Monday, August 27, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Orly Iron Butterfly

And so it begins. Here is my first nail polish entry. :D

I saw this really cool polish that is trending right now called Iron Butterfly from Orly. It's a dark charcoal almost-black glitter polish with a matte finish. I added this to my wish list but thought twice about buying it, thinking that I had something similar from way back.

I looked through my stash and there it was, my Ice It! Auto Hem. It got all dried up and gooey over the years--I bought it from the US way back when I was still in high school (go figure)--so I had to refurbish it somehow and bring it back to life. I mixed it with some nail polish solvent which I bought from Watsons and revived the old polish back to the right consistency. On its own, it actually dries pretty matte but it had a very rough texture. It was a good opportunity for me to play with my new Orly matte top coat for some added matte finish.

So here's what it came down to. I already had my China Glaze Concrete Catwalk on from days past. It's a dupe of Deborah Lippmann's Stormy Weather which I thought was quite appropriate for the rainy season. (I'll blog more about it in a future post.) But I got bored with it after a few days and just wanted to do something extra to make them pop out more. What started to be accent nails on my ring finger and my index finger turned out to be a whole new manicure.

Over my 1 coat of Orly Bonder, I had 2 coats of China Glaze Concrete Catwalk, and 1 coat of Seche Vite dry fast top coat. Then, I layered on 1 thick coat of Ice It! Auto Hem, another coat of Seche Vite dry fast top coat, and to seal and top it all off, I put on 1 coat of Orly Matte Top coat. (I decided to put Seche Vite on top of the glitter instead of going straight to the matte top because it makes the texture smoother to the touch. On my right hand, I skipped the extra layer of Seche and it just felt rough and icky.) All in all, 6 coats of polish that came pretty close to Orly’s Iron Butterfly.

You can do this yourself and with much less layers too. You can be flexible and playful. Just experiment! If you have a glossy, densely-packed silver glitter polish that is of the same color as Orly, then all you need is a matte top coat. If the glitters aren’t as packed, do more layers and have a dark, almost-black base. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, you don’t necessarily have to buy every single nail polish color out there. If you have something similar, you can try to be creative. And, a matte top coat is really cool. You can simply layer it over any polish to create a whole new look!

Going back to the Orly comparison, to be honest, I don't really have any grounds for it other than the similarities of the pictures. I have not tried the Iron Butterfly myself, but from the looks of the pictures, you get pretty much the same effect.You can compare my results with this swatch from

At the end of the day, I'm really glad how it all turned out! I had fun showing it off to my friends and it was received very well! But that doesn't mean I'm still not curious about the real deal!

If you've tried Iron Butterfly for yourself, would you say this is pretty close? Or can you convince me into buying it still? Haha! Then again, maybe that's not such a hard thing to do! I easily give in to impulse cravings!

That's all I have for you now! Still have to catch up with so many backlog posts!

Catch you later! :)

**UPDATE 2/23/2013: Those looking for a great charcoal gray or black polish should check out my new post on the Zoya PixieDust Collection. London (fog gray sparkle) and Dahlia (black beauty sparkle) look great!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Karen Lives High

I decided to do a "His and Hers" blog with my husband. Hehe! Does it sound like he didn’t have a choice in the matter? But after all, our lives are very much intertwined and he is very much a part of me as I of him.

Our experiences are shared. We live together, we eat together, we travel together, and right this moment, we are writing for our blogs together. He has to live with my tossing-and-turning when I can’t sleep at night, or my going to bed a few hours before it’s time for him to get up because I had to finish my work or some new project or hobby that I got into. And he has to live with coming home from work to the smell of nail polish. Haha!

But seriously, in his blog, you will find him writing about our adventures, starting with our wedding day. He then goes on writing about our travels and his reflections and recollections of them, and I do my part in taking pictures and commenting on his posts (not that he needs any of my inputs). He's brilliant--just read at least one of his entries!

He has been a constant source of inspiration for me and he continuously motivates me and supports me in the things that I want to pursue, such as this blog. In our many adventures, we have experienced many firsts mutually and independently. And there are so many memories that we have made and now keep.

As my husband puts it:

I begin my blog, lest my memories get confused with dreams, dreams get buried by mundane trappings, and the good things in life be forgotten over time…

Live high, live mighty, live righteously. Take it easy. It's laughter we're making after all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Economics of Nail Polish

Before I start posting my nail polish entries, allow me to share with you a few articles which got me thinking about why nail polish is so popular today:

In summary, it is only logical that people tend to spend and consume less during times of economic turmoil. When the going gets tough, adjustments have to be made. But what’s interesting is that even in hard times, sales for simple luxuries like cosmetics continue to increase, perhaps because people try to escape from the bitterness of reality, or to reward themselves for pulling through. Or perhaps, as their remaining means of expressing taste and fashion without the commitment required by expensive shoes and bags.

