29 January 2010

To The State of Alabama's Government, Voters and Hypocrites.

Dear State of Alabama,

Time and time again, I hear how poorly our education system is doing. How it ranks so far behind other states, and frankly, it is a great disservice to not only our state, but our children, and most importantly - our future. It's not honestly just "our fault", it's the economic situation and the contributing factor of a lack of funds to better provide for our children, grandchildren and family.

However, I'd like to point out that yes, we live in the South, the "Bible Belt" if you will, and therefore cling to our moral standards with pride. But the way we are ignoring our overall goal, and that of a better, brighter future for our children is simply ignorant and unfounded. It is my opinion, and that of many others, that the best way to express our faith and make light of our moral compass is to better educate our children and unleash them into the world to make examples and to lead in a Christian way.

Sadly, our children can not do this if we do not provide them the basics - to allow them the best education we can afford. To do this, we would need the funds to pay our hard working educators, provide ever-changing and necessary state-of-the-art computer systems, and an educational system that propells hard-working students from a recognized secondary education into a well-funded higher education, and eventually, nationally recognized graduate programs.

"How do we achieve these things without a greater source of income" you might ask. I also ask " how do we go FORWARD instead of cutting programs as we, as a state, are having to do now?". The answer is so simple - legalize gambling.

It makes me sick to think of how many casino goers were kicked out of Victoryland at 6 AM this morning. Yes, it's a Friday at SIX a.m. - but that is an individual's choice. The same people who oppose legal gambling in our state take their money to Mississippi, Georgia, Tenneessee, Louisianna, Florida and Vegas (for example, the former commander of the Task Force on Illegal Gambling, David Barber, who took his money to a Mississippi casino and won $2,300) . In short, the education we could afford for our children is being handed to other states.

We are blowing it.

I refuse to stand by and let our governor and state pretend we are "more Christian" because we don't have legalized gambling in Alabama. It is not our job to be God's earthly Judging Force; the government has no business in regulating sin. Denying ourselves a greater state, a greater future and better-educated children is not buying them a more Christian lifestyle, it is simply robbing them of opportunity. The opportunity to have access to the same things most states are already providing. The same opportunity other states offer their high school students - the same students that our graduates are up against for admission and scholarships.

When our Alabama students lose out on scholarships and admission to well-known schools, in the end, we are robbing them of the better jobs.

Quite frankly, we are robbing ourselves of a better life and it makes me sick.

Please, wake up Alabama. Stop pretending we are some how better than the next state because we don't have this "evil monster" in our backyards. Stop being hypocritical and purchasing lotto tickets in Florida or Georgia while on vacation. Stop visiting Vegas for a bachelor's party, dropping hundreds (if not thousands) out-of-state. Stop enjoying that weekend in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Or, simply, legalize gambling in Alabama so our children can benefit.

Amanda Zaremba
Mother of 2 boys who wants better for their futures.

25 January 2010

BOX O' AWESOME: From Me, To You.

So. Um. I sent a friend a Get Better Box today and while putting it together, I remembered The Box O'Cheung Maggie sent me in April. Yeah. April... 2009. Almost a year ago. I sincerely suck.

Basically, in this post, I go over how the box was basically just random stuff Maggie loved or loved and was a local item (for instance, Space Needle noodles and, duh, coffee). It was a fabulous pick-me-up for mid-week ZOMGITISWEDNESDAYSHOOTME. 

Anyways, the point here is this: I will send one Box O'Randomness, brimming with... um... basically junk, but JUNK I LOVE to one person. For a general idea as to what you might receive, make sure to check out the post I linked to earlier but am linking to again here just for ease. 

Leave one comment and please make sure you aren't using your Super Secretive Login ID, so that I may find you if you win.

No additional entries available for this one, but COME ON! If you know another mom or friend who would LOVE a dose of The Happy, send them the link. They'll thank you!

(I'll pick a winner on Friday via random integer. Good Luck!!)

