Month: August 2014

Photo Finish: Summer 2014

Though the season itself isn’t quite done, I can’t help but feel September’s approach means that summer is slipping away.  School is starting again for those who work in them or attend, and there’s already a cooler feeling to the air.  Well, I’ve got to say that this New England girl had a wonderful summer in Massachusetts and Rhode Island!

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{1} Hi, neighbor!  Fourth of July Nails meets Narragansett beers {2} I am all about that porch life, and I thank it for my summer reading success and my super tan legs {3} summer isn’t complete without lobster!  I like the messy, do-it-yourself approach {4} a trip to Newport, Rhode Island and another helping of lobster at the Red Parrot {5} beach hair, no make up, no problems {6} I’m officially a blonde again {7} an amazing Boston view from a Beacon Hill apartment rooftop!  {8} snapped this in Narragansett, Rhode Island while we waited to order clam chowder, fritters, and stuffies {9} Chelsea, Kelsey, and me outside Watch Hill Lighthouse!

 

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Summer Reading 2014: the final installment

Since my regular beach weekends are over for the year, let’s wrap up the summer reading list!

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When we last left off, I had started my tenth book, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.  Well, I abandoned this one.  I tried for weeks to get into it, which is odd for my pace of reading.  Instead, I switched to

10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

YOU GUYS THIS WAS GREAT.  It was such an interesting read, with twists I couldn’t have expected.  I really admire Gillian Flynn’s ability to create such a complex storyline.  I’m not going to say too much about the plot, because you should read this book.  It’s not too girly or too gruesome, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who watched Law & Order.  Also, there’s a movie coming out soon, so get reading!  This is going to be an interesting thing to see translated to film!

 

So here’s the full Summer Reading List for 2014:

  • Weird Sisters
  •  Lolita
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran*
  • A Discovery of Witches
  • The School of Essential Ingredients
  • Ready Player One*
  • Swamplandia!
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
  • The House at the End of Hope Street
  • Gone Girl*

 

Starred are my top 3 books of the summer.  I highly recommend you go read them now!

Last weekend I started After Dark by Haruki Murakami, one of my absolute favorite authors.  This is so far a quick read, and I’m hoping to continue my devouring of books right through the rest of the seasons!

What are the best books you’ve read this summer?

What should I read next?

ANTM Cycle 21: Final 14

I DVR’ed ANTM, and watched this week’s episode while eating my weekly calories worthy of Biscoff cookie butter straight out of the jar. I must admit I’m having a really hard time staying interested. Yu Tsai brings an interesting energy to the show, and makes sense to me as a Jay replacement. Kelly Cutrone is still totally working for me. I think we have a similar aesthetic. Tyra and J. Alexander were barely in this episode. The good thing is that the finalists were finally selected. This is what the competition is going to look like this cycle:

Adam | The judges can’t figure out if he’s passionate or crazy. I’m leaning toward crazy.

Chantelle | Everyone likes her unique beauty, and as Kelly says, she has a Masters degree in courage.

Shei | I agree with the judges that she’s beautiful. Kelly says she needs a personality, but I think she’s got it goin’ on!

Ben | The judges were split on Ben. Is her Boy Band? Is he all-American? Whatever, he made the cut.

Denzel | Kelly thinks he’s “too pumped up” to be a model. I don’t see that as a bad thing, but I don’t know anything about male modeling.

Ivy | Tyra calls her nymph-like and I agree. I absolutely adore her look.

Kari | The judges say she has a beautiful face, then proceed to list everything so wrong with it that makes it so right. I dig that.

Keith | This ex-football player was called out or the final 14 third, but I’m not sure if the order has much bearing here.

Lenox | Kelly calls her “moody, eerie, my little Christina Ricci girl” and I love all of those things. I’ve been routing for Lenox from the beginning.

Matthew | Okay, I disagree with Yu’s assessment of the way he corrected his name. Like I agree with Kelly and Tyra that there are more tactful ways or times to get this accomplished, but he wasn’t as rude as Yu made him out to be. Whatever, he’s in.

