Monday, January 30, 2012

Lacquer Lundi

I noticed something the other day.  I stick out my tongue (like a focused four year old) when I am carefully applying nail polish.  I do not carry this practice into any other activity in my life, just painting my nails.  This leads me to believe that polish application must be the most brain-frying procedure that I carry out in my daily life.  Huh.

On to the pretties...

Sally Hansen Nail Prisms - Emerald Amethyst
- purchased at The Bargain!Shop (chain deep discount store) for $1.08 CDN

Colour: A gorgeous light purple and green duochrome.  A duochrome is a polish that appears two different colours, depending on the angle from which it is viewed (see the video for a demo of this colour change trick). 

Number of Coats for Opacity:  Two 

FormulaReally good - not too thin, not too thick. Slides on so smoothly - really a dream to use.

Wear: Excellent - only tip wear after three days.

Comments:  I am not too shy to profess my love for these older polishes.  Man, oh man, did Sally Hansen ever get it right with this one.  The colour is simply stunning, the formula is excellent and the wear is great.  Awesome sauce!

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Blue Me Away!
- purchased at Zellers (chain store) for $2.99 CDN

Colour: A bright blue creme.

Number of Coats for OpacityTwo. 

FormulaReally good - not too thin, not too thick. 

Wear: Great - only tip wear after three days.

Comments: I have gushed about this particular brand of polish in the past - amazing stuff for the price.  Oh, and I love, love, love the wider brush.

Joe Fresh Style - Coral
- purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $3.33 CDN

Colour: A coral creme, just like the name implies.  This one is for the polish colour traditionalists in the crowd.

Number of Coats for Opacity:  Two, although a third coat would have evened out a few streaks.  I just didn't have drying time for a third coat.

FormulaGood - perhaps a smidgen on the thin side.

Wear: Great - only tip wear after two days filled with hand intensive activities.

Comments:  Joe Fresh Style is a brand known by any Canadian that lives near a Zehrs or Superstore.  I love this line of polishes - they are a truly great value.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 4

Ahh, the dreaded "P" word.  "What word is that?", you might ask.  It's the word that strikes fear into the heart of every person trying to shed a few pounds.  The word that makes grown women cry and large men gnash their teeth in horror.  The "P" word, my dear friends, is plateau.

Yes, I am stalled on a plateau.  For ten days now.  Just sitting static at one number on the scale.  Unmoving.  Immobile.

At first, I was very philosophical about the whole thing.

"Every dieter hits plateaus.  They are inevitable.  No need for alarm," I'd say in a flippant tone with a wave of my hand.

Five days later, "Huh, so I seem to be firmly entrenched in this plateau.  Wow, this is disconcerting.  I sure hope it gives up it's strangle hold on me soon." 

This morning, as I stepped off the scale, I believe my exact words were, "What the f#@k!"

I think I may be getting less zen about the whole thing.

Admittedly, my bad attitude this morning might also be due to the aching in my sad little muscles.  Two days ago, I added some strength training into the mix.  Up until now, I had been doing cardio (treadmill, walks with the dog) and stretching/balance work (yoga). I figured tossing in some weight training might help break the plateau.*

Unfortunately, our weight machine is still in pieces from the move - we hope to have it set back up in the spring.  So, I turned on my XBox and loaded up Yourself!Fitness.  It is one of the first exercise related games that came on to the market (way back in 2004 for the XBox - that's like the stone age for technology by today's standards, but I still like it).  There is a animated instructor, Maya, that leads you through aerobics, strength training and yoga routines. For each workout (which can be 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes long), you choose a main focus:  weight loss, cardio, upper body strength, core body strength, lower body strength or flexibility.  You can also choose to use had weights or a step bench during the sessions.  If you don't want an actual workout, you can spend 20 minutes in the "Meditation Garden" doing yoga.

On Friday I did a 60 minute upper body strength session, followed by a 60 minute core strength workout on Saturday.  Today, I plan on moving as little as possible since I might have overdone it a wee bit.  Okay, so descending a flight of stairs is excruciating and trying to sit down is tortuous, so yeah, I believe I let my enthusiasm get the better of me.  But nothing is irreparably damaged, so hopefully once the pain subsides, my new routine will blast me out of the Plateau Zone (cue eerie music).

How about everybody else?  Still going strong?  Tell me all about it.

* Strength training is excellent for women.  It staves off osteoporosis, which is always a concern as we women age.  Not to mention, studies show that muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells, so increasing the body's muscle mass is always a good idea when you're trying to lose weight.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties...

Quo - Flirt
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $10 CDN

Colour: A sheerish purple with teal and pink flashes.

Number of Coats for Opacity: Three.  I was trying to get it as opaque as possible.

FormulaReally good - not too thin, not too thick.  I realize it's meant to be a sheerish polish, but I would have loved it with more pigment.

Wear: Tip wear and one small chip after two days.

Comments:  This is a nice enough polish, but it didn't blow my socks off.  Great colour, but too sheer for my  taste.  Also, the shape of the bottle is cute on the shelf, but a PITA to use.  The square handle (which holds the brush) is difficult to manipulate when applying the polish.

Avon Nailwear Pro -Splendid Blue
- purchased at for $2.99 CDN

Colour: A dark navy blue with silver shimmer. 

