Nail Routines, Top Coats, and Anxiety

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I'm so excited, these are day six #nails, the majority of polishes I've used before have chipped within three! This is #OPI Bubble Bath, with #SecheVite on top. I just can't deal with how good this looks, especially after six days. This is my first experience with Seche Vite, and I'm just so pleased. It makes the texture of the polish feel so nice on my nails, and that's a super big deal for me (because if my polish is bubbly or lumpy or anything, I'll remove it by any means necessary right then and there.) #OPIBubbleBath is a good peachy nude with a baby tone that you would get with a baby pink. It's quite sheer, I believe this is four coats, and it barely covers my nail line. However, it isn't suffocating on the nail and is so comfy just to get used to wearing nail polish. I feel like it's a nice reliable nude that doesn't make you look dead. I think I'm the last person in the world to try Seche, but if you haven't, go for it, and give it a try if the texture of your polish is important to you. Bubble Bath definitely requires a certain skin tone, but if you see it in store and you think it will work for you, the quality is definitely there!

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Published on Instagram on September 29th, 2015.

I have a long history with nail polish. I’ve been surrounded with it since I was born, from my older sister to my mom to my grandma. However, the processes that have existed around me regarding it haven’t been the best.

My older sister (~a decade older) always helped my paint my nails when I was younger. She would occasionally paint her own, I remember her using a navy shade during one winter. However, I have no idea what her current nail routines are. No idea. I don’t even think she has any interest in nail varnishes AT ALL. In the past almost ten years, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed her wearing polish in almost any situation that I’ve seen her (a rarity in itself).

My grandma wore nail polish for her entire life. Her choice was always shear ivory or shear light pinky shades. I was always impressed with her nail shaping, and how consistently long her nails were. Her nail polish routine was impeccable, and she did it every Sunday morning after church. It’s really inspiring, but I don’t know how she had accumulated 15 bottles of nearly the exact same shade of polish. I guess that happens when you are nearly 80 years old. Fun fun fun, looking forward to that.

My mom wears dark brown nail polish. That is literally all she wears now, and has ever worn in my memory. Not to shade her, but she doesn’t have the best nail care habits in the world. Cut them down when they get too long, apply another coat of brown when they start chipping, and she moves on with her life!

I’m extremely lazy, so you’d probably think Mom’s method would appeal to me! But it’s just another case of, “I don’t want my nails to be the exact same colour all the time”. So I have to go through the removal and painting from scratch every time. Which is completely normal! So many people do this all of the time. But it is quite annoying for a lazy girl like me.

However, I have severe anxiety. This usually manifests itself in my hands. From my nails, to texture isues, to rubbing my finger tips. Now, I don’t bite my nails, but I have had issues with biting and picking the skin around my nail beds. Gross, I know. I try so hard not to, but sometimes it is a reflex until I notice and stop myself.

The rubbing my hands is what I’m going to be addressing today. As I posted on Instagram a hot minute ago, I struggle with texture issues. I tend to use my nails as a worry stone if I don’t have one with me (which is almost always, unless I pay specific attention to make sure I have it with me). And it really is convenient. But some issues arise because of this.

If my nails don’t dry fairly quickly, I will smudge them. And then they won’t effectively function as a worry stone and I’ll fixate on a certain area and… it’s just bad news bears all around.

Enter: the Quick Dry Top Coat.

Believe it or not, there was a five year period when I was painting my nails, and not using any sort of base or top coat. This is slightly scary for me now to say, even though I still rarely use a base coat (unless the colour is particularly dark). I truly could not imagine painting my nails effectively without a top coat now. In fact, I painted my nails with Sinful Colors’ Sinful Shine polish in “At Sea” when I was away and forgot my Seche at home.

Big mistake.

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Seaaaa (lol), look how gorgeous! Swatch from Shizzle-Nizzle!

It smudged terribly! Even after leaving it to dry for half an hour without touching it. Like, true finger prints on my thumbs and middle fingers. It still had a tacky top layer hours and hours later. How do people regularly paint their nails without a quick dry top coat? Please remind me. Call me a modern woman, but I don’t really want to be sitting and blowing on my nails for an hour waiting for them to dry.

