Nicole by OPI Nail Apps Not So Hot!

I took a little time off to review and prepare for some awesome Summer features I’ll be posting soon! Today I figure I’ll go back to my roots and post about nail art. Back in May I wrote about my experience with the Salon Effects by Sally Hansen. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out I’ll provide a link in this post but basically in the grand scheme of things they weren’t my favourite thing. A few months back I decided to purchase some clearance Nicole by OPI Nail Apps. This is the direct competition for Salon Effects by Sally Hansen, so I wanted to see how they compared to each other. All the packaging for these sticker applicators all say how easy they are to apply yourself. I have still to find a product that I can completely apply myself without any assistance. I found this one to be extra tedious since there were instructions to warm the strips before hand. Shaping and cutting the nail strips to fit my nails was a super task to attempt as it left me screaming and cursing at my hands. Each package comes with a 5 step checklist for you to follow to ensure there is success when applying these.
Although, these semi-helpful instructions were provided I still ended up with excess around the edges of my nails, bubbling and creasing. The nail file provided is too abrasive for my liking and left my nails rough along the edges and wasn’t successful in trimming the excess as it should have done. A duo-nail file with a rough and soft side wouldn’ve been preferred for this type of product.

Finally! The finished product! In addition to the strips provided in the packaging I used:

* Scissors
* Soft nail board
* A lovely assistant
* Of course, a Top Coat.

Why a Top Coat? I find that any look liquid or not can always benefit from a Top Coat being applied. When the Top Coat is applied I figure it provides an additional sealant between the nail and strip. Hopefully, it does help in the life span of the strips while being exposed to everyday life.

So now what? Whaddaya think? Well, to be honest.. I only put them on a day and a half ago and already hate them. I don’t hate the design, that’s kinda cool. I know I’m highly intense when using my hands while at work but these just aren’t cutting it. They’ve bubbled, creased and started to lift away at the edges of my nails. The Salon Effects by Sally Hansen did not do that until the 8 or 9 day mark. I’m hoping that maybe the insane heat wave going on in Ontario is the possible perpetrator for this short lived nail design. The only reason why I won’t actually remove them is because it’s too hot for me to paint them with polish right now. I’m glad I didn’t actually pay the intended $14 for these! But rather paid $3. Maybe the markdown in price should’ve cautioned me not to buy them. Whatever the reason may be it will only get a 1/5 on my vote this time around.

Rate for this product: 1/5!

Check me out on twitter! @carlyofsuburbia or follow my blog for future updates!

Nostalgic Gaming

In the spirit of everything gamer related to E3, today I’ll take a look at a couple of awesome games that caught my interest over the years. Now I don’t consider myself a gamer by any means! Please don’t judge me too much with my amateur review or game choices. Most of the games I’ve tend to play over the years have been mostly simulation or roleplaying in some aspect. If you are looking for a legitimate review/gamer web site, please check out my friend Patrick’s gamer web site. Him and his gaming guru’s have been following the E3 conference in L.A and have been writing responses to the conference on their site. Check it out!

I can still remember the first time I played Pokémon Blue on my Gameboy Colour. It was such a thrill to pretend that you could travel through a mythical world battling, collecting and trading futuristic creatures. In some respect, believing you could be a Pokémon Master amongst your fellow pokémon collectors. I’ll be perfectly honest — The game hasn’t gotten old to me. Recently, I was terribly bored and was looking for something mindless to do online. I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if I could find a way to play a version of Pokémon online..’ Thanks to all the powerful geniuses who created Google because my random idea became an actuality after I typed in ‘PLAY POKEMON ONLINE’. I got my game set up and immediately got into Pokémon mode. I decided to play a version that I’m not all too familiar with, you know.. to try and mix it up a tad. Of course, it’s the same formula as always. Start in a small town, make your way around the world, catch legendary pokémon, elite four at the end and complete pokédex. My trick always in the beginning is to pick the water pokémon out of the 3 offered from the Professor. I almost immediately try to catch a flying type pokémon in the grass. I haven’t gotten too far yet but it’s not like I’ve been dedicating my life to playing it either.

