30 November 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Hi Folks, I will be taking a week off of LL posts. On the field trip to Florida, I came down with a stomach bug that almost killed me and I have spent the last week trying to recover from it. I can honestly say that I have never been that sick in my whole life. Between the complete evacuation of my system (I'll let you read between the lines here, rather than get all graphic), dehydration and a distinct loss of appetite, I lost five pounds over four days. I am finally back to normal eating, but I am still quite tired. So, polishing my nails was the absolute last thing on my mind. But, I'll be back next week with some great new colours.

I also wanted to provide a small update on Simon (as I've had a few inquiries). His back seems to be healed and he is full of piss and vinegar once again. So, hopefully barring any re-occurance of ulcer symptoms, he will be back to his old self. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

23 November 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Hi all! I'm back from Florida and we all survived (although it was a bit touch and go by the fifth day of spending every waking hour with twenty-two teenagers). Obviously, I didn't have time to do anything as frivolous as painting my nails all week, but I didn't want to leave all my polish addicts hanging. So, I put together a top twenty of stand alone polishes. I didn't include any of the glittery top coats which which I am smitten - that's another post for another day. These are my personal favourites from the 36 weeks of LL posts, in no particular order (click on the photo to be taken to the original LL post). Enjoy!

On to the pretties:

1. Orly - Close Your Eyes

2. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Purple Potion

3. Revlon - Not So Blueberry

4. Sally Hansen Insta-dri - Lightening

5. Essie - Mesmerize

6. China Glaze - Ruby Pumps

7. Misa - Toxic Seduction

8. Nfu-Oh - #125

9. BB Couture - Dragon's Breath

10. Avon Nailwear Pro - Blue Flare

11. China Glaze - Shower Together

12. L'Oreal - Shocking Green

13. OPI - Have You Seen My Limo?

14. MAC - Dry Martini

15. China Glaze - DV8

16. BB Couture - Prenuptial

17. Finger Paints - Copper Elements

18. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Emerald City

19. BB Couture - Prince Charming

20. China Glaze - Lubu Heels

So, dear reader, which ones are your favourites (take the handy poll below)? Feel free to mention any other polishes (not on my top 20 list) that make your heart go pitter-patter as well in the comments.

Which polish is your favourite?

19 November 2009

Me & My Oxfords

I know I said I wouldn't be posting because I'm in Florida, but I scheduled this posting before I left. I couldn't resist showing off another new pair of shoes in action.

First the outfit breakdown. I wore a Land's End long sleeved T-shirt in white underneath a chocolate brown ruffle front knit tank I made in the summer. The skirt is a wearable muslin I made for my Chanelish suit from the last Timmel SWAP. My accessories are a thin brown leather belt to cinch in the waist, some cool crochet Hue tights and of course, my cute suede/leather Oxfords.

I put this outfit together last week and I like how it came out. Considering I've never worn Oxfords, much less high heeled Oxfords, I think I did a respectable job of styling them.

Whatcha think?

16 November 2009

Lacquer Lundi

I will not be posting for the next few days. Tomorrow, a colleague and I are heading down to Florida, to take a group of twenty-two students to Sea Camp (Newfound Harbour Marine Institute). It is a marine ecology educational facility in the Florida Keys (specifically, Big Pine Key). This is our third time going there. In the past, we have gone at the beginning of February and it has typically been a bit chilly (especially the water - brrr). However, this time around I think we will have warmer temps.

So in honour of the impending field trip, I decided to do a beachy theme for today's LL. Sand, sun and warm tropical waters...

So, let's get on to the pretties:

BB Couture - Balboa Beach Bunny
- purchased at overallbeauty.com for $9.00 US

Balboa Beach Bunny is a stunning dark purple base with micro glitter that flashes silver, red and blue. When I wore this polish, people kept grabbing my hand to get a closer look - it is an attention getter.

Balboa Beach Bunny applied nicely - easy to move around the nail and excellent consistency. It was perfectly opaque in two coats. It wore well - very minor tip wear after two days.

