Thursday, December 24, 2015

Deconstructing Eden Winter 2015

Winter Pomander - Orange. Sweet orange. Hints of spices. I like it if I smell close to the application area, but unfortunately the sillage is mostly sweet, almost sickly orange. I like orange scents, this one doesn't go quite right with my body chemistry.

Based on a 14th century recipe, ambergris, orange, frankincense, myrrh, beeswax, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Wassail - Spiced cider. It really does smell like wassail. I really like it, but it is very apple-y. It is much more subtle, sillage-wise, then most of the Deconstructing Eden perfumes, which I appreciate. I like this one enough to contemplate getting one of the half ounce bottles, but I'm not sure how often I would actually wear it. I like the scent, but I don't know how often I want to smell like spiced apple cider.

Mulled wine and cider, (vegan) honey, fresh ginger and mulling spices.

Yule '15 - Gingerbread. I definitely got gingerbread. And sweet fruityness with a hint of spicy pine. I have no idea where the gingerbread came from though, maybe the vanilla? It's weird, because vanilla is definitely one of my favorite scents, but I didn't get vanilla at all. I like this one, I will wear it throughout the winter. And I like it better then last year's Yule '14.

Juicy currants, cranberries, pomegranates, bayberries and vanilla bean.

All That Remains -  I definitely got the leaves. And there's a hint of smoke that probably comes from that. It's a very woodsy scent. Less pine then you would think though. I really enjoy this on a lot and I can see myself wearing it more then a few times, which means I will probably buy a larger size.

An old growth forest of cedars and redwoods, frozen earth, and dry, dry leaves.

Hounds of Winter - Wood and smoke. Like a cozy fire. The smoke is very subtle, which is nice. I get a very faint spicyness, probably from the Tonka bean. But mostly it's wood and smoke. This is another one where the sillage isn't quite so strong. I quite like it and am considering a larger size of this one as well.

Cashmeran, fresh pines, tonka bean absolute, agarwood absolute, mahogany, palo santo, rosewood, cedars and smoke.

Three Kings '15 - I didn't get any sandlewood from this, which is a shame as that's one of my favorite scents. I got mostly the frankincense, which I don't think I like that much. This is an interesting perfume but not to my personal taste.

Frankincense, myrrh, white sandalwood and light and dark ambers.

Snow Queen '15 - There's something briefly fruity and floral when I spray it on. But then a rush of winter air. I don't get much jasmine, which is a plus as I don't like it and my skin amps it to the nth degree. This one is very subtle though. Very subtle. It wears very close to the skin and it doesn't have the lasting power that most of the perfumes from Deconstructing Eden have. I do really like it though.

 Crystalline musk, wind blowing through trees, winter roses and winter jasmine

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The nail polish blues

This has taken me a lot longer to get together and put up then any of the other colors. Partly because blue is just one of my favorite colors and thus harder to get rid of, and partly because I'm done with this series. Done, as in I have reached my limit, not done as in I have gone through every polish. I believe I sill have the whites and silvers to go through, but I'm just not gonna. I'm pretty satisfied with what I've done so far and I think I've managed to cull quite a few polishes. Plus, I think I've learned a bit about my shopping impulses, where my weaknesses are and where I should perhaps allow myself to indulge a bit more. At any rate, here they are.

As I said above, I’ve been avoiding doing the blues, not putting them on my nails but in making the hard choices. I really, REALLY love blue nail polish. It is easily the most represented color family in my nail polish collection. I’m doing it in three sets. The pale baby blues, the teals and mid-tone blues, and the dark blues. It’s a weird color on your nails because it isn’t actually that attractive (using standard definitions of attractive) a lot of times. While doing the pale blues, I frequently thought there was something wrong with my fingers, as that cold icy effect is a bit disturbing. But I like that. And to be fair, right now the nude nail is in, as in browns, peach, and greys to match your skin tone and I can’t think of anything I would rather wear less than mannequin hands. So, it really is to each his/her own and blue is definitely mine.

This is long, so everything else is below a cut.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Givenchy Live Irresistible

I received a sample of this in the mail over the weekend. One of those little scratch and sniff samples, nothing fancy. Normally I wouldn't review or talk about those things, because really they're ubiquitous and you can't really tell if you're going to like a perfume enough to buy it from just a small little scratch and sniff sample. I mean, they'll point you in the right direction, but you ought to wear the perfume at least a little in order to make the real decision. But holy cow, this perfume is right up my scent alley. Incense and floral, spicy with a floral undertone and I die in scent heaven.