So yeah, Seche Vite. After steadily testing it out for nearly a year, and finishing a whole bottle, I’m into it. It does everything I would want a topcoat to do. A clean shiny finish (which feels lovely as a worry stone), dries the top surface quickly to prevent smudging, and elongates the wear of my manicures. Everything I want, personally. It isn’t a beauty pageant, but aesthetically it helps me deal with my anxiety with still letting me paint my nails with whatever colour I could desire. And that is enough for me! ❤

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The Sticker Shop Co. // Affordable Functional Planner Stickers Haul & First Impressions

I have been obsessed with my vertical column planner since I got it in May. I’m a proud Plum Paper Planner, and I am a big fan of their designs for planner layouts (AKA Lines! Why do no planners have writing lines anymore???). And functional stickers to accent it, of course. Unfortunately, I just hadn’t got the opportunity to get a big batch of basics until recently. Enter: Chelsea & The Sticker Shop Co.

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I found Chelsea and her shop through her shop’s Instagram (like many others, I’m sure). She happened to be having an AMAZING 4th of July sale going on, so I decided to take the plunge. At the time a whole hullabaloo was going on with Etsy’s payment processing, so she ended up extending the sale, and it conveniently worked out (as someone who’s income “comes in”, haha, on the 6th and 21st). I don’t regret it at all, as everything is lovely, but it is a fairly large haul. I definitely won’t need stickers for a while.

But let’s be real, I’ll probably find something super kawaii and have to have it.

The main reason why I decided to order was a combination of the overall super affordable prices and the bomb discount code for the 4th of July sales. I normally wouldn’t include something like this, but this was such a good deal that I must show you!

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As with many sticker shops, it pays to wait for sales, and definitely use available coupon codes. Often these are found in Instagram bios, or on recent posts announcing sales. I have never bought stickers if I don’t have a coupon code, flat out. It just isn’t necessary. On smaller orders, they can make an even bigger difference!

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The gorgeous freebie sampler! I think I’ll end up pairing this with the kit that I purchased, as the pinks are quite similar and the silver glitter detailing is awesome.

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Here is said kit! And here is a highlight of The Sticker Shop Co: the prices. This shop is amazing for those on a budget. This two sheet kit was $3.75, even before discount. Under two bucks a sheet is just amazing for a kit. The colours and designs are impressive on this, but I think TSSC definitely shines on their rainbow and functional items.

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Weekend banners… ahh… I’ve missed having these! I love both of these designs for different reasons. I consider the ones on the left to be a bit more decorative, the right to be more functional.

The decorative ones are a unique design to Chelsea’s shop, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shop include coordinating Friday labels! Very cute! I’m definitely saving the deep dark red weekend banner for the week of Christmas 🎅🎄

The thin weekend banners are a more realistic option for the budget conscious. With 25 on a sheet, they will cover you for a long time without needing to repurchase. They also come in a wide array of shades that will apply to most colour themes that you could create! Also vibrant and well cut, and they take up less space than a traditional weekend banner if that’s your cup of tea, or need more space to write on the weekends.

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Onto icons~

Icons are absolutely one of the highlights of my planning experience. Somehow, they’re both decorative and functional, and can totally play into a colour theme. They’re nice for accenting simple appointment or half boxes. Just, they’re so fun for me, and it’s kind of like a Pokemon gotta catch ’em all and have a sheet of every design. I showed some restraint on this order, of course, but seeing that Chelsea recently designed some mini coffee cups and balloons has me all 👀👀👀

All of the icons I bought were $2.50 a sheet before discount.

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I know these seem like very grown up icons. Shopping carts, shopping bags and phones. Oh, and by the way, there are sooooo many phones on that sheet, I won’t need more for years ☎️☎️☎️ Especially with my phone anxiety 😉❤. Spectacular colouring on these btw, for pastel toned stickers they are incredibly bright.

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Woo, packing boxes! I know they’re probably the least exciting sticker in the world, but I love using them. Because guess who’s addicted to online shopping…. -> Me. Also cars! 🚗 I love road trips, and I’m actually looking forward to getting my driver’s permit and license over this next year or so. I think they will be a very useful sticker for me! Suitcases will probably be handy too, even though vacations are few and far between around here. We often stay over for a night or two at family friend’s houses after bonfires and such. Same thing with the little row of airplane stickers at the bottom, enough for a life time! ✈️

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Laptops, of course, I’ve been needing these forever. In fact I think they would have been perfect for when I was taking online classes (I just graduated, I’ve got my diploma to prove it!). 💻 These will also be nice to mark when I publish blog posts and such. I like the variation in design, and the usage can be customized as necessary from plain to hearts to work. So unique in the scope of planner stickers!

