Sunday, November 22, 2015

HPB Presents Monochromatic Nails

Nothing to disclose

Hi everyone! Every month, the Hobby Polish Bloggers group chooses a different theme. This month, it is monochromatic nails, which I absolutely love to do. I decided that instead of making a new manicure, I would show some old ones that never made it onto the blog.

The first mani I have for you is my first attempt at an abstract look. I used the purple China Glaze set and a small paint brush for this. This was also my first attempt at an artistic photo.

This was my next attempt at this style. I used a bunch of random polishes, including the China Glaze green set. I also decided that my sweater dress matched better than a scarf.

And now, pink! This was the pink China Glaze set (noticing a theme yet?), and by this time I had improved my artistic pose with a scarf. I also think I had lost my thin brush because the brushstrokes look a lot thicker. Or maybe I was just in a hurry?

My final picture is my black and white version. I think I ended up using 5 shades for this one. The lack of scarf is only because I haven't unpacked my scarf box yet. In case you are wondering, yes, I have a scarf that matches this perfectly, and yes, I have a bit of a scarf obsession.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Reading Challenges

2016 Craving for Cozies Challenge

Challenge Dates: Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2016

Challenge Rules:

Level: Satisfied - 21-40 cozies

Date Finished:

Books Read:
1: A Cast-off Coven - Juliet Blackwell (finished 1/5)
2: A Brew to a Kill - Cleo Coyle (finished 1/11)
3: Death by Coffee - Alex Erickson (finished 1/13)
4: Tagged For Death -Sherry Harris (finished 1/21)
5: Cat Bearing Gifts - Shirley Rousseau Murphy (finished 1/30)
6: Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses - Mary McHugh (finished 2/4)
7: Here Today, Gone Tamale - Rebecca Adler (finished 2/8)
8: A Room With a Pew - Peg Cochran (finished 2/23)*
9: Hail to the Chef - Julie Hyzy (finished 2/25)
10: Button Holed - Kylie Logan (finished 2/27)
11: Murder, Plain and Simple - Isabella Alan (finished 3/2)
12: Wedding Cake Murder - Joanne Fluke (finished 3/6)
13: Pane and Suffering - Cheryl Hollon (finished 3/9)
14: The Vicious Vet - M.C. Beaton (finished 3/15)
15: To Helvetica and Back - Paige Shelton (finished 3/19)
16: Novena For Murder - Sister Carol Anne O'Marie (finished 3/30)
17: Flipped For Murder - Maddie Day (finished 4/2)
18: By Cook or by Crook - Maya Corrigan (finished 4/5)
19: Veiled Threats - Deborah Donnelly (finished 4/7)
20: Presumed Puzzled - Parnell Hall (finished 4/13)
21: Death of a Bacon Heiress - Lee Hollis (finished 4/14)*
22: Murder on the House - Juliet Blackwell (finished 4/20)
23: Mug Shot - Caroline Fardig (finished 4/22)*

What an Animal IX Reading Challenge 2016

Challenge Dates: Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2016

Challenge Rules:

Level: 2 - 7-12 animal themed books

Date finished:

Books Read:
1: Kneading to Die - Liz Mugavero (finished 1/9)
2: Lending a Paw - Laurie Cass (finished 1/18)
3: The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse - Leann Sweeney (finished 1/23)
4: Cat Telling Tales - Shirley Rousseau Murphy (finished 1/28)
5: When Bunnies Go Bad - Clea Simon (finished 3/6)*
6: Bite the Biscuit - Linda O. Johnston (finished 4/9)

2016 Alphabet Soup Challenge

Challenge Dates: Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2016

Challenge Rules:

Date Finished:

Books Read:
A: And Then There Were Nuns - Kylie Logan (finished 3/26)*
C: A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J Maas (finished 1/7)
D: The Dirt on Ninth Grave - Darynda Jones (finished 1/31)
E: Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett (finished 3/25)
G: Get Fluffy - Sparkle Abbey (finished 1/9)
H: Hexes and Hemlines - Juliet Blackwell (finished 3/13)
I: It Takes a Witch - Heather Blake (finished 3/10)
K: Killer Reunion - G.A. McKevett (finished 3/28)*
L: Love, Lattes and Angel - Sandra Cox (finished 4/16)*
M: Murder Casts Its Spell - Margaret C Morse (finished 2/12)
P: The Perfectionists - Sara Shepard (finished 2/5)
Q: The Quiche of Death - M.C. Beaton (finished 3/14)
R: Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard (finished 2/28)
S: See How They Run - Ally Carter (finished 2/4)
T: To Brew or Not to Brew - Joyce Tremel (finished 2/15)
W: When - Victoria Laurie (finished 2/16)
X: X Marks the Scot - Victoria Roberts (finished 2/18)
Y: Yellow Brick War - Danielle Paige (finished 4/18)

