Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One Trip in Pink

Anxiety looms over my tired being as my vacation draws nearer. Less than a week since our 'sinful' weekend romp in that desert paradise and short of recovering from a chaotic work schedule, I must again confront a fast-paced, cram all the sights in a week, go, go, go because the bears might hibernate early type of wilderness adventure in beautiful Yellowstone National Park. That is my wife's style of vacationing. You get overwhelmed with activities while you're away, come home the last minute, and go to work feeling absolutely wasted. I usually need another week of vacation after my vacation just to recover my senses. We're driving this time and it's a long way there.
Packing for any trip now also involves the vital decision of what color to dress my plump piggies and hauling minimal foot care products. For this incursion in the wild, I have chosen Signed By The Artist by Finger Paints. It's a pink and I'll write about it after I come back and fill you in as to how my mother-in-law reacts to her daughter's chosen man's new hobby.
As you can see, my Coach travel bag is a practical size and sturdy. The minimal foot care for this traveling week will consist of nail polish as noted above, nail polish remover in case I have to repair an injured piggy coat, foot file, and foot lotion. The latter is a new product I'm trying but it's too early to know how good it is. Look for my review in a few weeks of Aveda Foot Relief. Miscellaneous items aside from the ordinary include a dental pick (I'm also obsessive about dental hygiene) and a bite guard (I'm a grinder and it's probably related to stress). So, this is a glimpse into my strange and odd habits.
We're not camping or roughing it. We're renting a cabin, doing some sightseeing, and hiking. Old Faithful here I come!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Snazzy Blue in Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas! Disinhibition is the rule and what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Since Sally's was having a buy 2 get one free deal on Finger Paints, I decided that the third and "free" color would be a frivolous indulgence. Guilt-free. Adventurous and bold. I never thought that a blue tone would be so fun and rewarding. Not my style for flashy. Then again, just wearing polish sets me apart.

Artistic Azure is the amusing path I've enjoyed taking through the crowded streets of the Vegas strip. It's a robust metallic blue that really awakens the senses and shines with a big smile under the hot desert sun. The metal bits are delightfully cheerful against the sea of deep blue. The contrast against my sluggishly roasting tan provided a solid platform to spring its livelihood. The polish itself was rather thick to brush on and provided a challenge to keep the strokes even and the surface streak-free. It may be an old bottle or just needed more shaking up. Other Finger Paints have been fine in consistency. Well, it was the "free" bottle.

Our choice of lodging proved to be quite pleasant as it was a last minute decision to spend a weekend away. The golden Trump hotel is located just off the strip by a large block, across from the fabulous Fashion mall, where I was able to attain some luxurious beauty items that I'll write about later. The pool became our main accommodation where the kids would joyously splash around. Bare foot and armed with Artistic Azure, I graced the pool with my head up high. People certainly took note but no one seemed to be too bothered. Still no comment, good or bad. I secretly yearn for some kind of feedback. Positive would be nicer. Am I still too out there even for sin city? Doubtful. The mall, the shops, and boutiques would also draw many looks and double takes. I'm truly not an attention seeker though my wife would argue that by being "odd" that I'm seeking validation for my shortcomings. Hhmm? Maybe it's just creepy to most of society and by the simple act of decorating my toes I've turned my otherwise clean and approachable nice self to some perv creep type that repulses all but my own children, (who I am taking this opportunity to teach them acceptance).

Keeping my feet and toes protected from heat, sun, a chlorinated body of water, and sandals through a weekend was incredibly challenging. Like a good boy, I brought my foot file, lotion, and polish for touch ups. As I expected, splashing in the pool and trying to monitor two young girls is a hard job. Sadly, my near perfect polish chipped in the grainy pool concrete over several toes. A fix up at the end of the day did the trick and off I went to show them off to the random masses. My soft heels gathered a few extra layers of keratin that were easily checked with a foot soak and filing in their gigantic whirlpool tub in the room. It's nice to be home now where I can nourish my frazzled footsies back into silky smooth condition.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

OPI Mattes

I had read about the highly anticipated release of the new OPI Matte product line and wondered if it's set out to be the trend of this season. Honestly, I didn't hold my breath for it. I happen to come across those pretty little bottles yesterday as I was itching to expand my collection. The color options were indeed wisely chosen as they are some of their more popular tones. Colors include La Paz-itively Hot, You Don't Know Jacques, Gargantuan Green Grape, Lincoln Park After Dark, Russian Navy, and Alpine Snow.

The label is informative but strangely so because it blatantly states that these polishes don't last as long nor should they be combined with any routine preps such as base coat, top coat, or drying agents. The oddest warning by far is the recommendation that one should not get lotion on them. Does lotion make it shiny and ruin the purpose of the matte approach? Does it rub it off more easily? The response from searching many blogs or review sites are that it ruins the matte finish by ruining its chalky surface. Some readers are very excited about it and want to purchase the whole collection. Others, like myself, don't find it appealing. Much less so when it seems like a poor product (unexpected from OPI) since it doesn't last and you can apply lotion on your extremity without worrying about lotion danger. I'm not sure that glossy white is good except for French tips but one reader mentioned that Alpine Snow looked like white-out. Yuk!!

What I love about nail polish is its shiny finish and sparkle, like having a new sports car every week or so. Who would buy a car with a dull paint job? I should qualify that since one of the most expensive offerings by Lamborghini is the awesome Reventon for over a million dollars. The few models sold out before even production began. It has a charcoal gray matte finish that actually looks stunning on such a rolling work of art. It's chosen matte finish is due to its inspiration from jet fighters.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Heel to Toe Feels Like New Review: 3 Piggies out of 9

As I was shopping at Sally Beauty Store for my next chromatic adventure, I perused through the small but replete aisles hoping to chance upon that rare magical pearl that would propel my feet to a new level of softness. I conjured myself discovering the magical potion that was always overlooked due to its plain or generic packaging or its unappealing "cheap" price, but was truly wondrous in deep penetration through those stubborn layers of human foot skin.

