Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top Coat Tuesdays

The Yellow Rose of Texas mani

This post will be more about the words than the pictures. My intentions were to re-create my "Love Day" mani that you can see here with yellow roses. 
Well, it didn't turn out so wellSad so instead of posting my horrible nail polish photos, I am postiing beautiful photos from other ladies that did a wonderful job!

So anyway, tomorrow is the last day of Black History Month. And to commemorate this month I wanted to do something that was Black History related...

The song "The Yellow Rose of Texas" tells of an Black American soldier who left his sweetheart (yellow rose) and longs to be with her again. Yellow was, and still is a term, giving to those of mixed race. And "Rose" was a popular feminine nineteenth century name; frequently used in songs and poems as a symbolic glorification of young womanhood.  

The original transcription was poorly made and full of spelling errors. This would indicate [that] the transcriber was somewhat uneducated but possibly influential, as it was signed with three embellished initials. This copy is now housed in the archives at the University of Texas in Austin.

Although no name is given as the song's composer in any of the records, a hint may come from the fourth line in the chorus which infers the soldier is from Tennessee. Unfortunately, many men from Tennessee moved to (or were brought to) Texas during its colonization and war of independence.

*excerpts taken from amaranthpublishing.com

Lyrics are as follows...

There’s a yellow rose of Texas
That I am going to see
No other soldier knows her
No soldier, only me.
She cried so when I left her
It like to broke my heart
And if I ever find her
We never more will part.
She’s the sweetest rose of color
This soldier ever knew
Her eyes are bright as diamonds
They sparkle like the dew
You may talk about your dearest May
And sing of Rosa Lee
But the Yellow Rose of Texas
Beats the belles of Tennessee.

I really had high intentions, but my attempt at drawing a beautiful yellow rose was awful...major FAIL. But I loved reading about the history of this song. Happy Black History Month!!
Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Clean & Simple Saturday

DIY Plate Hanging

I've been wanting to hang plates in the tiny little space between my fridge and pantry forever now, but I hate those ugly brass plate hangers. Yea, you know the ones.

Well, a few months ago I found plate hanging discs at Hobby Lobby. I bought them, then they sat in a drawer for a couple of months because I was scared that if I hung my beautiful plate using this and it fell off the wall...devastation.

I bit the bullet. Hung the plate. Harps played. Angels sang. I was in love. 

Fabulous! No brass sticking out from behind the plate. It looks like it's just hovering there. This thing is the best thing since sliced bread! And it only cost $2.99! Here's what the disc looks like...

Instructions are simple:

1.  Clean the back of the plate with dish washing liquid and water. It must be clean so that the disc will bond properly to your plate.
2.  With your fingers, mix a little water into the glue on the disc. Leave for 3-7 minutes until the glue is sticky.
3.  Apply the disc to the plate, making sure the ring is in the correct position for the plate design. press firmly and rub well to expel any air. Let it dry overnight.
4.  Before hanging, test the strength of the adhesion by pulling firmly on the ring. 

That's it! If you ever want to remove the disc, just soak the plate in warm water.

This is a BeautifulLovelyThing. I am very proud of myself for finally doing this. It fills the small space just right. So if you have those horrible brass things holding your plates on the wall, take them down! Give this disc a try, I'm sure you will love it...

Thanks for reading!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Top Coat Tuesday - Mardi Gras Mani

Happy Fat Tuesday!!

