March 19, 2014

Impress Press On Manicure Review


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I take zero credit for discovering the glory that is Impress Press On Manicure. All of the credit goes to my best friend, Megan. It all started in December when Megan picked me up in her car. She casually adjusted her radio and I noticed her fingernails were NEON TIE DYE. I flipped out, especially because her nails looked like acrylics. Megan lives in PENNSYLVANIA. Where did she find a nail salon to do flawless neon tie dye patterned acrylics in eastern PA? Did she get them done in Jersey instead? What was the name of this salon? She's an RN so she never has her nails done anymore but then she goes and gets neon tie dye acrylics without telling me??

She clued me in that her nails were actually press ons. Impress Press On Manicure nails. From Target. And on closer inspection they had silver glitter in the tie dye swirls. Sold. We went and I picked myself up a box, thinking I could wear them on some kind of beachy vacation or during the summer or other places where neon tie dye are appropriate. Nope. I was so excited about them that I applied them the same day and wore neon tie dye nails for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was too easy and it all happened so fast. Each nail has an adhesive backing that's covered by a tab sticker. All you have to do is open the package, wipe down your nails with this little towelette that's included to prep your nail (I'm assuming you're working with a bare, polish free nail here), pull off the tab to the nail, stick it on and press down firmly for a couple seconds. I did it standing at my kitchen counter. The most annoying part of the whole process is filing down the little tab ridge on the tip of the nail. They include a little file in the package which gets the job done but I think it's best to cut the tab off with a straight edge nail clipper before filing. That's all you have to do. The entire process takes five minutes, tops, when getting acrylics at a salon takes twelve times long and that's not even including how long it would take to create the great nail art.

Unfortunately, I don't have any real photos of my nails aside from a shitty Macbook selfie and an Instagram where my nails weren't even the focus but it will have to suffice.

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 Look how in your face these things are. The pattern is apparently called "Vamp It Up" but it's not like you'll need to know that. They'll be staring you in the face from the artificial nail section of your drugstore or Target if you store has them. Neon sparkle tie dye. This picture does show one of the downsides, though - the kit comes with 24 individual nails in 12 different sizes so that they can fit to the width and general size of your nail. It's best to fit the press ons to your nails and lay them out in order in front of you before applying them to make the process as easy as possible. Additionally, as you can see, you should try to avoid putting duplicate patterns directly next to each other for a more organic look. You know, as organic as neon sparkle tie dye can look.

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Another close up from my Instagram, with a bonus shot of me in 1997 down the shore. Look at what a lil Jersey girl I was. Poofing my hair in elementary school. Also, bonus thinspo of my chicken legs. Maybe if I diet enough I can be that teeny again!!

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These are the press ons in their packing. They're exactly that brilliant and vibrant in real life On very, very, close inspection (like, holding the nail directly to your eyeball inspection) you can tell that the tie dye was printed onto the nail rather than painted on with polish. Who would know but you though? I think you have bigger problems if you know some freak who is going to inspect your nails at that close a range.

The packaging is pretty good too. You can see from my first picture that I have two kits worth of leftover nails stored in the original packaging and that's useful enough for me. I've also seen people save the packaging and paint the inside of the clear "bottle" with nail polish to create a phony nail polish bottle to hide things in on the down low. I don't know your story or what you'd be hiding in there but I'm not going to tell you how to live your life.

