Update on Stone Cold Capitol Color

I will be the first to tell you, I’m rough on my nails.  I was a “tom-boy” growing up and though I’ve grown to love fashion and makeup, I’m still a rough and tumble kind of gal.  However, when my nail polish is this chipped less than 24 hours, and I haven’t done much of anything, I’m left feeling pretty disappointed.

chipped polish

chipped polish

I painted my nails in the evening, let them totally dry and by one the next afternoon they looked like this.  On my ring finger I have “Smoke and Ashes”. That color had been on my nails with only a tip touch up for about 5 days, without a top coat.  My other fingers had stone cold without a top coat, for less than 24 hours.

 

This chipping really bums me out. I love the color and the finish, and I was really excited about it.  I will wear this polish again, because I paid a pretty penny for it.  However, it’s a color that I will use only for going out, and I’ll put it on right before I leave.  One good thing that I can say about this polish is that it dries very very quickly.  This is great for me, but I know it can be hard if you tend to take time when polishing your nails.

*Another thought-If you use a top coat it I’m sure it probably won’t chip as badly, however I prefer the finish without a glossy top coat.*

2 stars

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Capitol Colors

China Glaze just recently came out with a nail polish line called “Capitol Colors” and I couldn’t be more excited as it blends to things that I love: Nail Polish and The Hunger Games.  Since the movie opens this weekend I thought I’d do a review of the 5 colors I’ve bought from the line.  Now if you have somehow missed the Hunger Games mania let me fill you in real quick, The Hunger Games is a  book series that follows heroine Katniss through her televised battle in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games involve 24 contestants (1 boy and 1 girl from each of the 12 districts of N.America) fighting to the death in order to remind the people that the capitol holds the power to crush them. Personally I think The Hunger Games series is the one of the best series I’ve ever read, it’s provocative and engaging, forcing the readers to think about everything from politics to love.

On to the nail polish line.  I bought 5 of the 12 colors (one color for every district): Luxe and Lush (District 1-Luxury); Stone Cold (District 2-Masonry); Harvest Moon (District 9-Grain); Agro (District 11-Agriculture); Smoke and Ashes (District 12-Mining).

smoke and ashes on nails

smoke and ashes

Right now I’m wearing Smoke and Ashes which is a black nail polish with small bits of green and silver flecks. Personally I love this color and that it’s not a flat black but it’s also not a glitter explosion black

 

 

 

Agro on nails

Agro

Agro is another polish that applies really nicely and if done evenly only really needs one coat of nail polish. Color wise it is a fall green with gold flecks leaving it with a metallic finish.

 

 

 

stone cold without top coat

stone cold without top coat

Stone Cold reminds me of pencil lead which sounds strange but I really like it.  This is a matte color with a lot of glitter which sound very counter intuitive, but it looks amazing. If you don’t like the matte look you can apply a top coat and add quite a bit of shine and seems to really change the color.  However since this is a matte polish it can easily get an overly thick application so really wipe the excess of the brush before you start.  *Note when you take this off you will have serious glitter spreading onto your hands.

Stone Cold with top coat on nails

Harvest Moon on nails

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon is a gold and copper color that I am in love with, it’s probably my favorite.  The depth that the polish has is really nice however it can get a little thick on the nail tip (I don’t know why this is but I’ve had that issue with other China Glaze polishes as well), just be aware when you’re putting it on and you should be fine.  *Note when you take this off you will have serious glitter spreading onto your hands.

 

Luxe over purple on nails

Luxe over purple

Finally Luxe and Lush: I have really mixed feelings on this one.  I love the color; I haven’t seen a polish like this in a while. It has irradiant flakes of orange pink and blue.  However the formula is crazy thick, and when my sister used it the polish chipped off right away, maybe with a really strong top coat you wouldn’t have this issue, but I haven’t tried it.

 

Special thanks to my husband who let me use his nails to model most of these colors.