Books marked with a * were provided by NetGalley for review

Friday, October 9, 2015

40 Great Nail Art Ideas: Teal

Nothing To Disclose

Hmmm, apparently I don't know how to start a post very well. I've typed 5 different things, and none of them seemed to work for me. I'm part of the 40 Great Nail Art Ideas challenge, and I'm doing the color + pattern prompts. This week is teal, and my pattern is swirls.

I started out with 2 coats of KBShimmer PT Young Thing topped with KBShimmer Clearly on Top. After that was fully dry, I stuck on some of the KBShimmer swirl vinyls (my first vinyl mani!). I then put a nice thick coat of KBShimmer Up and Cunning on one nail at a time so that I could peel up the swirls before the polish dried.

I think this turned out nicely for a first attempt, and I definitely learned a few things. The first thing is that it is hard to place vinyls nicely one handed. It took 3-4 attempts per nail to get decent placement. The second is that curved nails mess with the vinyls laying flat. I had a little bit of polish get under some of the vinyls because they weren't fully pressed down. The last thing I learned is that this makes a mess. I was trying to do the teal nice and thick so I would only need one coat, which meant I didn't have as much control of the color as I'm used to.

(I'm also horrible at how to end a blog post)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

31 Day Challenge Progress - Week 1

Nothing to Disclose

4 days done, 27 to go. My nail art skills are a bit rusty, so I'm starting this challenge out with simple designs.

For Day 1 - Red, I used Glitter Gal Redback, and did a simple accent nail of Dorothy's Revenge over Redback.

Day 2 - Orange is Zoya Arizona with stripes of Tanzy.

Day 3 - Yellow. Um, yeah, I don't own much yellow, and I've never found one that I like on me. This is Zoya Pippa with accents of Sinful Colors Pumpkin Spice.

And finally, Day 4 - Green. I used Sinful Colors Black on Black and topped it with Green Ocean. I probably should've done a different background for this one, black on black doesn't show up very well.

If you would like to follow my progress, I am posting my manis on my instagram.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

2015 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

Nothing to Disclose

Yup, another reading challenge. This one I found at Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book. Basically, you read a book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. I have decided I hate the letters Q, V, X, Z, and N. Yes, N. I don't own ANY books that start with N. And I already read a book that starts with Q earlier this year, so I had to find another one. The challenge runs through the end of the year, crossovers with other challenges and rereads are allowed. I made it more difficult for myself by not allowing rereads, crossovers, or reading multiple books by the same author (no author repeats in either challenge).

Here is my list:

A: All Fall Down - Ally Carter (finished 6/7)
B: A Breath of Frost - Alyxandra Harvey (finished 8/6)
C: Criminal Confections - Colette London (finished 7/4)
D - Dissonance - Erica O'Rourke (finished 7/10)
E- Everneath - Brodi Ashton (finished 7/23)
F - Faces of the Dead - Suzanne Weyn (finished 7/30)
G - Gossip Girl - Cecily von Ziegasar (finished 6/23)
H - Hearse and Buggy - Laura Bradford (finished 7/15)
I - I was Jane Austen's Best Friend - Cora Harrison (finished 8/3)
J - Just Ella - Margaret Peterson Haddix (finished 8/4)
K - A Killer Plot - Ellery Adams (fnished 7/19)
L - Lost in Thought - Cara Burtrand (finished 8/11)
M - Murder Strikes a Pose - Tracy Weber (finished 6/21)
N - No Ghouls Allowed - Victoria Laurie (finished 4/30)
O - Origin Scroll - Richard S. Tuttle (finished 6/25)
P - Pawn - Aimee Carter (finished 7/25)
Q - The Quick and the Thread - Amanda Lee (finished 7/27)
R - Ruby Red - Kirstin Gier (finished 9/10)
S - Snow White Red-Handed - Maia Chance (finished 6/20)
T - Transparent - Natalie Whipple (finished 6/26)
U - Undercover in High Heels - Gemma Halliday (finished 7/12)
V - Virals - Kathy Reichs (finished 6/29)
W - The Wicked Will Rise - Danielle Paige (finished 7/29)
X - The Xibalba Murders - Lyn Hamilton (finished 7/8)
Y - You Slay Me - Katie MacAllister (finished 6/17)
Z - Zombies Don't Cry - Rusty Fischer (finished 6/16)

These challenges may seem a bit weird, but they are a great way to find new authors and to work through a TBR list.