After the first sniff test I quickly rubbed my wrist ALL OVER that paper sample. I mean, there was nothing else to do I was quite enchanted. The first whiff, gorgeous. Very spicy with just a few rose undertones. The incense is really strong on me, but I like that. And it's balanced by the floral, so yay. But as the night wore on, the incense became stronger and stronger until I couldn't smell anything else. Not even the onions I was cooking for dinner. It was just overpowering. Now it's possible that a light spray of the perfume would be less strong, but as it was, that one wrist application wore my nose all night. It did wash off ok though, so that was a relief.

I may attempt to track down a spray sample of it, or at least try a spritz of it on myself in the department store, in order to decide if it's worth the purchase. But I'm a bit more cautious of it. Something my bank account is definitely grateful for.

There is also the amusing fact that I have an indy perfume very much like it. Deconstructing Eden's In The Temple of The Goddess of Love, which she released in February of this year (I think, it was sometime in the winter of 2015) has very similar fragrance notes. And is about a fourth of the cost. I got an unlabeled sample of it when I made my first order from her shop and decided I HAD TO HAVE IT. She hadn't quite released it, but was awesome enough to allow me to purchase it a bit early. It's gorgeous, and if you're into indy perfumes I definitely recommend checking her stuff out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The purples

Purples round one, the dark purple shades.

There are three dupes, or close dupes here. OPI A Grape Affair on my left pointer, Revlon Wild Violets on my left ring finger and a NYX sample on my right pinky. They’re all a very deep, dark grape purple, though Wild Violets is not quite as red based as the other two. The NYX is the lightest of the three, and Wild Violets has an almost imperceptible shimmer running through it. I’m culling the NYX sample right off. There is something about the shade and tone that make it not quite flattering. It’s a decent enough shade and if I didn’t have two other colors that were so close I would keep it, but I do so I won’t.

I cannot pick between the remaining two. There really is almost no difference between them. A Grape Affair is a hint lighter and a touch more red, but unless you’re examining them closely those differences are almost imperceptible. That being said, I don’t want to give up either one. Partly because A Grape Affair is part of the limited edition coke collection, and I currently have the full collection and getting rid of one of them hurts the collector in me. And I like Wild Violets, I don’t know if it’s because of the imperceptible shimmer (seriously, that stuff is invisible. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed it before in the bottle or on my nail and I’ve worn it quite a few times), the deeper color, or something else but it just looks nicer on my hand. So, ridiculously I will probably be keeping both of these.

There are three violet shades, Formula X Pedal to the Metal on my left thumb, Formula X Equinox on my right pointer and Zoya Savita on my left pinky. Shade wise these are all pretty similar. But they’ve got very different finishes. Equinox is a shimmer, Savita is a matte and Pedal to the Metal is a pearly metallic.  Keeping all three.

Now, if you’re looking at that picture and wondering what in the world I was thinking calling the color on my left middle finger a purple, hear me out. It’s OPI Russian Navy and technically it’s a dark navy blue with a red/purple shimmer running through it. The shimmer is so strong in the bottle that the polish really does look purple. And if that translated to the nail I would love this polish no question. But as it is, the shimmer pretty much disappears, unless you catch it in the right light. I like it, but not enough to keep it. Plus I always forget that this polish isn’t actually a purple color until I paint my nails and end up disappointed. That alone is reason enough to cull it.

Of the remaining three I am keeping two. On my right thumb is Cover Girl Midnight Glow, a lovely blueberry blurple (it is far more purple then that picture is making it out to be), and on my right middle finger is another NYX sample, a silvery grey blurple. I hate the brush on Midnight Glow, it’s so small that it becomes difficult to handle even more difficult than the many sample polishes I have. But I like the color so I’m keeping it. I really like the NYX one as well and may try to track down a full size of this one too.

The last color is another NYX sample. It’s a purpley-berry shade. It’s pretty and I like it, but it doesn’t wow me. It is also a finicky shade, showing very patchy with the three coats I put on that finger. So I will be culling this one. With maybe an eye out for shades like this in the future.