The second series of games I’m truly fond of are the many Grand Theft Auto’s Rockstar has released. Like really, it’s the ultimate game ‘guy’ game. I say this while being a female and loving it because I know a lot of women who dislike this franchise. I think they’re crazy! Who doesn’t wanna (virtually) steal a car, beat someone up for money, unload a firearm or hire a hooker?! My favourite GTA game is probably San Andreas. I loved the characters and the creation of the map.

The third franchise I love playing is anything related to The Sims! To me, these are the ultimate simulation game. I would love creating my own character and playing her. But truly, the best thing about this game would be building the house. I learned fast how to get a cheat to have unlimited simoleons, so I could create the ultimate Sims crib. I would buy the best furniture, appliances, and hobby related equipment. I would also create the craziest love triangles ever. I wouldn’t just stick with my character, I would dysfunction the lives of the computer players too. A few years back, I met someone with a serious addiction to the franchise and who had the luxury of working at EB Games. She let me borrow/permanently keep all of her The Sims 2 expansion discs. I had one of the male characters I was playing get abducted by aliens which was pretty awesome! I like some expansions more than others but had fun with them nonetheless. I haven’t had a chance to try out The Sims 3 yet! But I’ve heard I’m missing out and need to jump on the bandwagon.

Have you had a favourite game over the years? Been following the E3 conference? Leave me a comment below! =)

Sally Hansen Products!

So, it’s been a little while since I last posted — My apologies! I felt like I didn’t have much to write about since my nails were nubs and I weren’t testing out any new products on them. Fortunately, patience prevailed and my nub nails now have some growth. Recently, I tried out 2 products from my absolute favourite nail polish brand. If you haven’t heard I love Sally Hansen’s nail products. A few days ago, I tried Sally Hansen’s Xtreme Wear. I got it as a gift at Christmas and hadn’t had a chance to try it out. The colour I used was Green with Envy (product #: 4860-02) Image

This is right after the fresh 2 coats I applied to my nails. I found it lasted pretty well since I’m out of my usual Top Coat. From the bottle it looked lighter than what it appeared on my nails. I was actually surprised by the rich tone it got after 2 coats. I work with money, so I tend to knock my nails off hard surfaces (cash register, etc). I found it lasted for about 3 or 4 days but I feel like it would’ve lasted longer if I applied a proper Top Coat to them.

Tonight I took off my Green with Envy and applied another polish that was a gift. The polish I applied is another variation from Sally Hansen. Tonight I tried Sally Hansen’s Diamond Strength polish. The colour I applied is called Lavender Marquis (product #: 4032-57). I really like the colour because it has a opally, iridescent tone. I’ve been wanting to try something like this for a while. I haven’t applied a Top Coat yet but I did apply 2 coats of the polish. I did end up taking a photo of it freshly applied. Please be kind! My nails need a manicure.


Stories from the River’s Edge – the fifth estate

Stories from the River’s Edge – the fifth estate

I watched a documentary on the weekend about aboriginal kids attending high school. Unfortuately, many children who live on reserves in Canada don’t get the opportunity to attend school past grade 8. This documentary discusses the program that is offered to these children and the controversies surrounding them. This is a moving social and political documentary that really captivated me.

Do you enjoy watching documentaries? The Fifth Estate offers many documentries online through YouTube or on their Website. Check out the link I posted above!

Almost done Mockingjay!!

I’ve been gradually making my way through Catching Fire and Mockingjay the last few weeks. I knew with my reading speed that I could easily finish these books in a matter of days but decided to have some self-control. Also, I had some exams and final papers to write, so pleasure reading had to be put on hold for the time being.

What can I say about books 2 and 3 from the BIGGEST trilogy right now??

I’ve enjoyed them a lot more than the first book. Although, not a lot happens in Catching Fire I felt a lot of plot occurs in this book. Lots of mind games, character development and you can see how the story is really unfolding. I’m not done Mockingjay yet (I’m at the part where they decide to abandon staying underground in the Capitol and go above ground to the streets.. Katniss just shot a chick with an arrow) but I do plan to write a proper combined review of Catching Fire and Mockingjay when I’m done. Everyone is making me sad by telling me that I’ll hate the ending. Purposely, I’m trying to figure out a way to love it to bits and pieces.