Also mixed icons! I find these so handy for when you need them. For example, I don’t wash windows often, so I don’t need a whole sheet of spray bottle stickers, but it is so practical to have these when you need to label an activity.


Onto some rainbow basics~

This is my last category of stickers I’ll be covering today. I believe these can be one of the most functional types of stickers, especially for planners who are willing to deal with white space planning but still want their planners to be cute, aesthetic, colourful AND functional.

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Wooo, probably the most practical yet least exciting sticker types of all; tear drops and rainbow dots. I use tear drops constantly, at least one every week. Rainbow dots are more sparing for me, simply allow me to mark things that don’t need a box, but I still want to make sure that I notice. I love the look of them, and they are really cute, and will last me FOREVER.

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Full Boxes 😍 I really love the design of these, and the colours are soooo vibrant IRL. I use these mostly for layering and decorative reasons, as my planner is lined for a reason. My favourite way is to place my hydrate mason jars over the top for the layered effect.

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Layered full box underneath one of my hydrate tracking mason jars.

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I find half boxes so aesthetically pleasing! These are TSSC’s Gem half boxes, and again, the colours are very unique. They’re far from standard rainbow. I got these two sheets for $5. $2.50 for 24 half boxes is such a bomb deal, when shops usually sell 12 for $3. (I think that’s highway robbery, personally, in such a saturated market).

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A beautiful pinky coral half box!

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You think it’s one sheet of stickers??? No- WHABAM, 2 Sheets! I’m sure these are set up this way to maximize amount for shipping, I definitely appreciate it. I have never seen this design before, outlined box stickers, but I think they look great for when you may be doing a multiple colour theme. Again, $3 for this whole sheet. Of 32 half boxes.

(I’m always impressed by that, every time I see it. Anyways, moving on.)

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Traditional rainbow filled half boxes. I figured these were a necessary addition to this order, as I had one remaining rainbow half box to my name, and they are just such a well designed sticker. Definitely a necessity if you don’t use themed kits every week for your spreads.


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This is an interesting functional sticker, they are called Tab Boxes in Chelsea’s shop! I would describe this as an appointment half box, and they function so well in a spread. You can create small lists with a title in the shaded area at the top, or even flip them upside down to use in different ways. Very versatile, I like them a lot. Not necessarily essential, but definitely a great asset to the planning experience.

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List format on a Tab Sticker with a package icon sticker.

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Finally, onto some smaller stickers. These are quarter boxes, I believe in the gem colorway. They function the same as say a flag or a banner, but just allow you to block off the whole space evenly. Mini half boxes, if you will. 48 total come on a sheet, so awesome for the price.

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Quarter Boxes & Rainbow Dots in action.

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These stickers are the final ones I ordered. These are a bit of an amalgamation between a quarter box and a tear drop. Again, these are the outlined style. This sheet is a bit smaller compared to what I believe to be TSSC’s normal, but it was marked at a lower price than the larger sheets. I think I would’ve preferred paying a bit more for an extra column or so in this design. #NoTeaNoShade, they’re perfect, nothing wrong with them. I quite like this design, and will use them up, but I don’t know if I’d repurchase as is.

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Very cute personalization on the cello bag protecting the stickers. Would it be shady to say I actually peeled this sticker off and stuck it in my planner? Well, my lips are sealed as to if I did or didn’t. XX

As you can probably tell, I’m extremely pleased with TSSC. I consider this a reliable shop option. It shipped out extremely quickly, especially considering the size of the order. I purchased on the 7th, they shipped on the 12th, and I received them on the 15th. Eight days. Amazing.

And I think that’s the best way to describe The Sticker Shop Co. Amazing. For my style of planning, there isn’t a type of sticker in the shop that I wouldn’t like or use. The versatility is unbeatable, in my opinion, while still having enough variety to cover in between. For what I would consider budget prices, even before discount, the quality AND quantity is ridiculous.

