October 28, 2016

Save on ALL the things with Groupon!

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions and thoughts are my own!

I like to save money whenever I can.  I think most people do, really, because who wants to pay full price for anything when there's even a chance that there's a good deal out there somewhere?  But, at the same time, who wants to sit around searching for sales and deals?  Saving money is good, but time is money, so you need to save your time, too...

That's where Groupon comes in handy.  There are great deals on tons of different restaurants, activities, concerts/shows, spas, really on anything!  When Derek and I took a staycation this summer, I spent about an hour researching Indoor Activities (because we're both babies about the heat) that we could do at a discount.  And I found some great stuff!  We ended up going to an Escape the Room for half price.  Oh, and any time I need my car washed?  I check Groupon and can usually find a two-for-one deal at a nearby place!

Last year, I decided to ditch the jeans from October-April and experiment with leggings instead.  Boom, discounts on multi-packs of leggings.

One thing I would really love to do is go and get a massage.  My neck has been incredibly stiff lately, ever since I started my job with The Advocacy Project and sitting at a desk working on a laptop for 7-8 hours per day.  (Even though I'm super short AND keep my chair at the lowest position, I still have to look down at my screen.  It's bad for posture!)  There are definitely some kinks that need to be worked out!  I'm sure I'll be looking for a spa in the Health, Beauty, & Wellness Groupons area in the near future.  Not only do I know I'll be able to find a place in my area with a great deal, but I can also read reviews of the places right on Groupon without having to look on Yelp, Google, or the company's website!  It's super convenient.

(One time, Groupon e-mailed me with a deal for "Ladies' Night Out" packages that included Brazilian waxing.  I had to wonder what kind of woman thinks that getting waxed down there sounds like a good idea for a girls' night out, but hey, it's good to know that they offer waxing packages!)

What kinds of deals have you shopped for on Groupon?  Do you happen to know of a good spa in the D.C. area that frequently offers deals? ;) Let me know in the comments!

Oxi Day nail art

Halloween is right around the corner, but today is a very special day, too!  Today is known as Όχι Day, or Oxi Day in English - also spelled Ohi Day, pronounced "OH-hee."  It's Greek for "No."

Because this is a Greek holiday, I thought I would celebrate with some Greek key nail art - and take this opportunity to teach you guys about Oxi Day!

These Greek key stencils were way hard to use, and the design came out a bit sloppy looking on my nails!  Oh well.  I love Greek keys - which, in the spirit of this educational post, are known as "Meandros" in Greek ("Μαίανδρος") and have been a common motif on buildings and pottery since ancient times, most likely symbolizing infinity and unity.  (side note: if I ever gather the guts to get a tattoo, it will absolutely be a Greek key around my ankle.)

On October 28, 1940, Italian ambassador to Greece Emanuele Grazzi met with Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas.  Grazzi demanded that Metaxas allow Axis powers to occupy Greece, or face war.  Metaxas' response was, for reasons unknown to me, in French: "Alors, c'est la guerre!" which means "Then it is war!"  Italian troops that had been stationed in Albania quickly attacked the Greek border, plunging Greece into World War II.  Greek citizens gathered in the streets, shouting "Oxi," unified against the Axis powers.  

October 28 became a national holiday in Greece in 1942.  It is celebrated with parades, military grandstanding, and lots of patriotic flag-waving.

An Oxi Day parade in Canada - it's celebrated in Greek communities
worldwide!  image source

Here in the states, I'm celebrating a bit more subtly with some Greek nail art!

The Greek flag is blue and white, so I used Zoya Tallulah on top of Sally Hansen White On.  I can't remember where I got the vinyl stencils - I bought too many vinyls from too many different companies too close together, so I honestly have no idea where any of them came from!

You can learn more about Oxi Day on Wikipedia and Living in Greece.

I hope I've managed to teach you something new today!  If not, tell me when you first learned about Oxi Day in the comments!  Do any of you celebrate Oxi Day by going to a parade or a festival, or maybe just by eating Greek food every October 28?  Let me know in the comments!

And Happy Almost-Halloween!

Update: a commenter (My Mom :) ) shared this 4 and a half minute video in the comments, and it's a great watch!


October 26, 2016

KBShimmer Be Scareful

KBShimmer's Be Scareful released in Fall 2015.  I got it a few weeks ago from a destash sale - I forget whose it was, but she had a lot of awesome indie polishes up!  I limited myself to one, and of course I chose a Halloween themed polish.

I applied Be Scareful using the sponge method.  First I brushed on one thin coat, to get an even coverage of the white crelly base, and then I sponged on two more layers of the glitter.

Isn't it so fun?  It looks like Halloween threw up on my nails!  I'm definitely glad that I used the sponging method.  The crelly base applies nicely, but the glitters are large enough that it's tough to brush them on.  I highly, highly recommend that you try out the sponge method!  Of course, if you do, you should protect your cuticles with some kind of peel-off barrier, because you'll get glitter all over your skin without it.