China Glaze Capitol Colors

Lush Shampoo Bar “Soak and Float”

Lush Tin

Lush Tin

This winter’s weather has done a number on my skin, especially on my scalp. The swings from warm to bitter cold have left my scalp dry and itchy.  While on a trip to Boulder my family and I popped into a Lush store. I’ve been hearing all about the wonders of Lush products from various people I follow online.  Lush uses natural products that are really high quality, so I was excited to see if they had something to help address this issue I was having.

When my family and I walked in I was immediately struck by the prompt warm greeting from the sales woman.  She asked if we had been in before (none of us had) and invited us to try out some of their beauty products. After a full face treatment, watching a bath bar demo and getting an arm massage with their amazing massage bars, we were all feeling quite pampered, and my mom wanted to open a Lush franchise back in Portland, Maine (where she is currently residing).

Wandering around the store I walked past a stand of what looked like very dull soap bars.  Upon closer inspection I saw that they were shampoo bars.  Low and behold, the one named “Soak and Float” was for itchy dry scalps.  I grabbed it; I was in such desperate need for something to deal with my itchy scalp but I didn’t want to dump a ton of chemicals on my head. The sales woman also suggested I invest in a metal tin to store the bar- since the shampoo bars are preservative free and can easily melt away if they sit in moisture. She told me that one circle around my head would let it lather up to the amount I needed to wash my hair.

When I got home, I hopped in the shower right way and got to shampooing.  I was immediately struck by the intense campfire smell.  Luckily that’s a smell I enjoy.  Of course I didn’t believe that one swipe around my head would be enough shampoo, so I did about three and also lathered up the ends of my hair.  Turns out the sales lady wasn’t lying.  One swipe would have been more than enough, because I ended up with enough lather to wash my hair two or three times as well as wash my body. When I got done shampooing I did find myself using a little more conditioner than usual but post shower there was a distinct difference in the way my head felt- no itching. Surprisingly for as strong as the shampoo smelled while I was using it there was only a very faint smell of campfire in my hair.  My bathroom on the other hand smelled like I’d had a couple campfires going in the tub.

When I got out of the shower I dried my shampoo bar off with a little bit of toilet paper and set it on its side in the dry tin to finish drying. When that was done I laid it down in the case and closed it up which helped clear up the intense campfire smell in my bathroom.

The only downside to the whole Lush experience is that I really felt like the lady had spent so much time with us I didn’t feel like I could leave without buying something. Also the shampoo bar retails for 10.95 which seems expensive. However my husband and I have used it about 42 times since we purchased it, and I think there are at least another 20 uses in it.  Also it really helped the issues that I was having. Over all I do think it was worth the cost. I will repurchase a shampoo bar and probably some other Lush products.

Broken soap shaped like pac man

Unfortunately I got a little over zealous when drying my shampoo and snapped it in half, now it's like pac man!

4.5 stars

4.5 stars

Soak and Float Product Page

Lush Website

Sammy Q’s Gelatoland

gelato case
I’ve been to Sammy Q’s Gelatoland in Fort Collins Colorado twice now, once in the late summer with my sister and once today with my husband. My first experience was, in a word, horrible. It’s a local place and I really do want to support local businesses, so I decided to give it another go before giving it a negative review. After today’s experience, I can honestly say I can’t see myself going back.

Some background on Sammy Q’s: According to Yelp, the Loveland-based owners went on vacation in New York, fell in love with a gelato shop and decided to bring it back to Old Town Fort Collins. They opened the store in the early summer of 2011 and heavily advertised the fact that they do not use any mixes, powders, pre-gels or preservatives.

The first time I visited Sammy Q’s, the customer service was seriously lacking.  The server was cold and didn’t even greet us when we came in, though we were the only ones in the restaurant. We ordered our gelato and sat down to eat. The shop inside is very, bare and the signs in the window were cut from recycled poster board leaving the inside windows with a bit of a hodgepodge look.

As for the gelato? It was…bad.  Just bad.

I tried three different flavors: raspberry ghost chili, green tea and white chocolate strawberry cheesecake. The raspberry ghost chili was all spicy and no raspberry. The green tea was extremely bitter.  It tasted like eating over-steeped tea leafs. The white chocolate strawberry cheesecake only tasted like white chocolate and very sweet white chocolate at that.

