Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My blog ate my homework.

Well, actually, it was my camera. I had a nice post all laid out, just waiting for pictures of my Ultimate Geek Manicure, but when I went to load the photos onto my computer, they were gone. Of course, by that point, so was my manicure. So, in lieu of more challenge geekery, allow me to distract you with a post that was intended for later this week:

I've mentioned that I have allergies on this blog a few times before. I thought that it was time I talked about them a little more, particularly since they have a major effect on the bath and beauty supplies that I purchase.

Here is a list of everything I'm allergic to:
Soy/Soya protein
Soy grain/flour
95% of fragrances/perfumes, but specifically synthetic cucumber

Apricots are a new addition to the list, and a sad one. I love apricots, but they've always messed with my stomach a little, so I only ate them in small quantities. Monday morning, though, I woke up with a rash on my arms and shoulders--the same one I got from my conditioner. Now, I haven't used that conditioner since that post. I've had no problems. But, when I told my mom I was allergic to it, she said she had a bottle of the old formula and gave it to me. I happily accepted and used it last night.

Monday was my forth allergic reaction since Friday. I felt like I'd been hit by a bus, and wound up coming home early from work. The first thing I did was line up all of my conditioners (the two I'm allergic to with my standard daily conditioner and the replacement leave-in). I started with the Argon Oil Sleek n Shine. At first, I thought it was the argon oil causing the problem, but that's the only thing I have that contains it. So I wrote down all of the ingredients. Then I took the second bottle (original formula), and put a checkmark next to anything that was duplicated. Then I grabbed my Length and Strength conditioner. Anything that was contained in all three, I crossed off the list. Then, just to be sure, I checked it against the new conditioner. The only ingredient that both of the Sleek n Shine formulas contain that is NOT in the other two was Apricot kernal oil. I have to assume, with my history, that if I'm allergic to the oil, I'm probably either allergic to the fruit already or I will be soon.

I guess this means I won't be going back to St. Ives the next time I buy face scrub.

This type of testing and trial and error has become (unfortunately) commonplace in our household. The cheesecake that my roommate bought to celebrate my latest pattern going viral made me really sick, because it contained soy protein. One bite of a granola bar made with soy flour or grain can make my through and tongue swell, and twice I've had to leave work or go to lunch early to get allergy medication because a bottle of perfume broke and it either got on my skin, or it spilled in a place where I couldn't avoid it.

The kicker for me is that almost everything nowadays contains fragrances. Not all of them bother me, but most do. If I go the all natural route, then it's almost guaranteed to contain soy. While only the protein and grains bother me right now, I have to think that at some point, I will need to cross soy lecathin (an emulsifier used in pretty much everything) and soybean oil off my list of "approved" foods as well.

If you have or have recently developed allergies like mine, then there is no quick fix. At some point I will look into allergy shots, but right now that is out of my budget and my insurance won't cover it. If you are able to see your doctor, then do so. S/he will be much more able to help you than I can. The following list are a few things that I've picked up for myself, but are no substitute for professional advice.

1. Read the labels. Always. Every time. When it comes to things like soy and perfumes, they can sneak in anywhere, trust me.
2. Always test new products before using them. Just as you would with a home hair color kit, always preform a patch test. Dab a little bit of the product in question on your wrist or the inside of your elbow, where you are more sensitive, and wait a couple of days before using the product. Contact dermatitis (the skin reaction I had to the conditioner) can take a few exposures to show up, so you might want to do a couple of tests over the course of a week or two if you are suspicious.
3. Know your symptoms. Know what is normal for you when exposed to something you're allergic to. For example, I know that soy protein makes me break out around the mouth, and that it can--not often--but it can cause breathing issues. This weekend was the first time I've had a stomach problem, but usually I catch it within a bite or two, not a slice or two. The Sleek n Shine incident is the first time I've had a skin reaction to anything in memory. Monday's incident was much worse than any previous one, with some pretty bad swelling involved and a really bad itch that cortizone cream barely touched. More and severe symptoms means the allergy is getting worse.
4. Know the symptoms of anaphylaxis. Hives, breathing issues, coughing, vomiting, and elevated blood pressure, among others, are all signs of an allergic reaction. It can happen in seconds and quickly become life threatening, so if you have an allergy, it is important to track those symptoms before they become life threatening.
5. Always carry allergy medication or an EPI pen if you have one. Thankfully, my allergies have never caused a severe enough allergic reaction to merit a trip to the hospital, but that means I've also never been prescribed an EPI pen. Since I usually have at least an hour before my symptoms become really bad, I carry allergy pills with me wherever I go. I usually take Zyrtec in the morning (the Kroger brand, which is $4.50 for 12 days), and my doctor recommended taking Claratin in case of emergency. Benadryl is more common, but it puts me to sleep and since most of my reactions happen at work, I still need to be able to drive myself home.
6. Invest in a medic alert bracelet. These can be a little expensive (usually $15-25, but sometimes more, available at most pharmacies), but they're worth it. Allergic reactions tend to get more severe with age and exposure, so if there is ANY chance that it could become life threatening, you need to get one of these, especially if one of your allergies includes any medications, or if you have a chronic disease such as diabetes. They also are available as pendants. Many of them can be engraved, or come with labels that you you can put on them with your allergies and other medical conditions. Mine also opens up to include a list of allergies, conditions, and emergency contacts. These tend to be horrifically ugly and masculine, but they're also really important. This is what I did to mine so that I would be willing to wear it:

7. Always keep your receipts. If an item happens to sneak by you, or a new allergy develops, hang on to your receipt. If only a small portion (1-3 uses worth) of product is missing from the container, most stores will still take it back if you explain that you had a reaction to it.
8. Remove yourself from exposure. If, like me, you work in an area surrounded by things that can kill you, do your best to remove yourself from the situation. Trade duties with a coworker so that you don't have to handle the items directly, ask to be transferred to a difference department, or, as I've been forced to do, seek alternative employment.

Tomorrow I will be back to work and it will be business as usual, but since I've had an average of one reaction every six weeks since January, I think it's time to change jobs. If you know of anyone who could use a professional knitter, let me know. In the mean time, I'll be over here in my gloves and mask, trying to breathe.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Geek Nail Challenge: Games and Gaming

Well. I kind of fell off the blogging wagon the past couple of weeks, didn't I?

I've been working on several projects lately that are just not polish friendly, even with Seche Vite to speed things up (I'll have more about that on my personal blog in a couple of weeks). In addition, I've been having some nail problems. As I've mentioned before, I've been battling peeling nails all summer. I've tried vitamins, nail treatments, diet changes, everything I can think of. I've had a little bit of improvement, but I think that what they really need is to not be coated in varnish for a while, so I'm giving my nails a couple of days every week where they can breathe. I did find a base coat/treatment that seems to be working pretty well, but I want to give it another week or two before I talk about it, just to make sure it works in the long run. Hopefully, I can kick this soon. I miss my long nails!

This week's manicure is actually a redux of my very first nail art, the one that sent everything else downhill. Back then I was just fooling around with polishes and pens, I had a very limited pallet, and the idea of not flooding my cuticles was a foreign concept, but I had so much fun doing it and even though the white wasn't nearly as opaque as I wanted (that was about thirty layers with a Claire's Nail Art Pen, by the way), I was very pleased with it.

Colors Used:
White: Maybelline Color Show "Porcelain Party"
Yellow: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri "Lightening"
Blue: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri "Blue By"
Green: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri "Just in Lime"
Black: Claire's Nail Art Pen
Red: Pure Ice "Siren"

I started playing Mario when I was eight or ten on a black and white gameboy pocket that belonged to a friend, and have been hooked ever since. It is still not only my favorite game, but one of the few I actually play (other than Arctic Thunder, Mortal Kombat, and Twisted Metal). I actually have a collection of the candy tins you see around gaming stores and Hot Topic, but they are at my parent's house currently, since shelf space is at a premium in our place.
Can I just say that you ladies do awesome work? I am continually floored by the designs I've been seeing as part of this challenge. If you haven't yet, check out some of them below.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Geek Nail Challenge: TV and Movies

You know when you get really excited about doing something, and then when the time comes to do it you just draw a complete and total blank?

That was me this week.

Now don't get me wrong, I love all sorts of geeky shows and films--Joss Whedon can do no wrong in this house, and I love the comic book movies being made. When I manage to catch Big Bang Theory in the break room at work, it makes my day. But I just couldn't find a theme that felt right.

And then I had a Duh moment.

Because really, can you get any geekier than spaceships and Klingons?
I decided to go original Star Trek on this one, even though "my" Trek is actually Next Generation. I remember being in about third or fourth grade, sitting on the floor of our living room with my mom on the couch, both of us working on crochet projects during a cold, wet Ohio winter that made outside extremely unpleasant.
I am inordinately pleased with the way this came out. My roommate just rolled her eyes. I can't wait to show this off to a friend at work (who works at StarBase Columbus) and will properly appreciate it.

