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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nail Stamping

A couple people have asked me how I do my nails, so this will be my guide/tutorial on everything you need to stamp your nails and make them look pretty without spending a fortune at the salon (I don't know about you, but I don't like people messing with my nails!)

First thing first: I highly recommend OPI nail polish for all your basic needs. They go on thick and generally only need one layer. They also dry pretty darn fast! You will need a clear base coat for sure (base coats are formulated to adhere to your nail. Don't try to save money here by buying an all-in-one. The formulas are different in a base coat as opposed to a top coat.) And you can not do these stamps without a top coat because they can and will scrape off easily. 
I also like Orly nail polishes, but I prefer using them on their own because they come in a lot of wacky and cool colors. Plus they are also thin so you need more than one coat in most cases.

Here are the items you will need (I will use amazon links to make it easy but you can find a lot of this stuff cheaper elsewhere):

Stamper and Scraper - Believe it or not, not all stampers and scrapers are created equal. The scraper pictured here is my favorite. A good stamper will not be too firm and not too soft. It will need to pick up the polish well and form fit to your nail.
I also highly suggest that you "prime" your stamper with a nail file because it will help pick up more polish. The color of the stamper can be important too... if you choose white and you use a lot of white stamping polish, you're going to have a horrible time lining up your stamp when you can't see it!

"Special" nail polish - You may think you can get away with using a regular thick nail polish and you'd be wrong. Trust me, I've tried. Stamping polish is much thicker. This is the brand I use (try ebay). They are small bottles, but they will last you a long time.

Manicure plates - My favorite part! There is so much to choose from it will boggle your mind. [I have read that not all stamping plates are created equal either. Some of them are made so cheaply that the recesses etched into the plates aren't deep enough and won't produce a good stamp. I have bought $2 plates off of and have been fine, but you've been warned!] I have used the round plates before, and they certainly work, but those kinds of designs are mainly little pictures of things like flowers and butterflies. They are hard to line up perfectly. I prefer nail plates that have pictures designed to fit to your entire nail. They usually give enough room for error in case your stamp is a bit off. They also have ones that depict an entire scene and you just pick the part you like and stamp it. I find those a bit odd and haven't bothered with them.

That's it for supplies! Now for the tutorial:

After your base coat dries, paint your special polish into a plate design that you like. Make sure its in there thick; don't be stingy. Scrape off the excess - and scrape it twice (this will insure all gaps are filled with polish). Now work rapidly here - the polish is thin and will dry quickly. Use your stamp and roll it onto the plate, pressing hard. It should pick up most all of the polish. Line the stamp up with your nail as best as you can, and just like on the plate, roll it onto your nail from one side to the other in one fluid move. Its best to have your nail on the table when you do this. Between each nail, you will want to wipe off your stamp and your plate with nail polish remover (please just use acetone. It works so much better for clean up. Also don't use cotton balls for this; you will regret it. Paper towels will work just fine). And that's it! The process seems long and tedious but once you get the rhythm down it'll go quick. 

One downside to full nail stamps is the clean up around the edges. 
I have a manicure pen for this.

One last step before it's all done: the top coat. The stamped polish is pretty much immediately dry, so after you're done stamping all your nails you can paint on the top coat - but one more piece of advice: your top coat brush will literally pull the stamp with it as you apply it. My advice is to carefully and lightly dab the top coat onto your nail. Swipe it as little as possible. Once it dries, add another top coat in the normal fashion. 

All done!

There are so many options here; different stamps to try, different color combinations... the possibilities are endless and will keep you busy for a long time! Plus they look super cool, don't you think? :D

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Great Desk Swap

This whole blog post is going to sound like one big shill, but considering I only have 20-40 readers, it is certainly not! Like Alton Brown, I only "advertise" what I personally use and find really amazing!

Now, first I have to mention that without my new Chevy Sonic Hatchback, none of this would have been possible [alone]. Not only was I able to drive to Ikea and fit two drawer unit boxes plus a 59x29 piece of table top, but I was also able to throw broken desk pieces in there to toss into the dumpster! (more on this in a minute!)