Anyways, have you read the trilogy? Did you start late like me? What have you thought of it so far?

What Can We Expect From Insurgent?! Out May 1st!

Insurgent will be released next month on May 1st. It’s been one year since Veronica Roth’s similar but different Hunger Games-esque dystopian was released.

In the debut novel, Divergent we’re introduced to Beatrice Prior who lives in a futuristic Chicago with her family. A futuristic Chicago that divides its society by 5 different factions. Each faction holds its own values and beliefs that must be upheld by those who reside in the faction’s district. At the age of 16 all males and females are put through a series of aptitude tests to determine which faction will best suit them as they enter adulthood. ‘Faction before blood’ is placed around Chicago to remind everyone that once you pick your faction, regardless if you leave your family behind you must obey your factions values and beliefs. Unfortunately, for Beatrice she feels she doesn’t completely fit into any 1 faction and she realizes she isn’t alone.

Last year I got the chance to meet Veronica Roth while she was touring. Everyone that I work with was totally mesmorized by the debut novel. We would discuss which factions we would rather and which would be awful. Luckily, we didn’t have to guess anymore but got the chance to take the Official Facebook Faction Quiz. If you’re a fan, definitely check this quiz out. It takes you through the actual aptitude test that you read about in the novel. It’s sort of neat and fun to do with your friends!

Anyways, after the hype of Divergent there have been many YA fiction to come and go throughout the past year. None of them have truly captured me since Divergent though. Once again, my coworkers and I got truly jazzed when 2012 rang in because it meant one thing.. The sequel to Divergent is coming in 5 months!! To be honest, my book store has a pretty good relationship with the marketers at the big name publishing companies in Toronto and the surrounding area. We seemed pretty confident that we would without a doubt get an ARC (advance reader’s copy) of Insurgent. I did some research to see what the odds were and creeped Veronica Roth’s web page with deets about HOW TO GET AN ARC. She had written a few blogs about how there weren’t many to be distributed this time around. This mean, I don’t want a lot of spoilers given out before the release date but I’m trying to be nice about it. I understood and got my manager to give a call to Harper Teen. We were told that they only received 5 ARCS of Insurgent and that they would be holding a contest of the stores who could prove they were the BIGGEST fans of the series. We got down to work and decided to create something amazing that the other stores would never do. So this is what we came up with..

We decided to recreate the tree that is on the cover of Insurgent and also represents the faction Amity in the novels. We got a bit creative and printed of the factions on small cue cards and decorated it. Both photos I merged are different vantage points of the tree in the store. I think it’s pretty sweet and earned us the right to 1 ARC of Insurgent. I’ve been pretty lucky to score dibs on reading it first. So, I’ll give you some insight as to what to expect in the next installment. I don’t want to say I’m going to make this a full out spoiler entry because I really want you all to have a chance to enjoy it. So what did I think of it??! Well..

1) Tris and Tobias’ (Four) relationship
Throughout Divergent we witness the budding relationship between Tris and Tobias (Four) developing. Of course, in Insurgent it definitely becomes a focal point but it doesn’t make us forget what exactly is happening in the destroyed world around them. At times, I wanted to stop reading because I’m not a fan of romance but as I keep reading and blogging about YA fiction it keeps resurfacing. I kept trudging along, with that being said I’m not saying that it’s a complete waste of a read! I actually enjoyed it more than Divergent.

2) The rebellion
If you remember at the end of Divergent there is a massive war breaking out and control serums are all over the place. Don’t you worry, that will be another element coming back again. Now it’s not only control serums but there’s a wack load of other futuristic mumbo jumbo that we’re introduced to as well. This novel pretty much focuses on the rebellion, allies and enemies amongst all the factions. Who will come out on top? Really, this novel builds up to an awesome finale that isn’t due out until next year.

