Friday, October 26, 2012

October Little Black Bag

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I recently joined Little Black Bag and it is pretty fun. For $50, you can choose one item, and then have two more items selected for you based on your style profile. If you don't care for the two extras, you can put those up for trade with other Little Black Baggers. This month, I traded both of my extras and was very pleased with all three items.

So, let me tell you about the treats I got in my order. The turquoise necklace is by Kenneth Cole and about two inches in diameter. It looks very sharp over a black turtleneck.

The purse is by Nila Anthony. It is much more boldly colored than most of my pocketbooks, but it is my two favorite colors, so I love it. It is a great size. I can easily carry my kindle, phone, sunglasses, a large wallet, granola bar, keys, hand lotion and other nail care items, gum, medications, and lip gloss in the bag.

And you may remember the Michael Marcus polish from my last post. It is Daisy Dukes and looks like denim blue with light blue shimmer on the nail. You can see it here.

Little Black Bag actually just introduced a $30 bag option; I guess that makes it a Littler Black Bag. I won't order a $50 bag every month, but a $30 once a month option is tempting . . . Do you Little Black Bag? What are your favorite picks?

Take care today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Michael Marcus Daisy Dukes and Pumpkin Donuts

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I wanted to get a little more in the Halloween spirit, so I decided to wear Michael Marcus Daisy Dukes with the orange loose glitter I received in my Julep Maven box this month. This was my first time working with loose glitter in a manicure. I can say that between sewing fairy wings for my daughter's costume and this manicure, my family room is sparkling. I've tried cleaning it, but there's no getting rid of all that glitter.

Anyways . . . Daisy Dukes looks almost duochrome in the bottle with an undertone of purple grey and flashes of blue in the light. On the nail, however, this is a dark denim blue with a lighter blue shimmer (very appropriate with a name like Daisy Dukes). The orange glitter made the blue a little more bold.

I don't have a post-mangling picture of this manicure, but it held up my usual amount. I had some early chipping, but I think that was related to the glitter. The chipping wasn't significant until four days in and during those four days, I made donuts, so lots of poking at dough with my fingers (I didn't discover any nail polish chips in my donuts though).

Anyways, that is all . . . oh, you want to hear about the donuts? Well, I converted this Baked Apple Doughnuts to pumpkin pie donuts.

Pumpkin Pie Donuts
makes 18-24 donuts

3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoons salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 3/4 cups solid pack pumpkin
1 tablespoon cinnamon*
 3/4 teaspoon allspice*
1 teaspoon ginger*
1 teaspoon nutmeg*
4 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
(*2 Tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice could replace the cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Maple Glaze:
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the dough: mix together the water, yeast, salt, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, flour, and butter, using a wooden spoon or in a 6-Quart Food-Storage Container with Lid.
Let the dough sit at room temperature, covered, for two hours. Refrigerate the dough to chill it for at least 3 hours. I let it sit in the refrigerator for 3 days, but I wouldn't recommend more than a week.
Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Mix the cinnamon sugar in a bowl. Generously flour your hands and pull off a ball of dough a little bit larger than a plum. Form it into a smooth ball, then flour your thumb and stick it through the center of the donut, spreading the dough until the opening is about 3 inches across.
Dredge each donut in cinnamon sugar and place on the cookie sheet. Continue making donuts. Let the donuts rest on an oven for 30 minutes. While the donuts rest, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the donuts for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool the donuts on a rack. Once they are cool, mix all the ingredients for the glaze, stirring with a spoon; if it is not thin enough, add a bit more milk about a teaspoon at a time.
Dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze and return to the cooling rack until the glaze is firm.
Enjoy now! They also freeze well. And as you can see, even vampires like them.

If you try out this recipe, I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did. Let me know!
So what do you think of this Michael Marcus polish? I had never heard of the brand until I got my Little Black Bag. What do you think of the brand in general?
Take care and I hope to post before, but if I don't have a spooky Halloween!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Autumn nails for fall foliage: Purr-fect Plum

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My family went for a bit of nature and to see the changing leaves at Knox Farm State Park. I decided to wear one of the great polishes for the China Glaze On Safari collection that I won a while back.

Purr-fect Plum is a gorgeous deep purple creme polish. It looks almost exactly the color of red maple leaves. I love dark polishes like this. Since I was wearing the polish for fall foliage, I decided to stamp leaf pattern french tips. I used Kalahari Kiss, also from On Safari; it was a great stamping polish, perfectly opaque and not patchy at all. While I don't think that Kalahari Kiss is a color that I would use for a manicure on its own, it was great as an accent and I think it would make a beautiful backdrop to some other nail art. Maybe inspiration will hit and I can show you that at some point.

This picture, as you can see, shows some tip wear and a little bit of chipping. Sorry, I don't have a day 1 picture, but I was thrilled with how well the polish held up after 9 days. Nine days!!

Now, as I mentioned, we went to the park last weekend to see the changing leaves, but this weekend will be even better. Normally, October 15 is the best time to see beautiful foliage around here, but it seems like it is raining that weekend every single year and by the week after, most leaves have fallen of the tree. So, here is the week early foliage. It's still pretty though, huh?

I hope that you are enjoying fall too. Are you sad to be done with the neons and other brights of summer or do you welcome the warm colors of fall?

Until next time, take care and polish well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Henna on my hair

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before henna

after henna
before henna
after henna
One of my favorite tricks for happy hair is to use henna a couple of times a year. With straightened hair, you can see the auburn highlights from henna and the difference in shine. It also helps the tips of my hair to look healthier. The "before henna" pictures were immediately after a haircut, but the "after henna" pictures were about a month and a half after the haircut. Normally my hair would show tip damage by then.

before henna

after henna
after henna

before henna

My curls   look so much smoother, less frizzy once my hair had henna. They also have a subtle, red flash in bright sunlight.  I have some grey/white hairs that hang out in the back of my head, hiding beneath layers of thick, dark hair. Those grey/white strands turn a coppery red with henna. Once I start getting more obvious greys in the front of my head, I think the henna will look even better . . . kind of weird to be excited about going grey.

There is tons of information on Henna for Hair. I actually just put on a regular plastic shower cap (not the saran wrapped head) and wear a cloth lined shower cap on top once the henna is in place. I then wash it out after several hours. It makes for a lazy Saturday afternoon of lounging around in my bathrobe drinking tea.