amazon echo

Ok so I love tech-y stuff but I’m not usually one to jump on bandwagons and go out and purchase the brand new thing. But Amazon knows me too well and I guess I’m just that awesome of a customer since I’d rather purchase stuff there on my Prime membership than get my butt and the kids and whatever out in the cold or heat and endure Walmart. But I digress. Anyway, some time ago I had an invitation to give the Amazon Echo a try and being a Prime member I only paid $99. I kinda forgot about it because it was some sort of pre-order thing but it came today (though if I recall, it’s even earlier than the date it said it would be). I had thought that something like this would be perfect for the main room in the house we are building though we’re not in it yet, I figured why not hook it up and give it a try?

This thing is awesome!

It was so easy to set up, I just had to take a few seconds to get the app on my phone and install it then pretty much just put in my wi-fi password. The phone found the Echo with it only having power, no buttons to push or anything.

I thought I’d try it out with a few questions and it was spot on and quick. The voice even sounds more human than my Google phone or Siri does. I asked it, “Alexa, when is sunset on January 18?” (This after trying, “when is sunset tonight?”) Echo answered that sunset on Sunday, January 18, 2015 is at 503pm. The photographer in me is going to use that A LOT.

We’ve done “Alexa, tell me a joke” a few times and it’s delivered a few funny one-liners.

Then I said, “Alexa, play me some Elvis Presley,” and I was in heaven…

Opening the app on my phone again showed me the last thing I said to it and it asked me if it heard me correctly (it had). This is something my Google phone would be wise to take note of. Ahem.

Only thing I’ve had to do so far was to change my zip code in the settings of the app. We’re usually incorrectly tagged as the one Echo had grabbed, probably from cell towers??

It sounds great, I can’t wait to have it in the new house.

six months gone

Today marked the 6th month anniversary of her disappearance. I still can’t believe it. It’s still so unreal, it’s not really happening. I’ve had to turn off a lot of emotions or I’d be losing it all the time. K still points out her picture in the missing posters when she sees one. Sometimes she gets excited as if it means they found her. K doesn’t understand, but how can you expect a 5 year old to comprehend this when adults don’t get it either? I’ve even had little mini arguments about this with her – there’s a few ladies at church who have the same hair color and sometimes K insists that it’s her. I don’t like breaking the heart of a kid but we also can’t have her thinking these ladies are her, she was addressing one as such and that breaks everyone’s heart.

And the nasty people are still out there. I don’t understand why the internet makes people think that they can just say whatever they want to, no matter who they might hurt. These jerks don’t know the family or the friends yet they speak as if the ideas they have formed in their twisted little heads are true. They don’t see the husband losing too much weight because he’s still too upset to eat, having aged an extra 10 years. They don’t see friends who are holding back the tears because her name has popped into their heads for whatever reason. Maybe they don’t see that by trying to hurt the person they are assuming is guilty, they are hurting hundreds of other people, too. Nah, who am I kidding? Sure they see that. They just don’t care.

Maybe this is why I woke up ill today. I couldn’t face the day. I slept it away.

Six months.

I just can’t.

my tips for Jamberry Nails

JamberryYes, I know in the last post I said MLMs must die, and I totally meant that. However, I bought some of these Jamberry Nail stickers to support my friend who was getting started and it turned out that I actually really like them. (Though I must apologize for the crappy pictures, just because I’m a photographer doesn’t mean I’m above using my cell phone in a dark room at night and throwing everything into a quick collage.)

I always liked to paint my nails but was never any good at it. Like seriously, my right hand would look like a 2 year old painted it. And I’d always chip my polish within 12 hours. Even the one time I had a manicure done, for my wedding, it was starting to look crappy by the ceremony. So I just never did it, if my nails were ever painted, it was for something special and because someone else did it for me.

Fast forward to earlier this year when my friend joined Jamberry. I’d heard of it before but had just brushed it off but since it was my friend, I decided to give it a try. I love these things now – if you do it right, you’ll have nice pretty nails for about 2 weeks and as long as you remove them right, you won’t have torn up nails afterward (that was actually a lesson I learned the hard way). So here are my tips for getting these things on your nails…

You’ll need:

Jamberry stickers (duh)
Rubbing alcohol
Q-tip or cotton balls
Scotch tape
Pen that can write on tape
Nail scissors
Nail clippers
Cuticle pusher
Hair dryer or other quick heat source

I know, it totally sounds like a lot of stuff, and it is. I think it’s more than they tell you that you need in the directions, but I promise, the extra time is worth the results.

So first things first, clean hands, clean nails. What I do next is cut off 1/4 of my sticker sheet. This works for me perfectly, unless I mess one up and have to throw it away, because I only do 9 nails. “Whyever for,” you ask in horror. Because I’m a terror on these nails, remember? I’m right handed and my right pointer finger is always busted down as far as it can be busted. Split, uneven, whatever. I’m rough on it so it never can recover and therefore, I paint that nail to match and, of course, every few days I gotta do it again. But I’m getting somewhat good at painting that one nail, I have to tell ya. Anyway, so I will get 4 uses out of a whole sheet if I don’t make any major mistakes (because I refuse to do my toes, but that’s another story).