3) Who’s on who’s side??!
I found myself having to re-read some chapters since it seems there is a lot of broken promises and tyranny exploding in each chapter. There’s a lot of deception amongst the characters and at times I wanted to smack Tris around and tell her to stop being stupid! She really got under my skin, even MORE SO THAN KATNISS.. ugh. But with that being said, Tris is really a character you love to hate and really want the best for her. I know you will all enjoy the curve ball of characters being re-introduced/introduced in this story line. Everyone is kinda on the edge due to the rebellion, so no one is completely trustworthy.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy the novel! Let me know what faction you get in the quiz! And don’t forget to follow my blog and if you like you can follow me on the Twitosphere: @carlyofsuburbia

Also, when I did the quiz I got Dauntless! I get to wear this at work to show off my badass-ness.

Life After The Hunger Games

If you’re like the other lost avid readers of the Hunger Games series you’re probably asking yourself, ‘What now??’. Everyone I know over indulged in the popular series within days and now have no idea what to try out next. I shocked a lot of people when they would ask me if I have read the Hunger Games series. It was only recently (about a month ago) that I actually picked up the first book from the series. This is crazy to some people since they know I:
a) Work at a book store
b) Host the YA book club at my book store

I have a good explanation why I waited so long before reading the highly anticpated series. At my store, everyone was nattering on about Hunger Games this and that. This was about 2 Summers ago when Mockingjay came out. I decided to go a different route and read new YA fiction instead. I have read many YA fiction similar to The Hunger Games series. I’m going to go through a few novels that will help you avoid re-reading The Hunger Games and possibly fall in love with something new.

1. The Maze Runner – James Dashner
We are introduced to Thomas who wakes up in a lift only able to remember his first name and with his memory blank. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

I absolutely love this series. If you’re familiar with these novels you might be saying, ‘whaa.. this isn’t a series’. Last fall, after the release of The Death Cure it was announced that James Dashner would be writing a prequel to the first book of the series titled, The Kill Order. There also been major rumours that it is next in line to be turned into a major motion picture.

2. Divergent – Veronica Roth
The novel opens with 16 year old Beatrice Prior who lives in a futuristic Chicago with her family. A futuristic Chicago that divides its society by 5 different factions. Each faction holds its own values and beliefs that must be upheld by those who reside in the faction’s district. At the age of 16 all males and females are put through a series of aptitude tests to determine which faction will best suit them as they enter adulthood. ‘Faction before blood’ is placed around Chicago to remind everyone that once you pick your faction, regardless if you leave your family behind you must obey your factions values and beliefs. Unfortunately, for Beatrice she feels she doesn’t completely fit into any 1 faction and she realizes she isn’t alone.

I’m currently reading the ARC (advance readers copy) of the 2nd book from this series called Insurgent. Divergent came out last May and is the debut novel from Veronica Roth. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year when she toured with Lauren Oliver. It was rumoured last year at her Q&A at my book store that there are talks about signing this to a movie deal. Veronica Roth is pretty cool and said that she would only sign if the producers would stay true to the novel. Unfortunately, for the millionaires in Hollywood she hasn’t liked any of the scripts presented to her.. yet! I won’t be surprised if something comes up after Insurgent’s release in May.

3. Delirium – Lauren Oliver
What if love were a disease? In Delirium we are introduced to Lena, where in her world love is considered to be an incurable disease. All young men and women are required to have a medical procedure to ensure that they don’t succumb to ‘Amor Deliria Nervosa’. Lena is ready for her procedure until the unimaginable happens – she falls in love.

Delirium is a fast-paced and enjoyable read. I couldn’t put it down for a second and it completely surpassed my expectations. This novel will keep you guessing, ‘What next?’. On Valentine’s Day, Lauren Oliver released a short story called Hana that links Delirium with Pandemonium (book #2 in the series). Just a warning, if you didn’t get it already from the synopsis.. This book is probably best suited to the female audience. The other two novels I suggested above are awesome for males and females alike.