This was my old set up. The things that are inherently wrong with these kinds of desks are: 1. The one shitty "leg" on one side holding everything up. After several moves, it was close to collapsing 2. The backing board, making it nigh impossible to get anything plugged in back there 3. The whole top piece, making desk space very limited. After buying my new computer case (A Carbide 500R, btw - so freaking awesome! A++ 5 star), I could no longer fit it up top and had to put it at my feet, which created its own set of issues) and 4. See that printer waaaay up there? Yeah, if I wanted to do anything with it, I had to grab a chair.

So all of those things, plus the fact that it just looked like shit (don't ever leave duct tape on furniture like that for more than a few hours or you'll regret it) have made me want to replace this desk for a long time. But, with what?

Lifehacker to the rescue. (I told you this post would be shill-y). That link (and pic below) is my inspiration. 

The part that got me was the fact that it was built from Ikea parts, so anyone could do it. Now his is a bit different - for one, he used the white cabinets. But he also used a different top... a kitchen counter made from 100% beech wood, but is also 74" long (and $119). I definitely didn't have 74" to spare. My original plan was to go to Ikea on Saturday, pick up the cabinets, and then go with my dad on Sunday to pick up the counter top and have it cut down to 58".
But, while I was at Ikea on Saturday, I found this: Linnmon Table Top. It was almost the perfect size; 59x29 which was do-able (a bit wide, but not crazy) and only $30!! What a steal! Now, it's not 100% wood, but because I wouldn't have to cut it down, that didn't really matter.

But, before I could even build this thing, I had to put the drawer units together and tear down the old desk. And I do mean tear down literally - it was a floor model so it was glued together. I had to figure out how to rip it apart because I couldn't just take it apart, and be able to throw it all into the dumpster. 

This was by far the hardest part of the whole project. I had to pull out my reciprocating saw (something that I had just bought on a whim at a friend's garage sale not knowing if I would ever need it for anything). Again, this project would not have been possible without it! I literally had to saw through the desk to take it out in pieces!!! Look at what it did to my poor saw!

That's seriously bent, in case you can't tell

But once the old desk was out of the way (Thank you Chevy Sonic for allowing me to pile the pieces in the back and take it to the dumpster! [Which was also very difficult as the dumpster is 4' tall and you can't hold the lid open to throw anything away. Nothing can ever be easy!]) I could now put together the new one. Like my inspiration desk, I bought a cable management piece to hide all my cords and installed that. I screwed the risers into the cabinets (I bought 2" ones instead of 4" ones because I'm short), and just placed the top onto the risers. Badda-bing, badda-bang, all done. 

The table top isn't even attached to the risers... it doesn't need to be. It won't move unless you move it (I know, I couldn't believe it at first either). This is also a blessing, because now if I need to plug in something that has a brick, I can slide the table forward, drop it back there and slide it back. GENIUS. Now, I have my computer case off the floor (no more worrying about static electricity shorting out my PC on the carpet) with easy access to install hardware or plug things in. And also, my printer is accessible! 

Another thing to note besides the fact that I just about doubled my storage space and now have a blank canvas behind me for some awesome art, is the height of the desk. I spent a pretty penny on a DXRacer chair not long ago (I really wanted something that I would never have to replace. Don't judge me) but never found is as comfortable as it claimed. I still sat forward in my chair and didn't feel as though it was giving me any support. Now I know why - my desk was too low and my chair was too high. Now my keyboard is a bit high; it's something I'll have to get used to, but my monitor is the perfect height. It's actually eye level to me, and the natural way to sit in my chair now is to lean back in it, making it a ton more comfortable.

I also have to mention that despite Ikea's reputation for horrible installation directions and confusing pieces of furniture, those two drawer units were some of the easiest things I've ever put together and was easily do-able with one person. They are also very nice cabinets and well worth the cost, I think.

Total cost: $219 not including tax. Well worth it in my humble opinion! 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

I Feel Stuck

I'm not here to put blame on anyone or anything but myself, but I'm feeling very stuck in my life. The thing is, is that I don't want to change it, or I don't care to, and I'm okay with it.
But I'm watching everyone around me advance, and it gives me that stuck feeling.

I'm watching friends of mine find loves, either get married or know that they will, save up money to buy a house; some of them will have children and some of them won't, and I'm still here doing and being the same thing I've always been. And that's where I feel different... I don't want to change my situation because I don't want to necessarily be them. Not only do I not want children or care about having a stupid white picket fence; but I don't want to own a house either.

