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.