Sorry. U.S. only, please. My kids like heat.

23 January 2010

Some Of You Are Missing Out.

Most of you are lucky (cough) enough to be Facebook friends with me (very elite group) (totally joking) and if you aren't following me on Twitter.. well... you are totally missing out.

For instance, you missed Chase's 2nd Birthday panda cuipcakes a-la me and about 7 years of my life that I will never get back from said cupcake baking.

And you are missing out on my Game Day tweets as well as .. um... yeah. Now that I think about it, just a truck load of random Amandaisms under 140 characters. Sometimes, you are missing run-on Amandaisms in 140 character spurts. I'm a professional Twitter feed spammer. Consider my resume updated.

On Facebook, you are missing the same Twitter feed (they are synced because my insanity is bound by a one social medium limit) plus some pictures. For instance, these of Conner:


... and us trying to figure out why it's SO DANG COLD AND WINDY!

Follow me on Twitter already. Sheesh.

22 January 2010

In Which I Question Facebook's Marketing Team

Oh Facebook, how much your ads annoy the panties off of me (in the bad way). Like yesterday, when I glanced to the stepchild part of your page, and realized that yes, you are stalking my demographics. What irks me is that you are stalking them and getting such a generalized demographic from my profile. I mean, have I not provided you enough information that in turn you could provide me with ads worth clicking?

Like this, a screen shot of all three featured ads. "Oh, she has children so she's a total lush. Then, her drinking is running up her grocery budget, so let's help out a sista there. And then finally, HAVE YOU SEEN THOSE WRINKLES? Plastiic surgeon - stat!"

I hate you, really.

Not going to lie though, I did eventually click on the Bitches on a Budget advertisement, and I might actually love it. So yes, you kinda win. If by "win", I mean "66.67% failure".

But really? Facebook's "seriously, wtf?" factor doesn't end there. This ad MADE MY EYEBALLS GO NUMB AND FALL OUT (maybe I should sue you for that). Once I collected them off the floor, I found the nearest sharp object, in this case - a pair of safety scissors and a spork from Taco Bell, and performed a full hysterectomy. After which, I propped myself up, squinted at the screen and said to myself "Someone, please, tell me I was not this large?"

And the reply to that question, which I twitpic'd, was simply "No. Because what is she carrying? Quads?" Ew. ("ew" to how uncomfortable she looks, not "ew" to quads. I don't baby-hate)

That picture has to be fake, no?

I'd like all of you to please note that my hysterectomy was performed without the assistance of robots and especially without the assistance of robots that look fresh from the Sims - Suburban Creepiness Edition.

Is that honestly the robot that would have performed my hyserectomy had I visited Jackson Hospital? If so, I believe she needs to be considering a "night job", because my husband might be interested. Her hands look... intriguing, I'm sure.

After my non-robot hysterectomy, but before I questioned twitter about my former pregnant belly, I had a glass of radioactive wine, because frankly... that's how I roll.

Side effects include (but are not limited to):

- Glowing Eyelid Syndrome
- Purple face
- Random de-attaching arms
- Third Eye (blind)
- Reincarnation
 - What in tarnation?
                                                     - Face cancer
                                                     - And horrible Facebook advertisements

19 January 2010

FINALLY Fried Rice Recipe

I've battled the Fried Rice Hates Me Monster for over a year now. Even after my mom bought me a wok for (LAST!!) Christmas! It's all over now. I've defeated you, silly FRHM Monster.

Basically, I started with this recipe http://chinesefood.about.com/od/ricefried/r/basicfriedrice.htm

I used 3-4 cups cooked, long grain, white rice that cooled for about 8 hours. I started as the recipe says with 2 tablespoons of oil in my wok and lightly scrambled the eggs. Basically, I left them a little runny for my taste, but they harden up once you re-add them to the mixture after the rice is cooked.