My point is, it's not that my friends' are buying houses and possibly having children, but it's that they're growing and moving and not being stagnant. 

I know I could change this situation if I wanted to. I know that I could go back to school, get out of the job I'm in (where in a couple of years I will reach my salary cap) and move up a little bit. But I won't. To be honest, I don't have the gumption to change that drastically; to get into massive debt by going to even a trade school, to get more money to pay off that debt. It doesn't seem logical to me. To use up all of my free time to sit in a hole of debt for years. I am comfortable where I am... I make enough to support myself and basically buy what I want in life. The apartment that I live in is very nice and more importantly, close to work/stuff and very secure.

I've spent almost 7 years at Franciscan, now. I've established loyalty with them, as in - fully vested. I'm putting money into their 401k, have money in their 403b (which is inactive right now), gained retirement benefits. The problem with rooting yourself in the healthcare industry as a non healthcare professional, is there are only so many options to move up. Franciscan will help you pay for school if it requires a degree, which means becoming a CNA, LPN, RN, ARNP or physician. I have no interest in this, so they'll be no help. Any school I do will be out of my own pocket.

I'm also not interested in stress. The other day I was stressed at work because Brenda called out sick and I was the only one on phones. There was no clinic, but there was a lot of stuff I had to do. My supervisor tells me that one of her people was sitting in Gig Harbor right now, answering phones and checking in 30+ people all by herself, and looked at me like I was retarded. What she doesn't understand is that stress is different for different people. I don't handle stress well because I'm never stressed. I've never had to build up a tolerance for stress. I don't have children running around my house, and animals to take care of (sans gerbils). I don't often have to make life-altering decisions, or have to deal with a vehicle that only runs half the time. And I don't believe that getting into a position where if I were to make more money - which ultimately means more stress - is for me.

Here's the truth, and if anyone I'm dating reads this, don't fret too hard because this isn't anything I'd make a life-altering decision over: It would be nice to marry into stuff. Not necessarily marry rich, but just find somebody that already has the stuff. The house, the job. The nice stuff. Of course I wouldn't choose one person over another because of stuff; I've already proven that I don't care [about that] with my past relationships. But it would just be nice. Does that make me entitled and lazy? I don't know. Maybe in another couple of years when my raises stop coming, I'll decide to change my course. But I just can't convince myself to do anything about it right now, even though everyone around me is growing. It just makes me kind of sad.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Into the Mind of Anxiety and Shyness

Getting into the mind of someone with anxiety and shyness can be difficult for some people to understand. I'm going to write about this now because I currently have less than an hour before I have to head off to a party.

A party that my boss's friend is throwing at her house.
With about 100 people.
Most of them her family.
And this particular boss is not fond of me.

I'm pretty sure I was only invited because the entire clinic was. It wouldn't be fair to single some of us out, you know?

So anyway, lets delve into the mind of an anxiously [introverted] shy person.

What if I can't find the house? (I'm using google navigation)
Where am I going to park? What's that situation going to be like with 100 people?
What if I get trapped in a space and I want to go home?

Most of the time I freak out about arriving too early, but I'm a compulsively early person because I hate being late. Even though logically I know I should probably arrive a bit later, I will probably be one of the first people there, which will make things even more awkward, especially if none of my other co-workers are there yet. And then my car might get trapped behind someone else's car. It's inevitable.

I'm going to just stand in a corner and not talk to anybody. I'll find Beverly or someone else to latch onto and follow them around so I won't look awkward and lonely being by myself.

I'm wearing my boots for style but I definitely won't be able to stand in them all night.

I hate it when there's nowhere to sit.

Will there be food? I'm probably going to be hungry. I hope I like it. 

I wonder how fancy it's going to be. I'm not a very fancy person.

I just painted my nails and they look very unclean around the edges.

There better not be party games. Oh god.

I can't embarrass myself if I don't talk to anyone. Please don't make me talk to anyone.

I'm going to be meeting my boss's family. This is creepy as f*ck.

Dr. Saffari and Dr. Bidus is going to be there too. Just greeeeaaaaat.

