Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Booklist: 1-5

For 2010, 1 change I'll be making is trying to include a genre for everything I read. Overall I'd say I lean towards fantasy, but even within that there is urban fantasy, paranormal romance, epic fantasy ... you get the drift.  I'm not exactly off to a blazing start LOL, but I don't think I'm doing too badly either.

Catching Midnight#1
 Emma Holly
Fitz Patrick Chronicles Book 2
Historical Paranormal Romance

These vampires - well, upyr, to use the jargon of the world - are divided into warring factions:  those who disdain contact with humans & those who consider them legitimate prey.  The first book of this series was actually a short story from one of the anthologies that I read last year.

Hot Spell#2
Urban & Historical Fantasy

This anthology featured short stories by:  Emma Holly, Lora Leigh, Shiloh Walker & Meljean Brook

The story by Meljean Brook was the first "book" of her Guardians series, and actually the reason I picked up this anthology, although the rest of the stories were good too.  The Emma Holly short I particularly enjoyed, I think I'm going to have to look into the rest of the series (as it's not the one listed above).

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4)#3
Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Book 4
Teen Fiction/Urban Fantasy

I said to my friend Sam when I finished reading it, that it reminded me of The Empire Strikes back, it's like the part where all the bad guys are getting the advantage, and things look so hopeless, and the final battle is yet to come & will have to be fought even if the odds are stacked so far out of balance the outcome seems a foregone conclusion.  Of course I don't really expect the bad guys to win LOL.  But I'll soon see what kind of a price the good guys have to pay for their victory, as I have the 5th book in my pile out from the library right now.

Divine Misdemeanors: A Novel (Meredith Gentry, Book 8)#4
Laurell K. Hamilton
Meredith Gentry Book 8
Paranormal Romance

This was a book I wasn't sure the author would write, because things were wrapped up so neatly at the end of book 7, but as it turns out that was only temporary.

(Couple of spoilers coming up if you have not read the first 7 books)

After killing her murderous, insane cousin, giving up the throne, & leaving faerie altogether, this whole book is set in the human realm, but there's still plenty going on, with Princess Meredith called in to help investigate a killer who is targeting the demi-fey of Los Angeles.  She's also got to keep what amounts to a court in exile of former gods in line, many of whom are regaining their old powers, and the attitudes to go along with them.

Death's Mistress (Dorina Basarab, Book 2)#5
Midnight's Daughter Book 2
Karen Chance
Urban Fantasy

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir (if you're not familiar with the term, think a daywalker like Blade, although that term has a different meaning in this particular world), and she kicks ass.  This is set in the same world as Karen Chance's Cassie Palmer series, and the timelines of the 2 cross occassionally, which can be a little confusing, but overall is very well done.  I can't wait for a 3rd book in this series.  Karen Chance is also one of the author's in the current anthology I'm reading (Inked).

So, 5 books for January ... could have been worse I guess LOL?  But could have been much better also.  I'll try to improve going forward.  Thanks for reading about what I'm reading =)


Mini Haul (My Mostly Planned No-Buy Exception)

Well, seems like swatches of the OPI Alice in Wonderland collection have been around for weeks, and I knew from the moment I first laid eyes on it that Absolutely Alice had to be mine.  I also knew that if I bought it online, I wold give in to additional polish - you know, to justify the shipping charges.  So I very patiently waited for it to arrive at Ulta ... and waited ... and waited ... and finally was rewarded today =)  
I wasn't sure about Mad As A Hatter until I actually saw it, but I gave in when I picked it up.  Then, how could I pass up clearance on the OPI 2-pack for $5?  The China Glaze doesn't count as breaking my no-buy  either because it was free ... got a bottle of Seche at Sally's & the SA tells me it's buy 1 get one ChG free!  So I kind of randomly grabbed, but I think Spontaneous might end up being paired with MAAH for a mani ... we'll see:

Right to left:  China Glaze Spontaneous, OPI My Big Break, Fit for a Queensland, Mad as a Hatter, Absolutely Alice.