This trend is nothing new. In early 2000, a concept coined as the “lipstick index” by Leonard Lauder (chairman emeritus of Estée Lauder) emerged, based on the observation that lipstick sales increased when the economy was down. And with the coming of the 2008 financial crisis, it was much the same except this time, nail polish is the new lipstick.

While others may not subscribe to this idea, I personally do buy a lot more nail polish than lipstick. For one, lipstick colors are not as diverse as nail polish, and in the occasions that they are, they run the risk of clashing or catching too much attention that one may want. I also get the feeling that nail polish is much cheaper than lipstick (of course brands make a difference), and allows me to be more adventurous and playful without too much of a commitment. Lastly, I also feel more comfortable experimenting with nail polish rather than lipstick, probably because I’ve always felt that lipsticks make my lips bigger and unnatural. So I usually just stick to glosses or balms that keep my dry chapped lips at bay.

Of course, all this rambling is mostly just an attempt to give context to my new obsession, and perhaps to share some insight on why so many girls are now hooked with the craze. I’m just glad that today, so many nail polish brands have become accessible to Philippine consumers. Not only are nail spas more prolific, it’s also so easy to buy from the numerous retail stores in the Metro, and more importantly, online.

So if you ever come across parents, or boyfriends, or husbands who ask you about your own nail polish obsession, feel free to get scientific with your explanation—blame it on the economics of nail polish!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hello Kitty Shades and Glasses

This is a tribute to how it all began.

My classmate Ninna had one of these. Hers are black frameless hello kitty glasses with a red ribbon. I thought it was really cute and asked her where she got them. She said that she bought them from the Greenhills tiangge (bazaar) and it cost her Php100, roughly less than US$3.

But it wasn't until I personally tried on my sister's shades that got me into oh-my-god-I-just-have-to-have-this mode!!! It was a gift to her from her friend who got it from Divisoria. (What a great friend!)


She loved it so much she won't let me have it for a long time. I had to sneak in to steal this shot and I couldn't post it until she gets to post her picture in it first!! Lol! I actually kept my end of the bargain and didn't share it to the public until her picture came out. Am I not such a sweet sister? We love each other that way. <3 :)

And as obsessed as I am, I rallied all of my friends to get these for me too! Thankfully, my friend, the same one who sold nail polishes, went to Divisoria and got my sister and me these babies! Now, we're twinsies!! :)

Loving them so much, I took more photos of myself. Tee hee :*)

Do you know where else I can get these?? You know, my birthday is coming up next month! Hint, hint! ;)

How do you like these shades and glasses? Are you a Hello Kitty fan? Who's your favorite Sanrio character growing up?

Until the next post!

Blogging--A Big First

My latest love are nail polishes. I created an album in my Facebook account entitled "Hi, My name is Karen and I'm a Nail Polish Hoarder". So now, do you have any idea how much I'm obsessed about them? :-D 
I started by uploading pictures of my nails in different colors/combos/designs and then listing the brand names and colors of the polishes. Later on, I became more expressive. I just had to talk about them. And for those who know me, when I like something, I mean like really like something, I become very animated, passionate, obsessed, surf-the-net-about-it-before-sleeping-at-night obsessed. Right. Obsessed. Anyway, you get the picture.

I've been getting my polishes from my friend, Ivy, who sells them online through Facebook (Polished Inthecity). So, it was so easy for me to just order and get new stock from her. I even get to visit her nail spa when the new shipment comes in. She's the one who really got me thinking about blogging. (Thank you!!!)

But what's funny was that she didn't think about it when I was posting my nails. It wasn't until I posted my "Hello Kitty" album that got her calling me one day, asking me to start one. :)
I think I'm in for the long haul. I've been keeping all my thoughts in my head, if not in my Moleskine journal, my tea journal, my wine journal, my cardmaking/scrapbooking/crafts clear book, my wedding planner, my dog records, my work notebook... I'm starting to lose track. I seem to have some form of documentation for each of my interests. My friends don't seem to be surprised anymore when I get into something new.

Some of my many notebooks and journals

And of course, I've been sharing all these and more to my second half, the extension of myself, my everdearest husband, who patiently and lovingly listens to all my nonsense ramblings. (I love you!!! And sorry, but you don't have a choice ;))

Now that I'm actually doing this, I'm very happy that I did! I was never the one to openly share my thoughts. I like keeping things to myself; hence, all my journals. This is a big first for me, so let's see how it goes!

What's your reason for blogging? Maybe you can share your blog link here and talk about it. I'd love to check it out and learn something from you!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life's Little Wonders

There are so many things to discover, so many things to learn, and so many things to experience. Some may be mundane, others may be more profound. But all the same, they matter. If not to everyone, then maybe to our tiny selves. They make us who we are. They make us happy. Sounds like everyday little wonders to me!

What's your little wonder today? :) 

* Our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. 
Time falls away but these small hours, these little wonders still remain. *