I'm going to need some alcohol to loosen up but I'm driving. So I'm either going to allow myself one drink, or stay there for a really long time.

I wonder how long I need to stay before leaving becomes acceptable.

This isn't going to be a dinner, is it? Oh god.

There better be somewhere to sit.

Where's the bathroom? I'm too embarrassed to ask anyone. But I really have to pee. Why did I drink all that water?

I have to mentally prepare for a lot of people and a lot of cacophony. My brain can't stand cacophony. 

My head hurts.

I'm freaking out about embarrassing myself. I can't even explain how this might be accomplished, but it's 110% likely.

I'm going to be highly anxious and completely dead bored at the same time since I won't be participating in anything or talking to anyone. It's a very strange mix.

Breathe, just breathe.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Orca Experience 5/31/15

Wow, I put this off for a really long time, which isn't like me at all. After all, seeing Orcas was on my not-quite-yet midlife crisis list, and I finally got to see them!

My mother and I had already attempted to see them once before the previous year, and we'd only gotten a glimpse of some Humpbacks, which put whale watching on my spite list. So, with another Groupon at my disposal, we attempted again, this time using a different company. Groupon is filled with deals for whale watching, however most of them start on the San Juan Islands and you first need to get yourself to them which can be a hassle, so I had to find one that starts on the coast instead. This one started in Port Angeles, and we took a 3-hour boat ride up to Friday Harbor. It included a 2-hour layover at the harbor and then a return trip for $50/pp and that was a great deal, especially considering all we got to see.

The only real issue I had was my motion sickness. It doesn't tend to be a problem as long as I can look out a window, but unfortunately we were seated 6 to a table, 3 on each side, and I was on the isle. I tried looking out the window from my position but my brain said that wasn't good enough. I didn't get ill, however, I just felt generally crappy and and dizzy. Another unfortunate issue was that this trip started quite early in the morning and despite having a record-breaking heatwave of a summer, it was only about 60 degrees and the sun hadn't broken through the marine layer yet. Some people braved the cold to be on the outside of the boat but I was not one of them.

On our way up to Friday Harbor we saw a lot of wildlife including a bald eagle and a sea lion. And then, the word came. Orcas. Our boat was the first of the day to spot a pod of Orcas (all the boats of all the companies share information so that everyone can see the whales when they're spotted.) so they were not yet identified. What we knew from general knowledge was that while resident Orcas tend to spread their pod out, transient ones tend to stick in a tight group, which these ones did.

Turns out these were Transient Pod #127 which was also captured (for free! grrr lol) moving along under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge the next day.

I was so stoked to see real Orcas. I did a report on them in high school (had been my plan since day one of joining Marine Biology) and they are one of my favorite animals. Definitely my favorite marine animal.

Anyway, after we got our fill of Orcas, the boat headed to Friday Harbor to spend a couple of hours. Mom and I walked around and found a decent restaurant to eat in, and did a little shopping. Two hours was definitely not enough time!

I think I want to do this trip again. Hopefully next time we'll run into playful Orcas that are jumping out of the water. That would be epic!

Last Day in Alaska Night 3

I'm going to try to fit the last bit of my trip into this one blog post. Man, I've never written so much about a trip; not even New York City! If you need to catch up, here are some links:

We had decided to check out the International Ice Scrupling Festival at night because we heard that was a cool time to go with all the pieces lit up. They weren't wrong. I'm glad we picked night time to go. 

I think we all (there was a small line of people that Mom and I were following through) thought that there was a walkable path where all the super big sculptures were being created (none of them were done yet - sad pandas) that turns out to have been an off-limits area as they were using cranes to unload large blocks of ice.


So, after my hands officially froze off, we headed back to our hotel for a decent night's sleep.

Our plane doesn't come until the evening the next day and we had nothing officially planned, so I was sorting though all the little pamphlets and found an interesting shop called the Knotty Shop (pun surely intended), but it was made of all these knotty pine logs. It was in Salcha, which was probably 40 minutes from Fairbanks, so we head down there. Turns out they are closed on Mondays (I'd spite this place but I never want to visit Fairbanks again lol). FINE. BE THAT WAY.  We drive all the way back up, and I'm randomly driving through streets in Fairbanks like I know my way (but it's not that easy to get lost) and we stop at this bowl shop that's super cool and I was able to knock some more things off my must-have list:
Elk, Caribou, and Reindeer meat. No moose though. Damn!