***Challenge finished 9/10***


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 Summer Book Challenge

Nothing to Disclose

I have been reading a lot recently, and came across this challenge from Semi-Charmed Kind of Life that sounds like a lot of fun. The rules are simple:

General rules:
The challenge will run from May 1, 2015, to August 31, 2015. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on May 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on August 31 will count.

Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audiobooks and large-print books are fine, as long as the regular print versions meets this length requirement.
A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book during a later check-in, that's fine, just be sure to account for that in your point total.
Rereads can be used for a maximum of three books in the challenge. This rule is meant to encourage you to try new books while still allowing you to revisit books from your childhood or young adulthood that you might get more out of now. Please reread the entire book within the timeframe of the challenge in order to count it; no simply finishing old books or partial rereads.
The highest possible total is 200 points, and the first five people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the next challenge.
My preliminary list is:

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules. Killer in High Heels - Gemma Halliday (finished 6/9) 260 pages

10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!) Murder Simply Brewed - Vannetta Chapman (finished 5/27) 352 pages

10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you've had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.) If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell (finished 5/16) 316 pages

10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014. We Were Liars - E. Lockhart (finished 5/30) 227 pages

15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you. Flunked - Jen Calonita (finished 5/29) 256 pages

15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.) The Golden Lily - Richelle Mead (finished 5/4) 418 pages

15 points: Read a book with "light" or "dark" in the title. (Or "lightness" or "darkness.") The Dark Unwinding - Sharon Cameron (finished 5/11) 318 pages

20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title. Prom Dates From Hell - Rosemary Clement Moore (finished 5/2) 320 pages

20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover. The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice - Waverly Curtis (finished 6/12) 320 pages

25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books. Crushed - Sara Shepard (finished 6/4) 336 pages

25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long. — Submitted by winter finisher Kristen from See You in a Porridge. Allegiant - Veronica Roth (finished 5/20) 526 pages

30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it's worth the most points!) Miss Mayhem - Rachel Hawkins (finished 6/2) 288 pages

This should be a lot of fun, and a great way to work on my to-read shelf. If you want to see my progress, follow me on Goodreads


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keurig Update

Press Sample

**Keurig provided by Influenster in exchange for honest review. All opinions are my own**

The Keurig issues appear to finally be fixed, but it wasn't easy to get to that point. In my last post, I said that the Keurig wouldn't brew a carafe. They sent me a replacement since it was still under warranty, and at first it seemed like the replacement would work for me. Then, a few days after I started using it, it suddenly wouldn't brew at all. I put a K-cup in, told it to brew, and it froze up to the point that I had to unplug it. So, I tried again. And then I tried about five more times. It refused to brew at all. So I called them again, and they sent me a replacement for the replacement. This one is finally working properly.

Keurig's customer service overall was decent, but I did run into a few issues with them. The main problem I had with them was that no one seems to know exactly what their policy is. When the second Keurig had issues, I was told that I didn't need to do anything (the first Keurig I had to send in the K-cup holder). A few days later I received an email from them with a Fed-Ex shipping label to ship my Keurig back. That is a bit different than not having to do anything with it. So I called them and was told to ship the second Keurig back after I received the new Keurig, in the box that the new Keurig came in (confused yet?), and then to call them back and they would set up a Fed-Ex pick up. OK, a bit weird, but it sounded easy enough. After the Keurig number two was packaged up and ready to be sent back, I called Keurig to set up the pick up like I had been told. The person I talked to didn't know what to do, so I was transferred to a supervisor. The supervisor told me that they do not set up Fed-Ex pick ups, and I would need to drop it off at a Fed-Ex location. Since there is no Fed-Ex in town, I did some research and found a shipping store that ships Fed-Ex and UPS. Not long after I mailed the package, I received an email from Keurig. It stated that they hadn't received my brewer yet, and if I hadn't mailed it out yet to please call them to set up a Fed-Ex pick up.