Mirjana | The more I look at her name, the more I see how Tyra could have called her marijuana. I waver between thinking she’s beautiful and thinking she’s, in Tyra’s words, hoochie.

Raelia | Alright guys, I just really like Raelia’s face.

Romeo | He’s confrontational, for sure. I like this Wiccan dude, and that he’s unafraid to be what he is. He has an interesting look that’s not just good looking, you know?

Will | Yu calls him “the resident ballerina.” The judges end up in favor of him because he’s, according to Kelly: Nordic, American, Texan, gay, and everyone’s going to love him.

 

And let’s mention, a couple of those we’ve left behind…

Jamie Rae | Yu calls her dead inside.

Daniel | Poor guy missed the cut twice. J likes him a lot, and Tyra says he has the highest number of likes. I’m assuming this is for one of two reasons: (1) people already know him from last season, or (2) sympathy. Even I was cheering for him because it is SAD to see someone eliminated twice.

 

I don’t know, guys, I might stick around for a photo shoot or two… or I might let these episodes accumulate in my DVR for a rainy day.

What do you think of the guys & girls of Cycle 21 so far?

or we can just talk about Miss J's statement necklace... ♡

or we can just talk about Miss J’s statement necklace… ♡

Doctor Who Series 8: Old & New

Series 8 of Doctor Who started this weekend, and goodness do I have a lot of feelings about it! This of course marked Peter Capaldi’s official reign as the Doctor, and the first time we got to see Twelve in action. Like I said, I have a lot of feelings, but I’m going to try to keep this relatively brief with a little game of The New/The Old:

 

The New: The Face

Obviously, Peter Capaldi is the Doctor now. It’s been so long since I’d seen Matt Smith say goodbye that I had to watch his regeneration again to reorient myself. Clara clearly struggled with his new appearance. I’ve been through this twice now, and I could never be as sad as when David Tennant left, so I was ready. Yes, guys, this is an older face than we’ve seen— ever, for most young fans. I happen to really dig the silver fox look, and I’m happy to see them shake things up.

 

The Old: The Doctor Himself

It’s always interesting to see a new Doctor regeneration— it’s the same character, but always with a slightly different personality. It’s so hard to explain if you don’t understand this show. In this the first episode, Capaldi certainly played the Doctor Smith-like enough for us to definitely see that this is the man we left on the Tardis. It’s clear that Twelve will be darker, and more morally ambiguous, though. I’m definitely looking forward to this! It’s also clear that he’s still incredibly silly. That’s one of the first words that comes out of my mouth when I talk about this show. It’s got to be delightfully silly!

 

The New: The Tardis Interior

IMG_0652With a new face comes a new Tardis, and I happen to absolutely love this one! It’s a drastic change, but the white interior and the bookshelves are major wins for me.

 

The Old: Strax still hasn’t learned genders

We can all rest easy, for Strax can call her “Miss Clara” and then “my boy” without missing a beat. He’s such a funny character.

 

The New: Missy

Who the hell IS she? Why the hell is she calling the Doctor her boyfriend? (Yeah okay, I like his accent too, but what?) What connection does she have to the cyborgs? So many questions!

 

The Old: The companion

I forgot how much I like Jenna Coleman. She’s so lovely, and Clara’s sense of style is so, so good. Jenna delivered quite the performance in this episode. I loved the episode’s plot line and how fitting the title was. I loved seeing Clara’s struggle and her faith during her, by all accounts, abandonment. I loved her strength in the face of threats despite her humanity and fear showing through. Most of all, I loved that she knew the Doctor had her back and that when she reached back for him, he was there for her.

I’m thinking more now of Twelve as Clara’s Doctor. Though she was with Eleven already, it was basically have a season of episodes. I will always associate Amy with Eleven. I hope Clara will know Twelve the way Amy knew Eleven.

 

The New: The opening theme.

