Anything "Duochrome" or "Chameleon" can also be found using the tag "Color Shifting"

Updates & Notices

MOST prices & info on products are out of date, with the exception of the Chameleon Pigment Suppliers list (updated most frequently). The date of any updates are noted at the top of each page/entry. Updated Franken Polish Supply Stores 1/01/18.

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Go Adopt a Cat & Save a Life

No, this is not the typical polish and/or pigments posting but seeing as how there are a lot of cat ladies in the blog-world, this is a good a place as any.

Who doesn't see the Humane Society or animal shelter/cruelty commercials on TV? You know the ones, where they show all the poor abused and abandoned cats and dogs no one gives a crap about? Personally, when I pay attention to these, I cry because it breaks my heart, it makes me want to go donate every dime I have because these places are criminally under-funded. It makes me want to run straight to the shelter and adopt every one, particularly the cats.

On average, animals are given 7-14 days in a shelter to be adopted before being euthanized but did you know that while dogs may get several days, cats get far less, are lucky to get two days? This is something my vet told me when he checked out my last cat. And just like people wanting to adopt babies over older children, animals over one year old are almost impossible to place in homes, regardless of good behavior. If the animal is sick or otherwise ill, forget it.

Every pet we ever had when I was growing up, all dogs, were strays found on the road that some other *** decided to dump, even a litter of puppies one time. A family member was once one of these ***, deciding to dump a dog and a cat off in the middle of nowhere (might I point out that they had two other cats that were kept). As an adult, I now have three cats in an 1000 square foot apartment, 1 cat over the technical limit but I have a decent manager who allows it. All three of my cats were abandoned strays, my oldest male and little female found abandoned in my complex and the second male found as a 12 week old kitten outside my husband's work. Each one was vet-checked, fixed and is now a fat and happy cat.

There are strays everywhere and every time you see one, providing it is not feral and is catch-able, you have a choice you make whether you consciously recognize it or not: ignore the animal because it's not your problem, call animal control and perhaps give it a death sentence or take the animal in, love it and give it a life. No, it's not possible to save every single one but it's entirely possible to save at least one. What are you waiting for? -MK

Monday, December 26, 2011

Page Layout, Opinions Wanted

I've had many designs for my blog. While I will never consent to using backgrounds and the such that are provided by Blogger when I'm an artist & can create my own, their layout options aren't bad.... but I am not satisfied with the one I am using currently. I like the white on black theme, I think it helps set me apart from most other blogs out there, not that it's a competition but I was never big on blending in cyberspace. What does bother me is that the "gadgets" as they are called, are to the right of my entries which limits their space and forces everything below them to be much farther down. Moving them above the entries ruins the appearance and moving them below means everyone would have to scroll way down the page to ever see them. This is an irritation and one I haven't resolved satisfactorily.

Appearance wise, it probably does not help that everything is scaled to appear properly on my monitor which is set to 1440 x 900 (it was, at one time, my husband's gaming monitor). On his current one, which is 1920 x 1080, it looks even more screwed up.

No one comments on my design and that's ok, it's not like I take it personally but this time opinions would be more than welcome. Is the white-on-black distracting to your reading? Would a certain gadget look better or be easier to find if placed somewhere else? Is the search box really necessary? And what about all those other cool blogs I want to have showing, where could they go other than where they already are? Any and all feedback will be duly noted!

I launched a second blog for the purpose of tweaking design without the risk of screwing this one up. Even if you are so inclined, don't bother to follow it. I am aware it will appear somewhere, even if it is only in my profile and dashboard. Thank you- MK

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas Eve but it looks like it will not be a white Christmas around here. That's ok with me though, we're all sick in my house and I haven't even decorated. Boo Hoo! Thankfully my boys are beyond the age of Santa Claus. While my family sniffs and coughs, here's wishing the rest of you good health and even better holidays!
-MK & family.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Duochrome Flakes

Links checked 12/12/13

This is intended as a follow up to October's entry I Have a Project for You which was about the color shifting flakes in some of our most popular polishes.

In October, I gave you all the assignment of looking at the ingredients list of your flakie polishes and reporting back the unusual which you did; some of you apparently did your own research on the subject as well. This generated lots of suggestions and ideas but no solid answers.

