Friday, February 17, 2012

American Apparel Sunset Blvd

You know when you're listening to music, but the genre is just all wrong for how you're feeling at that moment? It's awkward, uncomfortable and downright dissatisfying. That's how I've been feeling about most of the polish I've been wearing lately... Until now.

I picked it up along with the Mac Arthur Park from the previous post and *sigh* is it ever perfect. Before this one, since about Christmas, the polish I've been wearing has been nice but not suitable for my mood. I've been hankering for Spring (since the temperature has been abnormally warm for this time of year) so this beautiful bright coral is giving me a bit of a leg up.

In the shade to show the brightness compared to my skintone

I know it might sound crazy but this colour was like a breath of fresh air to me! I'm sure Ali knows what I'm talking about when I say it just feels good to have found the right colour.

Application was three coats, dried quite quickly. Still love American Apparel polish!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

American Apparel Mac Arthur Park

It had been a while since I'd purchased an AA polish (or even bothered looking, really) so I peeked into the shop while walking through the Rideau Centre the other day and couldn't help but pick up a few. I've always had my eye on this one so I finally bit the bullet.

I'm of the opinion that everyone needs a classic "ugly" colour, in this case - Olive green. I'm not talking Olive like a nice dusty medium green, I'm talking that "grandma's couch" kind of yellowy green. Like pea soup. And olives :P

Sounds flattering, right?

Well it IS. I loved this colour on me.

Fluorescent lighting, colour appears slightly lighter here. 

Something about it just worked, despite the fact that I've really been craving brights lately. The application was a little complicated though. It was really opaque, I could have gotten away with one coat had there not been a couple of patches here and there, yet at the same time I found it runny and hard to control. It made clean up a nightmare; really pigmented + really floody = frustrated Lisa.

After hearing time and again about the wonders of using an angled brush (specifically MAC's) for clean up I threw in the towel and decided it was time to give it a shot. Since I already owned one that I barely ever used it wasn't worth much thought. I was previously using a square-tipped brush, fairly thin, and thought it was doing a good enough job but - move over square tip, there's a new sheriff in town. I'm never, ever going back. It was precise, effective, easy to use... <3 angled brush!

I guess next time I won't be so stubborn and trust the popular opinion.

As luck would have it, olives were part of the dinner menu tonight and I was able to snap this with my phone:

BAM. Dead match.

DIY: Bacon Roses

That's right, bacon roses. Prepare to be amazed.

I was musing around Pinterest the other day when a friend of mine pinned a DIY for these bacon roses from Instructables. Seeing it threw my entire Valentine's Day plan out the window, they were too perfect for Steve to pass up. You're supposed to drill holes in the bottom of a mini muffin tin but as hard as I tried I just couldn't do it (apparently I'm a major wuss or we need a new drill... I wonder which is more likely?), so I improvised with some tin foil. It actually worked beautifully.

I took photos with my phone along the way so forgive the not-so-hot quality of the pics (I grabbed my camera at the end). I figured I'd whip up a brief tutorial on how I did it since I didn't use the same method as the original instructions.

Tip: Try finding a pack of bacon with the least amount of fat on it. They will cook up much nicer (crispier) the leaner they are. I made the mistake of overlooking this tidbit and I'm sure it would have made a huge difference in the texture.

What you will need:
  • 12 fake roses
  • Bacon
  • Aluminum foil
  • Oven safe cooling rack
  • Baking sheet
  • Toothpicks
  • Tall vase
  • Chocolate (optional)
Step 1:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a metal/oven safe cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. This will be your "tray" that holds the bacon and creates an area for the bacon grease to drip as it cooks.

Step 2:
Roll bacon into rose buds and wrap aluminum foil around the bottom, leaving a small hole for the grease to escape, then place them on the cooling rack. I suggest making a few extra in case some turn out a little wonky.

Step 3:
Put the roses in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, maybe longer depending on your oven. Mine were in for 55.

Step 4:
While the bacon cooks, remove the heads of the fake roses, leaving the top of the stem and leaves intact. Insert toothpicks through the top of the stem, this will give the bacon some stability when you assemble the flowers.


Step 5:
Remove bacon from oven once they're nice and crisp.

Step 6:
Unwrap the aluminum foil and allow the pieces to cool completely.

Step 7 (optional):
If you decided to dip them in chocolate, now would be the time to do so. Melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler and coat the bacon as much or little as you like, it's really about personal preference at this point. Put the chocolate covered bacon on a cooling rack and into the fridge to set.

I tried it on three pieces. I knew Steve had never tried it and was really curious, but I didn't want to risk potentially ruining the whole thing by doing them all and having him not enjoy them.

Step 8:
Place the "rosiest" bacon buds on the flower stems and assemble in a vase. My vase was not tall enough whatsoever, it looked a little ridiculous but it got the job done all the same.


With flash.