Anyways,  I hope you enjoy the suggestions! If you have any comments about the blog feel free to leave a comment below. If you’ve read any of the 3 books in the blog tell me what you think of them!

Don’t forget you can follow me on:
Twitter: @carlyofsuburbia

Happy reading!

Hunger Games polishes + Top Coat review

I tried out my China Glaze – Hunger Games themed nail polish.  A few weeks back I purchased the Agro (on the left) and Electrify (on the right). Since I’ve been super stressed out for about 3 months I’ve sadly been biting my nails *ugh – horrible habit*. Anyways, I painted one foot with one colour and one foot with the other colour. In the past, I’ve had some issues with super glittery nail polishes that haven’t had a top coat applied to them. They chip easily because of the rough texture. The army green colour lasted longer without a top coat but in the future I would prefer using a top coat on both colours. Unfortunately, the vibrant gold and red glitter polish doesn’t last long without a top coat. My favourite top coat is Rimmel’s Base Coat Top Coat Pro.

Just keep in mind that when you put glitter nail polish on that it is pretty hard to get off. So, when you put a top coat on in it as well it becomes sort of a mission to get both layers off. Soaking your nails in nail polish remover usually works best. But back to my original point, it is the best to have a great top coat to ensure all your fancy nail designs last longer than 2-4 days.

Review: The Hunger Games (Spoilers from book and film)

Last night I lined up 3 hours in advance for the midnight show of The Hunger Games. Myself and few of my coworkers decided a week ago to attend the midnight screening. Now I understand that lots of people might disagree with my review, which is fine. I offer you to start a discussion in the comments section of this entry.

So, I’m going to talk about the things I enjoyed in the film in comparison to the novel and of course, the things I didn’t enjoy in the film in comparison to the novel.

Going into the film I only really knew about Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (as Peeta Mellark) and Liam Hemsworth (as Gale Hawthrone) since they’re gorgeous faces have been all over the television and online for weeks leading up to the film being released. As the film unfolds, I’m shocked to see the Canadian Morgan Freeman in it!! Donald Sutherland! (as President Snow). I knew from him being casted that if he’s in this movie that it’s going to be awesome. Along with him, Woody Harrelson (as the District 12’s mentor, Haymitch), Stanley Tucci (as Caesar Flickerman), and Wes Bentley (as the Gamemaker, Seneca Crane). I thought these  4 men gave the film a lot of depth.  I feel kind of old for being able to appreciate and fawn over these actors. I just felt their acting was way more entertaining and worth while. I honestly enjoyed their scenes more so than the ones with Katniss and Peeta.

What I enjoyed the most was how the film focused on the outside perspective of the Game. In the novel, we’re only subjected to the point of view of Katniss and what she thinks and sees. But in the film they actually show us how the Games are manipulated and created. Personal conversations between President Snow and Seneca Crane become the focal point of the film. We get to see Gale and Katniss’ family watching the Games from their home. Finally, the riots and termoil of Rue’s death from District 11.

The only reason I didn’t like the film in comparison to the novel was that some scenes were not believeable enough. I found the sudden attraction between Katniss and Peeta to be ‘off’. All we see in the film is that, he threw her bread in the past, he confesses to a crush on her during his interview,  he sides with the elite pack in the Games, then they’re suddenly smitten with one another. I know! In the novel, it is easier to build a relationship or story between multiple characters. I just didn’t see how they got from A -> B -> C and I feel like it spoiled the film for me. To be honest, I’m sort of biased on these two. For the record, I’ve only read The Hunger Games and I’ve just started Catching Fire. I absolutely dislike Peeta’s character. I think he’s not masculine at all and IMO he spent the entire time in The Hunger Games (book+film) whining and being a follower. I didn’t see him fight in anyway successfully in the film which just supported my hate for him from the novel. We’re not exposed to Gale as much in the film like we are in the novel. The whole connection between Gale and Katniss is kind of left to be ambiguous. I have a feeling that he’ll be more of a focus in Catching Fire.

If there is a TEAM GALE/TEAM PEETA battle, I’m definitely on TEAM GALE.

What team are you on?