Thanks to other women's blogs and the internet, I was able to find ingredients lists to these flakies- Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure, Nubar 2010, a brand called Joe with their polish Twilight, Coastal Scents' solitary Cosmic, my own polish Covered in Diamonds from Studio M, and finally a generalized list from Nfu Oh. I compared them side by side, looked up and identified every ingredient but found there to be no relevant or potential one that they all had in common. Rather than narrowing the field, this left it wide open. The general consensus seems to be that these mysterious flakes, rather than being polyester based like glitter, are likely some form of coated mica flakes but I haven't been able to confirm this. This is made more likely by the fact that TKB Trading’s Travel to’s are mica coated with titanium dioxide (a whitener), Silica, and Tin Oxide. Their Star Bites and Moon Dusts, also duochromes, have similar composition.

Out of frustration, I eventually emailed Nubar and Nfu Oh regarding the flakes but as expected (and two months later), I still haven't gotten a response, not even a generic one. I had also emailed the owner of BlingFlake who seemed quite willing to assist and have his brain picked but he didn't respond either. Good job ignoring customers there people. That’s a real turn off.

I have continued to do research and hunt for possible flakes for purchase but have found only the same link each time, one that a lot of you has also found.

The company, Guangzhou Sheng Zhu Daily Pigments Co., Ltd., is a manufacturer in China that makes irregular mica flakes "specially formulated for nail polish" and by description, many of these color shift. They have a chemical composition similar to the pigments mentioned above. However, being that they are a manufacturer, the minimum order is 1 kilogram which is a lot for end consumers like us- 1 kilogram works out to be slightly over 2 pounds for us Americans.

I'm now working on motivating a company to buy these for resale so go check out the flakes at this link and tell me what you think. More importantly, exclaim long and loud about how you love duochrome flakie polishes and would love to buy the dry flakes for yourself, if only we could find the things. The point of this? It's an investment and regardless of a company's buying power, they aren't going to buy unless they believe the demand is great enough and there's money to be made. Remember, we're trying to influence companies here.

While I wait for a response to my product suggestion/request, I emailed Guangzhou Sheng Zhu Daily Pigments Co., Ltd. myself and requested further information, possibly pricing if they are willing to speak with me. We shall see. -MK

Related Entries:
I Have a Project for You
Nfu Oh Flakes

Hit the Duochrome Flakes tag for other related entries not listed above

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Franken #420 Peacock

Links Checked 12/12/13

By now I’m sure it’s obvious that I really like greens and blues since most of my posted franken polishes are one or the other… Well, here’s another- Franken #420 Peacock. It's not Christmas-y at all but looks even more spectacular under lower lighting like Christmas lights.

The glitter and flakes I used are shown below, Emerald Green & Blue Blue from Alsa, TKB Blue glitter (discontinued), Coastal Scents Emerald, BlingFlake’s Blue Blaze, Holo Blue, Holo Green & Purple Prism. The bottom left corner shows an overhead shot of Blue Blaze since its container is cloudy.

Here are a most of the polishes used. Confetti Ice Ice Baby, L.A. Colors (Color Craze) Treasure Island, Wet ‘n’ Wild Ocean Grotto & Teal of Fortune. L.A. Colors (Art Deco) Green Glitter, is not shown but it’s your basic green glitter.

The formula fills half a full size bottle and heavily glittered but even so, no suspension base was needed. 1/4 LAC Treasure Island, 1/4 clear, 1 scoop of: AC Emerald Green, AC Blue Blue, CS Emerald Green, TKB Blue, BF Holo Blue, BF Holo Green, 1/2 scoop BF Blue Blaze, BF Purple Prism, 30d C Ice Ice Baby, 10d LAC/AD Green Glitter, 10d WW Ocean Grotto & Teal of Fortune.

All the following photos were taken over a few days because Day 1 decided not be sunny. Day 3 provided the sun for better pics but I spent the morning cleaning out bottles with remover so I'm showing some abnormal tip wear and silver smudges. Peacock has been layered over Sally Hansen (Xtreme Wear) Black Out. The glitter has a low profile and applied surprisingly smooth, needing a topcoat only for extra gloss.

Sunlit bottle shot

Under daylight lamp. Inset shows macro shot of glitter.

Day 1, lamplight

Day 3, indirect daylight

Day 3, early morning sun

Day 3, afternoon sunlight

I left this photo blurry because it happens to be the only one that shows how sparkly this really is. It’s an indoor shot but in sunlight. 

