Friday, October 31, 2014

My first gel manicure! Salon Edge UV Lamp review

I received this item in exchange for an honest review. 

Happy Halloween everyone! Today I'm really excited to share with you my trials as I experimented with my very first gel polish manicure. I've been wanting to try this out for a long time now, and I'm thankful to Salon Edge for providing me with their UV lamp for review.

Before I begin, I just want to explain that I did not receive any instructions with this lamp. I contacted Salon Edge about this, and they explained the paperwork had not been printed yet so they made the decision to send out the lamp without the instructions. With all of my marketing schooling, personally I found this very odd, and highly risky for the company but that's just me. Since I had never done a gel manicure before, I was a little intimated and I would have felt more secure by having those instructions. Anyway, I read a bunch of nail blogs to get some tips on the general procedure before actually doing my nails. Otherwise, I pretty much winged it.

So I didn't get instructions, a warranty, etc. Here's what the box did contain:

The lamp itself, a nail file, and the light bulbs. Do you normally have to install the light bulbs yourself? It's kind of sad, but my mind was full of "How many nail bloggers does it take to screw in a light bulb?" jokes as I was trying to put these in. Now I'm not the most mechanically inclined individual, but these were seriously quite difficult to push in. Hopefully they last a long time because I'm not looking forward to the possibility of having to replace them! Once I finally got the light bulbs in, I was dancing for joy because not only did I get the bulbs in but I plugged in the lamp to make certain everything worked. Success!

One of the nice things about this lamp is that it does have a slide out access panel on the bottom which made physically getting to the light bulbs easier.

OK, now for the actual manicure. Unfortunately my original plan for buying some gel polishes fell through and I had to hurry and look online for the least expensive gels I could find. Bundle Monster seemed like the best buy, but the only color option I had was red. I was hoping to get a unique color, but that's OK. I really like the idea of gel manicures because I've read that you can use the gel as a base, apply regular polish on top, then just use regular nail polish remover (NOT acetone) to remove the regular polish. The gel manicure is supposed to remain in tact. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm excited to do so.. it seems like a great chance to practice some nail art, and with Christmas coming up soon red will be perfect to try out a lot of different Christmas manicures.

One of the things I disliked about doing a gel manicure is that there was actual prep work involved. Granted this only takes a few minutes, but still... anyway, here's everything I got out: my acetone (didn't use it), nail polish remover, brush for cleanup, cuticle pusher, the nail file, the polish and an alcohol wipe.

So here's the process.

Step 1: Push away your cuticles!

I'm actually one of the freaks who doesn't mind doing this. It doesn't bother me whatsoever... though I rarely do it.

Step 2: Buff your nails

This is the step which had my cringing the entire time. Even though I know how important this step is because Mike used to paint cars, it still makes me cringe just thinking about it. By roughing up your nails, it helps the polish stick to the surface.

I'm not sure if there's an exact method for how you're supposed to buff your nails. I just ran my file over each nail a few times to rough it up.

Step 3: Remove the dust!

Next you just use an alcohol wipe to clean off the nails. Simple, easy. Ready to paint?

Step 4: Apply the basecoat

From what I understand, you HAVE to use a gel basecoat, otherwise the polish itself won't stick correctly. Would you believe when I first started planning my manicure and thinking about getting polish I actually completely forgot about base and top coats? What planet was my head on that day?

I think I cured the base coat for 180 seconds. It was a bit sticky afterwards, just like a normal base coat would be. Hopefully that is correct?

Step 5: Apply the color 

This is why I wasn't thrilled about getting red polish. It always stains me horribly. I forgot to mention that I did clean up with every single new coat of polish. Even so, I still have a lot of staining on my hands. This is just one coat, and you can see it's pretty thin so I had to do two.

I think I cured this one coat for some seriously dumb time, like 10 minutes. It kept coming out sticky and I wasn't sure if that was normal or not? Eventually I gave up, assumed this was normal and proceeded with the second coat. According to the Bundle Monster instructions, it should have taken 2 - 4 minutes, maybe more because this is a darker color.

Repeat this step as needed.

