Top Coat worth spending $$ on!!

I don't do product reviews since this is more of a journal for me, but I had to share this top coat that is changing my manicure world right now. And I guess in a way that's a big thing that makes sense to "journal" about, right?
Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Ultra Wear Top Coat

It's Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Topcoat. This stuff is AWESOME!!! I rarely keep nail polish on because it's such a waste of time for me, it's usually chipped by the end of the day. If I wanted to wear some I had to put it on after I took a shower and not get my hands too wet(no dishes or cleaning). I have tried numerous topcoats, basecoats, different brands of polish, and nothing has ever stayed on more than 24 hours(except Shellac, but that's a little expensive for me on a regular basis).
I picked this stuff up while wandering through Wal-Mart, and it was $6.97. Unfortunately I threw away the box after I knew it was a keeper, so I can't tell you what the special ingredients are supposed to be. It does claim to keep a chip-free manicure for up to 10 days, and I am on day 3 with only 1 chip because my nail broke :(

So far, I love love this stuff!!

This post was not sponsored or paid in any way, I bought the polish and am giving my honest personal opinion on it.

Empathy and a Gift

Maybe something is wrong with me, but lately I have been having these awful vivid nightmares. Ones where something awful happens to my babygirl. I don't know what the thing is that's happened, but I wake up sobbing. Or, like this AM, driving down the highway and the feeling of loss just randomly crashes over me and it feels like someone kicked me in the chest.  What the heck??? And on top of that I had people who inevitably looked over at me trying to drive with buckets of tears and the ugly crying face...perfect.

I am going to take these episodes as empathy training for my future career-as opposed to an indication that I may need to take a trip to the drug store-and try to remember this as I move forward: everyone handles stress and sickness and loss differently. I will not presume to know the level of reaction that is appropriate in many of those situations, and at the same time try not to be reduced to a puddle of tears when I witness something awful.

On another note...a while back, while I was a stay at home mom, I attempted(well really half-attempted) to start a photography business. Let me just say, I'm pretty sure that I will be abandoning that effort for a while. I started portfolio building, and during that time doing shoots for people for REALLY cheap-meaning you pay for the prints you want at cost. I found that people were generally very demanding, and not very grateful. One client asked me why if this was for my portfolio I wasn't doing unlimited free prints too. At that point I realized that while I love photography, doing it for money is not for me. I don't want to have to take jobs to pay bills. So I decided that Candy Apple Smiles will still live, but on a much smaller scale than I originally envisioned. I am planning on just doing jobs for people that I know, and really only when I have time. And most likely "at cost". Making this decision has de-stressed me a little, and deciding that I am going to do exactly what I want makes me happier than the prospect of  more miserable encounters. In addition, I promise myself I will buy accessories for my hobby without guilt, or the feeling that I need to make some money from this to justify buying more/better stuff.  With that said, I am buying myself a gift to kick off my "pictures for pleasure" phase:
Product Details
This little gem, a Canon 50mm f/1.8. I am so excited!!

Have you ever had to make a decision that was disappointing and liberating at the same time?

Pretty Easy Crochet Afghan

Crochet and I are like boyfriend and girlfriend right now. That sounds odd, but look: we are new to each other and I am totally infatuated with it, spending a LOT of my free time looking for patterns and buying yarn and stuff. Sometimes it annoys me and I don't mess with it for a few days, but then I miss it and come back. Seemed like a good analogy at the beginning... anyway this started because I wanted a slouchy hat to cover my transitioning hair and couldn't find one in the store, so I thought I'd try to make one. I found a free pattern through Pinterest, and  a bunch of videos on youtube to demonstrate the stitches and now numerous hats and scarves and half an afghan later here we are!

I went on after buying some of their yarn and discovered a wealth of free patterns!! I was originally looking for a hat pattern (which I found, but more on that later) and came across this gem that got added to Craftyness for a rainy day. Well it didn't exactly rain, and I don't really have much free time, but Michaels had a great sale on one of my favorite yarns for making cozy stuff so I was able to get a bunch.  BTW-no one told me that once you start making things that actually look good this becomes a sick addiction...I have a huge basket that has been filled with "just in case I have time to start something" yarn.

Anyway, here's a look at what I've got so far.

I like blankets a lot. What I don't like are the funny sized ones that don't quite cover you when you're on the couch trying to watch a movie and be comfy. The pattern says the finished size is 36x41 in, which is too small for something for an adult to me. So I figured out how to increase it by basically counting the stitches needed for one ripple and then adding ripples until I thought it would be wide enough. I ended up adding 4 ripples to the width, and it's measuring about 54 inches across. If you notice the discrepancy in the amount of ripples I added being proportionate to how much bigger the thing should be, just turn a blind eye. I did a big no-no...I didn't make a guage swatch (gasp!!). SO instead of each of the ripples being 6 inches as the pattern says, mine ended up being more like a little less than 5inches. I also started with a size N hook because I know I crochet tighter than apparently normal, and that is what I got. Since it's a blanket and not a sweater, and since I'm still relatively new to the whole thing, I'm not worried about it. I will probably use more yarn (this is almost 1/3rd of the length I want and I'm on the 2nd ball of each color) but that's ok for me too.
I am so excited about finishing it someday soon, it has a good weight and a soft feel to it.
I have had some folks say that they dry clean finished products to make them fluffy and keep from fuzzing up...any thoughts on that?

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BTW-this is not a sponsored post!