my family, and my church, and my job that I really liked; but there were so many things I couldn’t have accounted for.

When I arrived I had a pretty bad case of culture shock. Moving from progressive California to the much more conservative South was disorienting. Suddenly skills I’d spent my whole life building were useless. I thought I’d be able to find a job quickly. It took me 6 months.  I thought it would be easy to find a new church. I still haven’t. I suddenly felt like I was living in a fishbowl because everywhere I went strangers stared openly at me. The whole adjustment was very uncomfortable.

But after a while I got used to living here. We got married. I worked in a cool hotel. It was OK. I never really started to feel like a native, but I was navigating better. Then I got pregnant for the first time. I had just quit my job and it was a pretty stressful time.  I had trouble with the pregnancy and eventually miscarried. I was far away from my mom and my brother, and it hurt. I was blessed that my aunt was able to visit from Atlanta while I was in the hospital. But when I went home I felt overwhelmed and alone. I prayed and got through it, but it cemented the idea within me that I really wanted to get back to my home and my family.

Like most things in life, moving would take the perfect alignment of so many of life’s moving parts. My husband has a steady job here, and California’s economy is infamously unstable. If we moved I’d probably need to go back to work  because of the huge increase in the cost of living. Which means we’d need childcare and another working vehicle. We’ve been trying to figure all of this out for years now. Sometimes we joke about just leaving everything here and driving off into the sunset.

Over the past two years, my level of homesickness has increased. I have a son now. I want him to know his family. I want him to grow up in a different environment. And honestly it would be nice to have some people around we could really depend on. We don’t have anybody we can leave the bean with just to go to out for dinner and a movie. I know! I could be less picky, but my child is my treasure and I can’t  leave him with just anybody. Heck, forget dinner and a movie. Last month both my husband and I were sick at the same time. It was hard to take care of each other and the baby, all while trying not to get him sick.  Thankfully, God blessed our kid with an amazing immune system and we pulled through.

And that’s just it. With God’s help we’ve been surviving. But I know that He wants more for us than just survival. I never imagined settling down here for good. So I’m asking you all to pray with us. Pray that we find some solution. Pray that God guides us through this time and grants us wisdom in all we do.  And if you happen to know anyone in California looking for an awesome Network Administrator with web design skills, let me know!

Have you made your home far away from friends and family? What are your tips for making it bearable? I’m grateful for whatever help I can get. :)

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Feb 182013
 

Oooh Pixie Dust! I’m not sure about you but something with the name Pixie Dust is NOT something I could resist. So a few moths ago when Zoya released a teaser video about the new polishes they would be releasing I was on pins and needles.

Did you know that Zoya employees are referred to as polish fairies? And they call their loyal customers pixies. So I guess this is a collection named for all of us Zoya fanatics!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, since the video made the polishes look like something akin to the popular caviar manicure, but with sparkle. I thought maybe it would be complicated to apply and only last for a day or two. But the effect was so cool that I was willing to put in the work.

Luckily, these polishes are anything but complicated. They apply just like regular nail polish, but leave a matte, textured, sparkly finish. When I was thinking of a way to describe these, the only thing I could come up with at first was geodes. As a kid I was incredibly drawn to those amazing crystal formations hiding inside of plain old rocks. Again I was sold. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that pixie dust polishes are more like druse quartz for the nails. Druse has been a big trend in jewelry over the past few years, and I love the look of it. Unfortunately it’s pretty pricey. But for the low low price of $9 a bottle you can have the same glitzy finish on all ten of your pretty little digits.

I think that this collection will suit the glitter obsessed and more conservative polish lover alike. These really have a very refined elegant feel. You won’t feel awkward or gaudy while wearing them. There are 6 colors in the collection: Chyna (red), Dahlia (black), Godiva ( beig-y nude), Vespa ( light jade green), Nyx ( twilight/periwinkle blue), and London (grey).  I have Godiva, Vespa, Nyx, and London. Now that I’ve had a chance to wear them, I may just have to get the other two!

 

L to R: Godiva, London, Vespa, Nyx

L to R: Godiva, London, Vespa, Nyx

The wear on these is pretty great for a matte polish. I think that the texture helps it “grab” the nails better. I usually only get one full day of wear on matte polish without a top coat. If I use a matte topcoat I can usually extend the wear by another day or so. The pixie dust polishes wore for 4 days before I saw any chipping.

with flash L to Right: London, Godiva, Vespa, Nyx (2 coats)

with flash L to Right: London, Godiva, Vespa, Nyx (2 coats)

no flash L to R : London, Godiva, Vespa, Nyx

no flash L to R : London, Godiva, Vespa, Nyx

 

The texture was not as grittty as I had anticipated. It is certainly not smooth like a normal polish, but the texture is more like really fine sand paper. It won’t snag on your clothes or in your hair. I also like that using hand creams or lotion didn’t affect the matte finish like it can with some other matte polishes.  And removal was at least 50% easier  than standard glitter. I used my regular soak with remover for 15 seconds routine, and everything glided off my nails easily. There was not lint stuck in anything and no shredding the cotton ball trying to scrub off big chunks of glitter.