Step 6: Top coat!

Hurray, finally almost done!

Apply the top coat, do clean up and then cure. I think I let this cure for 5 minutes total, just to be certain.

Because I did cleanup with each step, doing just one hand took about an hour. I thought this was supposed to be quick and easy?? Hopefully it gets faster and easier with practise. I found that I hadn't done as nearly a good job of cleaning up as I thought, so needless to say this felt REALLY weird. It definitely takes some getting used to. I also discovered that a day later, the polish on my skin peels off really easily so I'm not sure all of that clean up was even worth it. However, it can be kind of easy to peel away the polish off of your nail if it's connected to the polish on your skin so that's something to be aware of.


As far as I can tell, the lamp worked without any issues. The polish cured as expected, so I will call it a success!

I do like the access panel, and if you noticed in my picture this lamp has 3 different time settings: 90, 120 and 180 seconds. That's a nice feature if you're using different polishes which require differing curing times, or if you just want to cure the polish for a few extra seconds. The timer does light up and shuts off when it's done. No noise or anything, which I kind of expected. I think a small beep or something would be a nice improvement.

The one thing I love about this lamp is that it is large enough that I could do my entire hand at once. I've seen some lamps which were smaller and you can only do one finger at a time. I'm not patient enough for that so I appreciate the larger size!

The only cons I really have about this lamp is the lack of instructions and the difficulty of the light bulbs.

This lamp has a retail value of $49.99 but is currently selling on Amazon for $27.99 with free shipping. It is important to note that you do NOT get polish with this lamp so you will have to buy those separately. But that does make this a good replacement lamp for those who have been doing gel manicures for awhile!

So I will follow up with this post later, once I've gotten some time to play with practising on my nails, removing it, and so on to see how that works out. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More Halloween KKCenterHK decals!

I received this products in exchange for an honest review.

 Today I have more water decals to share with you, yay! I really do love these a lot because you can do such cool designs with such ease, and they're a lot of fun. :) Today I am reviewing another set of decals from KKCenterHk. This product is: N.NAIL Halloween Witch Hat/Haunted House/Bat/Ghost/Grave/Spider [NNAIL-WDHHK189]

My dad recently shared a water marble video on my Facebook page (funny, right?) so I thought it would be fun to do another marble manicure only without the mess of a water marble. So I grabbed a few polishes and broke out my brushes. 

I did have a couple of issues with these decals, which I think you'll notice immediately in the pictures. I'll get to that in a moment.

For this manicure, I used 2 coats of Sinful Colors Daisy Daze, a pale yellow polish, then topped it with Chrome Girl Endless Summer (a bright yellow) and Kleancolor Neon Orange. Then I used my brush to swirl away the colors. It's funny because normally I'm complaining about too much contrast in my pictures, but this time there isn't quite enough :( Oh well, I'm still happy with how this turned out.

I added the water decals, and then topped each nail with a coat of CHNail #02, which is a slightly green tinted glow in the dark polish. 

So, did you notice my problems? If not:

1. The witch's hat decals melted which is kind of funny if you think of Wizard of Oz - help, I'm melting! not so funny if you want a nice manicure.

2. These decals always come so that one set is faced one direction, the other set is flipped around. So you know what that means? The decals with words on them are backwards! Look at my pinkie in the image above. Yep, RIP is backwards :P

Once again I had to deal with the issue of white decals on white backing, but aside from these small things I didn't have any issues. I haven't tested the witch hat decal with any other top coat so I'm not sure if maybe it was just this top coat but I didn't have any issues with the other decals I used with this top coat so I can't be sure.

One last look, this manicure looked absolutely awesome under black light. Look, my house is on fire!!

You can get these decals from KKCenterHk for $3.80 but don't forget to use my discount code to get an additional 10% off. :)

Use code GETFANCY at checkout for a 10% discount. 

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Smart Weigh 500 x 0.01g Digital Pro Pocket Scale Review

I received this item in exchange for an honest review.