Round two has a lot more variety and thus was harder to cull. I like ALL of them. And even though there are a couple of colors that I probably could get rid of if I had to, I don’t have to.

For example, I have two purple textured polishes in this round. Sally Hansen Gummy Grape on my left thumb and Formula X Astonishing on my left ring finger. Astonishing is the more nuanced of the two, being full of multi-colored sparkles, and the texture on it is rougher. But I really like Gummy Grape, and the Sally Hansen Sugar Coat polishes are really amazing for stamping. Plus they are slightly different purples.

I think I’m going to cull Sally Hansen Vibrant Violet, swatched on my left middle finger over a white base.  It’s from their Neon line, and it’s not vibrant the way I think a neon ought to be. I think in general I’m not fond of this particular line, the brushes are finicky and because you have to swatch them over a white base the polishes smudge really easily. And it is very close in shade to the color on my left pointer finger, 10 Number 443.

Here is a quick rundown of the other polishes. I am keeping all of them. Zoya Sansa is on my left pinky. This is a deep purple with bronze shimmer. Essie Sittin’ Pretty is on my right thumb. Not my most favorite Essie Polish, but I don’t have another pale lavender crème so it stays. Zoya Hudson on my right pointer is a pale lavender with turquoise shimmer. OPI Significant Other Color on my right middle finger is a lime green/lavender duo-chrome. I thought I didn’t like this color and that it would be one of the ones I culled, and then I swatched it. I’ve been hypnotized with the flash since I painted it.  Sinful Colors Purple Diamond is on my right ring finger, it is a lavender metallic with silver sparkles. And finally on my right pinky is Zoya Hudson, a lilac with silver and gold shimmers.

To be fair, Hudson is very similar to Purple Diamond, but I feel that there is just enough of a difference that I’m ok keeping both. Plus Purple Diamond is a very sheer color and really looks lovely swatched over another color to add that purple sparkle, whereas Hudson is a very opaque color. 

And thus endeth the purples. I really like purple polish, and I clearly have a thing for lavender shades. But I’m not really feeling any gaps in the collection. Up next is the one I’ve been dreading since I started this. The blues. I LOVE blue nail polish. It is by far the most represented color in my collection. This is going to be very hard, and I already know I’m not going to be able to give up shades that are near dupes of each other. And that’s ok.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oranges, and I question my purchasing habits

Unlike green and yellow I really love orange nail polishes. A lot. However, I have almost none. I had to throw in the browns and three of the colors in this set are from that NYX sample collection. That is just sad. I know I love orange nail polish, so why don't I collect it more? Clearly something needs to be rectified in my purchasing habits. Especially because I've been eyeing Zoya Tansy for about a year, but haven't taken the plunge and bought it. To be fair, I haven't bought it because I can never remember if I already own it or not. Well, I don't so the next time I see it, into my basket it goes.

I am getting rid of three of these colors, two from the NYX sample set and one I've had for ages. There just aren't a lot of dupes in here.

I have two browns, Revlon Autumn Spice and one from the NYX collection on my left thumb and pointer respectively. Autumn Spice is a deep rich red-brown. It's gorgeous, and I love it. It's from the Parfumerie line, but unlike most of the other ones I own from this like I really don't get a scent from this one at all. I've read reviews from people who do, so it might be my polish, but I don't smell anything. However color wise it's GORGEOUS. The NYX is going. It might look nice as a nude on someone darker then I am, but on me it's just ugly. No thank you. But, I think I can maybe collect one or two more browns, it's something to keep an eye open for anyway.

I have yet another copper on my left middle finger, a sample from that NYX collection. This one is far more of an orange copper then the ones I did with the yellows though. A metallic orange rather then copper I suppose. I really like this one, and I may try to hunt down the full size if I ever go through this one.

I have three orange shimmers. OPI Luxurious on my left ring finger, Finger Paints Aloha Lei on my left pinky, and Sinful Colors Courtney Orange on my right ring finger.  Luxurious is a red orange with gold and orange shimmer. Aloha Lei is a yellow orange with yellow/gold shimmer and Courtney Orange is a true orange with very fine orange shimmer. Aloha Lei is the most finicky as it's extremely sheer and needs a few coats to completely cover the nail. But I really like all three of these and I'm keeping them all.