Then, I removed the eggs and added 2 more tablespoons of oil, let it heat (about a minute) and added my rice. The key here is to use a wooden spoon to break it up (rice shouldn't be stuck together in the end). After stirring for about 2 minutes, I added a bit of soy sauce (probably about 2 tablespoons). Basically, I didn't want to add too much (a mistake I've made before), so I added little by little until most of my rice was a light brown color.

Next, I added my chopped green onions (3-4 medium sized stalks) (because I like my green onion to be just slightly cooked as opposed to not cooked at all) and then the egg. I stirred for another minute and removed it from heat and added a 1/2 ground ginger (I buy the pre-ground type in a jar) as well as a 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce.

Another previous mistake was using a yellow sweet onion instead of the green. This mistake caused my fried rice to take on an odd sweet taste, because really the ginger is responsible for bringing the sweet to fried rice.

Also, I was using too much oil but thought what made it seem more oily was the type of oil I used. Today, I simply used what I had on hand - canola oil (I use it because it's healthier than veggie oil), not a fancy sesame oil or wok oil mixture (although I have in the past), but only used the recommended 2 tablespoons.

I hope this helps anyone that's ever gone through batch after batch of less-than-awsome fried rice! I've been eating out of the pan for over an hour!

In A Pickle Without A Key

I'd hear jingle, jingle clank, clank each time he'd shift his weight while sitting, albeit rather impatiently, in the large, green chair in our living room. Conner didn't ask too many questions and accepted his sentencing - to wait out 4 hours with military-grade handcuffs strapped around one ankle.

Not 30 minutes prior, Conner's curiosity captured him and his right leg. He trapped himself in the handcuffs an employee gave my husband as prank gift, and came to me for the keys.

"Oh no baby! Daddy has the keys on his key ring and he's at work till 4, at least!" I answered to his sad little eyes.

He responded with the look he normal gives when he says "Are you being serious, momma?".

I laughed a bit with Conner to lighten the mood while assuring him that the cuffs were not on tight, and then Michael text me a suggestion - "put the other cuff on the same leg". (Oh man, the laughter) This way, Conner wouldn't be annoyed with the cuffs hanging off his leg and on to the floor nor would they wear on his skin.

I grabbed a long pair of pj bottoms, pulled the leg through the first cuff, and gently locked the second. Conner sat so quietly, and laughed only when I told him he was my prisoner for the day.

And so he waited, without so much as a peep.

Four hours later, Michael walked through the front door. Conner sunk slowly to the ground from his green chair and placed one cuffed ankle into the air. He didn't say a word but his face read "UNLOCK ME NOW!". Michael slipped the key into each cuff, turned and suddenly, Conner was free.

He hasn't asked about the handcuffs since his "hard time", they've been put away (NEVER TO BE USED BY ANYONE) and maybe, he has learned that the criminal lifestyle is not for him. After all, no one looks good in stripes and ankle bracelets.

18 January 2010

Day At The Park (Mostly Just Interesting For My Mom)

We went here (the parks around Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Museum and Theater) -

And fed these (see: below) some very yummy Lance's Grilled Cheese crackers (because damnit, that's all we had and they were already crushed)


And towards the back of the park, next to the art museum, were several Where The Wild Things Are-esque sculptures made of twigs. Amazing. You can see them in the background (on the left) in this picture -

Chase's hand.. AWWWW

And after I uploaded all of these, I noticed that Picasa can make collages, so I did just that.

14 January 2010

The Mommy Image

I had an idea, midst Laundry Moutain, about what it means to keep up this image. How we, as mothers and women, strive to be a little better than a "good mom".

We do it in different ways. Some go out of their way to perfect the Thanksgiving Turkey. Another makes it a point to vaccuum every other day. My mother's laundry never piles up, and my grandmother's house could pass any "white glove test". I think I may still be developing mine.

But where do we get these images?

Many women worry about their appereances, especially the younger crowds. We get size 5'8" models in a size 0 dress with expensive size 6 shoes. All of which is available for sell in that size range. Magazines dripping with tiny, gorgeous, kept actresses and stars. The same even go for commercials aimed at us. The image portrayed is a cookie-cutter mom with a tasteful sweater, well-done hair, glossy nails and perfect teeth.