So there you have it! If that's not the way to a man's heart, I don't know what is (and will completely give up, to be honest). His reaction to them was wonderful. I was told the thought process went something like this - She got me roses? But I smell bacon.. wait... what the... are the roses made of bacon?! IS THAT CHOCOLATE? *mindblown*

Sounds about right to me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Water Marble

The original intention was to take better photos of this mani before posting it, I don't like the fact that I'm just holding my phone, but it ended up getting pretty chipped with all the baking and crafting I've been doing for Valentine's Day so alas, if you want to see the mani this will have to do. I took these photos while waiting for the cupcakes to cool and haven't had a moment since to do anything a little more suitable.

Ultimately, I'm not normally a fan of Valentine's Day but I can't help but get into the excitement over just about any holiday. For this water marble I used Sally Hansen White On as the base and marbled with the same, along with OPI Charged Up Cherry and OPI Flower-to-Flower.

Oooh look, a little while later with the cupcake!


Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovers out there! ^-^

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Frosting

A friend of mine gave me some Valentine's Day themed cupcake liners recently, so what better incentive is there to make pink frosted goodies to celebrate the upcoming holiday? My sister was coming for dinner over the weekend and, being lactose intolerant, she doesn't often get to indulge in the sweets we like serve. Instead of just making the cupcakes lactose free I decided to make them fully vegan to try something new.

The result? 

Tada! Pretty cute, don't you think? 

I adapted the recipe slightly from here, so I'm posting the ingredients/methods I used.


1cup vanilla soy milk
1tsp. apple cider vinegar
cups all-purpose flour
2Tbsp. cornstarch
¾tsp. baking powder
½tsp. baking soda
¼tsp. salt (increase salt to ½ teaspoon if you’re using oil instead of margarine)
½cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
¾cup sugar
 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
  3. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.
  4. In a separate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. (Don’t beat past 2 minutes.) Beat in the vanilla then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
  5. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.
I meant to grab a photo, and I thought I had, but the cupcakes actually collapsed after I took them out of the oven. I'm not sure what the reason was, but it didn't make a huge difference. The overall texture and flavour was incredible, and the scoop in the center just left room for more icing! 

I actually used vanilla that I made at home from scratch. Kinda cool, huh? All you do is take 2 vanilla beans, split them down the middle and soak them in a jar with some vodka for 2 months, shaking weekly. Make sure it's an airtight container and kept somewhere dark.

Anyway, frosting! Check this beauty out:


I'm simply going to link the recipe for this, as I followed it fairly closely. They only thing I didn't do according to recipe is let the reduction cool be before moving on to the cornstarch and salt step. I'm not sure how that would have impacted the recipe but it definitely shaved off some time. 
If you're going to be making this frosting I recommend trying to make the strawberry reduction the night before, it will make things feel like they're moving much faster. The original recipe calls for 1/2lb of strawberries but  I recommend going for 3/4-1lb just to be safe. After reducing it I didn't have quite what was needed, which I'm sure would have been quite lovely. 

Party time! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Kleancolor Edition

There's this cheapie drug store brand of polish available in the United States (actually I saw some in Ottawa once, but it's not common) called Kleancolor that gained a sudden amount of popularity a few months back and I couldn't help but be a little curious about it. I was doing a swap with someone from Illinois and to make shipping more worthwhile we agreed to the addition of some KC for some Joe Fresh, which is only available in Canada.

First up we have Kleancolor Blue-Eyed Girl.

It's actually a dark blue jelly polish with silver hex glitters.. at least I'm fairly certain they're silver. The jelly is well pigmented but sheer, and the glitter is quite sparse so to achieve this look I had to use some undies, in this case it was American Apparel Passport Blue.

I haven't had much time to be doing my nails lately so I've often found myself layering on to whatever I'm already wearing. I decided to add Nails Inc The Wyndham overglaze top coat to it (which my friend Christine bought and I fell completely in love with) et voila!

Textured flaky goodness.

My current NOTD is Kleancolor Red-Hot. This one has given me a lot of trouble. I've worn it twice now and it just doesn't dry. The first time I wore it I went to the grocery store two hours after I'd finished polishing and an entire nail just slid off.  Then once I got home I was able to do the same to 3 more nails. This time around I had higher hopes since I didn't have any issues with Blue-Eyed girl and, alas, same thing.

The undies for this one is OPI Double Decker Red.

I'd say my biggest complaint with both of these is that it's hard to get an even looking application without globbing the polish on. The glitter is very sporadic, both of these are two coats, otherwise there wouldn't be a very good polish/glitter ratio.

I wish you could see how sparkly the polishes really are though. I'd say they're worth the trouble because the size of the glitter reflects a TON of light and it makes it really hard to look away. The fact that the polish base for both is jelly also gives the nail a really juicy appearance and a lot of depth, almost making it look 3D.

Does anyone know of good jellies that don't take forever to dry?