The only thing that really stuck out to me about all the flavors was the texture. I mostly remember this because I got home and started scouring the internet to answer the question: Why would gelato be so stringy and sticky? According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Aug 1984, this can be caused by a lack of air or the storing temperature, though I called another gelato store and they said they’ve only seen that when there has been too much dextrose added.

When I went back today I knew I wanted to try the same three flavors to see if I’d just had a bad batch.  I tried some others, too. My husband had the green tea, and later described it as, “gross; it didn’t taste like green tea, it just tasted sweet.”

I tried the raspberry ghost chili and was struck by the improvements! I got a nice sweet raspberry flavor and then the heat of the ghost chili came up at the end. It was actually an enjoyable experience. Feeling a renewed sense of hope for Sammy Q’s, even though the decor hadn’t changed much and the customer service was only marginally better. So I ordered the white chocolate strawberry cheesecake(which ended up being much much better than the first time), salted caramel pretzel, and lemon blueberry. And then while we were checking out I impulse ordered the peppermint patty hot chocolate float.

While all of the gelato flavors I had to day where better than my first trip (with the exception of the green tea) the texture was still so funky. In my husband’s words “the flavor is there but the texture is hard to get past, if you can get past it at all: Chewy, gluey, stringy, and occasionally cement like.”  And while the gelato portion the salted caramel pretzel was really great it had pieces of pretzel in it, unfortunately the pieces where so soft and flavorless if I didn’t have the visual reference I wouldn’t have known what it was.

The Hot Chocolate Float  was a DISASTER. We watched the server mix powder and water, then drop in a chunk of their peppermint patty gelato. It tasted like hot chocolate I would make at home with a little bit of a peppermint flavor.  After a few drinks each, this is what it looked like.
hot chocolate float with what looks like curtled chunks in itAt $3.50 I had “a you have to be kidding me” moment.

Final Thoughts: I don’t think that I’ll be going back. Small gelatos, which can have three different flavors, are $3.50 a piece… and I think that’s overpriced for the quantity and quality of the gelato.

2 stars

Sammy Q’s Gelatoland Website

Snapea Crisps

I’d been hearing some buzz about Snapea Crisps as a healthy alternative to chips, so when I saw them at the grocery store I decided to give them a try.  Calbee Snack Salad has two different flavors of Snapea Crisps: Original and Caesar.  We bought one of each for about 2 dollars a bag (they run between one dollar and three dollars depending on where you shop). My husband went on a 2 hour car trip and ate almost all the Original crisps… with two boys in the car I’m not surprised, especially since the bag is only 3.3 oz.

Snapea Crisps bagSnapea Crisps crisps

When I tried these, I immediately noticed the lack of flavor. I popped open the Caesar, and I love Caesar Salad, so I had a thought in my mind of what it should taste like. Boy was I surprised when they tasted not like Caesar but like peas!  Not even like snap peas, more like canned peas. Texture wise, they feel like a softer puff Cheeto, but do leave a little bit of a greasy feeling between my fingers.

Now let’s address that healthy alternative claim. They may be better for you but they are not “healthy”. I know what all the ingredients in these are, which is an improvement from other flavored chips which are full of indecipherable ingredients.  The Original flavor has 150 calories, 8g of fat, 125mg of sodium, 2g of fiber and 5g of protein.  The Caesar flavor has 150 calories, 8g of fat, 160mg of sodium, 2g of fiber and 5g of protein.  In comparison Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili chips have 140 calories, 7g of fat, 270mg of sodium, 1g of fiber and 2g of protein.  Calidad brand Tortilla chips have 140 calories, 7g of fat, 150mg of sodium, 1g of fiber and 2g of protein.

Final thoughts: I’m not going to buy these again because I’m not a big fan of peas (really I don’t know why I got them based on that fact alone), but if you do like peas I think they are a good alternative to chips.

Snack Salad Snapea Crisps Webpage

Where to buy Snapea Crisps