IMG_0651A new season means a new opening theme sequence! I usually hate this, to be completely honest, but this time I’m so happy about it. I LOVE this new title sequence with the gears and scrolls. It’s sleek and modern, and reminds me a bit of Alice and Wonderland. I love it!

 

The Old: Questions.

This is old territory for Whovians. I already talked about the Missy questions, and there are many. As for the big question of the episode’s isolated storyline: Did the Doctor push or did the cyborg jump? Will we ever know the answer to this one.

Interestingly, we are left with Eleven calling Clara in the future, while Twelve, his future self, looks on. Why is Twelve so scared? We still know so very little of what mysteries Series 8 will weave and unravel. All and all, I’m excited about everything.

 

What did you all think of Capaldi’s big debut?!

Watch Hill Hydrangeas

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I picked up Essie’s Bikini So Teeny as a break-time pick me up one day during work.  After wearing it a couple times, I found that it kept reminding me of something… my absolute favorite flower, hydrangeas!

I paired this cornflower blue color with an old favorite for the accent nail, Essie’s Play Date, a fun, bright purple!  This truly made the manicure all about hydrangeas.  This manicure Monday, I’m showing my hydrangea inspired nails along with the most beautiful hydrangeas I’ve seen!  I found these beautiful flowers in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  I made a trip there last weekend as well with some friends.  We stopped by Taylor Swift’s house while we were there…

How cute is this, though?

How cute is this, though?

We got a real kick out of this sign!  The guard was super nice and let us come up and snap some photos of it, and chatted with us about TSwift and (at my friend Chelsea’s request,) her cat!

Hope you all had lovely weekends!

What do you think of this hydrangea-inspired color scheme?

Friday Favorites: Momoclo

 

My iTunes is full of music in languages other than my own.  You’ll find the likes of French, Italian, Korean, Spanish, and a lot of Japanese.  It started with sailormusic.net, which I discovered when I was 14 or 15, before I even had an iPod.  I literally burned CDs of Sailor Moon music and listened to them on my discman.  Cool, Nicole.

 

10 years later, I still love the music of Sailor Moon.  I’ve said before how much I love Moon Pride from Sailor Moon Crystal, which led me to this, the full version by Momoiro Clover Z.

From there, it was down the rabbit hole with Momoiro Clover Z youtube videos.  You guys, I’m obsessed.

This one is a personal favorite.  I clicked on it mainly because I noticed Shiorin was dressed as Pikachu, but upon closer examination you see the rest of the girls are pokémon too!  There’s Jigglypuff, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Croagunk!  This song, which served as the closing theme to Pokémon Best Wishes, is super catchy and you can bet I tried to learn this dance.

 

The greatest discovery thus far is that Momoiro Clover Z’s two albums, Battle and Romance and Fifth Dimension, are available on iTunes in the US!  I’m almost never able to find foreign language music I want readily available on iTunes, so this was quite a nice surprise.  I’ve been listening to Battle and Romance all week.

 

If quirky color-coded J-pop girl groups aren’t your thing, totally don’t bother.  But if they are, definitely watch whatever this is.

 

 

Have a great weekend, friends!

 

Seeing Red

My hair’s been every natural shade from black to strawberry blonde, but I took a roughly six year break from hair dye and accepted my natural color.  A couple weeks ago, I broke my hiatus and went blonde for summer!  If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably seen my new tresses.  I’m loving being blonde again, but my true desire is to be a redhead.  Here are my hair idols.

Jenny Lewis

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See Fernando music video

My girl Jenny Lewis rocks a very natural shade of red, subtle but still lovely.  She’s my true hair idol, but I’m not prepared to take on bangs.  I think this is likely my future color!  This whole look is actually perfection.

Karen Gillan

image: digitalspy.co.uk

image: digitalspy.co.uk | with the Eleventh Doctor himself

Karen Gillan had gorgeous, long, red hair.  She cut it all off for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  Luckily, they made her a wig of her own hair… which she wears for Selfie.  Can I borrow that wig?