So what do you think? Are you wishing for some Pixie Dust? What colors do you like the most?

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This week has been a lot about love. Everyone seems to have strong feelings about love. Some are positive; some not so much. But what I want to talk about is how transformative and all encompassing love really is. And also… nail polish.

I know what you’re thinking. Is there anything in this woman’s life that is NOT about nail polish. Well the answer is- Of course! But nail polish is something I really like. I enjoy using it to express myself. I enjoy sharing it with you all here. And here’s where the love comes in. My husband knows how much I love nail polish. But there’s more to the story. He also knows that sometimes I’m pretty hard on myself. He sees me when I’m struggling to believe that I can live out my dreams. He knows my fears. So yesterday, when he presented me with this amazing nail polish, it was about so much more.

MyUniquelybrandidpolish

That my friends is a custom made bottle of polish named after my blog and designed to look like my logo. But it’s so much more than that to me. It’s a symbol that the things I love are not frivolous to the man I love. It means that he loves and supports me in everything I do. It is a sign to me that every word I type is going somewhere, even when I feel like what I say doesn’t matter.

I didn’t start this blog to become famous. I do this as a challenge to myself. I do it because it’s something I love. This truly is my space to explore who I can be. And I cannot even express how much it means to me to have the man I love continue to lift me up this way. He reminds me that I have a voice. He lets me know that my voice is important. And he encourages me to continue sharing, not only for myself, but because he believes that what I say matters.

I believe that the love of my husband is just a physical embodiment of the love God has for me. Sometimes God’s love can seem remote. As human beings we tend to only really understand what is right in front of us. It’s been my belief for a while that marriage is God’s way of showing each of us how He loves us. And having children is His way of teaching us how to give that kind of love to others.

So, even though Valentine’s Day has passed, I want to say thank you. Thanks to my amazing husband, for being everything I could have asked for in a partner. Thank you for being all the things I never even knew I needed. And I want to thank God for showing me so much love throughout my life. I would truly be nowhere without Him.

I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day. And I hope your weekend only gets better. I’ll see you all back here on Monday!

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Hey there! Happy Valentine’s Day to you. Whether you are single, dating, or married today is a day about love. So spread some with those around you.

All the loves of my life

All the loves of my life

The Mr. and I don’t have any super intense romantic plans tonight. We’re kind of in that place where we try to make everyday a little like Valentine’s Day. But that doesn’t mean we’re no fun.

I wanted to do something a little different this year. So I decided to make Valentines for the other people in our building. i went old school with construction paper and heart cut outs. It was so much fun. I also added in some Rice Krispie treats with heart sprinkles, because who doesn’t like a little sweetness? I figured that grown ups don’t get random Valentines like we used to in grade school.

Sweet Treats UniquelyBrandid

And of course I did a little Valentine’s manicure, because I couldn’t help myself. I think the candy colors are so much fun, and the little tiny hearts are making me smile every time I look down at my hands.

ValenMani UniquelyBrandid

So yeah, that’s my Valentine’s Day in a nutshell. What are you doing today? Do you have fancy plans? Are you going to do something nice for someone else? Tell me how you’re planning to share the love!

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Hodie Hi! I’m back again. This past weekend we went to Target to pick up some things we needed around the house.  And, as usual, we ended up coming out with a bunch of stuff that wasn’t on the list.  So I thought, why not share my extra purchases with all of you?! I know some people aren’t into the whole “haul” thing, but I think they’re a bunch of fun. The second best part of going shopping is coming home and sharing what you got with friends and family. Since I moved away from home, I haven’t really been able to force invite my family to share in my joy.

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My small haul

While we were in the baby department hunting down diapers, I decided to check out the kids’ clothes. Big mistake. I was really only looking for training pants, because it’s time to start potty training the bean. He really loves Spider-man (or Sidah-man as he calls him), so when I saw tiny little Spider-man undies I couldn’t help myself. He also needs a new pair of Spider-man jammies. He wears the pair he has now every single time they come out of the dryer. Unfortunately there were none to be had. We did find a pretty awesome Spider-man hoodie.  And a Spider-man shirt that was on clearance for only $2.70! Score! So now the little man is set with Spider-man gear until his next growth spurt. And because I am a super cool mom, we got a tiny bottle of Mr. Bubble in the dollar section. Was I the only one jealous of the kids with Mr. Bubble as a kid? I always had to use grown up bubble bath. None of them had a funny looking guy made of bubbles as a mascot. As you can tell I had a totally dark childhood. >_> We also picked up some Suave for kids de-tangling spray. I keep trying new things to tame the bean’s curly mop. He’s not a huge fan of hair combing, so I thought this might help make grooming less stressful.