It's the image we get on how to "play house", or rather... be a "work-in-home" mother, that might be a little more frightening. The ones from magazines like Better Homes and Gardens or Southern Living, those images that grind into our psyches - that we must have freshly painted walls, sparkling kitchens, gleaming refrigerators and pantries with clean lines.

None of those "mommy images" show the occasional sink full of dishes (because someone forgot to unload it per request) or the 3 laundry piles in 2 different rooms, each a foot tall. They can not see my SUV's floormat montage of crayola madness (gorgeous, really), the 8 pairs of mismatched socks and 50 receipts.

We have to learn to accept we are the average, the "norm" for what other actual moms are doing out there. The ones that have weekly meltdowns about the sheer number of toys throughout the house. Moms that request the take-out meal (read: fast food) because they simply can't find the desire/energy/ingredients. Those of us that let the pre-schooler "help" put away the laundry, even if that means you might not finish before bed.

Chain Gang Shuffle

edited to add: IT IS NATIONAL DELURKER DAY! So leave a comment!! I'll stalk ya back if you want :) 

I'm not sure what Michael's motivation was for obtaining a "free" pair of handcuffs from an employee's husband, but leaving the keys to aofrementioned handcuffs in the house would have been a smart idea.

A better idea would have been not owning these stupid things, or never showing them to Conner.

It'll be 4 hours before the keys arrive home.

These will be put away, and NEVER be used for ANYTHING ever again.

13 January 2010

Dancing With Myself

I took a purple sippy cup out of my purse and chunked it into an empty car seat, grabbed my purse and went inside. I took a seat at the bar and ordered a sprite.

I honestly didn't know what to do with myself.

I wasn't chasing Chase under tables or around them. I wasn't begging Conner to keep his seat and stop picking his nose.

I was sitting - for longer than 2 minutes.

I'm not going to lie either, it was strange. For one, I was alone and two, I didn't have the kids with me. It was almost like being a grown-up.

Turns out though, I'm not very good at it. So, I took out my notebook and doodled a bit before ordering not-kid-friendly-at-all appetizers - bang bang shrimp and ahi tuna along with a Pine-Apple martini (Van Gogh Pineapple vodka + Dekuyper apple liquor + pineapple juice + splash of sweet & sour mix = forever win). It was all so delicious, but quiet.

What the heck was I supposed to do with all the non-screaming? Carry on a conversation? HA! I can't do that with people I know (another way of saying I'm the most awkward person I know).

After I paid my tab and did... more... sitting... I walked next door to a Books-A-Million. To which, I'd like to write a short letter.

Dear Books-A-Million,

 I don't want your stupid "Millionaire's Club Membership". It expires every year, during which time I have normally driven past your store twice. It's just not worth 10 bucks.
Most importantly, I'd like for you to note that pushing me to get join your special *club* (*cough* cult), saying that if I do join I'll get FREE! WI-FI!! but other wise I'll have to pay a day rate IS A HUGE FAIL when I can plop down in a large chair, and begin surfing ANY ONE OF THE FOUR FREE WIFI NETWORKS IN THIS AREA.


I bought the boys 6 new books, which I am stoked about. Chase has been spending a lot of time in his room (normal!), with his books (normal!) and his favorite disney movie (Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas) (normal! but out of season!), while Conner is busy waging war between GI Joe and... a lego fort and most certainly not in his room because that's the last place Conner would play. Or sleep. Or exist. It's like a black hole for him.

By the way, I never knew that GI Joe was a FORCE or COLLECTIVE GROUP OF POORLY DRESSED INDIVIDUALS! I always thought "GI Joe" meant some rambo-esque guy with the first initials "G.I." last name "Joe". I'm an 80s childhood fail, I know.