Now for the nitty gritty. I’m, like, totally OCD about this. When I first tried the Jamberry, they didn’t fit my nails, like, at all, (you can probably tell from the image which time was my first) and I ended up ripping them off a week later. Remember, DO NOT DO THAT. Learn from my mistake, people. But I learned something… Now if they fit your nails at the nail bed, that’s great, but mine are more square than rounded, so it results in lots of trimming. The easiest way to do this is to take a piece of the Scotch tape and put it over your nail. Trace on the inside with the pen (of course) to mark the outer edge of your nail. You don’t have to be real stringent on this but get it somewhat right, ok? Gently remove tape, especially if you have managed to find the ultra industrial never leaving your finger it’s so sticky tape. But do you see where I’m going with this? That’s right, now put the tape on the back of the Jamberry sheet with the outline of your nail inside one of the stickers, line it up the best you can. Now push back your cuticles a bit with your pusher, shape them all pretty-like.

Oh, and while we’re here, results with patterns like this are not guaranteed. I personally haven’t tried them. I prefer stripes and chevrons (omg, chevron, squee) and polka dots, etc. aka REPEATING patterns. If I tried this with a design like that or this one, I’d probably end up losing too much of the design to make it pretty. However, this one should be ok (and I’d really like to get it in the near future).

And I just totally LOL-ed now that I realized all of the pics I used have Chevron nails. I swear that’s not all I wear!! Anyway, back to the post…

Now that you’ve got your tape on your sheet, cut out the nail sticker following the inside of your lines. This is important. It will make the sticker slightly smaller than you measured your nail. You don’t want them on your skin or getting skin oils, peeling them up before you’re ready. I often use my tweezers to do the peeling apart of sticker and backing but sometimes it doesn’t work and I have to use a fingernail, but don’t be touching all over your sticker, mkay?

You also need to rub some alcohol on your nail. Do this either before or after you peel the sticker, do it only each nail at a time, do not do all of them then do all of the stickers. I learned that the hard way, too. The alcohol is basically taking all of the oils from your nail that might stop the Jam from sticking well. If you do it too early, well they just won’t stick as well. Or at least I have had the best results when doing them one at a time. This will also remove all the sticky from your fingernail left by that dollar store tape.

Now holding your Jam in your tweezers, put it in the path of the hair dryer on hot for about 5-8 seconds. Then, making sure the alcohol has dried on your nail, put the sticker on. Especially with my larger nails, I find it easiest to match the bottom center of the sticker to the bottom center of my nail and stick there, gently bringing it down towards the end of the nail. Then, after removing the tweezers, pressing at center then sliding my finger to either side to press those.

Then, assuming the sticker is in place where you want it, press as hard as your finger will let you without screams of pain. Seriously, press hard and hold. When you can’t take that any longer, apply some more hair dryer heat then press again. Sometimes I mess up a bit on my measurements. If you’re too long on the sides, just be sure to trim those with the nail scissors before applying that serious pressure and heat.

Chances are your sticker is too long for your nail. Oh, did I mention that you should not trim nails before starting? Well, I’m telling you now. Now that you’ve gotten this far, trim your nail to how you would like it. This isn’t a required step, of course, but I find that it works best for me. I will usually trim the Jam first as it sticks off my fingernail then later go back and trim all nails when I’m done. I find that they stick better this way. Then, after trimming your nail, file down. Sweep the file at an angle, moving from your hand toward the tip of your finger as you move forward. Imagine it on a microscopic level. You want that Jam to be slightly slightly shorter than your nail. If they’re absolutely even or, heaven forbid, the Jam is longer than your nail, you’re going to have a better chance of catching it on something and starting a peel off.

The ones I am wearing now, I have had on for over a week, probably 8 or even 9 days now (about the time I started this bloody post) and none of them are peeling on me at all. I do have a little bubble on the tip of my left thumb… I always have a little bubble in this same spot on my same thumb, I honestly can’t figure that one out. But it’s so small, it’s really unnoticeable and it’s not caused any problems.

SO at this point, if you want to, you could apply more heat and/or pressure, you know, if you’re not confident in your skillz.

I think that’s it. Just remember to follow directions for removal. Something I’ll do in another week or so. My last several applications have honestly been removed not because they were coming up or ripping or curling or anything, but because either 1. my nails grew out enough that it annoyed me, and 2. I just plain got sick of seeing whatever it was on my nails. I even helped my husband build a portable recycled wood wall for my photography business today, not a scratch. I might have some serious dirt under my nails but the Jams are still going strong! I also have to manually wash dishes in this house (gag). You get the drift.

Have fun, ladies!!