The color on my right pointer is Formula X Motivated, a matte orange metallic. It's so pretty, though it's one of the more frustrating mattes I own as it chips like crazy. But I like it and it's staying.

There are three orange cremes. On my right thumb is Milani Neon Awesome Orange, my right ring finger has another NYX sample and then I re-swatched Essie Haute as Hello on my right pinky in order to be a completionist. Of these three, the only one I'm keeping is Haute as Hello, which I've discussed already. The other two are very pretty and I like them, but I have a couple of issues. Awesome Orange is over a white base, and it needs the white base to shine. That's fine, but even over the white base it took about three coats for a completely even coverage. Which means that it's NEVER, EVER going to dry. In fact, I completely screwed it up about a two hours after putting it on by doing the dishes. All of the other nails were completely fine, but this one is just a mess. So I'm on the look out for a neon orange come spring/summer. The NYX is just too sheer, which is a complaint I've had with all of the cremes from this collection. It's a fun color, but not really worth keeping.

I need to give myself permission to buy more orange nail polish. I absolutely love it, and I know I'll wear it. But for whatever reason I never allow myself to buy it when I get into a store. This is ridiculous considering how much blue nail polish I own. I mean, I love blue nail polish too, but I have a LOT. Fortunately I know China Glaze has a Halloween collection with an orange I've got my eye on. And Zoya Tansy, that's a purchase too. Also, browns.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Yellow, gold, and my copper problem

Yellow is another color of nail polish I'm not particularly fond of. And yet there are 10 polishes in my collection that can fit into that category. Sort of. Some of them are gold and others fall into the copper family. But they still fall into the yellow category. So here we are.

The easy ones are the cremes. I have three creme yellows. On my left thumb is Sally Hanson Sunny Side Up, which is a bright lemon yellow neon, over a white base. On the left pointer is Sally Hanson Mellow Yellow, a softer egg yolk yellow. The left middle is yet another NYX sample and it's a mustard yellow. The only one I'm keeping is Sunny Side Up. I don't wear yellow cremes very often, and I'm not even sure I'll wear this one that often. But maybe in the summer time, the desire for neon yellow nails will hit me. Or a neon rainbow.

There are three golds, sparkly yellows, whatever you want to call them. On my left pinky is Finger Paints Hula Aruba! This is a very sheer sunny yellow, I think that's three coats and there is still a visible nail line. But I like it. It's sparkly and cheerful. The other two are glitter coats, both very fine glitter coats, so I like them. OPI Oy-Another Polish Joke is on my right middle finger and Sinful Colors All About You is on my right pinky. Another Polish Joke is more pure gold and All About You has some red glitter in it. I really like both of these and I think all three of htese are unique enough to keep.

And then we hit my copper problem. There are four polishes here. And I just can't bring myself to say goodbye to any of them. On my left ring finger is Sally Hansen Liquid Gold, which is from their Color Foil line. And boy do I regret not getting more colors from this line. The two I have are gorgeous and they really do look like putting a colored metal foil onto your nails. This one has hints of copper, but leans to a very soft gold. I feel a teeny bit like an illuminated manuscript with this on my nails. So it's staying.

On my right ring finger is Essie Leggy Legend, a very new acquisition. As in I bought it yesterday. Yes, I have a small amount of shame, but not enough to stop me from buying nail polish. Plus holy cow is this pretty. This polish is an example of the reason I keep taking chances on Essie polishes. Every once in a while they knock it out of the park and hit gold. Or in this case copper, a deep red copper. Love.

The other two are probably the closest in shade, but only if you look at them in the right light. Because the one on my right pointer, Zoya Aggie, is a green/copper duochrome and the one on my right thumb, Revlon Beachy, is just a good solid copper. The copper color in Aggie is pretty spot on for Beachy, but the greens in it give it a depth that Beachy just doesn't have. However, because Aggie is a duochrome and Beachy isn't, I'm comfortable keeping both.