Avon Nailwear Pro - Sunshine

- purchased from avon.ca for $2.99 CDN

The more I use the Avon Nailwear Pro polishes, the more I love them. They are an excellent polish for the price and lately Avon has been putting out edgier colours - it's not just the typical pink, coral, red offerings of the past. Sunshine is another Avon winner, with its slightly mustard yellow creme dinish.

The two coats of Sunshine applied well for a yellow polish. Yellow polishes are notoriously streaky and chalky and the application is usually a pain. Although Sunshine still has a few streakiness issues, it is one of the best yellows I have ever used in terms of application and coverage. It also wore well - only minor tip wear after two days.

New York Color Nail Glossies - Turquoise Seas
- purchased at Rexall (local chain drug store) for $2.26 CDN

I loved Turquoise Seas in the bottle - a lovely turquoise shade with a greenish frostiness. It evokes thoughts of tropical beaches and warm days. However, that's where the love ended.

First the positives - it loks great in the bottle and the consistency is quite good. Now the negatives - it is so sheer that it will never reach bottle colour on the nail. I have four coats on in the picture and it is still hopelessly see-through (the photo actually makes it looks more opaque than it is due to the flash). If, unlike me, you don't mind visible nail line, then this polish may be up your alley. All I have to say is 'meh.' I took this polish off immediately after application so I can't comment on wear.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Sand Lots

- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.52 CDN

Sand Lots is another extremely sheer polish. In the bottle, as well as on the nail, it is a frosty peachy pink. I can forgive the sheerness of this polish, however, because you can tell from looking at it in the bottle that it will leave visible nail line - there is no polish misrepresentation here. This would be an excellent subtle colour for the woman that wants neat nails in a conservative work place.

The three coats of Sand Lots that I used applied nicely. It had excellent wear - only very, very minor tip wear after two days (and one of those days involved some intensive housework).

12 November 2009

Purple Nurple

Not much sewing has been going on around Chez HZC lately (due to exploding life syndrome). So in a desperate attempt to ensure that my faithful readers don't abandon me, I will be presenting some of my daily outfits over the next while (at least until I get my arse back in front of my Kenmore). Practically everything I wear has come off my sewing machine, so at least I'm still remotely on point.

I made this top and skirt in January of this year, but didn't get any photos of myself wearing them. I don't wear a lot of purple as it is tricky to find a shade of purple that doesn't clash horribly with my hair. I think this outfit works because of the copper mottling in the lace top that matches my hair colour.

To finish off the outfit, I donned a pair of dark purple tights and a funky mother of pearl and silver filigree pendant necklace. The shoes are a new acquisition from Naturalizer - a funky pair of low heeled mary janes in a gorgeous pinot noir (purply burgundy) pebbly leather. Not only are they comfortable for clomping around school all day long but they are so darn cute!

**Although I have never been the perpetrator nor the victim of the dreaded "purple nurple", I have always been amused by this rhyming phrase. However, I can't help but wonder who came up with such a cutesy name to describe this weird bullying technique. Yeesh.

10 November 2009

I Couldn't Resist

Recently, I told you all how I have become powerless in the face of cashmere. And I confided that I was thinking of buying up a few more pieces. Well, I tried to be good. I tried to push the thoughts of cashmere out of my mind. But, I am weak. So, very, very weak.

So, check it out, I am soon to be the proud owner of a loden green sweater tee, an autumn orange heather cardi, an aztec gold cardi and a spice brown cardi. These will all be welcome additions to my winter sweater wardrobe. Even if they don't get any wear, I can still pile them on the bed and just roll in them. Ahh...cashhhmeeere....

ETA: All these sweaters are from Land's End.

9 November 2009

Lacquer Lundi

This week, I decided to stick to a sewing and fashion theme. I picked polishes that had names that conjured up thoughts of whirring sewing machines, fabric splurges and fashionable attire.