Number of Coats for Opacity: Two - plenty of pigment in this one.  If I had been more careful I may have gotten away with one coat. 

FormulaReally good - not too thin, not too thick.

Wear: A bit of tip wear after two days.

Comments:  I love this polish - the colour, the formula, the wear - everything.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 3

Week three is all wrapped up and all I can say is that I'm glad it's over!

I started the week by over-eating, due to the monthly surge of hormones.  Is anyone else completely unable to say no to chocolate for around two days a month?  Please tell me it's not just me.

Also, there has been a stomach flu going around school lately and usually I am immune to those nasty little buggers.  Usually.  Not this time though.  By the end of the week, I had it.  Apparently Mother Nature felt strongly that I should do a cleanse.  So, I had to go with the flow (snarf!  flu humour - hilarious!). 

And the timing on this sickness could not have been worse. This is the end of the semester, so I'm finishing up classes and putting together final exams.  Busy, busy, busy.  No time time for this crap (again, with the flu humour!).

All this meant that I was only able to exercise  two days this week.  However, I did eat healthy most of the days (except for the days I didn't really eat).

So, when it was all averaged out, I actually came out ahead...or behind - I guess it depends on how you look at it.  Regardless, I am down another pound (for a grand total of five pounds lost in 2012).  Yay, me!

So, fess up folks.  How did your week pan out?  Down a pound?  Up a pound?  Still working out?  Sitting on the couch with a bag of Fritos?  C'mon, tell me all about it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties...

Wet n Wild Craze - Undercover Graffitti
- purchased at The Bargain Shop! (chain deep discount store) for $2.99

Colour: A bright green creme.  It reminds me a bit of Kermit the Frog. 

Number of Coats for Opacity: Two, but if I had been more careful (or used a slightly thicker coat), I could have gotten away with one.

FormulaReally good - perhaps a teenie, weenie, tiny bit thick, but not annoyingly so.

Wear: Only slight tip wear after two days.

Comments:  I have never had much luck with Wet n Wild in the past - either the formula was off or the wear was awful.  This polish, however, is excellent.

Wet n Wild Craze - Tagger
- purchased at The Bargain Shop! (chain deep discount store) for $2.99

Colour: A bright blue creme.  It reminds me a bit of Grover.

Number of Coats for Opacity: Three coats.

FormulaThe formula on this one was not as pigmented as I would like, but it still applied nicely.

Wear: Not stellar - I had tip wear after one day and a few large chips.  Since I can't stand chipped nail polish, I took it off immediately.

Comments: I am not as impressed with Tagger as I was with Undercover Graffitti.

Wet n Wild Craze - Art Crime
- purchased at The Bargain Shop! (chain deep discount store) for $2.99

Colour: A bright yellow creme.  It reminds me a bit of Big Bird.

Number of Coats for Opacity: Three coats and I still had streaks (which is pretty typical with yellow polishes).

FormulaGood - not too thick, not too thin.  However, more pigment would be nice (but, this is always a problem with yellow polishes in general, so I can't fault Wet n Wild for this).

Wear: Okay - tip wear and a couple small chips after one day.

Comments:  I have other yellows in my collection that wear better than this one, but I do quite like the crazy bright colour of Art Crime.

Wet n Wild Craze - Scratchiti
- purchased at The Bargain Shop! (chain deep discount store) for $2.99

Colour: A bright orange creme.  It reminds me a bit of ... um, no one.

Number of Coats for Opacity: Three coats.

FormulaGood - could use a bit more pigment in order to cover in just two coats instead of three.

Wear: Okay- I had tip wear after one day and a couple of tiny chips.

Comments: Good polish, but Wet n Wild still needs to work on the lasting power of their polish.  Only Undercover Graffitti gave me great wear.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 2

Week two is done and I'm feelin' fine.  Still exercising regularly and eating healthy homemade meals.

This week, besides walking on the treadmill, I tossed in some yoga and stair climbing.

I forgot how helpful yoga can be in easing my lower back pain (ah, sciatica, you lovely little creature!).  All of that controlled stretching is just wonderful, so I will be adding more yoga to my future work out schedule.

As for the stair climbing, on Friday I got into work early and decided to walk and climb the stairs for 20 minutes.  It's a really great work out - talk about burning butt and thigh muscles the next day!

Besides feeling stronger and healthier due to all of the above, it also added up to some weight loss.  I have now lost a total of four pounds since January 1st.  I truly cannot believe how well I am doing.  I never lose weight this fast, but I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. 

I think I am doing well because I have amazing support at home, at work and here online.  It is always easier to do something difficult if you have a cheering section!  And in conjunction with this outside encouragement, I have instituted another form of motivation.  If I stay on track, I get positive reinforcement in the form of cold, hard cash:
  • For every hour I spend exercising (walking on the treadmill, taking a walk with Hartley, lifting weights, stretching, doing yoga, climbing stairs, etc), I earn $10.00.  
  •  For every healthy meal I prepare at home, I earn $1.00.  
  •  For every pound I lose and keep off, I earn $20.00.
I have really been enjoying watching the dollars adding up every time I log some exercise or a home-cooked meal.  I'm thinking I will eventually buy myself a new Babylock serger with my windfall.  I can almost smell the automatic threading already...