Decluttering the Greens

I am not actually all that fond of green nail polish, generally. There are exceptions to that statement, but I don’t often think, “I want green nails today”. However, you wouldn’t know that from my collection as there are 20 bottles of various green polishes waiting to be sorted. TWENTY. I was more than a little surprised when I counted them out. If I can convince myself to let go of colors I don’t actually like, this will be quite a culling.
 So round one was the lighter green polishes.
There is one color here that probably doesn’t belong in this round, on my right pointer finger is OPI Green on the Runway, it’s a green/brown duochrome. No, maybe it’s a green/red duochrome? A green/black duochrome? Actually, let’s go with green/black/red multi-chrome. The green is the strongest color for sure though. The problem is that I don’t really like it that much. While it is cool to see the colors shift, I’m not actually fond of the individual colors. But I’m going to keep in for now, simply because it is unique enough in my collection to make the justifications.
There are four colors in this round that fall into the mint color family. On my left thumb is Sally Hansen Mint Tint, a textured polish. On my right middle finger is Revlon Wintermint a mint polish with blue glitter. And on my left ring and pinky fingers are Zoya Tiana and Revlon Minted, both mint crèmes.  Mint Tint and Wintermint are staying because of their different finishes. And Wintermint is just ridiculously pretty. It’s one of those polishes that takes a look at my “I don’t like green polishes, or glitter polishes” statement and laughs at them.
And then we reach a dilemma, because both Minted and Tiana are mint crèmes, but they subtly different from each other and I don’t wanna give either one up. Minted is a tiny bit more blue, making it a true mint whereas Tiana is just a pale green. And though it’s ridiculous to keep them both, I’m going to. Because reasons. And also because every time I think about getting rid of one or the other, a part of me rebels.
However, I am culling the next two; NYC in Highline Green on my left pointer and Essie Vices Versa on my left middle finger.  They’re both unique colors. Highline Green is a good solid grass green, with a hint of olive and Vices Versa is a lime green. I am a little torn on Highline Green, and I may have to see what the colors in round two are like. Vices Versa however, I just don’t like.  I think it was in one of the muted neon collections that Essie puts out in the spring and summer. It took three coats to reach the opacity seen above, and there is still visible nail line. And while I don’t mind that for colors that are supposed to be tints on the nail, this is a crème and should be opaque. It’s a problem I have with a lot of Essie polishes, and one of the major reasons I just don’t like the brand.  Plus, I think the color is more than a little ugly.
The remaining three are all staying. On my right thumb is China Glaze But of Corpse, a metallic lime green with tiny black glitter/balls in it. I love it quite a bit, though it stains my nails like almost nothing else.  It is completely unique, and I love to do a Christmas themed manicure with this one and the similar Red color that China Glaze released in the same Halloween collection. Because irony.
On my right ring finger is Zoya Apple and holy cow, this is another one that gives lie to my opening statement. It is a light yellow green with some serious shimmer. In that regard it is very similar to the remaining polish on my right pinky, Finger Paints Margarita Mambo, but Margarita Mambo is a pale yellow-green, also with a gold shimmer. Margarita Mambo is definitely more yellow and Apple has a lot more green in it, so they look completely different. Both are a bit on the sheer side, but three coats was enough to get rid of any visible nail line for both of them.
Greens round two. I’m getting rid of a lot in this round, not because they’re dupes but because I just don’t like the color. So let’s start with the ones I’m keeping.
I’m keeping five polishes for sure.  Formula X Mr. Positivity on my right thumb is probably my favorite out of this set. It’s a sparkly emerald green (this picture makes it look a lot bluer then it is, but it's very green) with a mild texture, though I suspect that could be eliminated with a top coat. It’s pretty.  Also in the top is China Glaze Pondering on my left pinky which is a purple/green duochrome. The purple flash is a lot stronger than the green flash, and I probably should have included it with my purples, but I didn’t.  It’s pretty and I’m keeping it. Rounding off my favorites is Zoya Veruschka on my right pointer, a matte forest green with subtle, paler green shimmer. It’s also lovely if I put a shiny top coat on it.
The other two I’m keeping are not quite favorites, but they’re fun and unique. Sinful Colors San Francisco on my right middle finger is a very sheer metallic lime green. Even at three coats it’s not quite opaque. And it’s much lighter than the bottle color. However, I like to wear this over a black polish and then it just shines and becomes this gorgeous oil slick color. The other one is Sally Hansen Hot Wasabi over a white base on my left thumb. I don’t think this color actually needed the white base, which is a plus, and it’s a bright grass green. The brush is a pain, but I’m going to keep this polish despite the brush.
There are two I’m iffy on. Revlon Lime Basil on my left middle finger and Sinful Colors Garden Party on my left ring finger. Both of these are unique colors, but I’m just not sure I like those colors on me. Lime Basil is a muted lime crème and Garden Party is a deep blue green, and pulls very blue in some lights. Of the two I definitely prefer Garden Party, but I honestly don’t see myself wearing them outside of St. Patrick’s Day. There is a part of me that wants to hang onto Garden Party, but really I’m not going to wear it, so both go into the cull pile.
The last two polishes, NYX 17 and Maybelline Walk in the Park are both going. The NYX is another one of those sample polishes and it’s a dark army green. Walk in the Park is a very dark, almost black, pine green. I’m not fond of either one of these shades, so they’re both going.
Things I’ve learned about my polish collecting habits this round? Well, I’m a bit of a magpie, in that I definitely prefer sparkly polishes. Though strong, heavy glitters are not to my taste, if a polish has a shimmer, a sheen, or is somehow sparkly I will be drawn to it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