So yes. I'm went on a date with myself. I dressed up, treated myself to a lovely, yet annoyingly quiet, dinner, and a little book shopping at Books-A-Million. Go me!

12 January 2010

The Progression of The Jelly Sandwich

Conner's been eating PB&J's for a week now. Every night, after I've cooked a meal for the rest of the family, mind you, I get a whiney 4-year-old, houls of hunger pains and a truckload of drama. Conner is hungry, and I am to make him food.

He wants apple jelly, smooth peanut butter, no crust and the sandwich cut in 4 triangles, as would any normal child.

But every night, it seems, his requests are growing more and more strange. He wanted less peanut butter, then more jelly, and as of last night, all I found on his plate once he finished were scrap pieces of bread. He had licked them clean of the small spoon of peanut butter and the glob of jelly.

It was no shock to me when today, at lunch, (or better yet, an "early dinner" because someone refused to eat the corn dogs I made for lunch...) Conner made a special request for his PB&J - no peanut butter.

I told him I'd let him in on a little secret. "Apple jelly tastes so good because it's mixed with a little peanut butter. How about I just put a tiny bit?" I plead. He hesitated, but agreed.

I made the sandwich, nothing I'd eat for sure (then again, I also hate smooth peanut butter) only to find Conner licking the jelly side mere minutes after I placed it in front of him.

I could save bread, and peanut butter I suppose, if I just handed him one spoon and the jar of apple jelly.

(omg! do you not HAVE TO HAVE chocolate covered peanut butter bar now?!!)

11 January 2010

Baby... It's Cold Outside

An artic cold snap in the South means that I've had to become a penguin and learn to deal with lows in the single digits and highs not above freezing. I'm adjusting to putting on more clothes when we need to do errands, and could handle it if it weren't for the few gusty moments (then it's just TOO MUCH!). However, having the heat on indoors is doing a number on my face, lips and hands.

Here's just a few things I'm doing to beat being an ashy snow-woman.

First up... an impulse buy from Wal-Mart, Nivea A Kiss of Moisture with SPF 4.

This was quite the find! It goes on so smoothly, has no weird taste and keeps my lips super moisturized for longer than the average lip balm.

I'm prone to chapping because of the wind, but this stuff has kept my lips from harm.

Next up is a product I've not only mentioned before on this blog, but is also a staple in my skin care regime. Typically, I use Cetaphil Fragrance Free Moisturizing Cream for any rough, dry area that's giving me extra trouble.

But with the heat on nonstop, combined with the wind and bone-chilling air, my entire body has had it! With the Cetaphil cream, you get a no-nonsense, fragrance-free (therefore sting-free and perfect for senstitive skin), thick moisturizer that, once absorbed, leaves no sticky/slimey/just nasty feel.

I also put this on the boys' hands, cheeks, arms and legs to protect their skin from the same harsh elements. Your husband won't mind it either, since it doesn't smell of "Candy Apple Custard" or "Warm Sugar Cookies". Michael might be addicted to this stuff!

With all the extra heat and no outdoor humidity, you might of noticed your hair is SCREAMING at you in the form of unruliness, flyaways and static. Without humidity, your hair is dryer and therefore, more prone to damage. Make sure to use a conditioning treatment (I use one once a week). For a cheaper alternative to salon brand treatments, I use Garnier Fructis 3 Minute Deep Conditioning Masque.

Simple to use in the shower after your normal shampoo (obviously, skip your regular conditioner when you use this). It smells great and helps whip my hair back in line.

Lastly, I might be addicting to cashmere - ON MY FEET!

Cashmere socks are unbelievably soft and keeps those piggies warm! I have several pairs from different places. Also, just as awesome to thaw your feet are "house boots" or extra soft, thick socks.

I have a pair of "house boots" from Old Navy that I might need rehab for. I keep trying to wear them out of the house, and when I fail, I take all of 2 seconds to put them on once I get back home.


How are you staying warm(er)?

