Sunday, July 31, 2011

Things I Love Recently

I've been slow in updating this blog because I've been working on my other ones (check out left sidebar).  So I thought I'd do a quick list of things I love lately (maybe I'll do a things I hate list later), and throw in some pug pics, because this blog is named Lil Smug Pug, and my stinky pug probably occupies about 80% of my time, thoughts, and money (freakin eyes constantly getting scratched!).  So here goes...

Things I love
1.  Pinterest - Seriously, this has sucked up so much of my time recently because I am OBSESSED with this.  I resisted it for so long when my friend ZoeZoePuffs kept trying to convince me to use it.  I didn't want yet another social media site to keep up with but this is unlike anything else.  Pinterest is basically internet bulletin boards that you can personalize with anything from the web you come across and want to pin.  You can also search the images people are posting.  It's like a giant, never-ending, random and awesome magazine you can flip through.  It's pretty new though so there are still a few glitches and server outages but it's so worth it.  I've already set up multiple boards including the following: "All Things Pug," "Creatures of the Sea!," "Hair Itch - Things that fascinate and gross me out," "Me Want Food," "Illustrations," "I want to go to there," and "Craftsy Things."  See the random and fun mix of boards you can have?!

2.  John Kenn's post-it art - I came across John Kenn's work on Pinterest and have been loving it!  You can check it out at John Kenn's blog.  He basically does these amazingly eerie and creative ink drawings on ordinary office post-its (the long rectangular ones).  It's like a little window into a strange Tim Burton-esque, creepier Miyazaki world.  The level of detail is amazing when you consider these are just on post-its.

3.  Wine in a box - Ok, not the old school ghetto and gross wine in a box.  But nowadays there are a lot of really good award-winning wines packaged in boxes with vacuum-sealed bags holding four bottles worth.  You know what that means, right?  That means you can drink from a single box over the course of weeks, without the wine going bad.  This blew my mind away.  The first time I tried it at my sister's, it had already been a week since they first opened it, and the wine tasted like it had just been opened.  This is also great if you like having a glass every now and then (Ha! Yeah right for me!) and hate having so much of the wine go bad in a bottle when you don't drink it fast enough.  Seriously, awesome.  They have some good ones at BJ's (I like the white wine best).  I tried the Costco one but it was a cabernet sauvignon and I'm not into those lately.  My friend claims they have some at Trader Joe's in California, which made me so mad because I have not seen those here.  Not fair, not fair!

4.  Moleskin Notebooks - I've been trying to get back into drawing and watercolors recently but it's hard because I haven't really done anything since high school even though I was really into it back then and took art classes, etc.  I feel too much pressure when trying to start something on the big fancy art paper.  I then came across Dannny Gregory's An Illustrated Life (ooh, I'll add that next to my list) and discovered moleskin notebooks.  Awesomeness.  They come in different sizes with different kinds of paper.  I have one medium sized one for watercolors and two small pocket ones for drawing in.  It's great because I can carry them around and doodle in them whenever I have a moment and I feel way less pressure when using the notebooks.  It feels way more casual.  Can't draw a straight line or messed up a corner?  That's ok!  Love these.  Wish they were a bit cheaper though.

5.  Danny Gregory's An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers.  This is the kind of book I've been looking for since I was a kid.  I love nice polished and finished pieces of art, but truthfully, I love the preliminary sketches or random doodles of artists the best.  I used to buy those fancy Disney books just so I could see the concept sketches and storyboard art of my favorite animated films.  This book covers a wide array of artists and gives a peek into their private sketchbooks with brief introductions by the artists themselves.  They talk about what they do, what they use their sketchbooks for, why they became artists, what supplies they use, and pretty much whatever else they want to talk about.  It's an eclectic mix and very inspiring.  It's what spurred me to get the moleskin notebooks (almost all of them use those or bind their own sketchbooks) and just draw whatever I see or think of.

6.  DiorSkin Sculpt Lifting Smoothing Concealer - I doubt a HG undereye concealer really exists, but this is the best I've found so far.  Does an amazing job of covering up my undereye circles without being too drying (I'm looking at you Lancome).  The color works well for me too - not too pink for my yellow skin (I"m looking at you Laura Mercier).  It's a lightweight cream with an applicator stick (not a brush, more like those gloss kind of sticks).  Love.

7.  Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner (in black) - My HG liquid eyeliner.  This is the best liquid eyeliner I've ever come across.  I used to use Lancome's artliner, which is also great, but the Lancome line can be a bit too thick and the applicator sometimes flips out when I'm drawing a line which means I end up with a wonky uneven line.  Also, about halfway through the tube the liner starts to get a bit dried up and when it wears off on my eyes it flakes off.  Koji Dolly Wink is the thinnest, most precise line I've found and it really doesn't budge.  It lasts forever on my eyes and doesn't flake like the Lancome.  The one downside I guess is the pen doesn't hold that much liner so you go through it a little quicker than with some others.  I learned my lesson and now buy it in bulk.

8.  Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo - My HG dry shampoo.  It's a fine white powder in an aerosol can.  I use it every day before I go to work on my bangs.  It helps keep them from curling weirdly and separating into greasy strands later in the day.  I love it.  I can now have bangs and style them somewhat decently.  I don't really use it in replacement of regular shampoo because while it does work for at least one extra day on unwashed hair, too much of it makes my scalp feel weird and my hair feel grimy.  I also stock up on this and buy at least 3 at a time.