Today's mani will be, of course, Mardi Gras inspired. I saw a tutorial on YouTube a while back and logged it in my brain to save just for this day. See it here. Her tutorial was not really about Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, but that's what it reminded me of. Here are the colors I used...
from left to right
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Jumpin Jade, 
SH Purple Bolt, OPI Jade is The New Black, 
Orly Glitz & Glamour, OPI Funky Dunkey, 
Sinful Colors Dream On, Sinful Colors All About You
You can sort of tell where I used each color, I hope. I added a coat of SV to give this mani more shine. They look so much better in person (camera quality sucks!) The accent nail was done  using BM-212 and the 2 Sally Hansen colors. They work great for stamping. Placing each stamp side by side made them look almost like a mardi gras mask. I used the Orly to fill in the "eyes" of the mask and the Sinful Colors glitter as a shimmery top coat.
This was kind of fun to do. Even though it was a lot of different colors to use, it didn't take long at all. I hope you enjoy your King Cake, muffalettas, jambalaya, beignets or whatever your favorite Fat Tuesday treat is. Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Home Cooked Sundays: Braised Chicken Thighs

This is probably one of the easiest meals ever...

A lot of the recipes for Braised Chicken Thighs are too complicated for my type of cooking. I'm a throw it in a pot and let it cook kinda girl. So I took the recipe I liked the most, deleted ingredients and  tweaked it down to my taste:

6 chicken thighs
4 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped in big pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped in big pieces
6 garlic cloves, peeled & halved
1 can whole, peeled tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
water, as needed

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Remember this pot? It's my cast iron skillet that I salvaged a few weeks ago. See how I did it here. Season chicken on both sides and add to oil. Allow them to brown on each side for 3-5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a tray and set aside.

In the same skillet, add onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes to combine. Season the ingredients with salt & pepper to taste, then add the tomatoes. Allow the mixture to cook and all the flavors to come together, about 10 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Add water as needed, because sauce may thicken. Serve with your favorite side dish. The tomatoes were my side dish with this meal! But I did toast some garlic bread to soak up all that yummy pot liquor!! Total cook time was about an hour, but I was only in the kitchen for about 15 minutes because this dinner basically cooked itself, and that's my favorite kind of dinner!!
Thanks for reading!!

Blog Remodel...Splitting it Up to Break it Down

Happy Sunday!

Ok so, as you all may know, I blog about lots of different things, because there are many things in life that I love (hence the blog name). So I've decided to revamp this blog to fit all my "loves" in a more uniform way.
I have a bit of OCD, so it drives me crazy to see my posts all over the place the way they are.

My blog design has changed 2 or 3 times since I started it a year ago! I really think that's why I only have 24 Followers (thank you all!); because if someone wants to follow you for a certain kind of post, and then they come back another time and don't see what they're looking for, they move on...without following. My blog has been all over the place; not consistent at all.

Here's the thing. I don't want to start a different blog for all the different things I blog about, (bleh) too much maintenance, so here is what I will do...

Everyday will have a different type of post. Now this, by no means, implies that I will be posting 7 days a week,even though I would love to have the time for that! It just means, for example, if you follow me because of nail polish, then I will only be blogging about nail polish on 'xxx' day, and if you follow me for DIY and organizational projects, they will only be on 'yyy' day, and so on.

So I've been brainstorming about how I want to do this, and I finally have a plan. Here's the breakdown...

Sunday - "Home Cooked Sundays"
All about food. I love to cook! There will be a mixture of yummy sweets, indulgent meals, healthy snacks, good wine and great wine!  :-)

Monday - "Pamper Me Mondays
All about Bath & Body products. Whether I have made them, bought them, loved them or hated them!

Tuesday - "Top Coat Tuesdays"
All about nails, nail polish and nail care products. This will probably be the best day of the week for me!!

Wednesday - "Workout Wednesdays"
All about fitness. Yes we all hate it.  But it's gotta be done to lead a healthy lifestyle. Being strong & fit doesn't ALL happen through good eating habits, at least not for me.

Thursday - "Random Thursdays"
All about whatever. A day to blog about something that doesn't fall categorically under any other day.

Friday - "Fashion Fridays"
All about fashion. Whether it be clothes, make-up, accessories, whatever. My daughter is a mini Rhianna/Lady Gaga and plans to major in fashion design so Fridays will be pretty awesome!

Saturday - "Clean & Simple Saturdays"
All about the home. Posts about new cleaning products, organization, DIY projects, etc. My OCD will looove this day!!