08 January 2010

Roll Tide

Game Day Jerseys and a Roll Tide
2010 National Champions
Focal B&W

07 January 2010

Raising Boys in the Religion of Southern Football

Michael and I are both alumni of the University of Alabama, the same team that will square off tonight in the BCS National Championship game in hopes of bringing home our 13th national title.

We both spent the Friday nights of our respective high school years engrossed in football games. Him, on his high school football team as a starting defensive lineman, and me as a member of my high school's colorguard (stop laughing, it was awesome).

We both attend a few 'Bama games each season, spending pre-game, or any game we don't have tickets to, at Michael's fraternity's house (Phi Delta Theta), in the literal shadow of Bryant-Denny stadium. So close, you can hear the roar of 92,012 stadium fans in the living room.

The white arrow in the top left points to the Phi Delta Theta house, the two on the right point to the Office of Student Media (where I worked on the Corolla staff) and Reese Phifer, the College of Communications, where I spent a copious amount of time, especially my last 2 years.

We would attend more, but our boys are young and we hope by next year, Chase will be able to handle a full day in Tuscaloosa.

That doesn't mean we don't celebrate and cheer our team on at home, not in the least. Along with watching the games and celebrating victories, this football season I began to dress Conner in his #8 UA jersey each Friday for school. It became part of his Friday wardrobe when we won those harder games as a touch of superstition caught hold.

Conner might not be able to feel it himself, but he sees it in his parents - the love for the best football team in the nation. He doesn't understand yet what it means to wear his Sunday best to the student section, or how you could (and I have) cry to the sound of the Rammer Jammer after "The Rocky Block" by Mt. Cody (which I've only viewed a million times on YouTube).

He can't fully appreciate a Homecoming Bonfire, or getting up at 6 am like his father did to participate in the parade. Neither of our boys know what it's like to watch your beloved and famed Alma Mater rise from a few dusty seasons and claim another national title.

But maybe, after tonight, we can tell them they watched it all happen from their living room while they wore their Crimson jerseys.
Roll Tide!

photo courtesy of CrimsonTider.com 

05 January 2010

Playing With The New Camera and Picasa3

Low Saturation - Toy Cars

High Saturation - Toy Cars

Focal Black and White - Conner and Football

Focal Black and White - Come on... Who doesn't have "artsy" pictures of their fake floral arrangements?

Untouched - "How YOU doin'?" Conner

Untouched - Chase's favorite thing to say, "I am MAD!"


04 January 2010

Fiscally Minded, We Are

Last week, we (as in all 4 of us) dragged ourselves to the local Portrait Innovations and had, yet another, family session and individual photos made of the boys.

We weren't there 5 minutes before Michael looked at me and said "I really hate doing pictures".

I could not agree more.

Don't get me wrong, I love Portrait Innovation, but having the same backdrops in all of our photos (as in, all of the photos from the last four years) is frustrating me. Equally as aggrivating is seeing the same 10 or so poses repeated in a different order by a varying amount of photographers. Then, of course, there's also the issue I have with them looking too staged. What other time are either of my boys sitting still, facing a wall with an angelic gleam about their rosey cheeks, prim and proper in a lovely (read: ironed) button down shirt? With socks on?
Ok, maybe Christmas and their birthday (maybe).

Of course, there's also the price. Twice a year, I go into panic mode looking for outfits that don't necessary match, but at least belong to the same color palette. Of course, this results in me hauling us to the mall to find a missing neutral long sleeve, or a pair of khakis that don't fall off my tiny-waisted children. All of those things being less than cheap. 

The actual price of the pictures isn't "department store" high, but it's also not "do it at home or at the local drugstore" cheap. For this particular trip, our bill tallied at exactly 200 dollars. But that doesn't factor in the $70+ I spent on clothes since Chase would have otherwise modeled the same outfit as Conner's did in his photos at Chase's age (in the act same pose with the exact same backdrop. See my problem here?)

The pictures are lovely, I'll admit that. The photographer was kind and amusing (aside from the fact she needs to get a better "trick", the one she was using became old after the 10th time). They are surely memories I'll cherish forever.