Colors used:
Red: Pure Ice "Siren"
Yellow: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri "lightening"
Blue: Essie "Smooth Sailing"
Black: Claire's Nail art pen
Topcoat: Seche Vite

Wondering why McCoy and Spock are wearing glitter? Mostly, it's because I can't find my go-to blue at the moment. But also, this is closer to the actual color of the costumes. And who doesn't get a giggle out of the idea of the two of them wearing glitter?

Yellow is Kirk, obviously.

Wondering who the Redshirts are?

Does it really matter? They won't be around for very long, anyway.

Live long and polish.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Hate it When This Happens

So, a few weeks (maybe a month) ago, I bought a new leave in conditioner: Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine--the new formula, which uses Argon oil.

I'd used S&S in the past, and I liked it--it wasn't impressive, but liked it. I needed a leave-in, adn this was the only one Target had in stock, so I grabbed it.

Oh my god. I love the new formula. For starters, it smells a-maz-ing, and it works better than before. My hair has been a lot less frizzy since I started using it, and the texture is a lot softer. If you're looking for a cheap conditioner, this one runs around $5 and it works wonderfully. I highly recommend it.

But...I noticed that if I got any of it on my scalp or near it, I started itching like a third grader with lice. No problem, I thought, I'll just use it on the ends. I have long hair, so that's where I need it most anyway.

But then I noticed the bumps. At first I thought they were mosquito bites. But they kept appearing in odd places--like on my back. When I sleep on my back. Under two blankets. So how the heck was I getting bit?

Then they showed up on my arm. It itched like a mosquito bite, looked like a bee sting, and blistered like sunburn. "That's not a bug bite. That's an allergic reaction," my roommate said.

So, I took all of the recent additions out of my routine for a week. Then I started adding them back in, one every five or seven days.

Two days ago I added the conditioner. The spots came back.


I'm already allergic to fragrances, which makes it really hard to find makeup, face washes, and lotions. I switched to mineral makeup, neutrogena skincare, and the most boring lotions I could find.

Perfumes, however, give me respiratory issues. This is a skin issue. Which makes me think it's actually the Argon oil that's causing the problem.

Double crap.

So this week I have to find a budget-friendly leave in conditioner that doesn't use the new super ingredient that all the popular kids are using.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know. My back would thank you. So would my hair (and the rest of me, too).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Two Tone Dots

Still fighting with the peelies, so here's one from the vault. Hopefully I'll have this under control soon and can get back to my regularly scheduled nail art!

I love tape manicures. They're so easy, but the results are pretty impressive.

I did this one for a family reunion back at the beginning of August. I realized halfway there, though, that I'd forgotten to take pictures of it! So I whipped out my camera and took photos in the driveway once I arrived.

Something I've started doing (because I'm impatient) is laying down my base color, then putting Seche Vite over top, then adding my details and a second layer of topcoat. The result can add dimension to some designs, and also helps the manicure last longer. This one held up really well, even after tubing (for the uninitiated, this is when you attach a special inner tube to the back of a boat and hold on for dear life while the driver tries to dump you in the water. Great fun!).

I put down Sally Hansen Insta-Dri "Just in Lime" first, then taped off half my nail and used "Blue By" on the other half. The next morning, I used a toothpick to add the dots. Super simple, but I got soooo many compliments--especially since it matched my swimsuit. And my cousin wants me to do her nails now (she's 12).



I had to do two. You know this, right?

I decided to go a little more subtle for this one:

I painted each nail black (Pure Ice "Touch me Here"), then sponged on a combination of black, purple (Wet n Wild "On a Trip"), silver (Wet n Wild "Metalica", and white (Maybelline Color Show "Porcelain Party").

For the Bat signal, I used Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear "Night Lights" with a couple drops of "Porcelain Party" added for opacity, and drew it on with a toothpick. Once it was dry, I did add a thin layer of glow in the dark acrylic paint, just where the grey is (note to self: top coat keeps glow in the dark paint from charging/glowing).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Holy Demolition, Batman! (Part 2)

[In case you missed it, Part 1 can be found here, along with what all of the bru-haha is about and what exactly Liebster is and how it works.]

Today's 11 Facts:
1. I love anything steampunk.
2. I'm a certified art conservation tech, but can't get a job in the field because of all the budget cutbacks. :(
3. I shot archery (recurve only--compound is cheating!) until I got out of high school, but now I don't have a bow or a place to shoot.
4. I can cuss you out in French, Italian, and Japanese. Just don't ask me where the bathroom is, because I couldn't tell you.
5. I plan on fleeing the country as soon as I have more than $20 in my bank account on a regular basis.
6. I'm a Mac only kind of girl. I can kill a PC at ten paces. The cheaper they are, the faster they fall.
7. I collect typewriters, flamingos, international flags, and dust bunnies. The last one is not intentional.
8. My favorite show is Charmed. I like to watch it when I write, and usually have one of the season box sets by my computer (right now it's season 4)
9. My primary skills are knitting, spinning, crocheting, dying, sewing, and embroidering. This probably explains why I'm supporting myself with retail.
10. I was a child of the 80s, and went straight from a crib to a waterbed. I can't have it in my apartment, though. I miss it.
11. "A Little Princess" was probably the single most influential book on me as a child.