So there you have it! Pick a day (or all) that fits your wants/needs and feel free to leave a comment ;-D
I'm really excited about this. The entire blog will get a much needed makeover (new labels, reorganize gadgets in the side bar,etc.) It needs a more user-friendly look. I can't wait to start posting. I have so many things I want to share with you guys.

Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mani of the Day: Cherry Blossoms

I'm trying to be "inspired by" something so that I can enter this contest. It made me think of some of my favorite things...Classic Coke in a glass bottle, pork skins, nutella...wait that's all food. Nah, I gotta think of something way better than food. I'm not a good enough artist to draw food on my nails, and honestly painting pork skins doesn't sound very attractive. 
So then I look over at my nightstand and see my favorite lotion and body spray from Bath-n-Body Works, Twilight Woods and Japanese Cherry Blossom. Yep, that's what I'll do. I'll draw these cute little blossoms blooming on a branch. So I got to work and came up with this...

I'm not a very good artist, but this was still fun to do. I used Wet n Wild Through the Grapevine and for my accent finger Wet n Wild I Need a Refresh-Mint. I painted the branches with craft paint, added the blossoms with OPI Alpine Snow &again used WnW Through the Grapevine for the center of the blossoms. 

So the bummer to this whole inspiration is, I was going to put Cherry Blossoms on every nail, thinking that I was being all original and unique, but heck no! This is too easy for all of you professional nail folks out there...blossoms all over the internet! (smh) So I must move on to something new, bigger and better. I will post pics for my new "inspiration" after I submit them to the contest, don't want anyone to still my idea ;-)

Thanks for reading!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Love" Day Mani

I saw this and I just had to try it...EmeraldSparkled posted this mani a few days ago and I just loved. it. 

My base color is Ruby Kisses Silver Bling. I don't have China Glaze A Rose Among Thorns, so I used Revlon Mon Cherry for the roses. I chose it because the name sounds like someone in love and the polish is scented!! I used China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy as a highlight in the roses and for the thorns I used a black nail art pen by Kiss. I didn't draw as many thorns as she did because I kept thinking I might mess up, so one was enough to give me the look I was going after.
 I really like this mani. I may do this again soon with yellow roses in honor of Black History Month (background to be explained in a future post). Hope you like this. Let me know what you think. Click the link above and comment on EmeraldSparkled's wonderful nail art too! I hope you all get plenty of hugs and kisses tomorrow...
Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mani of The Day

A sorta-kinda Valentine's Day look...

I started with 10 Professional Nail Lacquer in Holiday in Spain. I love this deep rich dark red. It looks so grown up and it reminds me of the colors of my blog! The accent color on my ring finger is Pure Ice Kiss Me Here.

I also used Holiday in Spain for the "LOVE" stamp using BM-09 from the 1st set of Bundle Monster plates.

I had to stamp this stinking ring finger 5 times before I could get good placement, and it still came out crooked! What the heck. I decided to go with it. I'm only gonna wear this mani on Friday anyways. My photos are much better since constructing the light box. I can really see those raggedy cuticles now!!
Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DIY Light Box

I love my blog. I hate my blog photos. I figured it might help if I just built myself a light box. So I did, and I love it!! And I'm gonna show you how I did it. After Googling, YouTubing & searching Pinterest, I came up with a plan. Here is what I used:

Cardboard Box
Box cutter/Scissors
White Tissue Paper
White Poster Board
Natural Light Bulbs

