29 September 2011

Keeping an eye on our elderly: family, friends, neighbors

Grandma Got Conned ...

My grandmother and I are fairly far apart in miles, but we keep in touch by phone.

We'll play message tag for a couple of days until we get to have a voice to voice, so to speak.  Last weekend and week went about typical.  She called over the weekend, but I was unable to respond to her call until that following Tuesday.

We caught up on the latest happenings, the family gossip, and her very busy schedule.  We were going through our closing "routine" - it takes about three or so times to say goodbye as we think up things we didn't mention earlier in the conversation, when her comments made all the hairs on my body stand on end.

"I got a phone call from a man today, from Medicare.  He told me they were re-issuing cards and he needed by bank account and routing number."  I laughed, "Well, you didn't give him anything, did you?"  Ha, ha, I hear about these phone calls all the time.  Surely *MY* grandmother wouldn't fall for such, would she?

Yep ... hook, line, and sinker.  She continued, "I kept telling him I didn't think I should be giving him this information."  But he was a smooth customer, giving her the phone number for Medicare to call back and double check after their conversation was complete.  She handed over all of her important information, including her social security number, I later learned.

I would love to find her caller and wring his neck.  But for a while, I was also tempted to wring my grandmother's.  How dare she fall for this!  She owns her own business (has for years), is a active 80+, and lives alone in her own house.

She should be smarter than this rang from all quarters of the family for several days.  And I am reminded, once again, of what these confidence men (conmen) are looking for: lonely elderly who grew up in a very different environment and will respond to the authority that comes through a phone line.

It has been a wake up call to me.  Even my family is not safe from these idiotic a$$es out to make a quick buck.

The good news is that grandma got right on the ball after I told her she probably lost all the money in that account.  First, she called Medicare, who set her straighter than I (apparently).  Then she called the banks.  That next morning she had a hold on her account ASAP and closed it.

She did not lose any money, but the stress and sleeplessness have definitely taken their toll.  She keeps asking, "Why won't the cops or the government do anything about this?" 

My answer does not please her, since this is a "damage-less" crime, it is low on the totem pole of things-to-do. 

I wonder, who else is on my list of "double check to make sure they aren't succumbing to smooth taking telephone callers?"

Grandma is doing better, but it will be some months before she can shake off the pall of this experience.  She is also doing well with the good-natured ribbing she constantly gets from the family.  Though she is not too keen on coughing up a "saver's fee" for my intervention!  :)

24 August 2011

OPI DS Jewel Swatch

OPI DS Jewel ... an elite designer series lacquer, guaranteed to make your mouth water in some nail polish induced joy ... right???

Wow. This is once seriously ugly nail polish.

DS Jewel has a streaky, corpse pale, smokey base that causes the first coat to give you slightly shimmery dead nails. The second coat does not improve things much. The third coat does give it some depth with the red-violet glitter, but that semi-translucent smokey base curdles the shimmery goodness.

No wonder you do not see swatches for this. Who would pay good money for this crappy polish when given an option? OPI "Teasy Does It" is a much better warmed red-violet glitter option.

I love a good jelly, and VNL rarely bothers me. However, the juxtaposition of this warm shimmer riding on a ghostly ugly cool base is a definite turn off.

Maybe DS Jewel would make a good layer polish ... but that is what CND Effects are for, yup.

Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler

I placed my last Barielle order in late September of 2010.  Which is about when I opened my newest bottle of Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler with Silk Fiber for Dry, Brittle or Ridged Nails.

It has been my go to base coat for well over a year now.  This is my second bottle.  It is moisturizing to a point, and has a protein compound to help strengthen nails.  However, I did not get very far through this second bottle, before it developed the same kind of cloggy, aggregating flakes that my first bottle developed.

These odd flakes are impossible to prevent, regardless of how clean I keep the bottle or how much contamination I try to avoid.  Between the price, $16 a bottle, and how quickly this second bottle has flaked, I am left disgruntled.