We spent a bunch of time shopping in Fred Meyer and Walmart for souvenirs. Fairbanks is an industrial town... I don't think their tourist rate is that high... we never saw any small dinky curio shops around town, really. And still, not one shot glass said Fairbanks. Luckily, however, I'd caught that a gift shop at the Fairbanks Airport (Lolz, the only gift shop) was selling them and that was my last resort. So, after returning our truck to Enterprise, they dropped us off super early at the airport and I got my shot glasses (thank goodness!).

And that was it. We took our flight home and I was never so happy to be comfortably warm.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Star Trek: Discovery

So recently, there was a teaser drop about the new Star Trek series coming out on CBS: all access. And like many of you that I read in the comments, I am severely disappointed in what they have chosen for it to become.

Star Trek: Discovery, in case you haven't heard, is going to be set in a time *before* TOS.

First of all, WTF? 

Second of all, WTFF??!
(the first F stands for flying)

Okay, I am a huge Star Trek fan. I grew up watching the show. But I will be the first to admit that I never got into Star Trek: Enterprise and actually refused to watch it. Why? Continuity. 

I know, I know. I like Red Dwarf. How can I scream about continuity? Because Star Trek has it. In fact, I think they pride themselves on it.
The first time I saw the Starship Enterprise *before* TOS, I screamed at the flat panel screens and the apparent advance of technology. I also screamed at the stupid Vulcan for being on the ship with all the humans. Maybe she was just a liaison; after all, I believe Spock was the first Vulcan in *Starfleet* not the first Vulcan on a Federation vessel. But still. Back in TOS, Vulcans were like, a new concept. McCoy didn't even know how to treat him medically, let alone how to act around his logic. I'm not even going to go into all the aliens they ran into that never ended up appearing in TOS.

WTF is this? It looks like a Klingon Battle cruiser and the Enterprise 
had some kind of lovechild. 

Yeah, the new movies kind of veer off in the same direction as Enterprise, but at least they have a split timeline to blame it on.

The reason I bring up Enterprise is point #2: It didn't last. The fans hated it. In Star Trek, 7 seasons seems to be the golden number. If you get to 7, end it on a good note and be happy. Enterprise lasted 3.

So of course, lets make a new series and peg it *before* TOS. It's sure to be a hit. -_-
Like, how far back are we going now? The moon landing? C'mon. Where are we putting these people on the timeline? Before Enterprise or after? And I swear to God if those ships have flat screen holo technology I am going to scream. 

They already mentioned that there were going to be "a lot more aliens than all the other Star Trek franchises." Great, so again with the lack of continuity. You know what I liked about TNG, DS9 and even sometimes Voyager? When they went to Starfleet Command and walked around, most of the aliens you saw, you recognized. Oh, there goes a Bolian. And here's a Ferengi (aww, more are joining Starfleet, that's nice). And occasionally you'd see something you'd not seen before but that was okay because you recognized the mains. The aliens that made the Federation what it was to begin with. And now what do you get? Shock value. All these writers want to do is stick a bunch of random creatures on your screen for a split second to show off their awesome CGI creativity and then you never see that species ever again. What is even the point?

I mean, I love Jeffrey Combs, but come on.

The other issue is how they are deciding to air the new series. They are going to put the first episode on CBS to get yow hooked, but then every subsequent episode they are putting on their streaming service called "All Access" which costs I think $7.99 a month. They are touting it as kind of the HBO of CBS; where they will be allowed to show "a lot more" than on a basic network channel. Yeah, no. Not worth it. Not for one show.

I honestly think this series is going to tank, and I am already depressed about it. Star Trek never seems to die (thankfully). New fans replace old fans and the gift just keeps giving, even though we haven't had a series run in over 10 years. Us fans have waited a long time to see if someone would begin again with a new series, and now that its actually coming to fruition, I feel mostly disappointment. I'm a little hopeful that it will turn out better than we all think, but I, for one, won't be paying to watch it, no matter how good it is. Let's just hope it's good enough.

What do you all think? Let me know in the comments!