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Essie Sew Psyched – Swatches

This is Essie Sew Psyched, and my first experience with Essie. I bought this one at a big cosmetics sale for $8 – normally I wouldn’t buy Essie polishes because they are owned by L’Oreal who test on animals, but: a) the parent/child company and animal testing area is a bit of a grey one – PETA encourages us to spend money at the non-testing child company to prove a point to the parent company that testing is unecessary. See, I think that’s a touch naive, but…  then there’s: b) it was a really pretty colour. (shame.)

Sew Psyched has a really pretty silver microshimmer to it – which I can’t see AT ALL on my nail, but I think it does add a bit of depth to the colour.

These swatches are two coats, no top coat. This polish had a thinner formula than I was expecting, with the odd rampaging blob of polish – watch out for those. It self leveled well, and was nice and opaque in two coats. Good wear time, minimal tip wear the next day.  I’d describe the colour as a lovely blue based khaki green, and it was fairly flattering on me.

Sorry about the cuticles! Big day of swatching 🙂

Whole hand photo… it’s not a weak colour, but it is quite subtle.

Then for fun I used top coats of  Darling Diva Polish – Dreamy, Australis  – Speck-tacular, and Cover Band – Sticks and Stones over the Sew Psyched (little finger Speck-tacular, ring finger Sticks and Stones, middle and index fingers Dreamy). I really preferred Dreamy as the finish. The holographic top coats’ silver tone turned it into a very grey sage green, and Sew Psyched really amped up the holographic sparkle of Dreamy. ( I like it so much so that I’m wearing it as a pedicure…) Sticks and Stone looked nice, and would be great for a camoflage effect, and Speck-tacular just didn’t really impress me over this colour.

Shade photo

Shade – the flakies look so nice in the shade

Whole hand photo with the top coats.

Look how nice that holographic looks in the sunlight! And how invisible the flakies are… 🙂

After this first experience I’m pretty happy with Essie – it did dry fast, and removal was easy – it didn’t stain either. Unless its at a mega sale I won’t be racing out to buy more (apart from Smooth Sailing, maybe. I WANT that polish.)

I don’t think the big cheese parent companies give two figs about where they get their money from, as long as they get it. The concept of buying from the non testing child company would only work if we didn’t buy anything at all from the main company, and if they stopped selling in China (or China changed that animal testing pre-requisite).  I don’t know if that’s going to happen. But I do love this polish, yessir.

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Brag post… involves homekill chicken and fudge photos…

I am so proud of my husband today! We’ve talked about killing our own chickens before, but never got around to it. Well, today he did it!

Lets clarify something first…  this was a rooster I have had since he was 5 days old. I bought his mum with 10 chicks at foot – they were all so cute and fuzzy. They’ve had a great time here; she’s an awesome mum and they all made it to adulthood. This particular guy was part Orpington, and he was big. I’ve been getting rid of the roosters to good homes when I can, but then last week I saw this rooster attack a hen. Now, I won’t have a mean animal around. Definitely not a mean rooster. So, at that point I mentioned to Mr Husband that maybe we could try to kill and eat him.

And he did. If anyone is brave enough, the rooster in question was the one peeking at me over the deck in a previous photo post, here.

This is what he looks like now..

I sense a slow cooked chicken meal in our future…

Ok, some people may be grossed out by this, and I apologise. But I am SO proud of Mr Husband for doing this: he killed him quickly and cleanly, there was no fuss or struggle – rooster didnt know what was happening . He had a great life here, free-ranging and doing great things, and now he won’t be picking on my other chickens any more. It is HARD to kill something. Its very hard to look a living creature in the eye, and make the decision to turn it into a dead creature. Still, we will not waste any of the chicken, and I do really feel that this is a much more ethical way to get meat than picking up a pack of horribly mistreated and awfully killed styrofoam packaged semi-food from a supermarket, and pretending it wasn’t an animal to start with. I also think it SHOULD be hard to kill them: that act should always have weight – life and death should never be cheap.

And then, just when I thought I couldn’t be prouder of hubby (he not only killed but dressed and prepared the rooster, too), I see him making fudge on top of our fireplace, and teaching (safely) our eldest son how to do it. Cute!

Please ignore the mess!

Have a great weekend!

LUSH Snow Fairy Shower Gel and Anti-Animal Testing Petition

Good morning! Quick one here, I’ve got a road trip to be on. Yup, yay!