Delight in Nails didn't post any of her own questions, so I'll just answer some of the ones she was given--well, except for the dupes from yesterday's post.

6. Are you a fan of Indie polishes and why?

I can't say that I've tried any of them, so I have no real opinion on the matter. Most of the indies I've seen have been chunky glitter polishes, which I'm not a fan of.
7. What sport do you enjoy watching in the Olympics?
Gymnastics, especially the men's. Did anyone else notice how gorgeous those guys were this year?
9. What other hobbies do you have?
Well, I just listed most of them. But I also really like biking, though I no longer have a safe place to do it or a place to store my bike, so it's in storage.
10. Do you have any strange fears?
Tons. Like zombies and parasites, for example. Also: going blind and mental illness.
11. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
A house cat, because I am inherently lazy and love to play with yarn. =^n.n^=

And now for my 11 questions for the people I'm tagging:
1. Why do you blog about your chosen subject matter?
2. What got you started on that subject?
3. What is your favorite part about what you do?
4. What historical event are you sorry you missed/weren't alive to see?
5. Where would you most like to visit?
6. It's the zombie Apocalypse. Where do you go for shelter?
7. Digital or analog? Why?
8. What other hobbies do you have?
9. Early bird or night owl? Any reason why?
10. What piece of advice would you give your twelve-year-old self? (limited to 1 sentence)
11. What book/movie/tv show had the greatest impact on you as a child?

Thanks again to Delight in Nails and Nails for the Sake of Sanity for nominating me!

The following are my favorite blogs with under 200 followers. I actually only know of 1 nail blog that fits the criteria, so there's a mix here (hence the oddball questions!).

1. GelaNails
2. RidiculousKnits
3. Typewriter Heaven
4. Life in a Typewriter Shop
5. I Dream Lo-Tech
6. Five Cats from Crazy

Arg. All of those blogs I follow, and you know what? 95% either don't show how many followers they have, have over 200, or don't update regularly.

So that is my list, short as it is. I think that makes it a little more special, don't you?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Holy Demolition, Batman! (Part 1)

[Heehee. I found that quote here, in case you're wondering. I thought it was fitting, considering it's comic book theme week for the Geek Challenge.]

So yesterday I was nominated not once, but twice for the Liebster award, which is given to nail bloggers with less than 200 followers. Many thanks to Delight in Nails and Nails for the Sake of Sanity for the props!

So here are the award rules:
  • Post 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the questions the tagger has asked you and then create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate
  • Choose 11 people with less than 200 followers to give this award to and link to them
  • Go to their pages and tell them (Remember no tag backs!)
Since I was nominated twice, I'm going to split my responses into 2 posts. Today, I'll do the first 11 facts and questions, and the second tomorrow. Today, I'm looking at the questions posed by Nails for the Sake of Sanity:

Fun Facts:
1. Sophia isn't my real name. It's an internet handle I came up with in college when I got sick of the anime-themed one I'd been using since middle school. "Sophia Rowan" is two aspects that I want to embody: Sophia means wisdom, while Rowan is a tree that symbolizes protection.
2. My pen name, Sophia Beaumont, came about in a similar fashion--but Beaumont is a nod to Montreal, since it means "Beautiful mountain."
3. In case you haven't guessed, my favorite city is Montreal.
4. I live with my roommate and best friend of nine years.
5. I have a kitty, but he doesn't live with me right now. My parents are taking care of him until we can afford the pet fee for our apartment.
6. We'll probably end up moving before that happens.
7. I love cars, especially classic Chevy's from the 50s and 60s.
8. My dream car is a 1960 Chevy Impala, with a dark blue/black exterior and powder blue interior. Convertible.
9. I love anything with fur and four legs.
10. Spiders occasionally make me scream.
11. I'm addicted to sour candy. And chocolate.

1. How did you get into nail art?
I hadn't really painted my nails in years, but then my roommate showed me some incredible Mario-themed art manicures, and I had to try them for myself. It's been downhill from there.
2. What is your favorite manicure of yours so far? (please include photo)
Probably my sea creature manicure. It turned out way better than I expected!