Aesthetics aside, these press ons solve any nail related crises you might have. I used them as last minute as I possibly could when I was attending a wedding a couple weeks ago. I had a couple minutes before we had to leave for the church and I was still hustling to get my makeup done and had given myself way less time than I needed. My nails were covered in an old, chipped manicure and I absolutely didn't have time to repolish them, let alone to do it neatly and carefully because I couldn't afford to get any polish on my cuticles. Plus, I was seriously worried about how long I'd have to wait for my nails to be dry to the touch. I didn't want to risk smudging the polish while adjusting my dress or shoes OR transferring nail polish onto my outfit. I was really ~classing it up~ that day. I was wearing Banana Republic. Greatest thing ever: I was wearing a free Banana Republic dress. My boyfriend had ordered some clothes from the Gap who have some kind of freaky hybrid site with Old Navy and Piperlime and Banana Republic. The beautiful genius who packaged his shipment accidentally threw in this nice black dress with a shimmery black baroque pattern on it. This dress was over $200 on the website. I saw the size at first and was disappointed because it was too small for my chest to fit and I thought we were going to have to send this free fancy dress back where it belonged. Then, I remembered those stores vanity size something awful. I'm always confused when I see Old Navy jeans commercials because a model DOES NOT fit into a pair of those jeans. I do not fit into those jeans and I'm not model sized. So, this seemingly slightly too small Banana Republic dress actually fit me perfectly. It was as if I ordered it myself, if myself would ever pick out something with a knee length skirt. I was kind of bummed over how fancy and conservative it was when I remembered I had a wedding to go to in a couple months. It was my solution to that age old "Ugh, what do I wear to a wedding???" question. I didn't have to go dress shopping, dress shopping came to me and for free. SO, I was not about to ruin this free Banana Republic dress with a nail polish stain. I had a manicure all planned but it just simply wasn't going to happen.

My boyfriend had to run to CVS and I took a shot in the dark. I instructed him to buy Impress Press On Nails, any color or pattern that would match my outfit. I'm sure he heard that ringing noise in his ear that people hear after a bomb goes off. I'm sure he feels more comfortable buying my tampons than he did buying these. He ended up coming back with the long version of the nails in a salmony shade that looked a lot like butter London's Trout Pout. I had used the time he took to take the old polish off my nails and gather all my things together. I applied the press ons in the car en route to the ceremony and they looked great. Several people complimented me on them and they lasted all night and then another five days after that. I even added a gold glitter gradient and some rhinestones around day four because I was getting bored of them and those suckers weren't ready to come off.

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I liked the long length better but it also made me appreciate just how short the short lengths really wear. You have total control of your hands with the short length and can pretty much forget they're even on. Plus, the short lengths have a much wider range of designs and patterns whereas the long length are just the mainstays of French, pink and red.

The only other time that I've used these nails was for a weekend getaway because the pattern was just too good to pass up. I just tossed them into my bag and went.

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That Instagram is me in a photo.

I literally applied these while sitting on a bench in Philadelphia's 30th St Station. I probably looked like a fucking weirdo but who gives a shit. Jersey is as Jersey does. The point is that these nails are super convenient to apply in the most last minute of situations. They're fly nails for lazy people. I just sat on a bench in a train station and made my nails incredible out of my lap.

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You can see that there's a bit of tip wear but nothing too major. How sick is this design? It's like jellyfish inside a lava lamp. I got these on clearance at CVS so I think this pattern might be gone for good.

Equally sick is this pattern, called "Shout", which I plan to try soon:

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These are also cute and would be nice for a dressy event:

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Again, these are also available in standard reds, pinks and French manicure. You could even pick up one of those shades and add your own nail art like I did above with the orangey nails.

Impress Press On Nails are advertised to last from 5 to 7 days and that estimate is right on the money. I've had 6 days of wear every time I've used them and they're never too damaged by that day. The tip wear shown above is the worst that has happened to me. In my experience, the bottoms of the nails start to lift slightly when the nails reach the end of their life. You'll kind of feel it if you run your hand through your hair - a strand might drag underneath the bottom of the nail. I take an orange stick and wiggle them off at that point - no acetone needed. Some are a bit more stubborn than others so I bet you could get that full week of wear if you wanted to. I've even worn these nails for around 4 hours in a pool and hot tub and only one fell off. The little towelette that you prime your nails with has some kind of magical properties to it and really helps the press ons grip to your real nail. I've never had any kind of damage to my nail as a result of these fakes. If anything, they help my nails by giving them a little break from the chemicals in my nail polish and remover.