Apparently this one was underwhelming for most of you so I'm adding the brief video clip I had initially decided not to include. The video is located here on YouTube.  -MK

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Color Shifting Pigments (Part 3)

Please refer to All Chameleon Pigment Suppliers for the latest info, options and prices.

This is a follow up to Color Shifting Pigments Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 focused on House of Kolor chameleon flakes from the automotive industry while Part 2 encompassed other brands of automotive flakes. Part 3 should include all cosmetic pigments/shadows and where you can buy them but people's ideas of "duochrome" vary so much that unless I own them or someone else does and reviews them, I can't say for certain that they do indeed have color shifting properties. Like all shopping online, you make the decision to buy based on a picture and a description but the accuracy of these greatly varies as well. I think if a company wants to sell me on it, they better show me the color shift in transition. That being said, here's what I've gathered so far.

As far as I'm concerned TKB Trading was already tops in the duochrome category because of the Travel to pigments, or the Planetary Sampler as the set is called but with the addition of the Star Bites and Moon Dusts, I don't know who else can compete with the selection.

In the Star Bite Collection are three colors, Shanika Sun, Marinda Star and Cherika Moon- larger particle size, about 100-260 microns. They can be purchased as samples and 1 oz sizes, individually or in sets. Their description reads:
Shanika Sun shifts from gold to green to blue
Marinda Star shifts from red to orange to yellow
Cherika Moon shifts blue to purple to red orange.

Samples, 1 teaspoon, are $2.95 individually, a set of three for $6.00.
1 oz bags are $15.00 each ($.53/gram) or $35.00 as a set- $.41/gram.

If you want a better idea of the duochrome, Kitties26 of More Nail Polish showed us the Star Bites fantastic color shifting with her Duochrome Top Coats #2, #3 and #4.

The Moon Dust Collection has five colors: Aisha Gold, Crescent Crimson, Indu Rose, Lavender Luz, and Luna Blue. The particle size is finer and thus less sparkly than the Star Bites. They can be purchased as samples and 1 oz sizes, individually or in sets.
Their description reads:
Aisha Gold shifts from gold to green to blue
Crescent Crimson shifts from red to orange to yellow
Indu Rose shifts indigo to purple to red
Lavender Luz shifts from blue to purple to orange
Luna Blue shifts from cyan to blue to red

Samples, 1 teaspoon, are $2.95 individually, a set of five for $12.00.
1 oz bags are $15.00 each ($.53/gram) or $59.00 as a set- $.42/gram.

Kitties26 showed us these as well in her entries Custom polishes - Moondust TKB pigments Part 1 and Custom polishes - Moondust TKB pigments Part 2. The lady always posts great swatches and as we all know, others' swatches can be the deciding factor to buy or not.

Finally and more familiar to most of us is the Planetary Sampler which contains the seven Travel to pigments Mercury, Mars, Earth, Venus, Neptune, Jupiter and Pluto. Like the sets above, they can be purchased as samples and 1 oz sizes, individually or in sets. Their description reads:
Travel to Mercury: Shifts from red-gold to bronze
Travel to Mars: Shifts from red to copper to gold
Travel to Earth: Shifts from light green to rose
Travel to Venus: Shifts from lilac to red to silver to green-blue
Travel to Neptune: Shifts from turquoise to blue to violet
Travel to Jupiter: Shifts from gold-green to silver-green to blue
Travel to Pluto: Shifts from silver-green to silver-red to green-gold

These pigments are less expensive than the others. Purchased in a set, 1 ounce is $12.00 versus $14.00 ($.50/gram) if purchased separately. The set is $85.00, bringing the price down to $.43 per gram. Samples are $1.50 each or $9.00 as a set.

If you haven't already seen these as swatches, you can view mine here dry and in polish here.