The flakes are laid down upon the nail, resembling an odd glitter lump on the nail.  So with any lightly pigmented lacquer the white grit bumps show through.  And anything creme shows the lump.  Perhaps not visible to the casual eye, but how many of us look casually at our manicures?

Here is the old bottle with a picture of the new bottle right beside it.  You can see the flakes coating the inside of the bottle.  No way to get rid of those unless I filtered them out.  Hm.

My disappointment in this fail leads me to investigate several other moisturizing base coats.  

I now have in my arsenal:
Citra 2 for soft, peeling nails by Nail Tek
Nail Strengthening Basecoat by Poshe - this has mineral spirits in it, *REALLY*, hydrocarbons ... I'm sure a replacement is available Poshe
Nail Rebuilding Protein by Barielle - this has camphor, so I expect the smell to bother me

19 May 2011

Zoya Faye Review try 2

Apparently the great blogger outage is only going to repair certain posts ... I would choose the day before the outage to upload four posts of information.

I thought Zoya Faye was going to be my color from the collection. A beautiful plum with gold glitter,  just perfect.   However,  it just does not grab my eye.  I'm not sure how a semi-translucent base with gold glitter smorgasbord can be boring, but this Zoya Sunshine certainly fits the definition in my case.  I've even tossed Apple into the donate pile.  It is almost like they made a collection, didn't like it, and tossed in glitter to liven it up.  But not enough. 


Additionally, it is as slow drying as everyone says. I have never had a Zoya dry so slowly. Even with 15 minutes between coats, I banged up two nails after a quick drying topcoat was added.

In the light of the setting sun.

I guess we should have realized, if Zoya was putting this brand-new superduper set of collections on discount sale, something about the formula was going to be crappy.

Base coat - Nubar NuNails
two layers lacquer
quick drying topcoat - Nubar Diamont (old formula)

In the shade.

Too many issues - it is not worth it.

There is a minor bit of VNL present in certain lighting conditions, but I'm surprised that bothers anybody. It is hardly noticeable at two coats.

It has held up quite well to five days of abuse, with chipping only along peeling nail layers.  Minor tip wear.

Regardless, I prefer Zoya Pru,  and will be gifting Zoya Faye to another.

14 May 2011

Morgana Cryptoria Lipstick Swatches 2 (the warmer side)

Top Left to Right: Cocoa, Clay Bakin', Apple Plum
Second Left to Right: 24K Pumpkin, Pumpkin Eater

In bright sunlight.

In the shade.
Cocoa is almost a my lip shade color, peachy beige, fairly easy to apply.  But I'm really not looking for a nude lip.

Clay Bakin' is a bit darker and a bit pinker than Cocoa.  Also fairly easy to apply.  

Apple Plum is almost a warmed berry color.  A bit too pink for me to be comfortable.  Not too dark, but not too light.  

24K Pumpkin is a beautiful orange shade that is a bit deeper and more toned down than Pumpkin Eater.  This is one shade I may purchase.  It is a reddened orange.

Pumpkin Eater is the only full size Morgana shade I own, but it is too bright for me to be very comfortable.  It is a metallic red-orange.  The most unusual shade I've ever seen.  And very bright!

Morgana Cryptoria lipstick swatches

I do have far too many lipsticks.  But I wear most of them.  Not that I will ever hit the base of a lipstick, but I'm getting close with a couple of my Korres Mangos.

Korres lipsticks are usually very light, and very natural looking.  But every once in a while, I want a lipstick with more pigment.  I have a couple Laura Mercier, Stila Long Wears, and Primitives.  I'm always on the lookout for my perfect lip color.

So I ordered a bunch of samples from Morgana's last sale, hoping to find a perfect plum, a gorgeous red/orange, and an exceptional peach.  Of course, any browns that work will also be welcome.

And I have finally come to a conclusion.  Morgana Cryptoria has really nice lipsticks that don't make me feel pretty.  And, really, it is not her schtick.  The company is a "goth" brand that makes gorgeously weird colors.  But they are not for me.  All of her lippies scream "look at me" and that in not the person I am.