I have something a little bit different to share with you today. I've been wanting a small scale for awhile, mostly just for when I'm mailing something a little bit heavier and need to try to figure out postage. I haven't used this scale for that particular purpose yet but I'm sure I will eventually. Here's a little bit of information about the Smart Weigh Pro Pocket Scale:

Have you been looking for the perfect on-the-go pocket scale?
One that is lightweight, accurate, and reliable? Look no further – the Smart Weigh Digital Pocket Scale with its sleek and portable design is exactly what you have been looking for!
Tired of inaccurate weight readings? Ready for an upgrade? The Smart Weigh scale features the highest grade precision with the latest technology.
Weigh Master!
This scale will help you accomplish a wide variety of weighing needs. It will do so accurately and to perfection!
Features a unique and simple design with its stainless steel 3.94” x 3.7” platform. It is easy to operate by using the four sleek chrome buttons.

  • Features - the top500 is strong, accurate, fast, and user-friendly; will work great for any of your mailing, jewelry, reloading, and cooking needs
    Functions - this scale can double up as a postal scale; the pcs function gives you an accurate count and the hold function will lock weight readings
    Design - features a clear LCD screen lit by a bright blue backlight; will display readings in g, OZ, OZT, dwt, GN, and CT
    Precision - manufactured with high precision sensors to provide the most accurate weight readings; weighs up to 500 grams in 0.01 Increments
    Includes - 2 AAA batteries with a two minute auto shut off feature; the tare function will provide a net weight

Now for my review. First of all I'm not really sure why one would be lugging around a small scale with them, but if one were going to just that, this would be a reasonable product to use. It's not too heavy and small enough to carry in a larger size purse or backpack.

I'm not sure how accurate this scale is. I did test it with a package of cheese which was 8 ounces and the scale read 8.5 ounces so that seems about right when you consider the additional weight of the packaging and any discrepancies in the actual product.

I found this scale very easy to use and I did use it for several different things, and I even used different measurements (grams and ounces.) I've had it for several weeks now and it's functioned fine without any issues and zero battery changes so that alone is a thumbs up in my opinion.

So let's see how I used it, shall we? First of all, one of the things I really hate sometimes about recipes is the different measurements - especially when it comes to yeast. I buy yeast in bulk so I don't want to hear any of this "use one package of active yeast" nonsense, I want teaspoon or tablespoon measurements. Well, now as long as I know the ounces required, I'm set! I was making bagels recently and the instructions called for ounces of yeast, so I was so happy to have my scale and to not have to try to figure out what that measurement equals in teaspoons or tablespoons.

Then I thought, oh! I can measure each bagel to make sure they're all about the same size. Yeah, I'm never doing that again. Too much of a pain - not by fault of the scale, just too much OCD effort on my part for little reward.

But my bagels came out nicely and I obviously used the correct amount of yeast, so mission accomplished.

So more than that, you know what else this scale is perfect for? Weighing gerbils!!!

There's been a joke in my household about my gerbils being too fat, well now I have the perfect scale to put that to the test. Pikachu and Marvin each weigh about 105 grams, which is about normal for a full grown male gerbil from my research. They're probably a little heavy at the moment because it's almost winter.

The Smart Weigh Pro Pocket Scale is also the perfect size for measuring their food. I've done this a couple of times now, just to verify that I am feeding them correct amount.

This scale did as expected, with no problems what so ever. I am very pleased with it and will continue using it in the future.

You can purchase this product on for $17.99.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

KKCenterHk review: N.NAIL Halloween Lovely Black Cat Bat Pumpkin Ghost [NNAIL-WDHHK066]

I received this products in exchange for an honest review.

It's that time of year again.. time to start the Halloween manicures! KKCenterHk has some really great water decals and it's kind of become a tradition for me to review them for Halloween each year. This year is no exception and I have to sets to review for you this year. I'll get started with the first set today.

This set is N.NAIL Halloween Lovely Black Cat Bat Pumpkin Ghost and it is item number [NNAIL-WDHHK066]. For those who have never worked with water decals, just a reminder that these are not sticky. You cut out the pieces of the image, soak it in water for a few seconds and then apply it to your nail, then top coat it. Easy!