Christina Hendricks

London Fog campaign

London Fog campaign

Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway rocks a vibrant, attention-grabbing red.  This is a red that makes no apologies.  It’s nice to see that Christina Hendricks can rock a coral lip with this hair color.  Very encouraging for me.

Bonus: Gillian Anderson

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The X-Files

She’s blonde now, and I’m pretty sure I can blame my going-blonde again on her.  Back when I first fell in love with Gillian Anderson, she was Dana Scully, and a redhead!  I could definitely transition with this strawberry shade.

So, red’s next!  Maybe for fall.  Who are your hair idols?

Julep Maven: the first box!

A friend of mine recently signed up to be a Julep Maven, and as soon as I saw her box of beautiful Julep nail polishes, I was intrigued.  She was one step ahead of me, and already emailed me her discount link.  Just like that, I was a Julep Maven too.

Basically, your first box is free.  You pay about $2 and change for shipping and handling.  I figured I didn’t have much to lose.  I got my first Maven Box in the mail late last week.  Here’s what I got:

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  • Julep Bare Body Milk lotion
  • Sydney, a red-orange polish from the Bombshell style profile
  • Lena, a green polish from the Boho Glam style profile
  • Braiden, a silver-gray sparking polish from the It Girl style profile

About these style profiles: I’ve gone ahead and picked It Girl due to the fact that three polishes come in each box, while the other profiles offer 2 polishes and a beauty product.

The polishes, so far, are wonderful!  I was super worried about these tiny bottles, but rest assured: the brush is full-size.  Two coats are recommended, but the color looks brilliant after just one.  I went ahead and did two anyway, though.

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I paired Sydney with Lena to give them a go.  At first I was worried this combo might look too Christmas-y, but I think I achieved the appropriate amount of fiesta-y needed for the fleeting summer.  I love a good red-orange right now and Sydney is slightly redder than Revlon’s Siren, which is my usual orange.  As for Lena, it’s uncanny how it worked out– Lena is very close to Essie’s summer color Ruffles and Feathers, which I resisted buying just the day before my box arrived.  It was fate!

Julep polishes are on the pricey side, and at $25 per month, so is this subscription box.  I’m still experimenting with what the Maven membership can offer me.  The best perk so far is discounted pricing on online orders!

There will be a bit more customization involved in my next box, so stay tuned for what it brings!

Now it’s your turn– use my referral code and get your first box for free too!

12 Things About ANTM Cycle 21 (ep. 1)

I get stuck in black holes of bad TV. A few weeks ago, I went down a rabbit hole of America’s Next Top Model reruns. When I heard there would be a new season soon, I knew I’d have to watch, and subject you all to it. Sorry, guys.

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Without further ado, here are 12 things about the first episode of ANTM Cycle 21:

 

  1. Catwalk Queen, stomp your ground | Thank the good lord that Miss J is back.
  2. Guys v. Girls | This is not a format I enjoy, mostly because of all the flirting. Am I watching ANTM or Bachelor Pad? I miss when this was more about art.
  3. For example, the two-way-mirror reveal | Hey girls, if you’re going to yell and scream when the boys come near the mirror, they obviously know you can see them.
  4. Social Media Overload | I get it, Tyra; it’s a new generation of ANTM, but you’re laying it on a bit thick. The first runway challenge is also the first photo challenge where the semi-finalists have to take a selfie at the end of the runway. They decorate it and get judged on it. This makes me never want to take selfies again.
  5. See above, re: Social Media Overload | Hashtag yourself, paint it on your body for the runway. This is not overkill, right?
  6. I can’t stop looking at Tyra Banks | Tyra’s eye make-up during judging is something I’m going to attempt to imitate tomorrow.  Girl, you look flawless.
  7. Tyra calls a contestant “Marijuana” | Yo, did you really think this was her name?
  8. Chantelle | I must admit, I wasn’t expecting her. Chantelle has vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that causes depigmentation of the skin. Basically, Chantelle has white splotches on her dark skin. It’s unexpected, but she’s quite lovely so you move quickly past the fact that you’re looking at something “different.” I’m in the school of thought that different is good. You go, Chantelle!
  9. Lenox cries | Okay, but Tyra like makes her cry. Her father just died. Why do you show this on TV? Why is this entertainment? Lenox is an early favorite for me. She things she’s odd, but I think she’s gorgeous.
  10. Jamie Rae from New Jersey | Bitch shows up late. Really late. After-the-runway-challenge late. She shows up looking like a Barbie Doll with bleach-blonde hair and a face full of make-up.
  11. Then Jamie Rae cries | Tyra asks her to wash her make-up off and she loses it. As someone with terrible, terrible skin, this girl personally offends me. She doesn’t have a single visible blemish, and yet is so uncomfortable with her own face
  12. Kelly Cutrone is actually amazing | I love that she expresses her desire for her daughter never to bring someone like Adam home, and I love this most of all:

Tyra: Are you Wiccan?

Kelly: I could be; it’s too much work.

 

So, basically absolutely nothing happened in this episode.  A few people were eliminated at the end, but it doesn’t matter at the semi-finalist stage of competition because you never remember these people.  Once we get to the actual contestants, maybe we can get to the photo shoots and critiques aka why I like this show.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 4: Thoughts

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I can’t believe I just noticed this– 

Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars are using the traditional planetary symbols instead of the previous anime’s stylized version with hearts.  I expect this will be the case for Sailor Venus as well.  I always really liked that the anime turned Sailor Mars’s symbol into a heart with an arrow, because I didn’t think it was fair that she got stuck with the male symbol.  I’m older now, and don’t dwell on silly things like that, so I suppose I’m glad we’re using the correct planetary symbols.

 

Now let’s talk about this transformation pen!

This gadget always confused me.  It just disguises, right?  At the beginning of the episode, Usagi is running late (bless you, Usagi; never change!) and asks Luna if she can use the transformation pen to turn her into a marathon runner.  Now, even if Luna had approved this idea, wouldn’t it just make her look like a runner?  She wouldn’t actually be any faster, right?

Moving on, Usagi uses the pen liberally in this episode to become a pretty pretty princess.  She also apparently uses it on Ami and Rei to do the same.  The transformation is not powerful enough, however, to remove a the embroidered Tsukino Usagi from her handkerchief.  Magic has it’s limits, eh?

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Oh, it’s also a nifty parasol!  So go-go-gadget-style!  A bit Princess Peach-esque.  I like this use even better.

 

And how about that Mamoru…

We know Luna doesn’t trust Tuxedo Mask.  We also know that Luna knows Chiba Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask.  I’m not sure Usagi knows this.  It is pretty clear, however, that Mamoru knows Usagi is Sailor Moon.  This is a huge departure from the original anime.  I’m really pleased that we got to see some cute moments between the them with the dancing, but what was that date-rape-creepy kiss while Sailor Moon was snoozing?  Come on, Tuxedo Mask!  I’m still working on figuring out this relationship in Crystal terms.  I suppose we’ll get there.  I do like the use of the bokeh effect during moments of romantic intrigue.  I still miss the rose petals, though.

 

New stuff!

IMG_0646Cool new tiara, Sailor Moon!  This is very much in line with her power-ups in the original anime, propelled by love.  It’s true to the manga, but yeah, I don’t even remember this happening in BSSM.  That new attack is like a laser-beam unicorn.  Does it even have a name?  I actually liked it, so I don’t know why I’m criticizing it.

 

And finally, Makoto foreshadowing!  You can bet we’ll see Sailor Jupiter join the senshi next time around!

 

This episode was fun, guys!  It didn’t do much to advance the story, but if Usagi keeps saying she’s sleepy at least once an episode, I’m happy.  Are you all excited for Sailor Jupiter?