My tender soles are by many standards, especially for men, probably one of the better ones out there. I am proud of it and owe it mostly to my obsessive and persistent daily care routine. I've been guilty of skipping a day (at most) of lovingness when I'm just dead tired but I'm so far ahead that my piggies can absorb the light abuse. I guess in reality I could probably go a week without them getting bad but I wouldn't dare to even try, particularly in these hot summer days. I will stress again that hydration and beauty come from the inside so drink up until you pee clear. Ha! I'm giving this product review as a test. See what you think.

Heel to Toe is a brand that offers a variety of foot-related products and retails through Sally Beauty Store. Their products include lotions, scrubs, and instruments that center around care of the foot, as its name implies. Feels Like New Foot Softener is boasted to soften corns and rough cracked heels and calluses, which it states on its purple lid. It is distributed by a company named Esthetician Services, Inc. from Los Angeles, California. No word, at least from the container, as to where the product is made. Its components are relatively straightforward with only a few items that were unrecognizable. Main ingredients are lecithin, soybean oil, lanolin, and papain. The last item caught my attention as this is also what's found on meat tenderizers and medical wound debridement creams such a Accuzyme that are used to clean up necrotic or contaminated open wounds. It is also used for teeth whitening. Furthermore, according to the FDA, it has a warning on topical products containing papain as it can cause a reaction similar to a latex allergy or bring one's blood pressure down or speed up their heart rate or make them blind (if somehow applied to the eye, accidentally maybe.) Whoa! Nonetheless, I, like many others, didn't know this at the time of the purchase. Read your labels! BHA and BHT are preservatives, likely to stabilize the soybean oil. Information on those chemicals seem to be inconclusive for carcinogenicity and they are found in many foods and products. Aaahhh! This makes me wonder about everything else that I put on or worse, eat! Maybe organic is the way to go and worth its price. Hhmm?!? I'll never get through this review.

The product is a honey-colored firm ointment that melts in your warm hands as well as your feet as you rub it on. It spreads easily and I made sure I put on socks right afterward so as to not stain my sheets or slick my floors. It comes on rather oily and has a medicinal odor to it. It's aromatherapy and this is also noted on the lid. I followed this application with my regular Cetaphil rub and Body Shop body butter concoction that has been my staple in foot care. I bought the small 0.5 oz jar to try it and it costs less than $3US dollars. I used it daily for a couple of weeks until it was all gone. I had no adverse reactions to it nor did I wake up to oil stained socks and bedsheets. By the end of the day, my feet weren't greasy either and still quite soft. No additional softening effects were attributed to the addition of Feels Like New ointment. Overall, I don't think that it made a notable difference in softening my feet and the smell of aromatherapy was not pleasant for me at all. Perhaps it performs better in broken up skin with calluses but I doubt it since it didn't seem to penetrate my thinner healthier skin. I would not purchase this item again and I'm glad I only got the small sample. I guess one should also be cautious of papain-containing topical solutions since it has an FDA warning. I rate this item 3 piggies out of nine. (one piggy being the most horrible and 9 piggies being the absolute best). I give it a 3 because it didn't hurt me or make my feet worse, it's inexpensive, but I wouldn't recommend it or try it again. It doesn't smell good and it's greasy.

Well, I get carried away. I should look up what's in the Cetaphil and the Body Shop butter. Yikes! I suppose I haven't been so objective of these "routine" products of mine either.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Silvery Shimmer in San Francisco

I thoroughly enjoyed the attractive pinkish red glow of Seduce Me but I still managed to chip it on multiple toes. Yikes! I keep my footsies well protected but must have let my guard down one day. Sally Beauty Store had a sale on Finger Paints lacquer and opened the opportunity to be bold and pick out some new colors. I will of course try them all and blog about how it made me feel.
The first in line was a color I had already considered and couldn't wait to put on. Suggested by the one and only person to comment on my blog, I must agree that a silver color is very classy and elegant. I guess it also falls under the category of "manly" colors. Finger Paints offers a shimmery silver named Mystery Muse that glides on effortlessly (or I'm just getting better). The reflective particles are very fine and distribute themselves over the nail nearly homogenously, leaving a shiny coat of glimmering joy. As with most paints, its color is dynamic and changes its mood with lighting. Outdoors under the bright sun, its shimmer comes to life against my pale soft toes and makes them standout more than I figured. Under artificial lighting, it takes on a slightly darker persona and it glistens with a touch of medium gray while retaining its lustrous character. Mystery Muse is certainly one that will be added to my favorite list and will spark a search into that silver spectrum of polish for more variations.

I wore it through the Oakland airport with much confidence and got many looks, all strange despite being in the liberal San Francisco area. My family and I did see an athletic guy at the airport who was carrying a huge bike case who wore sandals that revealed a dull silver polish that must have been there for a couple of weeks. Nonetheless, I was excited to finally encounter that. I was wearing my sneakers and didn't get a chance to strike up a conversation about it. Was it something that he did all the time but just didn't have time to re-do it? Was it just a one time 'dare you' to type of occasion with his significant other? I guess I'll never know. It seemed to validate to my wife that I'm not the only one out there with crazy ideas. She still shakes her head at me over my toes but doesn't stop me from wearing it out. I'm not stopping now. The fun is just beginning.