So I won't purchase any MC lipsticks, and will stick with her pigments.  But don't let my experience deter you.  If you have cool coloring, or want to stick out, check out Morgana Cryptoria.

The sample containers are clam shells with differing amounts of product.  But all contain at least enough for a week's worth of sampling.

First Row (left to right) Goldrush, Peach Daquiri, Sunset Peach
Second Row (left to right) Plum Crazy, Plumeria, Shrieking Violet
Third Row (left and right) Mocha Blast, Guilded Brown

I applied all of these with a lip brush to my bare hand.

Shade was the game for the day.

Though I did catch the occasional ray of sun.

A second sun picture.

First Row (left to right) Goldrush, Peach Daquiri
Second Row (left to right) Plum Crazy, Plumeria
Third Row (left and right) Mocha Blast

First Row (left to right) Peach Daquiri, Sunset Peach
Second Row (left to right) Plumeria, Shrieking Violet
Third Row (left and right) Gilded Brown

Goldrush - A warm gold with red and green microglitter.  It had good coverage with a lip brush.

Peach Daquiri - A very light and warmish pink.  It has red microglitter and good coverage.  This left a day long stain behind on my hand.

Sunset Peach - An orange base, so much warmer than Peach Daquiri, it also has red microglitter.  Less pigmented and patchy coverage, so you need to take greater care with application.

Plum Crazy - This reads mauvey brown to me.  Not much plum.  It also had patchy coverage, so care needs to be taken with application.

Plumeria - A red-violet with blue glitter.  Not as dark as Shrieking Violet, with more red.  It has patchy coverage, take care with application.

Shrieking Violet- This is a medium red-violet creme without any glitter.   It is darker and more blue than Plumeria.  It is extraordinarily patchy, so I would call it a wash of color, but fairly pigmented.  Perhaps a good starter color, though it will read very different depending on the shade of your lips.  On my pale skin and pigmented lips, this turns a dark, cyanotic purple.  It is overwhelming on my pale features.

Mocha Blast - A medium cool brown with red microglitter.  It had fairly nice coverage.

Gilded Brown - This is a deep orange bronze metallic.  It has great coverage, and makes me look like an extra on a sci-fi show.

These lipsticks have a good to great coverage, with some needing more care than others.  They don't overwhelm my sense of smell, although they do have a slight scent.  It is not bothersome.

05 March 2011

I caved, OPI "Take the Stage" Swatch

After my high dungeon speech about OPI turning on its customers and requiring full price sales only, I was inundated by Burlesque swatches.

I was grabbed and shaken about by "Take the Stage" a strongly red copper almost glass flecked shimmer.  Being that I also came across a sale, I purchased it ... and perhaps "Rising Star" and "Tease-y Does it!" came along as well.

Now that I have applied "Take the Stage" I cannot understand all the gushing OPI love I keep reading for Burlesque.  This thing is almost a nightmare to work with.  It doesn't have enough pigment and the first coat is a streaky, smeary mess.  The followup with a second coat just reveals all the cuticle drag and bare spots from the first coat. 

Take the Stage is basically a heavy micro glitter in clear coat.  As such, the streakyness is very bothersome to me.  I do not see it so much in photographs, but in person the problems are obvious.  In the photograph, the outer edge of my pointer finger has a long streak (left side in the picture).

It probably needs a third coat, but I don't have that much patience.  Especially since this dries really, really slowly.  It is not as bad as an Orly for me, but it is close.  I ended up having to redo two nails after 30 minutes of drying resulted in severe smudging.  I don't know what I caught them on, but they looked horrid.

So even though the color is spectacular, the formula is horrendous.  Just not worth it.

AND, obvious VNL at two coats.

Tossed into my give away pile.

Luckily, very little from the "Texas" collection is calling to me.  I feel a slight need to defend the state against such a poorly thought out color story.  I will only say that it is obvious a native was NOT consulted.  We would never have given approval.