1. Outline 3 sides of the box using a ruler. Leave about an inch around each edge. Excuse my craft area. I'm having to use my guest room for now.
2. Cut out each side like this...
3. Remove the 3 coordinating flaps, leaving one flap along the bottom edge, like this...
4. Trim poster board to fit and place inside the box. Be sure to use your poster board matte side up to prevent glare and to not interfere with flash, if used.
4. Secure poster board to inside of box. Be careful not to crease.
5. Begin laying tissue paper over box opeings, secure with tape, and trim excess.
6. Continue taping tissue paper on all exposed sides, until your box looks like this...
That's it, you're done! You can add more tissue paper if it doesn't diffuse light how you want. Otherwise, add your light source and it's ready to use! I used 2 desk lamps with these light bulbs.
Here is my desk area with the light box. I'm using one of my custom hand poured candles to try this out.
Look at this...I love it!! 
First light box photo ever. It looks great!!
This is gonna be a valuable thing whenever I get around to opening my Etsy shop.
Here is the same candle without the light box. The color is missed and no matter how hard I try to focus, it doesn't help.
and again in the light box. It makes such a huge difference. I never changed any settings on my camera. I'm so amazed!
If you're taking photos of items that are shiny and you want less glare, you can add plain white paper or card stock to the inside of your box to filter more light like this
I only have two light sources, but I may use a 3rd on top of the box sometimes when I take photos of my nails. Adjust your light positions to minimize shadow and have fun playing with this. If you know of any other tips and tricks to using one of these, please pass them my way. I think it's probably the best thing I've ever blogged about! Remember, do not put your lamps directly against the tissue paper...fire hazard! I hope you try this out if you haven't already.
Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salvage and Season Cast Iron

I have several pieces of cast iron in my kitchen inventory.  My Lodge 12' Skillet is my absolute favorite! I fry chicken in it, saute veggies, use it to put a good sear on a steak and so on. It's so versatile. I've had it for about 7 or 8 years now, so it is very seasoned.
My Dutch Oven, however, is not so lucky. I've had it for just as long, but it hasn't gotten as much love from me as my skillet. So it's time for it to get a little bit of TLC. I remembered a blog posting from curbly.com that I read a while back and decided to refer back to it for restoring this piece. It was too far gone to just clean it out and rub it with oil, like the old folks say. It's way too rusty for that. I needed to start from scratch. Here it is before...
Yeah, I know, yuck. Hmm. Well. Yeah. So I followed every step on the blog. 
Every. Single. Step. But it was totally worth it!!!
It turned out so great!! BLT!!! The lid even looks better. I can't believe I was gonna get rid of this. I can see lots of Goulash, Gumbo & Chili Mac in the very near future. So, in the words of curlby...Savor your cookware, and your grandkids will be able to pass it along to theirs. 
Thanks for reading!!

BLT = beautiful lovely thing

Friday, February 3, 2012

Easy Glitter Nail Polish Removal

I posted this mani yesterday and I hated it, so it's coming off today...
The glitter was pulling and shrinking right before my eyes. I don't know if it was because I used so many layers or what. Who cares now...it's gone. And what a pain to remove glitter, especially if it has some hex pieces in it. Well not anymore!! I had 3 coats of glitter on top of a base coat and a base color and this totally worked!!! Watch...
I did take her advice and remove my topcoat first, and on some nails, this made removal a lot faster. I needed something like this because I use a lot of Pure Acetone and it is drying my cuticles and wrinkling my skin, so the faster I get done, the better off my nails are.

Thank you soguesswhat11 Clap, you saved me so much time! Do you think it is a time saver? A cuticle saver? Let me know...Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mani of The Day

Love heart

I like pinks and reds, don't get me wrong. But I don't like when a certain holiday kind of tries to force you to wear them, just because. But I have so many of them, so why not. This look is kind of a muted pink, but glittery mani.
What I used:
OPI Alpine Snow
OPI Teenage Dream
OPI Gettin Miss Piggy With It 
Nicole By OPI Extra Snow Flakes Please
SV TopCoat
**sigh** I really need a better camera...oh well. Pay no attention to my pinky nail that I filed crooked. I used one coat of each in the order listed above. Even though the colors are washed out in this photo, this is sort of Valentine-ish right? I don't know, I mean I think this whole posting is a big fat FAIL. And the glitter is already pulling away from the edges. I will honestly give it a valiant effort to wear this for at least 24 hours. I can't say that the next mani will be pink or red, but I do know it will be better than this one. Thanks for reading!!