Bloggers Like Me
 

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.

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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.

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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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I didn’t do a Mani Monday last week. I was out of town and I just didn’t feel like rushing to put up a post. So this week you get 2 manis for the price of one! I mean reading this blog is free, so maybe two for free? Whatever. I’m still going through my Big Bang Theory polishes from Different Dimension on etsy. I have to tell you I’m kind of in love with them. This week I’m going to show you Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty and Rock,Paper,Scissors,Lizard,Spock. If you don’t get those references, then get yourself a Netflix account and start waiting at the mailbox for some DVDs.

First up, Soft Kitty Warm Kitty.

 Sft Kitty Warm Kitty Uniquelybrandid 1

This one is a beautiful pale grey crelly (jelly cream), with various sizes of white, grey, and holographic glitter scattered throughout. It’s very sheer on it’s own, which I happen to love. All of my pictures show three thin coats, and you can still see my nail very well through the polish. If you want something more opaque, you can always layer it over another gray, white, or nude polish.

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I like the way the grey base affects the tone of the glitter in this one. The holo hexes can appear light grey or even white, when sandwiched between layers of this polish. They then stay hidden until the sunlight hits them and the beautiful rainbow is released. I just love little surprises like that.

Next we have Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.

RPSLS Uniquelybrandid 1

This one is my favorite of the four polishes in the collection! It’s a transparent medium blue base filled with teeny white glitter as well as larger white, grey, light green,and light blue glitter. It’s just such a fun polish.  The first time I wore this I layered it over Zoya Tao, a shimmery pearl grey.

RPSLS Uniquelybrandid 2

It was such a pretty combination. The slight blue tint of RPSLS  added a little dimension to the look. I even got a compliment on my nails when I took the bean to his check up! :)

I also did a couple of shots showing two coats of RPSLS on its own .

RPSLS Uniquelybrandid 3

I love the teeny tiny white satin glitter in this polish. It reminds me of all those times in grade school when someone would spill the holes from the 3 hole punch all over the floor. I imagine the larger white pieces represent the rocks, the shiny grey are  scissors, the light green are lizard, and the pale blue represent Spock. I cannot explain how much I appreciate all the  attention to detail.  The saturation and distribution of the glitter in this polish is perfect. The base helps the glitter to flow evenly onto the nail to get just the right amount of glitter in each coat.  I hate not having enough glitter, but having too much is even worse. This lays out in an even layer across the nail and doesn’t look or feel chunky. It is slightly textured, but not gross feeling, the way some over saturated glitter polishes can be.

So far I’m really happy with my purchases from Different Dimension. I’m really glad that I got such great quality on my first venture into indie polishes. Make sure to come back next week to see the final polish in this collection.

Until then, make sure you stop by the MANICure Monday post on Lipgloss and Binky to see what else is new in polish this week.

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Jan 162013
 

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I try not to talk too much about my son here. Not because I don’t love him to pieces, but because I’m afraid it might become annoying to those of you without children. I’m not really a “mommy blogger” anyway. I just like to talk about things I like, and that includes my kid. So from now on there will probably be more posts about the bean. He is becoming increasingly independent, and as such, increasingly hilarious and at times trying. I hope that sharing little bites of our life together will give some of you a chuckle. And I hope that some of you will relate to this adventure we call parenting.

The bean has been learning to take care of things. As he approaches his second birthday he has become fond of being a “parent” to his toys. He has a set of little cloth dolls my mom bought for him when I was still pregnant. There’s Ez Jr. who has brown hair and blue eyes, just like the bean. There’s also a little twin boy and girl that he has named Tiggin and Andry. Where he came up with those names I will never know. He has been carrying Tiggin around for the last few weeks as he plays, including him in most of his daily activities. One afternoon he put him down for a nap. We have a sort of ritual that we do each bedtime with Ezra. He gets a hug, and a kiss, and a mugga (our term for Eskimo kisses). When he put Tiggin down for his nap he gave him a hug, a kiss, and a mugga. He also said,”Nap, Nap.” , and covered him with a corner of his blanket. It was adorable, and made me feel like we must be doing something right for him to be so loving toward his little guy.