I would majorly recommend these bad boys for a vacation. You could apply them in a car, on a plane, on a train (Would you? Could you? In a car?) and not have to worry about packing nail polish, nail polish remover and the rest of your nail care items. I don't know about you but nail polish remover is one of top things that I wouldn't want to leak all over my luggage and it would definitely give me some peace of mind to just leave the stuff at home. You could get away with just throwing a package or two of these in your bag for a week long trip with a nail clipper and some cuticle oil or hand cream, if you're feeling extra crazy. My friend didn't pack her Seche Vite on our weekend trip because she was counting on me to have it but all I had packed was my one package of Impress Press On Manicure.

The price for these press ons is $8 a kit (if you're paying top dollar). Again, the kit includes 24 nails of varying sizes, a file, a prep towelette and a little polish shaped container. You don't need anything else to apply them but I think a nail clipper is worth it. These little guys are so convenient to run out and get for nail emergencies or just for days when you're lacking some kind of neon sparkle tie dye and want to fill that void.

*As a side note: I saw a middling review on drugstore.com about how these press ons are prone to popping off in the shower. The comment ended with a little aside about how the person had to "file the surface of my nails a little" to get the adhesive to stick which meant these press ons left her real nails "roughed up". OH MY GOD. Don't drill or file the surface of your nails, you dinguses. The little pads that are included are the business and these nails will stick if you follow the directions. Don't drill or file the surfaces of your nails and then complain that they don't work. DON'T DRILL OR FILE THE SURFACE OF YOUR NAILS, PERIOD. I just want what's best for you and in terms of drugstore priced press on nails, these are it.

March 15, 2014

Things I've Been Loving, Lately

I'm kind of over the whole monthly favorites thing. It's not for me. Some months I don't love anything and I don't want to fake it for you guys. That's not the kind of relationship I want us to have. I'm just going to do these kinds of posts as I feel the urge instead of on some kind of timeline. That's no way to live life. Let's not put labels on things.

Bob's Burgers
Honestly, I didn't get the hype for this show at first. I thought it was kind of meh and hearing H. Jon Benjamin's voice as a character who wasn't Archer was just off putting. I felt really Christian Bale "IT'S FUCKING DISTRACTING!" about it. Now, I'm kind of worried about starting Archer Vice because I'm afraid I'm going to be hearing Bob Belcher the whole time. I regularly laugh out loud at this show and love it extra because it's set in Jersey. A friend of mine tweeted nothing but "Jimmy Jr" with a little heart emoji the other week and I laughed out loud at that, too. This show also gets major points from me for being set in Jersey and only showcasing stereotypes that are actually true, like Linda Belcher's accent. She sounds like any one of my boyfriend's relatives. Take your pick.


Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
 I haven't been so immersed in a book in such a long time. I was in the middle of another biography by the same author about Catherine the Great which I've cast aside in favor of this one. I figure this is an easy sell for girls my age because Anatasia Romanov is a go to historical obsession for my generation, second to only the Titanic. I was pretty burnt out on the Titanic by about 2001 but people are still posting about the anniversary every damn year like their mom died on the ship. Give it a rest. I'm still pretty into the end of the Romanov dynasty, though. Hello, look at what I named this blog. I actually named it that because I'm just a slavophile in general, as well as an HBIC.

Anyway, this book is about Nicolas II, the last emperor aka tsar of imperial Russia and his wife, Alexandra, the last empress aka tsarina. It's kind of a touching love story that's morbidly funny because their love and family drama was pretty much responsible for driving Russia as it existed in that time into the ground. "Nicolas II was laughably incompetent, like, to the point where he probably altered the course of world history just because he was a joke of an emperor" was pretty much the thesis of one of my most important high school papers. (I wrote it the night before it was due. I'm responsible, don't worry about it.) He seemed like a pretty nice dude but god damn, what a screw up. I almost feel bad for these people - I'm at the point in the book where Alexandra is the same age as me except she's married with two kids, moved to Russia from Germany where she lived her entire life, is struggling to learn Russian, dealing with the fact that everyone pretty much hates her and is empress of all of imperial Russia which encompasses even more people and square footage than it does today. That's messed up. The married with kids would be too heavy for me right now. I don't know if I could deal with all that in exchange for a lot of emeralds and Fabrege eggs.