If you are looking to get some of your first basic stickers, or some more functional pieces to supplement your sticker collection, I highly recommend Chelsea and The Sticker Shop Co.

Chelsea’s Links //

Chelsea’s Instagram /// https://www.instagram.com/chelseaplans/

The Sticker Shop Co.’s Instagram /// https://www.instagram.com/thestickershopco/

The Sticker Shop Co. on Etsy /// https://www.etsy.com/shop/Thestickershopco

 

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Essence // Longlasting Lipsticks Review & Swatches

I have the weirdest lip shape. This is a fact. Normally, I just have to make a decision on where I want my lips to end when I’m putting on product. I don’t have particularly thin lips, so the majority of the time I go smaller than my natural lip line to keep me from looking like a demented clown. I use a clear lip liner every time I apply product on my lips, regardless of the type. Liquid lipstick, colored gloss, creme traditional lipsticks, everything! I find this creates the perfect boundary for my nonexistent lipline.

Now that we have that established, onto my current lipstick of choice. I didn’t expect much out of these lipsticks at $3 a pop at Ulta. However, I like to think that these are my ideal formula. They’re creamy, go on easily, and as you apply different amounts of layers the color deepens, allowing you to obtain your ultimate color without it ever being too heavy or cakey.

The bullet is shaped super well, and I find that most of the time I don’t need to use a lip brush to apply. Sometimes I wil, especially with the red shade or if I’m feeling particularly inept that day. Like those days when I don’t even try to attempt winged liner, if you feel me?

I don’t agree with the “Longlasting” claim, that simply isn’t the point of these. They aren’t matte, they don’t dry down, and they will wear off when eating and drinking. They transfer and kiss off. But they are comfortable, and great for everyday wear. And without breaking the bank, that’s rare to find. I would describe these as the best of the best for satin / creme lipsticks at the below drugstore price point.

The three colors I have are Coral Calling (01), On the Catwalk (04), and Natural Beauty (07).

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I believe that the weakest of the three colors is Coral Calling (#01). For my preference and my lips, at least. I find that Coral Calling tends to have issues with pigment flaking throughout the creamy base, which isn’t a problem with the other two colors I have. The color is a nice, bright coral shade without being neon or scary. I do like the color, but the formula on this one just isn’t as good as the others. If you can get past the issues I have with them, then I do recommend it, but the color isn’t enough to override my issues, for me. If it was a problem due to an undermixed batch, then I definitely recommend it if you like the color.

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On the Catwalk! (#04) is such a unique color. It can be dark, but it’s not too dark, red, but not too red, neutral but not dead, etc. It’s what I’d describe as a good beginners red, for those who are a bit scared of color, or colors any deeper than the average rose mauve. It is a pinky red shade, that’s a bit different. Almost like a brick red mixed into a nice basic pink. Not too bold at all! You aren’t making a huge investment if you turn out not to like the shade, but I really think you will.

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The final color, Natural Beauty (#07), is a great everyday shade, as it’s name expresses. It’s a dusty, mauve-y pink shade. It appears to be a lot like my natural lip color in fact, but slightly deeper with some shine and sheen.

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 So those are the Essence Longlasting Lipsticks! I know the trend recently has been for fully matte drying down lipsticks, but if you have texture to your lips you probably know what a struggle those can be, especially for everyday. Sometimes you just have to kick it old school and go with what works. And these most definitely work for me 😄

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Summer Fun? | The Story of Our Pool

My family is about as far from the idea of “wealthy” as you can get. We’re not necessarily struggling now, but we haven’t ever had much excess. We’ve always rented, and we don’t have AC in our current home. As my mom has gotten older, she’s gotten more and more dependent on having a pool to cool her down on hot, humid days.

The thing is, we live in the upper Midwest. That means there are nearly as many hot days in the summer as there are cold days in the winter. (And about a month in between for spring and fall, of course.) The battle for heat regulation is a steep one around here.

Arguments arise often about heating choices in the winter, and, surprise surprise, cooling choices in the summer. However, each year that we’ve lived here, we’ve gotten by with a half dozen box fans and a small rectangular kiddie pool.