I know I just complained about the customer service a lot, but I would also like to say that even with all the screw ups involved here, the whole process of getting replacements only took about two weeks. My family has also dealt with the company in the past with no issue. I'm guessing that my experience was just a fluke. And even though I had faulty brewers, now that I have one that is working properly, I love it. I still don't really brew carafes (I have a full size coffee maker for that), and I really wish they still had an 8 oz hot water setting, but it has its advantages. I can make a quick cup of coffee, and I don't have to brew a pot of water for tea or instant ramen (10 oz hot water).

Overall, I still think the Keurig and Keurig 2.0 are worth owning, although I hope the quality control gets fixed soon.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Keurig 2.0 Review

Press Sample

**Products provided for review by Influenster. All opinions are my own**

Recently, I was given a chance to review the new Keurig 2.0 K450. I already own an original Keurig, so this gave me a chance to see what the differences were between the two (and I already had plenty of K-cups so I could give it a thorough testing).

This is the Keurig 2.0. I think it has a more modern look than the original Keurigs. It has a 70 oz water reservoir with a new flip up lid.

See how the front half flips up? On the original Keurigs, that whole lid pulled off. Honestly, I don't think it makes much of a difference except for looks.

There is also a color touchscreen display. You can play around with different backgrounds on it, but I find it easier to keep it basic. Also, they hid the power button on the touchscreen display (bottom right corner).

One major downside to the new Keurig is that due to a new technology to read the K-cups, all old K-cups, off brand cups, and the my K-cup accessory are unable to be used. This isn't a huge problem if you have never owned a Keurig. One way to make sure your K-cups are 2.0 compatible is to buy from They are priced similar to grocery stores, and run sales fairly often. If you want to buy them in store, look for the Keurig Brewed seal on the box.

Now, how to make a great cup of coffee:

Place your favorite mug on the drip tray

Place your K-cup in the Keurig. I add sweetener and creamer before brewing. That little ring around the K-cup is what it reads to make your coffee. This is a chocolate raspberry coffee (my favorite).

Select your brew size and press the Keurig button. I keep mine on the default 8 oz setting, but it also has 4, 6, and 10 oz sizes. If you follow this process without a K-cup, you can brew plain hot water for a fast cup of tea (4 and 6 oz brew sizes only).

Wait about a minute for your coffee to brew. 

Add a nice amount of whipped cream on top.

Add a nice chocolate drizzle, and it is ready to drink.

All of this is comparable to original Keurigs. The one I have does not have a 4 oz brew size, but it allows me to brew 8 and 10 oz hot water. Since I like to brew my tea with 8 oz of water, this means on the 2.0 I have to brew the 4 oz size twice. Not a major deal, but it seems to give me a little bit less water than brewing 8 oz on my other Keurig.

Now, for how to brew a carafe:

Place the K-carafe pack in the Keurig. Make sure you have the green dot at 9 o'clock (like in my picture) so that it can read what you put in. Also, I forgot to put the carafe in place for this picture, but it must be in place before you can try to brew.

There are 3 brew sizes for a carafe pack - 2-3 cups, 3-4 cups, and 4-5 cups. I went with 3-4 cups.

Wait for it to brew (thermal carafe sold separately, provided for review). I did have some issues with a "more water please" screen when I tried to brew a carafe, but after playing around it went away (I have no idea what fixed it).

And enjoy a nice hot pot of coffee. The thermal carafe kept the coffee hot the entire time I was out shoveling snow (over an hour). I am not sure how the regular carafe works, because the next time I tried to brew a carafe, I got this screen again.

The reservoir was filled up all the way to the max fill line, so it had plenty of water. I tried a few times to get it to work, but nothing worked. I called Keurig, and they had me remove the reservoir and put it back on (that made a bit of a mess since it was completely full), and when that did nothing they had me unplug it and try again (still didn't work). They are working with me on resolving the issue, and I will give an update after it is resolved.

Overall, I think I would rate this 3/5 stars. Since my Keurig still works and we own a 12 cup coffeemaker, I'm not sure that I would upgrade to a 2.0. If you don't own a Keurig yet, this is a great coffeemaker. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Zoya Godiva and Dream

Nothing to Disclose

Well, I totally forgot what a northern winter was like. My poor nails are suffering horribly right now. I currently have 5 nail patches on, and I am horrible at applying them. Please tell me I'm not the only one who has glued their fingers together with the resin (multiple times).

Before my nails started breaking, I did a simple mani with Zoya Godiva and an accent of Zoya Dream. The combination really reminds me of the ocean.

I used 2 coats of each for this look. Sadly, I had to cut my nails down to almost nubs so I can grow out my breaks.