3. If you could have any polish, what would it be?
OPI Black Spotted.
4. Favorite polish brand?

At the moment? China Glaze or Essie.
5. Ultimate dream job?
Writer/knit designer/blogger/social media guru.
6. Favorite animal and why?
Cats, because they are adorable, and also flamingos because they are so goofy. I love anything that makes me laugh.
7. What is your favorite quote?
Fe=iron. Male=man. Therefore, I am Iron Man.
8. What is one thing that you are really particular or picky about?
Lots of things, but the main one that comes to mind is organization at work. It seems like no one puts anything away properly, and then I get all anal organizing hangers and fixtures instead of doing the stuff I'm supposed to.
9. Where do you get inspiration for your nails?
Other blogs, comics, deviantart, pinterest, television, patterns I see on clothing, particular color combinations I see together...
10. What place (country, city, etc) would you most like to visit and why?
I adore Canada, Ireland, and the UK and would love to go back. I've always wanted to go to France, but so far I've mostly just seen the airport. I also want to see Germany and Japan.
11. Why do you do nail blogging? In other words, what do you get out of it or hope to get out of it? In real life I'm kind of antisocial. I talk way more with my keyboard than I with my mouth! Blogging is a creative outlet that lets me get instant responses (unlike with the fiction I write), lets me meet new people, share ideas, and at the same time spread the word about stuff I'm working on--like the Geek Nail Challenge, or my short story that was just published in July. (Yes that was a shameless plug. :D )

Since I subscribe to over a hundred blogs of various types, I'll post my tag list tomorrow once I've had a chance to figure out who has less than 200 followers with the best content. Hint: There are going to be a lot of typewriters!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Geek Nail Challenge: Commence!

Yay! Today is the first day of the Geek Nail Challenge, which is all about comics and manga!

I was super excited about this one, since I've had this particular manicure in my head for a while.

Sailor Moon!

Sadly, my execution did not live up to my expectations (entirely my own fault and not that of the polish).

For those not in the know, those are the symbols/colors that represent each of the Sailor Scouts--the Inner Seishi, at least (5 main characters).

And because you know I love my theme songs, even if they get butchered in translation:

Sailor Moon was my first anime. I remember being five or six and sneaking into the living room at 6:30 in the morning on Saturdays to watch it while my parents were asleep. I had to be really quiet because my mom was a light sleeper and she hated Sailor Moon--still does. She thought Usagi--or Serena, as I knew her then--was a poor role model for young girls because she cried all the time. I disagree, especially since I'm kind of a crybaby myself, even now.

Please note the rating in the corner of the screen. For those unfamiliar with American TV ratings, "Y7" means that is considered appropriate for "Youths 7 and older".

*Cough* Obviously, a LOT got cut when SM made it's way here from Japan. Namely an entire season.

And how exciting is it that the manga is being released in the US, AND there's a reboot of the anime in the works? I'm totally pumped about this.

Colors used:
Pure Ice "Touch Me Here" (black)
Sally Hansen Insta-dri "Lightening" (yellow), "Blue By" (Blue), and "Just in Lime" (Green)
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme wear "Sun Kissed" (orange)
Pure Ice "Siren" (red)

I was sort of hard on my nails after doing this mani, and the color started to chip before I got to take pictures. While I'm happy with the way my left hand turned out (mostly), My right hand looks like crap. I can't draw with my left hand, at all.

I'll try to do another manga/comic mani for later this week--hopefully with better luck!

Friday, August 3, 2012


For those keeping track, Monday is the first day of the Geek Nail Challenge. Several people have already signed up, and I will be sending them emails with more information this weekend. I have a family reunion on Saturday, so the emails will likely go out some time late on Sunday. I'll try to get them out sooner, but I don't know what my schedule looks like quite yet.

We'll be using Inlinkz to share photos, just like for the Summer Fun challenge. That means when I send you the email, there will be a link to another site. On that site will be a couple of links/codes that you can paste into the relevant blog posts, which will show other people's manicures, and will enable you to add your own.

Feel free do do as many manis as you want--Since I'm only doing one topic per week, you can take it as far (or make it as simple) as you would like. The point is to have fun geeking out together!

If you don't receive your email by 10 pm eastern time on Sunday, make sure that you check your spam folder since that first email will be sent out as a bulk email. My email screen name is KnotMagickKnitter (from my other blog), so keep an eye out for it!

See you next week!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Foiled Again!

I love special effect polishes.

Pop Beauty "Split Silver" over Revlon "Mysterious."

I like them even better when they're metallic or sparkly.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Just a simple abstract pattern to try out my new colors.

Finger Paints "Tiffany Imposter"
Sally Girl pink
Wet n Wild "Metalica"

Happy humpday.