Now on to the pretties:

Avon Nailwear Pro - Tweed
- Avon purchased at avon.ca for $2.99 CDN

It seemed apropos to begin with a polish named after one of my favourite types of fabric. There is nothing more satisfying than working with a lovely wool tweed. It shapes and presses so beautifully - it truly is a dream to sew. Avon's Tweed is equally as wonderful. This dark burgundy red is a gorgeous fall shade.

Tweed applied like dream - excellent consistency allowed it to be applied to the nail easily. It covered opaquely in two coats, but I did a third to increase the deep of colour. It dried quickly, even with the three coats and the wear was excellent. I had only very minor tip wear after two days.

New York Color in a Minute - Penn Station
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.39

Penn Station services New York's Garment District - a mecca for fabric shoppers (and a place that I want to visit someday - for now, I will just have to be happy with Toronto's fabric district, which is still pretty awesome). So, what better colour to wear on your tips while organizing (or adding to) the fabric stash closet? Penn Station appears pinkish red in the bottle, but it reads as a true red (with a bit of shimmer thrown in) on the nail.

Penn Station applied nicely, dried quickly and wore extremely well. I am always pleased with my NYCIAM polishes - they are an exceptional value for the money. I have yet to be disappointed by any of them.

China Glaze - Lubu Heels

- purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $3.99 CDN

Inspired by the legendary Christian Louboutin red sole, Lubu Heels is a more economical way to channel your inner diva. Lubu Heels is a sheerish black base with sparkly red glitter. It is dark and vampy and gorgeous. Be sure to click on the photo to see the flecks of red glitter encased in the black.

Lubu Heels applies well. However, since the black base is fairly sheer, three coats is needed to build up to bottle colour. This polish wore well, with only tip wear after one and a half days.

This is one of my all time favourite polishes - I love it!

Sally Hansen Salon - Project Runway
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

Project Runway (the show) has captured the imaginations and hearts of thousands of seamstresses worldwide. The drama, the fashion, the fabric, the sewing - what's not to love? Project Runway (the polish) is equally as fascinating - a lovely forest green base packed with golden shimmer. I own many greens and this is easily in my top three favourites.

Project Runway applied well and required two coats to ensure opacity. Unfortunately, the wear was not spectacular. I had a fair amount of tip wear after less than 12 hours. However, the tip wear did not get any worse for the remaining day and a half that I wore it.

8 November 2009

Cashmere & Carry

The other day, I professed my love for a cashmere cardigan from Land's End. Well, it has arrived and it is sublime. I cannot say enough good things about this little beauty. To say that is gloriously soft is an understatement. When I wore it to work last Thursday, I couldn't stop touching it - it is just so scrumptious! It is also very well made - no hanging threads or ill-finished seams. The front button placket is faced in perfectly colour matched grosgrain ribbon, which appears to be hand sewn in place along one edge. The buttons are wonderful too - small, round, pearl-like and colour matched like the ribbon. It's these little touches that make this sweater well worth the price.

The park green cardigan sits at my high hip and has three quarter sleeves. I do wish it was a bit more shaped through the torso, but I think that going down a size would remedy this (I am wearing a regular small, but next time, I would order the regular extra small or petite small).

In the photo, I am wearing the cardigan with a pair of straw coloured linen Loes Hinse Hepburn pants (which I now lovingly refer to as my "wide-ass pants" after a poster on SG euphemistically told me that they make me look fat - gotta love the lack of manners these days) and a long sleeve round neck T-shirt in park green that was purchased along with the cardigan. I finished off the outfit with a cool faux-pearl necklace and a pair of my favourite double strap Clarks mary janes, in caramel leather. A simple, classic, easy-to-wear outfit, perfect for teaching.

Now, based on this shopping success, I'm eye-balling three other cashmere cardigans and a cashmere tee at Land's End (they're on sale 30% off right now) - I think I may have created a cashmere buying monster!

6 November 2009

Do You Want the Good News or the Bad News?