9.  My lil smug pug (I hate ending on a random number - must be my borderline OCD traits).  She cracks me up and brightens up any sour mood.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2 - End of an Era!

So I finally saw the last Harry Potter movie, Deathly Hallows Part 2 and I had ten observations (I just had a few but stretched it to ten because ten just sounds better).

SPOILERS below - but if you really haven't read the books then you should close your computer and get reading.

(1) Poor Ron and Draco - aged horribly!  People actually bust out laughing in the theater as soon as they appeared in the end scene.  Lesson learned for them in the future - don't comb hair in that horribly unattractive way because it will age you 19 years.

(2) Ginny always looked like a middle-aged woman so there was no stretch there, but they didn't even try to age Hermione.

(3) I <3 Alan Rickman.  And his Snape is the true tragic hero in this series.  He loved Lily so much only to have her marry cocky James Potter.  His love for her was so strong that he crossed over to the good side for her and protected Harry all these years simply because he was her son.  And then he's rewarded for all this with a double agent role where everyone thinks he's evil and killed Dumbledore.  Oh wait, and then he's brutally murdered by Voldemort.  Poor Snape.  I thought they did his little memories scene well and loved little young Snape.  And Alan Rickman is always awesome.   But no matter how awesome Snape, and Dumbledore are, please don't name your child Albus Severus.  What was Harry thinking?  

(4) I wonder if Neville would have done just as good as the boy who survived if Voldemort had chosen him from the beginning.  He displayed loyalty, courage and bravery same as Harry, and it's not like Harry was particularly charismatic (most of his initial fame was simply for being the boy who survived).  I loved Neville's growth and development through the series.

(5) Ralph Fiennes is the best villain ever.  He is Voldemort.  No one else could have played him like that.  Although Gary Oldman usually plays pretty good evil characters (e.g., the Professional), but I was glad to see him in a good guy role at least once.  But Ralph Fiennes really does the snakey, creepy Voldemort well and is just a general excellent actor.  He's terrifying for the most part but I actually kind of felt bad for him when he looked all disappointed thinking Harry didn't show in the forest.  I thought he played that so well.  I can't believe he's the same guy from The English Patient.

(6) I thought this movie (and the last one) has really benefited from the growth of the former child actors.  At first they were all so cute so we excused the bad acting.  But then they reached the adolescent phase and it got cringe worthy at times.  But now you can tell they've matured and learned a lot over the years and aren't so jarring in comparison to the many excellent adult actors in these movies.

(7) I also loved Maggie Smith and how she schooled Snape and then was so cute when she was excited to finally use the stone soldiers spell.

(8) I loved seeing crazy Helena Bonham Carter playing the timid and scared Hermione in disguise.  Helena Bonham Carter is another favorite actor.  I mean how can you not love someone who started in beautiful period pieces, plays crazy so well as Bellatrix Lestrange and Marla Singer, but can switch to a ladylike queen in The King's Speech, and then voice endearing characters in Corpse Bride and Wallace & Gromit?!

(9) Bloody fetus-like Voldemort in Harry's limbo-train station was disgusting.

(10) Did we really need to see topless Harry and Ron?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lil Smug Pug Photo Overload

So as my nails continue to heal (I think in a couple more weeks, they should be back to normal), I have been totally neglecting this blog.  I don't know when it turned into a nail polish centered blog, but I noticed those posts are definitely the most popular ones.  And I used to review lots of different products, but I haven't bought anything recently and have been using prescription face stuff since I'm fed up with all my random beauty products that don't do anything (except for my Murad lotion and PTR uber dry sunscreen, both of which I still love!).  So here are a bunch of photos on my other obsession - MY PUG.

My lil pug thinks it's been too HOT and HUMID lately and is not happy with our walks:
Cheer up my lil pug, it won't always be this hot!
Oh, but we still have the rest of the summer to deal with - sorry.
And don't forget, the vet said you need to go on a diet - so no more treats!
Weeeell....No, we must be strong.  No treats!
Ack, ok fine you win!  Just one treat!
How can I resist this little face?  Both youthful
And elderly at times.
Besides, who can resist those butt rolls?  Baby got back!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Nail Polish Break, Pug Love, and Something New

I haven't been painting my nails recently because I think I was overdoing it for too long.  The skin around my nails got dry and peely and then I noticed that my nail tip was growing downwards which really frightened me so I decided to give my nails a break for a couple weeks until they look more normal.  See my thumb and the scary uneven nail tip?
It saddens me to be polish-less for so long, but this is for the best.  I think the nail polish remover was getting under my nails when I would use the corrector pen to fix the edges.  I love the corrector pen but I'll have to be more careful with its usage.  So until then, no more NOTDs.  :(

In the meantime I will continue my hard work of being an adequate chin and foot rest for my demanding smug lil pug.

Oh wait, I actually am still wearing polish - but on my toes.  You can barely see it.  I'm wearing Essie's Meet Me At Sunset.  I like this better on my hands personally, but I wanted a switch to a bright color when the summer kicked in.  I usually prefer darker colors on my toes.

Also, I've been working on some new projects - some reviews for both children's and YA books.  They're still being worked on and I'm now focusing on volume but take a look if this is something you're interested in:
Blurber Blabber
Blurber Blabber Kids