I had to do two rounds of pink nail polishes in order to get through the full set, though I did add in a few colors that aren’t really pinks to the first round, and repeated a color in round one during round two. I also didn’t swatch every single pink I own. I have a few polishes that are unique in my collection, and two rounds is quite enough thank you, that I don’t feel the need to compare those shades to the rest of my pink collection. The majority of my eliminations come in round two, probably because that is where my weakness lies, ah the bright neon pink. Round one was the baby, pale pinks on one hand and brighter but still not neon pinks on the other. Round two was the neon and bright pinks.
Round one
Round two
 This is going to be a long one, so everything is below the cut.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Plum Jam

I moved into an apartment a few weeks ago, and have spent the ensuing weeks putting everything in place and organizing. It's a little one bedroom, which means the kitchen isn't particularly large. In fact it's teeeeeeny.  I suspect it's not going to be a huge deal, because it is just me in the apartment, but it is an adjustment. As I have been mostly busy getting things set up, cooking has been non-existent. I've been doing frozen pizzas in my toaster oven, horrible I know but they're quick and filling and don't require a lot of thought. So this Saturday I decided to christen the kitchen with a batch of jam.

See, I do this thing where I go to farmers markets and see all the lovely fruit and then buy a whole basket of said gorgeous fruits, not just the one or two I will actually eat before the basket spoils. It's a horrible habit. This week it was Italian Plums. They are so pretty you guys. Oblong and this deep, deep purple color. It would be a shame if they went to waste.

Fortunately as I've been reading a lot of the amazing blog Food in Jars, I've learned that you can take that small amount of produce and do a little batch of jam to help preserve the fruit. One of my friend owns both of Marisa McClellan's books, and they are amazing as well. They have some really good recipes that we've made at various times, and I absolutely recommend them if you're interested in canning. They are both currently on my Amazon wish list and will probably be my next 'fun' purchase.

I've been canning various things for most of my life on and off, but here's where the small batch canning information that McClellan lays out in both her blog and her books, really helps. I don't own an actual canning pot. I've borrowed my mother's (though now that they're 2,000 miles away that's a bit more difficult) and I've canned things at friend's houses at various times, but I do not currently own a large canning pot. All I have are my regular soup pots. However, I can rig one up using my pasta pot and the jar rings of some unused jars. I put the jars in the bottom of my biggest pot and filled it up with water. Then I checked to make sure that the water would cover my jars enough to truly process them. As I was using the itty bitty quarter pint jars, I was good. I could maybe get away with half pint jars in this particular pot, but I'm not sure I'd want to risk it. I will probably be investing in a larger pot at some point this winter, as pickles are my jam and I intend to pickle ALL THE THINGS next summer and pickles tend to require larger jars.

 For the actual recipe I used Marisa's method for jams, which I've gathered from several of her posts, which is to measure the fruit and then add half that amount of sugar. It would probably be ideal if I had a scale and did my measurements by weight, but I don't. So I pitted and chopped my Italian Plums and had about four cups of fruit. I added two cups of sugar. Now, I did check and plums are a fairly acidic fruit but just in case I added the juice of one lemon. Put that in my pot (a second pot, not the one I rigged for the water bath) and let it simmer away until it reached to just under 220F. Stirring every once in a while so the bottom doesn't burn.