First the good (amazing!) news:
A week ago Simon went in the have his stitches removed. At that time, the vet told me that the results of the tumour testing had come back and it was not cancer, but rather fatty growths (lipomas). However, the original thin needle aspiration had shown mast cells (leading him to believe that Simon did have cancer). Faced with this enigma, the vet retested very lump and bump on his body. The new set of results all came back as fatty cells, which are 100% non-life threatening. So, Simon does not have cancerous tumours. Saying that I'm happy with this outcome is a major understatement. I want to say thank you to every person that provided us with good thoughts. I guess hoping and wishing and enlisting the positive vibes of internet friends all over the world really does do good things!

Now, the bad news:
Unfortunately, my relief was short lived. The day after visiting the vet and getting the wonderful cancer-free news, Simon slipped awkwardly going up the stairs and hurt his back. For the next two days he was going up and down stairs very gingerly and refused to jump up. Then he seemed to be recovering. However, after a short walk, his entire body began shaking from head to tail (presumably from pain). So, back to the vet we went (I've begun calling him my six million dollar dog). After a bit of poking and prodding elicited a pretty serious yowl of pain, the vet thinks Simon injured his spine in the sacro lumbar region. So, the poor little guy is now on Tramadol (a strong analgesic) and bed rest.

Hopefully, over the next week or two, my little man will heal up and be back to normal.

3 November 2009

Bootie or Not Bootie

In a previous post, I professed my growing love for the skirt, tights, bootie combo that I'm seeing around the fashion blogs as of late. Some commenters agreed with me that the look is potentially super cute and others were not sold on the whole thing. I must admit when I first saw booties worn with skirts, I thought it looked ridiculous. However, as time has past, I think I have become more accustomed to the silhouette and I now think it's quite fetching.

So, today I put together my first bootie-tights-skirt (I first typed this as tight-bootie-skirt and got a good chuckle) outfit. The skirt is Simplicity 4422 (view F), done up in a burgundy tweed flecked with dark brown and tan. The top is Vogue 2759 in a dark brown knit.

I must say that I felt pretty good in the outfit all day long and received compliments from both students and colleagues. Looking at the photo though, I think next time I will try and match the colour of the tights more closely to the bootie for a longer leg line. As well, I never tuck in my tops, so this was a real departure for me, but it actually doesn't look as bad as I expected. Last but not least, this outfit makes the pesky 10 lbs I want to drop a little more obvious than I would like - time to hit the treadmill and weight machine harder. So, all in all, pretty good, but a few things to keep in mind for next time.

So, what do y'all think? Yay or nay? Bear in mind that I am venturing into new territory here, so please be gentle.

2 November 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties:

BB Couture - Prince Charming & Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Disco Ball
- BB Couture purchased at overallbeauty.com for $9.00 US
- SHHANXW purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $2.95 CDN

Prince Charming is a stunning royal blue with purple undertones. It positively glows on the nail - it is certainly one of my favourite blues. It flowed on smoothly and required two coats to achieve opacity.

To further enhance the gorgeousness that is Prince Charming, I layered to coats of Disco Ball over top. Disco Ball is a slightly milky base packed with iridescent glitter. It sparkles like crazy when the light strikes it. It applied fairly well, although it was a bit thick - but that's nothing a bit of thinner couldn't fix.

This combo suffered from some tip wear within the first 24 hours (I find chunky glitters often suffer from tip wear to a greater extent non-glitter polishes. I think the glitter catches on things as objects are picked up, resulting in the tip wear.)

Sally Hansen Salon - Sweet Creams & Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Pink Confetti
- Sally Hansen Salon purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN
- SHHANXW purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.53 CDN

I don't often wear "regular" nail colours. I tend to be more of a wacky colour connoisseur - blues, greens, yellows are more up my alley. But, every once in a while I crave a more natural look and this is the type of manicure that results. I applied three coats of Sweet Creams, an off-white (with a slight pinkish cast), slightly sheer polish. It applied nicely and was easy to work around on the nail. However, after only one day, I did have a moderate amount of tip wear.

To cover up this wear and to add some zing, I applied two coats of Pink Confetti. Pink Confetti is a sheerish light pink base with small iridescent glitter that adds a subtle hint of sparkle. It applied easily and dried quickly.