Original Small Pool
This was the type of pool that we used before, they were around a foot and a half deep. Known affectionately as the Bathtub by Mom and I, they were simply big enough to fit us both and cool us down when necessary.

Something that also comes along with living in a rickety old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere is stray cats. They come through in small packs, rotating from one house to the next ever nonchalantly. They keep the mice away, and we live in peace. However, this also means that they are in search of water to keep hydrated in the summer heat.

And so, every single one of my mom’s poor little inflatable kiddie pools had fallen victim to the sharp claws of these strays after a few weeks. The little kitties jump up on the edge of the pool, bend down, and drink, using their claws when they lose balance, of course. It didn’t take more than a few hours for the pools to deflate after that. These pools were simply water, no chemicals to be worried about, and small and cheap enough that we didn’t bother to cover them. It just wasn’t an issue we wanted to address until they were finally popped.

We have seven pools in our garage, all flat as British pancakes, from the seven years we’ve gotten them since moving here eight years ago. They’re in the garage because of good intentions. An intention of, “We’re going to spend hours patching that up to use next summer” that never comes to fruition. Basically, Mom just goes out and gets another $25 kiddie pool, and the stack continues to build.

However, by the time we hit about a four pool stack, Mom started getting wise to the situation. Thinking, “I’ve spent over $100 on all of these pools, not to mention the water from emptying it every few days because we don’t use chlorine. Why don’t we just get a better one to use for more than a year?!” Well, this was not good by J, my beloved yet commandeering stepfather. And some of his complaints were valid, sure, the pump requires electricity. Another day, another dollar. It’s chill. I get it.

And so, a three year back and forth has occurred between them on whether or not to get a larger above ground pool. And in that span we’ve added another three to the stack, another nearly $90 down the drain. And the back and forth nagging and contemplation and frustration about the whole situation.

Until my stepdad decided to just go out and get a pool. A real pool for us. He used the excuse of Mom’s birthday, and spent the afternoon putting it up. That’s definitely telling of the balance we’ve got going on here, but it’s fine. It all worked out.

And let me say, the setting up was a whole ‘nother experience in itself. From the leveling process (see sand under pool), the fight over using chemicals or not, the fight over using the filter or not, blah blah blah. Mom and I didn’t even get to get in it until the day after, so I think it made the experience seem every more drawn out. It was just a long day in general.

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Our pool! Very closely framed because J was dancing behind it with the skimmer.

…I hate to admit it, but I think it was worth it. The pool isn’t fancy, it definitely wasn’t expensive, but in my mind it symbolizes something more. An ability to compromise, to grow past one’s predetermined volition for someone else’s comfort. An ability that I wasn’t sure my family even had. And no, I’m not just blowing smoke out of my ass, I mean it.

By the way, the cats haven’t touched the thing so far. I think it’s a combination of having it covered with a debris cover when we’re not in it and my homemade cat repellent. It’s really done the trick. They know that they can’t get any water out anyways because of the cover, and the smell reinforces that it isn’t a safe watering hole. I simply spray some vinegar on the sides, as the acid is mild enough that the vinyl on our pool isn’t damaged by it. Then I spray a little lemon and lime juice on the ground around the base of the pool. Cats absolutely abhor both citrus and white vinegar. It’s worked so far, I reapplied once after it rained and it worked like a charm.

So *knock on wood* we’re hoping that the pool will last at least through the summer, and possibly onto next summer. Woo!

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Current Music Pick // Oats in the Water by Ben Howard

This song was featured on season 4 of The Walking Dead, and that’s of course how I discovered it. It’s the most well known of Hershel’s themes and I really love it so much. Hershel is a great character with amazing growth, strength, and… he evolves into one of the best people on the show from one of the most unliked characters ever. The tragedy of his own and the overall Greene family arc is simply beautiful. And sad. So very sad…

The song itself is unique. It has a bit of an indie trill to the vocals that can be a bit distracting or add to the listening experience depending on when you listen to it. It has some smoothing warmth to it, and is somehow occasionally gritty? The tone is an uneasy building up to an impassioned version of the chorus that is just gorgeous. The guitar solo is impressive yet not overdone, and definitely throws back to some of the strong 80s rock that I grew up with. I tweeted about it when I found it, but man I only like it more now. It’s been on repeat for days.

My Music Playlist