Ok, this is Lush shower gel in Snow Fairy – its limited to Christmas, but when it’s in, go and get it.

First up, it works. Lush do use a number of surfactants (bubble makers) that can be drying to the skin, so perhaps get a sample first (just ask for one, they’re lovely in there!). But the same surfactants make it an effective cleanser – you will want to moisturise after though. (Hey Lush, do you make a moisturiser with the same fragrance??!)

Second and important: this smells beautiful. It smells happy. It smells… pink. Its not a complicated fragrance, it basically smells like raspberry and sugar… sweet, happy, pink.  Makes me feel good on those not-so-good days. Also, it’s not so ‘Christmassy’ that you feel silly using it in June.. it’s an all-year-round puppy, not just the silly season.

One thing.. I wish, wish, wish that there were more sparkles in it. Look at them! So far they’ve stayed down the bottom of the bottle and I can’t shake them through the gel.. pretty. I want. I’m sure I’ll get there, but in the meantime.. more glitter, please!

And last but pretty much the whole point of me writing this now: Lush are running a petition against animal testing – (http://www.lushnz.com/shop/info/9/animal_testing) – from the 17th to the 26th April. Now. Go, read, if you think you’d be keen, sign. It’s a strong statement, especially banning the sale of new cosmetics that have been tested on animals, and I know some people won’t like that.

I do. It makes me feel sick when I’ve seen the results of the tests – and I’m not saying pictures or anything gory. Just wee statements like ‘does not cause genetic abnormality in generation tests on rats and mice. Does not cause occular damage in 12.5%, 25%, and 50% strengths’. Oh yeah. Lets deliberately set out to see if we can kill and cripple the foetuses and babies of other animals. People don’t like rats, I do. Nonetheless, it is an intelligent, living, feeling creature – and not only are we hurting her, we are hurting her babies. Oh, and its not just rats or mice – its also commonly bunnies and beagles: ‘they dont bite, they’re nice tempered. Lets drop chemicals in their eyes’.  I really think we need to know what goes on, and take a hard stand to stop it. I also think that looking ‘pretty’ at the expense of another being’s pain and torture isn’t pretty at all. And if you agree, petition at Lush! And if you don’t, hey, thats cool. At least I’ve said my piece 😀

Petri, algae, cruelty or bug burger, anyone? Personal opinion time!

The worlds population right now is estimated at approx 7 billion people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population). That’s a LOT of hungry mouths to feed. Now, I am still (probably naively) thinking that we have the population distribution problem rather than an over–population issue. Semantics, however, help us not a jot – mouths are still hungry. How are we going to get enough food for everyone? And specifically in this post: how do we get enough protein for everyone?

 

If we, the lucky wealthy few, expect to be able to continue eating meat protein as we currently do (burgers, steaks, etc) – then we have to make sure a significant proportion of the 7 billion do NOT eat like that. We simply do not have access to enough large animals to feed 7 billion people a burger. But, for me, ethically, I have to reject that as an option. I want all of us bipedal furless monkey types to have access to good food, and enough of it to survive and thrive. So, how could we do that? It is pretty clear that we need to change how we think about what we eat, and where we get that from.Here are some options, I am sure there are more!

Intensive cattle  farming:

The days of the house cow would be over. As would the days of the farm, basically. It would not be economically viable to have large scale farms with animals wandering around – to feed the masses there would have to be massive factory farms. Think battery chickens, but with cows, sheep, pigs etc. There would be medications, antibiotics, weird and wonderful food to force growth, and then an early cull and on to the plate. Again, ethically, the thought give me the dry heaves.  Next!

Insects.

Insects are packed full of protein, and they are small. And some are crunchy. Now, before we all go bllluurrgh, let’s THINK about it, ok? Historically, insects have been a staple diet  forever, really. When the crickets eat the corn, we eat the crickets. Or die. And even without a lack of other options, an insect (like the honey ant) can be regarded as a delicacy, and often seen as a food staple in many parts of the world.  A brilliant website with a lot of information on the issue is http://www.food-insects.com/ . Let’s face it: we’re super spoiled with our muscle meat eating, and it is a viable alternative to eat insects to support our presence on our planet.

Back to my personal ethical ideas on this:  I still think this is a little short sighted. We will still be intensively farming living creatures, and just because most people don’t think insects are ‘cute’ doesn’t give us the right to torture them. I think a LOT of them are cute, and the rest are fascinating. Regardless – I’d think we could find a better solution.