Sally Hansen Salon - Burnt Sienna
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

Burnt Sienna is from a recently released Sally Hansen Collection that I believe is available only in Canada. It is a beautiful metallic polish that is brown and green and gold all at the same time. It truly is interesting.

I applied three coats of Burnt Sienna - two coats would have sufficed, but I really wanted a depth of colour, so I added one more. The polish applied well and moved around the nail nicely. However, the drying time was not great - I was still able to dent my polish over an hour later (likely this is due to the three coats, but I have other three coater polishes that dry more quickly). It also succumbed to a fair amount of wear - within 24 hours I had appreciable tip wear and after 36 hours I was starting to get chips. So, bottom line - a beautiful colour, but only so-so wear.

1 November 2009

These are a Few of My Favourite Things

As I browse the fashion magazines and websites the past few weeks, there are a few things that have jumped out at me. Here are some of garments and accessories that spark my lust for the fall/winter season.

Riding Boots
I love a good tall boot. They go with everything - pants, skirts, dresses - everything. This season the tall boot is everywhere, in every incarnation; flat, wedge, over the knee, stiletto, fringed, slouchy, etc. My pick of the bunch is the riding boot. I love the quaint English, upper crust ambiance of this leather charmer. My only issue is with fit. I have been blessed with athletic calves, which make finding a comfortable boot difficult. Even if I'm lucky enough to force up the zipper, my legs often feel like they are being strangled. So, I'm on the hunt (ironically enough) for a pair of fab riding boots. I just ordered a pair of Naturalizer Hunter boots in brown leather. I'm hoping the elastic and the buckle at the back will allow me to wear them.

ETA: I received the boots today and unfortunately they do not zip up over my calves. For reference, my calves measure 15" at the widest point. So, back to the store they go and back on the hunt I go.

When fashion bloggers first started wearing booties with skirts and tights, I was definitely not sold on the look. As time has passed however, I have become quite smitten with the look and now I actually want to emulate it. So, while I was shopping at Naturalizer I picked up a couple of cute booties: Corso and Dublin, both in brown leather. I adore the leather/suede combo, along with the sweet stitching accents on the Corso. The multi-colours and textures, combined with the menswear inspired laces on the Dublin are also drool worthy. I picture wearing both of these with some cozy textured tights (see below). These shoes, as well as the boots above come in wide widths, which makes me ridiculously happy.

ETA: I received the booties today and they are fairly comfortable. I think the lace up booties will require a bit of breaking in, but the other pair seems fine right out of the box.

If I could wear skirts (or dresses) everyday, I would. But, come winter, it gets a tad too nippy to be sporting uncovered legs in my neck of the woods. The reintroduction of tights into the fashion world the last few years has helped to remedy this chilly situation. So, I headed over to We Love Colors and bought up some microfibre tights in a variety of colours (rust, gold, maroon, teal and olive green - I already own some in brown, black and grey), as well as a pair of Croche Fishnets in brown. I just hope they fit well - us short folks often have leg length issues, resulting in elephant knees and crotch droop. I'll report back on my findings. I am also on the look out for some textured wool tights that don't bag out at the knees.

I must own upwards of 40 cardigans - some with the matching shell, some without. Being a lover of 50s style, it stands to reason that I am smitten with the ubiquitous twin set and the sweater girl look. So easy to wear and perfect for those days that deciding on an outfit seems difficult. Toss on a twin set over a great pair of pants, accessorize with a strand or three of pearls (or a vintage brooch) and you're good to go. Right now, I am lusting after several cashmere lovelies, in particular this one from Land's End. I am drawn to the simple lines, the 3/4 raglan sleeves and of course, the luscious park green colour - it would fit seamlessly into my existing wardrobe.

ETA: I succumbed to the siren call of cashmere. I now have the cardi winging it's way to Canada as I write. I'll report on the quality when I receive it.

So, dear reader, what are you lusting after for this fall/winter season?