Well today he turned the tables. He was walking around, with Tiggin in hand, when he started ranting at him. He didn’t yell, but he affected a very stern tone to his voice. He was telling him all the things he’s not allowed to do. These  ranged from no cookies, no pizza, to no boxes and no juice. Then he raised his index finger and shook it at the doll while saying, “Sit down.”  When he realized I was watching him, he pointed his finger at me and repeated the phrase,  then giggled.

I suppose I could feel badly about this. I mean who wants to think that their child only thinks of them as a disciplinarian? I could get all neurotic about it. I knew I would have to deal with my child mocking me at some point, but before his second birthday?  But I choose not to feel that way about this situation. The overall gist of things is that he’s learning. He’s listening to us, and he knows what we expect. He may not like all of the no’s, but he’s learning his boundaries. He’s even passing them on in his own little way.

As much as I don’t want to feel like the bad guy in this relationship with my little man, I’m glad to know that he can take me seriously. I also know that his rant represents a very small portion of what makes up his life. I know I don’t scream at him, or make him cry unnecessarily. I don’t bruise his spirit. I only challenge his will. And really, that’s my job. Someday it’s going to be his job too. And from what I’ve seen, he’s going to be amazing when the time comes. :)

 

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Jan 152013
 

Hey guys. It’s super late on Monday and I know that you’re all probably in bed already. But I’m writing anyway because it’s Monday and I want to show you my manicure.

If you aren’t aware by now I am a huge nerd. A huge nerd with a nail polish obsession. I’ve recently become intrigued by all the indie brands of nail polish available on sites like e bay and Esty. So early last week I decided to peruse all of the offerings on Esty. Boy did I hit the mother load! There are too many cool shops and concepts to name, so I decided to place and order with one shop just to see what I’d get.

If you remember a moment ago when I said I’m a nerd, then you will understand why I had a fan girl meltdown over the Big Bang Theory themed polishes from Different Dimension . I had to get all 4 (yes HAD to!). The collection takes some of the most well known elements of the show and translates them into polish. What I really appreciate about them, is that they are all thoughtfully crafted and spot on representations of my favorite idioms and motifs from the show. I feel like these are the polishes I would create myself as a  fan.

I was stalking the mailman all week. When they finally arrived Saturday,  I rushed to my manicure station (read my bed). I chose to try Penny!!! first.

Penny!!! Uniquelybrandid Label Shot

I was honestly not sure if I should even buy this color, because I’m generally not a huge fan of coppery or bronzey polishes. But when I opened my package I was glad I went with my gut. Penny!!! is a gorgeous shimmery copper base packed with brown and copper micro glitter accented by scattered larger brown and copper hexagonal glitter. But there’s also a fine sprinkling of holographic micro glitter, and it sets this polish on FIRE! It looks just like a bright, shiny, new penny. And the dark brown Glitter adds the look of pennies with a little patina on them. Just a brilliant polish all around!

Close up of the Penny!! in the bottle- with flash

Close up of the Penny!! in the bottle- with flash

Close up of Penny!!! in the bottle- no flash

Close up of Penny!!! in the bottle- no flash

 

I really liked the way the polish applied to my nails. The base was somewhat thick, but not clumpy and the glitter distribution was pretty flawless. I hate when I buy a glitter polish with different sized glitter and end up with half of one piece of glitter on my nail that I have to spend a bunch of time fishing out of the bottle. That was definitely not a problem with Penny!!! It was opaque in two coats and I got just the right amount of the glitter to give it amazing dimension.

All polished in Penny!!- Flash

All polished in Penny!!- Flash

Penny!!! on my nails - no flash

Penny!!! on my nails – no flash

 

I can definitely see myself wearing Penny!!! again. It will make a really great fall polish, and even a good summer selection. I can’t wait to give the rest of these polishes a test drive.  I think I’ll give Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty a try next week. I hope you’ll come back and visit then!

In the meantime, head on over to the MANICure Monday link up to see what’s going on with the other ladies this week.

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