As you can see, it's not completely opaque - there's still some noticeable VNL.  I could have tried out one more layer, or layered this over a coat of solid white, but I wasn't all that concerned with getting full opacity.

Look at those tiny little orange glitters floating in there!  They're not super noticeable to the naked eye, but once you get this close up, it's hard to miss anything.

Oh, and when I went to bed after applying this polish, I got a pretty big surprise...

Be Scareful GLOWS IN THE DARK YASS!  I love a surprise glow in the dark nail polish!  I'm always like, "what's that weird light coming from - IT'S MY NAILS?!" and then I shove my hands in Derek's face and he's a bit concerned for my sanity.

Because it's Halloween, and because I still have plenty of the water decals that I used last Halloween, I decided to do some art on top of this!

I just love these decals!  They're so cute.  I mean - scary! :)

My friends at my crochet group were particularly thrilled with the spiderweb decal on my thumb.

Be Scareful isn't available anymore, but KBShimmer has an AMAZING lineup for autumn 2016!

What do you think of this polish?  What are your favorite KBShimmers?  Have your nails been celebrating Halloween all month long like mine have?  Let me know in the comments!

October 22, 2016

In the spirit of Holo-ween and Frankenpolish!

I've definitely been on a Halloween nail art kick all month!  And a holo kick.  Thus, Holo-ween.  I know, I know, it's not original, but it's definitely a good pun.

I sort of did this mani twice.  I originally did a vertical gradient using each of these colors, but I didn't like it much.  Shortly after I finished I realized that I should have done this version - sort of a gradient French tip design.

The purple polish is Heather's Hues Vampirette, which you saw me use last Halloween.  The red is Firecracker Lacquer Stop and Smell the Blossoms (from the Powerpuff Girls box, ahh!), and the green is Daily Hues Nail Lacquer Fiona.


I definitely wanted this entire mani to be holographic, but my only black holo is Gothic Gala Lacquers The Search for Spock - which is beautiful and stunning, but leans a little bit purple, and I wanted a truer black for this design.

And, I don't have a holo yellow or orange!  Well, I do have Gothic Gala Lacquers My Partner in Crime, but it's a more mustard-y yellow, and I wanted bright yellow, more like candy corn.  Yes, I am picky, but that's what being an artist is all about, right?  Knowing what you want and making it happen?

So, I looked at my polish collection and thought, "these would look good mixed together!"  And I had several old, unusable bottles of top coat lying around, so I cleaned them out and mixed up some frankenpolish!  I'm calling them "Kate Concoctions" so that I can have a "brand" to tag if I ever use them again.

The first one I made is the orange, which I dubbed Pumpkin Sparkle.  It's a mixture of mostly OPI It's a Piazza Cake and Deborah Lippmann Don't Stop Believin, with a bit of Sally Hansen Orange Zest and a dash of Salon Perfect Traffic Cone (because I used too much Piazza Cake and the color was looking darker than I wanted it).  Then I added three different holos to the mix: China Glaze Fairy Dust, Deviant Polish Lori, and Sally Hansen Disco Ball.  I think Disco Ball shows up the best.  In the end I decided to add literally like 6 drops of Zoya Jesy, both to brighten up the color and add a touch more sparkle.

Next, I made the black, which I named Night Sky and I think came out the very best.  It's also the simplest: a large amount of  Sinful Colors Black on Black, with a couple drops of The Search for Spock, and the three holos that I added to the orange - Lori, Fairy Dust, and Disco Ball.  I'm sooo happy with how this came out, and quite happy that I made it in a full-sized bottle!

I made the yellow last, and I kind of like everything about it the least.  The name, A-maize-ing, isn't great but I couldn't think of anything better.  The holos barely show up in it, even though I added plenty of all three, which is the most disappointing of all.  The color is mostly China Glaze Happy Go Lucky, with a dash of Finger Paints Master Muse and just 3 drops of Orange Zest.  I suppose every indie maker winds up with slight disappointments like this!

What do you think of my Concoctions? Is there anything you'd like to see me do for Halloween nail art?  There's still time - let me know in the comments!

October 7, 2016

Purple and black holo nail art

The only nail art I've had the energy to do lately is using nail vinyls.  In fact, I've had such low energy lately that for this look, I didn't do the vinyls part until a few days after painting on the purple!

These gorgeous polishes are both by Gothic Gala Lacquers, who has sadly just closed their polish-selling doors. :'(  The purple is Sinfully Stephanie, and the black is The Search for Spock.

I adore the long handles of Gothic Gala Lacquers, but I've never been completely satisfied with my hand pose for them.  I can never seem to get it just right - the long, elegant shape of the handle demands a more elegant hand pose in my opinion, and that's hard to do with a tabletop tripod!

I actually pulled out my floor tripod for this one!  What do you think of the pose?  I think I would like it better if my pinky finger were a bit longer. ;)

Either I didn't get a sunny day while I was donning this manicure, or more likely, I simply failed to take a sunlight picture.  Both of these polishes definitely show off their holo flashes the best in direct sunlight, but direct light shows it off pretty well too!

What do you think of this manicure?  Let me know in the comments!