Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Well. That's not true. I totally expected the "American Heritage Girls", the Texas State Militia, and the Sons/Daughters of Confederates. Did I expect the slightly off color [to a yankee] announcers' jokes about the Civil War era bayonets and how Texas is "Open Carry"? Not quite. Nor did I really expect a troupe of Vietnamese bicyclists calling themselves the "Viet Riders", nor the Sikh community carrying posters outlining the tenets of their faith. The "Tex Annes" dance troupe? Sure. Unicyclists? Why not! 6 different area marching bands and associated alumni bands? Of course.
Being out of my usual environment for July 4th is always interesting. Different parts of the country express their pride for their country in different ways and participating in community events, such as Independence Day celebrations, is a quick way to get a feel for a community's outlook and beliefs.
[Edited to Add: It rained the morning of the parade, putting temperatures in the very enjoyable 70s.]
I spent two weeks in Arlington for work, a town that simultaneously calls itself The American Dream City and is also the country's largest city without public transportation. Its university has recently been designated an "R1" university (i.e., top tier research institution), and so the town's identity is acclimating to being an intellectual hub...while also forcing the university to allow closed carry of firearms. It's an interesting place at an interesting time.
Downtown Arlington and Abram Street are really starting to pick up with trendy restaurants, murals, and little islands of landscaping. It's so very close to being a quite nice town. A grocery store walking distance from campus and a spot of public transportation to DFW airport and the Arlington Highlands shopping center would go a very looooong way. I mean, they've got a Torchy's Tacos, it's cruel and unusual punishment to not have any means of getting there.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
A black tea with slightly darker fruit notes. As I drank more of this one, I enjoyed it more. It's not as naturally sweet as some, but it still has bits of sweetness on its own, and it plays with milk and sugar well if I'm in the mood for that. A lovely find from a tea subscription!
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
In my defense, we've used up the ferns, all but the 4 display DC/Japan sakura, the coastal birds are all spoken for, and two of the floral books are meant for general usage. Really, only the songbirds and bonsai are part of the "permanent collection" ;)
Man do I enjoy putting pretty stamps on envelopes for the landlord, lol.
And then there's personalized envelope sticker-seals to match your return address labels...
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
As a grand distraction to the grande finale of my PhD tenure, I got a bit into Jamberry Nail Wraps which are essentially vinyl nail-shaped stickers that adhere to your fingernails for 10+ days. eBay has pretty affordable rates, and lets you avoid the bulk of all the multi-level marketing schemes that come into play with such products. Sure, $15 for 2 manicures and pedicures is a good deal but not when you can save a couple bucks via eBay and also buy half sheets (1 manicure + 1 pedicure). More variety, less money.
If you're a bit self-conscious about people knowing you're wearing nail stickers, then you can always just go for solids and glitters. Or maybe just the tinted French tips. Keepin' it classy. These tend to look better than when I hand paint my nails, especially for my dominant hand, as the stickers can't get slopped all over your cuticles and nail bed. The outcome is definitely much nicer than what I can do by hand. I also like using the transparent Jamberry to save an old polish manicure. In the above photo I had a two week old manicure that was chipping, so I pushed down my cuticles, painted similar color onto the exposed nail, put on a layer of topcoat, trimmed my nails (I like 'em short), waited three hours, and added the Jamberry in Damask on top.
For my first application I used the 'reverse warming method' and two weeks later, I removed them with nail polish remover, a flossing stick, and a Q-tip. And I had no issues at all, maybe my nails are just shaped the right way for this? No bubbles or wrinkles! I trimmed the bottom edge of the thumb wraps to be flatter and that worked out pretty well. I did choose a size that was too small for my index fingers, but mistakes like that are not really noticeable by strangers. The metallics and tints are different thicknesses, so it might be best to start with a solid or print, as they seem to be easy to apply with a nice long life.
During the two weeks, if an edge started to come up or snag, I'd either trim the nail a bit, or I'd reapply heat and press down. The first week, these looked great although, near the end of the week I repotted some plants and so a bit of dirt tended to stick to the edges. Throughout the second week the bottom of my nail became excessively exposed. Supposedly you can fix that by reheating the wrap, pulling it down, and then trimming the nail. Eh, whatever. Near the end of the second week, the tips of my nails started appearing above the wraps, too. My Jamberrys were starting to wear out, but it is important to do a proper removal. If you just peel them off, the adhesive will likely damage the nail bed (another reason to put a clear topcoat on underneath).
Fun fact: whereas Minecraft videos are all narrated by teenage boys, all Jamberry videos appear to be hosted by middle-aged housewives. It's likely due to the at-home MLM sales model Jamberry employs (think: Tupperware parties or P90X/BeachBody). I'm always a bit leery of products where the saleswoman's income is dependent upon how many people she gets to sign/pay up as a saleswoman, but in this case I like the product enough and the price isn't insane (I'm looking at you, P90X).
2 weeks + removal
My second attempt was with Rose gold glitter and Reminisce for our thesis-moon in Las Vegas. A metallic-backed one and another white-backed one. I've found the Rose gold glitter to be more jagged on the tips of the nails, requiring a bit more upkeep with a nail file but nothing serious. They once again held up quite well for the week and a half that I wore them. In hindsight, black Jamberry will reveal the tip of the white nail more than other lighter colored Jamberries, so for a real aesthetic longevity it might be best to stick with the lighter colors.
10 days (removal day)