As a momma you've got to treat yo' self!

As a momma you’ve got to treat yo’ self!

I also got a few mommy treats while we were out. I saw an article on Nouveau Cheap a couple of weeks ago saying that Target had started selling Pacifica products. I had seen their bath and body products on Sephora’s website, but I’m not one to buy things like that without being able to smell them  first. I decided to try out the  coconut water facial cleansing cloths and a set with trial sized products in the blood orange scent. There will definitely be more on those later. I also endeavored to be a tiny bit more budget conscious and try out one of Target’s teas. I’m not a huge tea drinker, but I really enjoy the Tazo Passion tea. Well imagine my delight when I found an Archer farms tea just like it that was organic and almost $2.00 cheaper!

Yup, Target got me once again! It seems like every time I go into that place I find something else I didn’t know I needed. How about you? Did you get any treats this weekend? If so please share! I absolutely LOVE seeing what other people pick up in the course of errand running.

Be on the lookout for my review of the Pacifica stuff and the tea. I’ll let you know if you should get pulled into the T-zone too! Hope you’re all having a fantastic week!

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Feb 112013
 

Oh, hello Monday. Fancy meeting you here. How was everyone’s weekend? I hope you had fun. Mine was pretty low key, as usual. But it was also pretty awesome.  Did you watch the Grammys? I watched the second half. Meh. I think I’m past the point of caring about that stuff. I end up spending the whole time making fun of everything.

Anywho, I’m gonna go ahead and get into this nail polish business, cause that’s what we’re here for.

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This week I’m going to finish up with my Different Dimension polishes from the Big Bang Theory collection. The last one in the series is Bazinga! This one is a yellow jelly base with small and large  red and yellow hex glitter.

2 coats of Bazinga alone

2 coats of Bazinga alone

3 coats of Bazinga alone

3 coats of Bazinga alone

 

Admittedly, this was probably the most impractical of the set.  It’s a super fun polish, but I don’t wear a bunch of yellow or red, and the combo could make you think more fast food than nail polish chic. But give it a chance, because there are tons of possibilities for wear if you use a little creativity. I layered it over white and black polish, as is pretty customary for glitter toppers I wasn’t a huge fan over white, but black was pretty cool.

Two coats of Bazinga over white,black.

Two coats of Bazinga over white,black.

Then I decided to do a couple of jelly sandwiches.  If you aren’t familiar with the term, a jelly sandwich is the process of layering a glitter or other polish between two or more layers of a translucent jelly polish. I did two different jelly sandwiches.

For the first one I started with one coat of Essie Clambake. It’s a tomato red jelly that looks absolutely amazing all on its own. Then I layered two coats of Bazinga, and finally another layer of Clambake. I think this look is great if you are tired of just a plain red polish and want to add a little cheeky bit of twinkle.

Yum Jelly Sandwich! Essie Clambake with Bazinga middle.

Yum Jelly Sandwich! Essie Clambake with Bazinga middle.

The second sandwich was made using Zoya OC Cooler. I got this orange jelly with gold micro shimmer a couple of years ago, and haven’t really had a chance to put it to good use. All by itself OC Cooler looks like orange soda. It’s a very fun sunshine-y color.  I did the one 2 one punch with this one again, and it was honestly my favorite of all the combinations I tried.

More sandwich! Zoya OC Cooler with Bazinga middle.

More sandwich! Zoya OC Cooler with Bazinga middle.

So there you have it. Options! I’m a giver. Really no need to thank me ;)

Overall, I have been really pleased with all four of the polishes I purchased form Different Dimension. They are high quality and creative. Most of all they are fun! And for me that’s the most important thing in nail polish. Have you given any indie polish brands a try? Which brands would you recommend? I’m always open to suggestions. As usual I will be linking up with the MANICure Monday ladies. You should hop on over. Post your manicure if you’ve got one. It’s loads of fun.

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Hi!

Feb 072013
 

Hey guys! You may have noticed that I didn’t post a Mani Monday this week. or maybe you didn’t notice/ Who knows? Anyway, I just wanted to come by and say hey. I sometimes get bogged down thinking that nobody really cares about what I post here. I mean none of it is really life changing. But I like to share things about myself, so I keep doing it. There’s also the idea that blogging should never be too personal. like you’re supposed to give people an idea of what you’re like, but never reveal too much. But I really don’t work that way. I know there are certain privacy concerns, but I hate feeling limited to certain topics or things that are supposedly acceptable. I’ve never made a real friend that kept me at arms length.

So once again I’m picking up my blogging hat. I’m saying that I will try to share more of myself without worrying that it will be too unfiltered. If you like that kind of thing maybe you’ll stick around?

Hope you are having a wonderful week. I promise I’ll be back with more nail polish mayhem, and who knows what else next week. :)

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