Hilariously, I have a candy thermometer but not a scale. My kitchen is eclectic I tell you. This is what happens when you live with roommates for most of your life, you end up with a weird collection of kitchen gear. Living on my own for the first time, I am learning the MANY gaps in my kitchen collection.

If you don't have a thermometer, you can use the plate method (which has never, EVER made sense to me even when I've seen other people do it) or you can do it till the jam just looks right. It should be thick and the spoon should leave trails in the jam. Yes, somehow that makes more sense to me then the plate method. And here's the thing. Even with a soft set, your jam is still fabulous and useful. Personally, I don't worry too much about how firm or soft my jam set sup. I have done a full 4 pints of yellow plum 'jam' that was really a fancy fruit syrup. Tasty, TASTY stuff. Delicious on ice-cream or yogurt. So you know, don't fret it.

Anyway I then turned off the heat, and ran into the problem with electric stoves. You guys, I HATE electric stoves. I hate them with the passion of a fiery burning sun. But there aren't a lot of apartments that have gas stoves, so I'll deal. Anyway, the problem is this. I have two large burners. One of them was being used to heat up the water bath and the other was cooking the jam. Even when I turn off the heat, the burner doesn't cool off right away and thus my jam keeps cooking. And I didn't think about that so I had the jars all set up and ready to go next to the stove top. Moving the pot to a trivet on the counter just wasn't an option because, remember teeeeny, tiny galley kitchen. I have three counters. The one next to the stove and two across the walkway. At any rate, I just dealt with it  and quickly scooped the jam into the jars hoping that the jam in the jars I filled later wasn't overdone. I will know better next time and set up the jars on a different counter.

Then I cleaned the rims, set my lids on, screwed the rings to finger tight, processed them for 10 minutes in my improvised canning pot, and then pulled them out. The set on these looks pretty solid, though I will know for sure when I open the first jar. But look: Pretty.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Culling the Red Polish

Bright reds are another color family I'm drawn to in polish, and why not it's a classic color.I thought this culling would be easy, as there isn't a whole lot of difference between some of these polishes. And yet, the subtle differences are making it hard to let go. I have a problem. I acknowledge this.

Anyway, again here is a picture from Instagram that shows 10 polishes on 10 fingers. I got the sides right this time though, right side is right hand and left is left.
 And a quick shot of the bottles. I tried to be a bit more consistent this time. Cremes on one hand and shimmers on the other. Mostly to help weed out the dupes.

There are a few unique polishes for which there is no question I will be keeping.

On my left thumb is Sally Hansen Sugar Shimmer in Cinny Sweet. This is unique in my collection, being my only red textured polish. Keeping. And on my right thumb is Zoya Posh which is a matte red. Again, totally unique (mostly) and thus keeping. I say mostly, because it's very similar in tone to Zoya Sarah, which is on my right pointer. However, one is matte and one is a shimmer. Thus, keeping.

Lets the the right hand first because it's easier. I've mentioned the right pointer already. Posh is a deep almost burgundy shimmer. I love everything about Zoya polishes and as this one is a unique color I will be keeping it as well.

I'm skipping the next two fingers for now, so on my right pinky is Spoiled I Tripped on the Carpet. It's a red creme with a very subtle red pearl. The pearl is completely invisible until you get out into direct sunlight and then it's a stunner. However, most of the time it looks far to much like the rest of my red cremes, and I just... I'm not sure it's worth keeping. Though the pearl is gorgeous in the sunlight, and it really is, color wise it's just to similar to other colors. However, every time I think I'm ready to say goodbye, I think of that pearl. And that pearl does make it unique. And it's utterly ridiculous to waver this much over a two dollar drug store polish. Especially one with a terrible, awful, no good brush. I suspect it's sentimentality, I've had this particular color a long time. Ultimately though, I don't think I will miss it and so away it goes.