I don't think you can see it in the picture, but one of the things I disliked about these is that some of the images are white. Naturally, white on white backing was absolutely difficult to see. I love how it looks on my nails, but just on the packaging it did make it that tad bit difficult. I almost wish they would have used a glow in the dark green or something, just a little bit off white instead of white for the decals. Or like a black border around the image that you could cut away. Something.

Otherwise, I found these decals to be super cute and I can't wait to show them to my 7 year old niece because I know she'll love them.

For this manicure I started with 2 coats of Zoya Gemma, which Zoya describes as: "Light muted olive green with an overlay of blue and violet duochrome shimmer.Unique, hip and cutting-edge yet subtle enough to suit any wardrobe." Personally, I felt this was an awesome color for this time of the year as it has a nice greyness to it, and just the right shade of green to make it a nice spooky color. The shimmer is gorgeous but Mike thought it could do with just a touch of purple glitter so I thought Julep Brooke would be perfect.

I topped this with Fantasy Makers Go With the Glow to give it a nice glow effect. I did have a little bit of an issue with Go With the Glow melting a couple of the decals. I actually had to redo one of my nails because of that. Otherwise, I had no issues with these.

I especially love the cats in this set. So cute :)

Here's my nails directly under the black light. This glowed like super crazy, though you can't really tell from the picture. The overall effect looks pretty neat, I think!

 If you're interested, you can pick up these decals here for $3.80 but don't forget to use my discount code for 10% off of that! :)

Use code GETFANCY at checkout for a 10% discount. 

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Save money and get the stuff you need with Sierra Trading Post!

This post contains an affiliate link.

Today I want to tell you guys about this really awesome Web site I was introduced to last March. Sierra Trading Post sells clothes for the entire family, shoes, household items and a lot more, all for discount prices. If you sign up for their newsletter, you gain access to even more discounts and specials. In fact, the reason I'm even writing this today is because I woke up to an e-mail from Sierra, which included a free $20 store credit just for being a member. How awesome is that?

To prove to you how awesome this site is, let me show you what I've gotten from them so far.

For my first purchase, I got these sneakers which have held up really well. These retail at $150, I got them for $64.97. At the same time, I purchased a pair of boots for my boyfriend. His retailed at $174.99, and we purchased them for $64.97 as well. Total savings so far: $195.05

This purchase taught us both that never again will we buy inexpensive shoes from Walmart just because it's affordable. No. If we're going to spend the money, we're going to spend a little bit more (or even less!) and get better quality from Sierra.

My second purchase I bought two bras, $41.99. I paid $12.73 each. I also bought these really cute boots. I haven't worn them much yet since I bought them last March, but I'm sure I'll be breaking them in soon.
(image source: Google search)

These boots retail at $180, but I got them for $70.17.

I also bought some sleepware:

(image source: Google search)

The nightshirt retails for $30, I got it for $10.77. The pants retail at $20, I got them for $7.77. I wear this set a lot. They fit just right and are super comfortable, and perfect for when the weather is not quite cold, not quite hot.

I also got a pair of jeans (retail $59, I paid $8.98) and another pair of pj pants (retail $35, I paid $11.97) but unfortunately those don't quite fit. I'm holding on to them for when I lose weight. Total saved with this purchase: $272.86

You know what was awesome about that last purchase, besides the savings? I used a coupon code which got me a free gift card. So yes, I was back again 2 days later getting even more stuff. Next I got a pair of knee high socks and a set of one oven mitt and a hand towel.

The socks retail at $25.95, I got them for $10.46. The oven mitt/towel set retails for $14.99, I got it for $3.46. Since I used my gift card, this purchase was FREE! So I saved $41.93 with this purchase.

I hadn't bought anything else since then, just because we haven't had money to spare. But today I got my gift card, so lets see what I got today, shall we? I decided to stick with practical items, so I got a set of pillows (retail : $29.99, I paid $11.22), a set of 3 guest towels (retail $24.99, I paid $6.72) and a food grater (retail $14.99, I paid $7.12.) Since I used my gift card, I only paid $6.31 AND I got free shipping.