The Travel to(s) were a nice segue away from TKB Trading because The Conservatorie also sells these pigments (with original manufacturer names). They are not sold in sets but are priced $33.95 for 100 grams, $/gram or $1.45 for a sample.
Indian Summer (Mercury)
Volcanic Fire (Mars)
Kiwi Rose (Earth)
Magic Mauve (Venus)
Caribbean Blue (Neptune)
Nordic Sunset (Pluto)
Golden Sky (Jupiter)

Pure Luxe Cosmetics also sells the Travel to pigments but under different names, in smaller quantities and under the name of the Kaleidoscope Collection (but not sold as a set). I am making the correlation here between the Travel to's and these based on Pure Luxe pictures/descriptions and the Travel to(s) I own.
Visions (Mercury)
Faceted (Mars)
Luster (Earth)
Prismatic (Venus)
Mirage (Neptune)
Illusion (Pluto)
Oasis (Jupiter)

Does Fyrinnae qualify for a indie company? At any rate, though I have never purchased anything from the company, it is my understanding that Fyrinnae has a rather expansive line of color shifting eyeshadows under the collection name of Arcane Magic. The website shows 18 colors currently, with pictures and descriptions. $6.80 each for a full size jar containing 3 grams.

A more recent entry is You Mix Cosmetics. On this date, 1/23/14, the store is closed, soon to reopen. When it does, I'll update the information but until then consider this outdated and for reference only.

This store sells two things: Color Shifting Glitter & Color Shifting Pigments.

The color shifting glitter is available (as of the original date this entry was posted) in two colors and these are sold as 2 grams for $5.00, $2.50/gram. Following the links here  and below show some of them to be "on hold" which I take to mean "out of stock", will update when/if they become available.
Green to Gold
Blue/Gold/Red - On Hold
Purple/Green/Blue - On Hold

The color shifting pigments were available in 9 colors, and were sold as 1 gram for $5.00. I'm leaving the list intact in hopes these will become available again.
Purple to Gold

I somehow neglected to mention Glitter Unique for duochrome pigments. At the moment there are 6 colors, green to blue, violet to gold, violet to blue, red to violet to blue, red-green flip, and green to blue to purple.
green to blue, samples are $8.50, 1/2 oz- $18.00, 1 oz- $28.00
violet to gold, samples are $8.50, 1/2 oz- $18.00, 1 oz- $28.00. Out of stock.
violet to blue, samples are $8.50, 1/2 oz- $18.00, 1 oz- $28.00. Samples and 1/2 oz availale.
red to violet to blue, samples are $7.50, 1/2 oz- $17.00, 1 oz- $27.00. Only samples available.
red-green flip, samples are $3.00, 1/2 oz- $9.50, 1 oz- $17.00
green to blue to purple, samples are $7.00, 1/2 oz- $15.00, 1 oz- $25.00. Only samples available.

*New* Mon Ennui Cosmetics 1/24/14
Store Location: California
Shipping Method:
What's available:
Color Shifters
Other Info:

Related Entries:
Color Shifting Pigments (Part 1)
Color Shifting Pigments (Part 2)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Coastal Scents 24 hour 40% off Sale

Here's a sales announcement that just landed in my in box. Worth checking out!

40% off? This would be the time to stock up on gifts or those things you've been wanting for yourself... $0.40 off the $1.00 is hard to beat.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

Although this is now overdue, I was granted the Versatile Blogger Award in November by Thalie of Glazed Talons so I'm going to follow her lead in my response.

To Thalie herself, thank you very much for thinking of me when passing on this award. I do consider myself rather versatile but that doesn't come through much on my blog so its nice to know I wasn't too far off base. I only know a lot about a few things but I know a little about a lot more.

This award (like most others) comes with a few rules.
1.) List 7 things about yourself.
2.) Pass this on to 15 other bloggers.

Number 1 is really the easy part. Everyone knows I love nail polish, music and art so I'm going to tell you some lesser known things.

1. I'm 33 years old, I havn't worn make up regularly since I was 25 and haven't worn any for the last few years.

2. I never read the sappy romantic passages in books, fast forward through them in movies and don't generally listen to those kinds of songs. I'm a cynic, that crap doesn't exist.

3. I have a whole closet full of dress clothes, fancy dresses and shoes but rarely wear any of it. And I still have my prom dress from when I was 16.

4. I have three cats, two males and one female. I acquired all 3 in less than a year... and I used to be a dog person- of rottweilers and bulldogs. Anyone else notice that a lot of nail polish and makeup bloggers are cat lovers? Coincidence?

5. I do not have and have never had a drivers license... but I own a car... from 1987. Funny, isn't it?

6. When my son was little he brought home a easy-reader kid's book his teacher had given him and he gave it to me. He didn't know it but it just happened to be one of my favorite books when I was little about a caterpillar named Gus that turns into a butterfly. I once drew that butterfly on my Grandma's back.