The middle and ring fingers of my right hand have Revlon's Spidey Sense and Finger Paints Be My Baby. Both were limited edition polishes about a year or two ago. They are very, VERY similar, and I feel like I should cull one of them. I don't need two bright red shimmers. Spidey Sense has a pink shimmer,giving it a very subtle duo-chrome effect. (I mean, going from red to pinky red isn't that much of duo-chrome, but it's worth noting.) Be My Baby is a very pink-red, and when the light hits Spidey Sense right the two are identical.   And then I move my fingers and they aren't anymore. It's rough I tell you. I like the formula on both polishes, and the wear time has been about the same for both. I suppose, if I'm being brutal I prefer the Revlon, so Spidey Sense goes into the keeping pile. Be My Baby goes into keep as well. What? I'm just not ready to let it go.

Ok, so now the cremes. You guys, this is ridiculous. I mean, ridiculous.  There is one truly unique color, China Glaze Salsa on my left pinky finger. It's bright, deep red It doesn't lean blue or orange, just red. It looks fabulous, it wears fabulous and everything about it is amazing. Obvious keeper.

The color on my left ring finger is a bit of a cheat. It's a sample NYX polish that I got with about twenty other NYX sample polishes. I have absolutely no idea what the name of it is, and it seems silly to get rid of such a tiny bottle. However, it would be going if it were a full sized bottle. It's not particularly unique, and it's very sheer. I suspect it's trying to be a jelly formula, but it's almost to opaque for that. I'm not particularly fond of it at all. So despite your tiny size, away you go unnamed NYX polish.

And then the hard choices. On my pointer is OPI Coca-Cola Red, which was a limited edition shade and on my middle finger is Revlon Roulette Rush. Coca-Cola Red is a lovely bright orange leaning red. Honestly, it really is the color of Coke cans. It is also a one coat wonder. Roulette Rush is a blue based red, and also a one coat wonder. However Roulette Rush bubbled on me with the second coat and I'm not sure that Coca-Cola Red is actually all that flattering on my fingers. Comparing both to Salsa, Coca-Cola red is the one that stands out as the most different and I think despite my uncertainty about whether it flatters my hands, it's the one that makes me smile. Though Salsa isn't at all a blue based red, it fulfills that need in my collection. So goodbye Roulette Rush.

Ok, so that was harder then I thought it would be. And it's utterly ridiculous that I'm keeping this many red polishes. But I feel pretty good about these decisions.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Culling nail polish

De-cluttering has become quite a sensation recently hasn't it? I haven’t quite reached the point where I want to get rid of ALL THE THINGS, but I think I’m ready to get rid of some of the things. It’s a cycle. I go through a collecting phase, where I must have everything I see and the lemming for new products is very strong. This is not a good phase to be in when you’re on a budget. Though sometimes being on a budget does sharply curtail this phase. But after that phase there’s a phase where I just don’t want to anything at all, it all bores me, and OMG a new pallet from Urban Decay, lesigh. I call this one Product OVERLOAD.  And then there’s the “Why the hell do I have five bright red lipsticks?” phase. Also known as de-cluttering. 

I sort of weeded out my lipstick collection a while back. And by that I mean I got rid of anything that smelled funky and all lip glosses.  I actually managed to get rid of about 20 products this way. Most of them lip glosses. I just don’t like the texture of lip glosses. They are generally heavy on the lips and most of them are sticky. I feel like at some point I ought to go through the remaining 60+ and cull them further, but I’m just not quite ready to part with any of them. Even the ones I never wear. Yes, that is a ridiculous statement.

However, I am ready to do a nail polish cull. Or at least the start of one.  I’m willing to get rid of some, but not too many as several years ago I got rid of almost every single polish I owned and I am very much regretting that.

On Saturday I sat down and sorted my polishes by color. Nothing very specific: all the blues together, all the purples together, etc. I had done this once before, but it was more of something to do with my hands while on the phone then anything purposeful. And I then negated all of that sorting by putting them in my storage containers by brand again. Something about having ALL OPI nail polishes together and ALL Zoya polishes together appealed to me.  This time, I both paid attention and put them away by color. And realized I had more than a few dark grey/black polishes. Oops. And this is what started the desire to cull out the collection. Because if I have a problem with the dark grey/black polishes, I’m pretty sure I have a similar problem with other shades. In order to test it out, I put 10 of those shades on my fingers in order to sort out the dupes. Some of them are very, VERY similar, but I’m not quite sure if I’m ready to cull those.