How about lab grown meat?

So, a few cells are harvested, then grown in Petri dishes until a few muscle cells become a whole slab of muscle – steak, in other words. A good website talking about this is  http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/19/10449704-lab-grown-hamburger-due-to-be-served-up-this-year-for-330000.  On the positive side, while being a donor animal would hurt (a moderate size chunk of tissue is taken for the starter); it wouldn’t kill the animal.  Another plus would be the sheer variety of meats you could potentially end up eating – with no huge impact on the wildlife remaining. White Rhino steak? Er, that still sounds so wrong, but you get the point, right? Crocodile sandwich and make it snappy!

On the negative side there’s cost- and a lot of it – and the eeeewwwww factor. Besides, how close is this to genetic modification? Not very -the DNA won’t be tampered with, it’s just straight replication of an entire cell. But if there’s a glitch while in mass production… well, that could be disastrous. However, overall, I think that there has been a LOT of negative press about this, which may just be a knee-jerk reaction to ‘modification’: the true pro’s and con’s will need to be weighed up very carefully.  I hope the process can be sped up, made much cheaper, and hopefully not use a grotesque amount of energy or space. Vegetables and fruit could be grown instead of farming cattle for meat.

And what do you think about using proteins from algae ?

 

Personally I quite like the sound of this option, it seems so Star Trek! Pseudo meat, which of COURSE would be indistinguishable in taste and texture from the real thing, from algae? Oooh yes! Make it better, and push a button on a machine which then goes *tweeddlleedeeedleDING* and beams it into existence. Fun! This article states that it would be a more eco-friendly method of obtaining vegetarian food than soya is, as trees won’t have to be cut down to make the space – a LOT of algae can be grown in a small space (http://www.stichtingmilieunet.nl/andersbekekenblog/milieu/vegetarian-meat-made-from-algae-an-environment-friendly-meat-substitute.html). There are all of the bonuses of  muscle meat creation, but even less animal suffering, which is a good thing. (you wouldn’t have a Tall Giraffe Steak Stack though, sorry).

There could be potential problems with fertilisers, and energy use in translating green slime into something edible. But I am hopeful that we will be allowed to utilise new technologies as oil becomes more scarce: and we as a species are NOTHING if not adaptable. Hence the problem in the first place. 😀

Incidentally – there are approx 10 billion billion ants, 18.6 billion domestic chickens (immediately proving I’m not the only mad chicken owner out there), 1.4 billion cows, and 1.1 billion sheep. So even if we ate ALL the cows and sheep put together, we’d probably all only get one meal each. See? Not really feasible to feed us all that way. There are, however, approx500 trillion Antarctic Krill (stats from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/11/03/141946751/along-with-humans-who-else-is-in-the-7-billion-club  ). If we haven’t killed them with oil and chemical run-off, that is. Small things would appear to be a better bet for feeding the big things… I’ll bet I could get a Blue Whale to agree with that hypothesis.

 

OPI nail polish: Tease-y Does It Swatch and Review

From OPI’s Burlesque collection, I really love this colour! I find it flattering on my skin tone, deep and vampy inside or in the shade, with fiery sparkles in the sunlight.

Oooh sparkles!

The colour looks like a deep brown/red with a strong purple cast in the shade, and transforms into a brighter red brown with the reddish shimmer in the sun. In the bottle you can see a gorgeous gold/green duochrome, but sadly I’ve never seen that on my nails.

I have trouble adjusting to the OPI wide brush, hence the mess I made of this, please don’t look too closely! I do love their brushes, though.

I find this polish chips pretty quickly on me, though most do. (In the course of an average day I’ll clean, cook, feed multitudes of animals, fix fences, chop wood, type… in short, I am HARD on my nail polish. I treat my hands like tools, not jewels, because getting things done is more important to me than a perfect manicure, but I do touch up chips when I can!).

OPI… is interesting as a brand, ethically. They are Big 3 Free (free of the three nastiest chemicals), and against animal testing. However, they were bought out by Coty, a much larger corporation, who DO test on animals. I have not bought an OPI polish since I found that out, but… there is evidence to suggest I should.  PETA website states that OPI is animal friendly, despite its non-bunny-loving parent company. (http://www.peta.org/living/beauty-and-personal-care/companies/744.aspx?SearchUrl=%2Fliving%2Fbeauty-and-personal-care%2Fcompanies%2Fsearch.aspx%3FProduct%3D9%26PageIndex%3D13) . Furthermore, PETA sent a letter to other concerned people stating that we should buy OPI –  to send the message to Coty that we are prepared to do so, and that staying cruelty-free (as OPI is) is worthwhile financially. (http://deathbypolish.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/opi-and-essie-animal-testing/). All well and good, but the money will be going straight back to Coty, will it not?? Dilemma!