7. Before we got married, I proposed to him.

Now for my 7 blog/blogger selections. I know it was supposed to be 15 but 7 was all I could come up with, forgive me.
1. RMCandelight of Nails Beautiqued
2. Kitties26 of More Nail Polish
3. KarenD of Frazzle and Aniploish 
4. Swaaffie of Swaaffie
5. Pam of Girly Bits
6. Laynie of Layniefingers
7. Cheryl of Legally Polished

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nail Art Glitter Anyone?

Between Ester's Nail Center & eBay more recently, I've acquired a lot of glitters intended for nail art. I am not any sort of nail artist, my purpose in buying them was for frankening but unfortunately, not a single one can withstand long term submersion in nail polish which makes them have absolutely no value to me. The point being, if there are any takers, I'd like to sell them off and and be done with it.

The picture(s) below are exactly what I'm offering, nail art glitter in three sizes/shapes- tinsel, large hex, small hex and a few colors in a sqaure cut. They are very pretty and iridescent, most have a color shifting/duochrome quality. Because these are from several sets, there are multiple containers of the same color and the large hex containers are crammed full. Again, there's nothing wrong with them, they just don't have any practical application in my house. The lighting is off on the pic but sorry, once again it is raining so no sun, will update pictures when there is. $20.00 buys it all, quite a bit less than what I ended up paying but as I said, I just want to get rid of them. USPS (postal service) would be the carrier, Flat Rate Shipping, whatever's cheapest. Interested? Leave a message here or email me at


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Sales

Links checked 12/12/13

I am happy that Thanksgiving is officially over but now the Black Friday sales craziness starts although I do not intend to partake out in public; stores will be a madhouse. Why do they call it Black Friday? Anyway, here’s a few sales announcements that just landed in my in box.

Coastal Scents is having a sale of  “50% off everything in the webstore” now through November 29th. Offer not valid on combos, kits, collections or packaging products… which really doesn’t make it “everything” but whatever. Free shipping over $50. SALE EXPIRES 11/29/2011 AT 9:00AM EASTERN STANDARD TIME.

The Conservatorie sale: Our The Conservatorie Cyber Monday sale is bringing you unmatched savings in our biggest sale of the year. On Monday November 28th from 7am – 8am we are offering you 30% off on everything! That's for 1 hour only.

That's not the end of the savings. For the next 24 hours after that, we are offering 15% off our entire store. Forget someone special? Here's your chance to make it right! These sales are first come first served, so get in early because supplies may not last.

30% off – Monday November 28th from 7am – 8am
coupon code: CYBER30

15% off – Monday November 28th 8am to Tuesday November 29th 8am
coupon code: CYBER15

PLEASE NOTE: Your purchase must be completed by 8am to receive the 30% discount. This means payment processing must be completed – if your order is in your cart at 8am but not yet paid for, the 30% discount will not apply. Get your order completed quickly to make sure you lock in the best savings!

The Premier Nail Source is having a Black Friday BOGO sale on selected items. Free shipping on orders over $99.00

Nailite Inc is also having a Black Friday sale on selected items. Free shipping on orders over $99.00

Happy Shopping -MK

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beat the Hackers

Links checked 12/12/13.
When I wrote this, I was on a Windows 7 computer so I can't swear that these tips/ideas work equally well on Windows 8.
So I spent the last three days ensuring my computer was in fact no longer infected from Trojans and hijacks and I've been doing a bit of thinking. This is not the first time I have had this problem, nor will it be the last because as many programs as there are out there, there are just as many hackers looking to get their kicks from invading what is not theirs. It was said once before by a friend that I seem to have a lot of trouble in this department but that's not exactly true, I just happen to have a better feel for when my computer is not behaving properly. Aside from being married to a man with a 15 year long computer tech career and the patience of a saint, I go poking my little nose into all aspects of my pc's operation, every system folder there is and all those areas a good tech looks at for problem solving.

Hackers and hacking is such a huge topic, even Playboy magazine did an article on it and I have to say, it was depressing. The U.S government's Department of Defense, according to the article, has had a worm in its network for three years but hasn’t been able to eradicate it. Last year hackers were able to implant a virus in the system of a uranium-enrichment plant in Iran that caused the centrifuges to fail at more than 10 times the normal rate. As they pointed out, this was something in virtual space causing real-world damage. Think about it, these people are bored, proud of what they do and persistent, some of them are just plain mean. If our own governments can't stop them, you think the Average Joe in cyberspace can?