Additionally, OPI's "Smok'n in Havana" re-release keeps whispering to me.  But everytime it "pssts" in my ear, I look back to my Take the Stage photos and think, "Naah."

I still haven't tried "Rising Star."  I figure it will have the same issues as "Take the Stage."  Luckily, "Tease-y Does It!" has a pigmented base, making the wearing experience far more satisfying than "Take the Stage."  Weather did not co-operate for photographs.  Next time.

Conclusion, OPI really lets the warm toned down collection after collection.  It is either nothing but bad colors, or a good color with a craptastic formula.  Hey, Zoya, whaddya got goin' on?

McCall's 4249 - Indian Salwar Kameez

Since Halloween fell on a weekend in 2010, AND it was Renaissance months at the Texas Renaissance Fair (it runs for about two months in the Fall), I needed something fun to wear to our Sunday fun day at the Renaissance for the 31st of October.

The festival, as most of them seem to be these days, is a chest fest.  You've never seen so many pecs and so much cleavage in your life!  A cell biologist would be in heaven ... there's cleavage here and cleavage there and cleavage everywhere ... Oh, geologists would like it too ... cleavage, cleavage, cleavage.

So I pulled out my costume patterns, unearthed the carnival patterns from my Burda World of Fashion, and started planning out a typical Renaissance Fair Gown.  But then reality intruded and I thought, "Where will I ever wear this?"  If it will be useless to me after one wear, I don't have a great deal of urge to complete the project.

Another pattern lurking in my costume collection is McCall's 4249, it contains a "belly dancing" costume and a Salwar Kameez costume.

Granted, I couldn't see wearing the Salwar portion of the costume, the pants, anywhere else.  BUT, I could see wearing the Kameez over other pants for work.  So began a long search through Indian and Pakistani modern dress sites and runway shots.  I came to the conclusion that both pieces of the suit come in a vast array of styles.  There are short or tight versions of the salwar available.  And kameez come in lengths from mid-calf to tunic (mid-hip).  I could do anything I wanted and still have a fairly authentic Indian costume.

Then I had to start looking through the stash. 

I chose two pieces of rayon, one embossed and one plain woven, to complement each other.  The top went together in two days, and the pants were completed even more quickly.

Pushing a size 16/18 in patterns for pants, the 12 was waaay too small.  I enlarged the pattern a bit, but not enough.  They were still a touch tight at the lower thigh when sitting.  And I felt that they were far too large at the ankle, but my calves kept me from narrowing the lower leg anymore.  I suspect some strategic pinning in the photography examples on the pattern front.

I actually put a wide black rayon spandex waistband in these, to reduce bulk and make it more comfortable.  Except for the pulling when sitting, the pants were remarkably comfortable.  Now I know why it is the chosen style of dress for a large portion of the world. 

The kameez is a nice pattern with a gusset, first time I've ever used a gusset before.  And I loved it.  I had such range of motion.  Definitely something more of my clothing should have.

Considering how much I have to lengthen bodices (two inches), I often feel the necklines are too high.  And I did feel this one was a touch too high, but better than adding to the cleavage population at the Festival.  Besides, I plan to wear this to work, where such displays are distracting.

The bodice was self-lined and I slit the top fairly high, making pockets easily reachable.  Even in a 12 (I measure to a 14), the bodice is too big, and I will take it in (mostly at bodice front) should I make it again. 

I was stopped on our way out by a lady who commented, "I love your outfit.  It looks so comfortable."  And it was.  Nothing was binding, no body parts had to be hiked into uncomfortable positions, and all my undergarments fit easily underneath. 

Now I have to figure out what to make for Ren Fest 2011.

The hubster went in Swiss Camouflage,  an SPH4 Helicopter Pilot Helmet, and menacing face covering.  He got a LOT of attention.  The pattern "Alpenflage" is not necessarily uncommon, but still a rarity to non military buffs.