I know, that's less than exciting, right? But here's what's cool. Whenever you make a purchase from Sierra, they tell you how much you've saved on your previous orders. Here's how much I've saved to date, along with today's purchase.

You have saved $44.91 over regular retail prices on this order.

You have saved $494.93 over regular retail prices on all prior purchases.

Actually, since they don't consider gift card usage in their savings total, I've saved an additional $33.92! Now I can tell you, this is just nothing in comparison to what Mike's sister, who introduced me to Sierra, has saved. I know she's gotten something like $1000 worth of savings just in one purchase.

Just a reminder, I'm not trying to sell anyone anything. I just love to shop and I love to save money doing it. If I can pass along this information to others and help them save some money, great! That being said, if you're interested in Sierra, please click on my affiliate link below.

Sierra Trading Post_468x60

OR you can use this link: to get $10 to be used on your first purchase of $30 or more (I will also get $10, in full disclosure.) Returning customers can get 25% off and free shipping by using code STW10114 which ends 10/7/14 (tomorrow.)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cogwheels: Ten Tales of Steampunk ebook review

Press sample.

     I'm not very familiar with the Steampunk genre, as I've only read a few books along that theme so when I saw Cogwheels: Ten Tales of Steampunk, I thought it would be a fun chance to see what I thought about the genre overall. Here's a small snippet about this collection:

"A collection of entertaining, exciting, thought-provoking stories. Explore the relationship between humankind and technology, ponder social issues and enjoy the costuming, etiquette and gadgetry of an age that never was but might have been." - from

     I found this collection to be very well rounded in the matter of themes and styles: from the Orwellian to transhumanistic to simply comical.  A few of the stories slightly pushed my buttons for my own ethical reasons but regardless, I found this book to be enjoyable overall. Tommy Tales I found to be a dark and cynical look at the nature of mankind. I quite enjoyed Gold, by Kin S. Law, a story which spins the alchemy ideal of turning lead into gold into quite an interesting and entertaining piece. Its reminiscent of the Frankenstein theme, which I feel is vastly overdone, yet I enjoyed this story anyway. Lace, Lavender Salts, and Revenants was short, sweet and straight to the point. The Touch of Love I found quite disturbing, and I literally declared out loud upon finishing it, "what did I just read?" The author, I feel, has a very interesting and unique perspective to human nature.

     I do enjoy some historical fiction, and The Naga played upon that love for me. I felt it had the right amount of fantasy balanced with historical inspiration to make it quite believable and enjoyable. Hatch, Match, and Despatch I probably would have enjoyed more several years ago. Having studied history, and knowing how governments operate, mislead and use their people, I found this story to be quite disturbing, and I feel it hit a little too close to home.

     One of the reasons I enjoyed this book was the addition of two cat themed stories. As a cat lover, of course I was going to love those stories, right? Who can go wrong with cats? Midnight Visitors by Kevin O. McLaughlin tells the tale of what happens when a cat meets mechanical creatures while his owner is asleep at night. I found this story to be quite amusing, and enjoyed it thoroughly. The other cat themed story in this collection, The Last Tiger, I found to be inspiring, quite telling of human nature with a comical yet cynical ending. I quite enjoyed this story as well.

     I was looking forward to reading another story by Rayne Hall in this collection and I wasn't disappointed. I'm not quite sure Fresh Whelks and Winkles falls into my idea of Steampunk, but regardless I enjoyed the story entirely. I know too well myself, there are some things you just do not tell people, and Hall has expressed this idea perfectly.

     Lastly, my favorite story was probably the Clockwork Monk by Liv Rancourt. It was also the longest (long enough to have chapters) which made me think if the author had just tried a little harder she could have turned it into a novella but that's her prerogative.

     Like Dragon, which I reviewed last week, Cogwheels does contain quite a bit of additional promotional material (roughly 13%). I do appreciate less of this book is filled with additional material, and more of it filled with the stories. I did not read the additional content. Also, while this book is titled Ten Tales of Steampunk, there are in fact 12 so it seems you get more for your money with this one.

This book is .99 cents for the Kindle e-book or $8.98 for a paperback on Amazon.

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.