I wanted to break this rut though, and I've long wanted a nice (niceish) SLR camera so I could take better photographs and need a professional studio less often. Honestly, however, I underestimated the power of a good financial sense and never presented this desire to my husband.

Until, it is, we came home that day after busting our butts for these pictures, simply drained from Chase's run-on tantrum and Conner's incessant proclamation for a bowl of ice cream, and a friend of Michael's mentioned that a nice camera could, possibly, eliminate the need for the biannual Portrait Innovations merry-go-round.

He, having a profession in the financial sector, was sold. For the same price of two of these sessions, the camera would be "paid for". 

This is the part where I introduce all of you to our new, money-saving, less-headache-producing, thank-god-because-seriously-matching-outfits-for-pictures-makes-me-want-to-cry, Nikon D60.

Someone teach me how to use it?

03 January 2010

My Nail Polish Obsession

I might have a small addiction to nail polish of of late. It makes me feel less frumpy, no matter what I'm wearing, just to have my nails filed, primed and painted.

Here are a few polishes I'm either eying or am already in love with.

My first is 'Dear Santa' and 'All Abordeaux The Sled!' both from OPI's Winter Holiday 2009 collection.

I own the 'All Abordeaux The Sled!' (got it at Ulta this week for 60% off!) and 'Dear Santa' was totally sold out. I used it for my Christmas Eve manicure. A perfect Christmas red with gold sparkles.

Next, is the China Glaze 'Up & Away' Collection for Spring 2010. This should be in stores sometime this week and I hope to snag a few.

Temptalia has an outstanding blog and she frequently reviews some of my favorite polish. All of these colors look so amazing! I doubt I could rock the bright green or bright yellow, but I love the mint and softer yellow as well as the peachy color and the red.
Here's Temptalia's review of the Up & Away collection from China Glaze.

Also part of the new collections coming out in Spring 2010 is OPI's 'Alice in Wonderland' (obviously tied in with Tim Burton's remake of Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp which will be in theaters this spring!)

I do love the shade of this blue, but I'm more drawn to the Madd as a Hater (appears purple in this photo):

Review post on this collection can be found here.

If you are interested in a "true red", may I recommend 'Big Red Apple' by OPI? It's bright, not too orangy or blue, and show stopping.

Next on my list (one that I don't own nor have I tried), is by China Glaze - 'Emerald Sprakle'. I found this through StephsCloset and you can read her review of the entire collection (including this dreamy green) on her blog.

For some of the more bold colors (I also love OPI's 'Midnight in Moscow'), I recommend a good base and top coat. I use OPI's Start-To-Finish. It's super easy to use and it protects my polish, gives it extra shine and makes polish removal easier.

I'm not a pro yet, but I do have a few tips for making polish go without a headache.

  • Trim your nails and buff away an excess skin.
  • Use cuticle oil.
  • Wait about half an hour or so (more if you can) before applying your base coat (just make sure you've rinsed off your cuticle oil).
  • Apply a thin, even coat of Start-To-Finish on all nails and wait about 20 minutes (must have patience!)
  • Apply a thin, even coat of your polish. Make sure to start at the bed of your nail and pull towards the tip. Only go one direction. Even if this coat is streaky, it's ok. That's typical.
  • WAIT 30 MINUTES! If you can not wait (this is the most critical wait in my opinion), try dipping your hands in ice cold water for 5 minutes. It will help set that first coat of color.
  • Now go in for the 2nd coat. Not too think, not too thin and make sure you are going in the same direction. This coat should "erase" your streaks.
  • Wait a bit for this coat to dry and apply a thin layer of top coat. For high-glitter polish, I like a thin 3rd coat and then the top coat.
What are your favorite polishes or brands? Is "polishes" even the plural for "polish"? See, this is why I'm not a nail polish blogger. I don't even know how to properly cite a brand, line or color. OH WELL!

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