Russian history is kind of a touchy subject for me as a Ukrainian American because it's both my history and not my history at the same time. Like, the opening ceremony of the current Olympics that supposedly described all of Russian history? I'm not going to get started on that. I'm not even going to put a toe into what's going on in the world right now with Russia and Ukraine because I won't be able to stop. I drove by the Russian embassy today and was cursing up a storm about it and that's all I'll say. But, you know, the cultural and actual genocide inflicted on my ancestors ASIDE, Russian history is really fascinating and varied subject. The Romanov's were just like a little bubble of old fashioned opulence in a time when the rest of the world was modernizing or had already done so. You get 20th century politics but also a lot of mentions of Cartier tiaras. This author also writes books that are really easy reads. You feel like you can relate to everything and his style isn't dry or pretentious at all like some history books can be.


Smoothies
I've made a smoothie literally every single day for the past month. It's the highlight of my day. I'm not even following any kind of recipe - I just have a big bag of frozen berries from Costco and I dump some measuring cupfulls into the blender with juice and honey. I'm sure it's not even good from a culinary standpoint or even healthy for me. I asked for the blender for Christmas and I'm pretty sure my boyfriend was kind of annoyed that I was adding another appliance to our cramped kitchen and thought I'd never use it. Well, joke's on him because I use it literally every single day. I'm driving us into financial ruin with these frozen berries because they're like $8 a bag but I'm addicted and can't stop. I crave these makeshift smoothies. One day I'm going to be rich and be able to expand my smoothie making recipes with all kinds of fresh fruits. Also, I'm going to get tequila and margarita mix for this blender. Not when I'm rich, that's going to happen like, next week.


Lana Del Rey's "Once Upon a Dream" Cover for Disney's Malificent
I knew I was going to like this song before it even came out. A Disney cover by Lana Del Rey. I was done for before I even heard it. Fucking Lana Del Rey. I'm held prisoner by the songs she releases. I get obsessed and listen to literally nothing else for a solid week or more. First it was National Anthem in the summer of 2012, which I am still obsessed with to this moment. The Americana of the music video just slayed me.


The whole Lisa Marie Presley/Jackie crossover look with the addition of her tacky acrylic nails on top of the Kennedy compound theme was speaking to me, directly. Look at that gif!! The big hair, the over the top bracelet, the nonchalance of the way she's puffing on that cigarette. That music video destroyed me. Then it was her Blue Velvet cover. Then that unreleased Black Beauty song that another musician got really pissed about. I want to not like her but I love the moodiness of her music. It sounds like what I imagine taking benzos with wine feels like. I play right into her pretentious image. I can't help it. I've been listening to her cover of Once Upon a Dream on a loop and I'm humming it like I'm in my own little Disney princess world. The whole thing has such a sinister, haunting quality, as if it's not a Disney song but a song describing some nutcase who runs down other women with her car because she feels their boyfriend is secretly in love with her. It sounds like it should be played at Sleeping Beauty's funeral and I love it.


Semi related, but probably my one guilty pleasure in life is how into Disney I am. I cringe whenever I hear about weddings or honeymoons taking place at Walt Disney World but, honestly, my fan level is about two clicks below that. I don't even believe in having guilty pleasures and I still feel guilty. Loving Disney so much feels so arrested development-y to me but here I am.

If you're like me, or better yet, not living in a constant state of shame with yourself, you'll probably love Sorcerer's Radio. It's a free radio station that streams music from Walt Disney World. They play everything from lobby music from the hotels to live Fantasmic! showings to songs from World Showcase pavilions. At its best, it's a very good easy listening station to leave on as mindless background noise while you clean or work. I'm lying, at the very best you're listening to the recordings of the fireworks show and getting choked up while cleaning your closet because dreams really ARE wishes that your heart makes. I feel like a major asshole listening to it because just how far does the Disney corporate machine extend, you know? Like, now I'm listening to their background noise while I dust? That's too far. But, I tell myself that they specifically engineered (or, Imagineared) this music to be soothing and unintrusive and you get what you pay for. It works.