And, as this is my real world, I suspect I will resolve the issue like this: I will not buy OPI products unless one comes along that I really, really like, and can afford.

Ok, ok. I never said I was a saint, ok? Just trying to muddle along… 😀

My Flocking Chickens

Well, they are chickens, and chickens flock. Got your attention though, right? 🙂

Spangled Pekin - Puff and some of her five peeps.

At time of writing, I have 52 chickens. I can honestly, hand on my heart, tell you I didn’t mean for that to happen. And most of them are very little chickens indeed! The breakdown goes something like this: I have one hen with one little chick, one with six half grown almost teenager chicks, one hen in one hutch with two babies, and one pekin hen in another hutch with five babies. So, you can see, quite a lot of my flock are made up of babies. I also have some that are not quite big enough to be accurately gendered (I refused to write ‘sexed’, although thats the proper word. I know about the minds of some people out there…) and rehomed. I would LIKE about 30 – and most of them Orpington chickens and crosses, with some mixes for variety. At the moment I have 3 Gold Spangled Hamburgs, 6 Orpingtons, 4 x Arucana crosses (three lay green eggs), 2 Light Sussex, 2 Spangled Pekin bantams, 2 Old English Game bantam, 2 Hylines, 10 Orp x Arucana’s, 1 Blue Andalusian, and a whole bunch of moggie chickens (I call them Backyardigans – people call them Backyard Chickens, eg mixed breeds and I have small children so was accidentally and traumatically exposed to the Backyardigan kids tv show. It’s scarred me.)

Here’s a photo of some of my bunch at feeding time:

I like my chicken garden – the colours and variety of the different breeds. But I have to be a bit more realistic about what I want them for, and get the numbers down to something manageable. I want chickens primarily for eggs- check out this lot!

Sadly, most of my hens went broody and so now I am lucky to get 3 eggs a day. THREE. From 52 chickens. So, again, back to getting something that is a good layer, reliable, hopefully won’t triple-brood in a season and could be eaten if we ever get staunch enough to do that. Practicality! So, the Hamburgs and crosses have to go, and I probably won’t be getting any more Hylines. I love my Hyline girls (they’re very similar to Brown Shavers, but a different corporation ‘created’ them.). Mine have all been bought as seconds, really, after the battery farms are done with them, and they are a pitiful sad sight indeed, and have to learn to be chickens. I love giving them a good home, letting them do chicken things. BUT I find it really ethically tricky – here’s a breed created to lay an egg a day for their first laying year, then die, basically. Many go on to have long lives, but many don’t. Half of mine have died through becoming eggbound – that and prolapses are incredibly common- and I hate that. I also don’t like the fact that they are bred to be a different colour depending on gender – boys are white, and the girls are yellow at hatching. as that way the boys can be killed instantly. Personally I find that really horrible – I would far rather let a rooster grown to adulthood, give it a great life and a painless death and eat and appreciate it, then kill a baby and have a chicken nugget. This is completely my own opinion, but a big reason behind why I don’t want more Hylines! I am hoping to cross my hyline girls out to my rooster, though, to get hopefully healthier happier birds that still lay quite well. Hylines don’t tend to go broody, so I put eggs under a broody or in my incubator, and that’s worked.

Anyway! Those are my guys and girls, and I like them all. They’re quirky, curious, amusing and hardworking birds.

Oh yeah, working hard.

They sort my scraps, are a first step in my composting, add manure and barley straw to my gardens, weed everything (by the way, putting a layer of chicken wire fencing on the garden then planting through that really does help. They can’t scruff out your plants then, though they try, and any mulch on top goes flying). They make my day with their antics, and make my blood pressure skyrocket if they get in the house. I cry when they die, and can lose track of time just watching them sometimes. They make me feel more secure – they represent food in the form of meat and eggs – so if we’re stranded out here by a zombie apocalypse or meteor strike,I think we’ll be fine. I even like my roosters – I only keep ones that are nice to their hens, and they definitely help keep the girls calm, and stop a lot of squabbling and pecking. Chickens rock!