And yes, AA is going on my nails this very moment ... pics to come tomorrow =)  Thanks for reading.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

NOTD: Orly Solid Gold

I think this ties with Iron Butterfly as my favorite from the Metal Chic collection.  It's just such a nice gold. Here is Orly Solid Gold, in it's original matte finish:

& here with Konad done with Color Club Black & image plate m64, and glossy topcoat.  With this Konad it reminds me of a tiger for some reason:

This is one Konad design that I like a lot better on my nail than I expected when I first saw it on the plate.  It is very easy to double-stamp, so it's a nice one to use as my nails are growing out.

Thanks for reading =)


TOTD: Maybelline Violet Aluminum

This lost of a lot of the silver shimmer that shows in the bottle on the nail.  But it's still a nice pedi - Maybelline Violet Aluminum:

Thanks for reading =)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NOTD: Purple Sponging Gradient + Tutorial

I guess I forgot to take a shot of this base color by itself before I started sponging, I think because I'd already put my camera on the tripod & was distracted with a few other things too, so you'll have to forgive me & just imagine =)  This reminds me of a Zoya lemming that I still have, except I think it's a lot lighter.  I want to say the Zoya color is called Zara?  Lavender with golden sparkle.  Finger Paints Lilac Lagoon could also be described as lavender with golden sparkle, but it was so light it almost looked pink on my nails at first ... I think having China Glaze Grape Juice on the tips reinforces this as an actual purple:

My mom liked the green one I did & said I should do a tutorial so I did ... kind of quick & easy but there's really not much to sponging, just get a sponge & dive in!  Enjoy:

Then tonight I just added some Matte Magic since I didn't feel like a full redo of my mani, and here's what it looks like with that finish:

Bedtime now (past actually LOL), but more to come later as always =)  Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NOTD: Sponging Round 2 (Green)

I liked the last one & wanted a little more practice, so I went at it again =)  This time I went with China Glaze Entourage (Custom Kicks collection) as my base color:

Then I sponged the tips with China Glaze Watermelon Rind (Summer Days collection).  I really liked this; it's more of a gradation than the last, probably partly because I was using 2 greens instead of 2 contrasting colors.  I almost left it on another day but in the end wanted to see if I could do even better so I did a purple one with a tutorial that I'll post tomorrow after I get the video edit & such.  Anyway, here is my second sponging mani in green, the finished product:

If you think sponging is too tough (it's totally not) stay tuned tomorrow & I'll show you just how easy it is =) Thanks for reading.


Monday, January 25, 2010

NOTD: OPI Visions of Sugarplum

Poor, poor Vikings =(  I totally did my part to support them, with a team-colored manicure.  I started out with OPI Visions of Sugarplum for my purple.  Awesome!  This is from the Ulta Excxlusives this past Christmas.  Here is a shot before I added gold, 2 coats no topcoat:

Then I took OPI Dazzled by Gold (also from Christmas) & sponged it on my tips.  This was my first time sponging, overall I really liked how it turned out I just wish I hadn't gone quite so far down my nail as I did, by just like a millimeter LOL, or that I'd managed to make it more gradated:

I'm not really that in to football, but I was very much looking forward to doing my dad's nails for the Super Bowl, but ... well now.  I'd tried to keep an optimistic view, but in the end, the Vikes showed that the one thing they are good at - always have been - is disappointment.  Oh well.  So now I guess I'll have to find a different excuse to wear purple nail polish LOL.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park

What a mouthful!  We usually just call it the conservatory, LOL.  I didn't take any outside pics, but I went on their website & here is the official one, a nice summer shot:

There's another section that you can't see from this angle, and it was of course covered in snow at this time of year, but who cares!  Because once you get inside, you can forget all about winter, with high humidity & temps close to 80:

A lot of the exhibits don't change all the time, so a few of these pics are from our trip last year (of stuff I didn't take pics of again this year LOL).  I actually didn't take a ton of pics, I was too busy absorbing warmth & oxygen LOL, but here's a taste of the beautiful plants, statuary & animals:

Many of the animals in the tropical section are not even behind bars or walls.  One of those is the sloth, Chloe - who for a change was awake this year!  Every year we have seen her she has been in her tree sleeping, but this year she was awake & I took some video =)  Some of the commentary you can hear in the background is from my mom, check out this exotic creature in motion:

So that was kind of the highlight of the trip =)  If I lived closer, I think I'd hang out there all winter & just read or bring a laptop or something.  There is no charge to get in, although they do encourage you to make a donation.  Do you have someplace in your town where you can go to escape the winter chill?

Thanks for reading!

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