No, we'll never stop them entirely. As long as you continue to access the internet, you are vulnerable; the only way to "lock down" a computer is to have no internet connection at all. "The immediate concern is that the internet could turn into a cyber South Bronx circa 1979- a neighborhood where crime is so commonplace that we stop going there."

Once, about 10 years ago, I witnessed a live action hijack of my father's computer, this person taking hold remotely and opening windows and entering passwords as quickly as I tried to shut the computer down. And if you think running anti-virus software like McAfee, Nortons or Trend Micro and paying for a yearly subscription is going to stop these hackers from trying (and sometimes succeeding), you're wrong. All it does is slow them down.

This last incident of mine was caused not by my own stupidity on clicking where I shouldn't (as my boys have done) but by doing my normal thing- window shopping. I was doing a Google Search for magnifying cabochons, clicked on a link to a legitimate jewelry supply store and was immediately hijacked. That hijack was spawned by a live person that has malicious code attached to the store, most likely completely unknown to the website owners. Followed on the heels of this hijack were multiple trojans in rapid succession and within the next few days, I finally found that little bastard Trojan downloader. Not the first time that’s happened either- I’ve gotten hijacked going to Nail Gal, the Community Nail Polish Gallery.

You can be proactive though and help to eliminate a lot of threats at the outset: use common sense, a few programs and be more secure. Just because a thief can break your window and enter your house doesn't keep you from locking the door, does it? I'm going to give you some education here and a few tools with which to arm yourself.

Let's start with the common sense stuff that apparently is not always common sense for some people.

If you are running a Windows based operating system, password lock your account and don't make it any easy one; when my husband has to service my pc, he has to ask me for the password, it's too complicated for him to remember. Yes, it can be a pain to log into your own pc every time you boot it up but it makes it more difficult to be hijacked. You also need to password lock your Safe Mode Account too.

No password should ever be the same as any other you use. Make it long, mix your caps and lowercase, use numbers and it should all be random, nothing personally relevant (like using your birth year as a PIN # for your ATM card). If it is peronal, make sure no one would understand the reference but you. This security measure is entirely obvious to me but for convenience sake, hubby tends to use the same password for everything with only slight variations which is a big no-no... he uses his own pc for gaming but not much else. My husband hates my passwords but Fort Knox would love me.

Do NOT save passwords or account information on your computer and don't allow websites to save that information for you. Even if that info was in a password locked document, it is not safe. The same goes for auto-completion of entries (in your browser) for these things.

When possible, use web based email such as Yahoo, Hotmail etc. Some viruses spread through sending emails to those in your address book but this is not possible if the email is web based as opposed to using Microsoft Outlook or a similar email program installed on your pc, because addresses are not being stored on your hard drive.

Don't be a dummy and open attachments or emails from senders you don't recognize. If you must, download it to your computer first, virus scan it and then open it. Always choose "save" instead of "open" or "run" for that very reason on most things unless a program you are intentionally using specifies otherwise.

Again, with emails, if the subject line reads "Re: " but the sender is unknown, exercise caution opening them. They can't "Re: " you if you've never emailed them, there's nothing to respond to. And don't go clicking links in odd emails either.

The temporary files your computer saves should be deleted periodically and there are temp files in more than one place on your pc. You will acquire many of these simply by browsing the internet and they can be deleted by going to your internet options/browsing history in Internet Explorer. Cookies hide there and not all cookies are harmless. Temporary files can also be deleted by doing a disk clean up on your hard drive(s). There are other ways as well but I'll get into that later.

Your Disk Defragmenting tool from Windows is more valuable than you might think. If you view your pc as a big stack of papers, the defragmenter’s job is to put everything back in order that gets moved during operation. If you defragment often enough, you’ll also observe patterns here than can alert you to a potential issue- like if it spends an inordinate amount of time on one section of your pc it doesn’t normally. This doesn’t necessarily mean you do have a problem though so don’t assume you do, verify the issue with other programs.

Hubby claims half my problems with hackers and viruses come from running Windows XP instead of Windows 7 which he’s been trying to talk me into for years. He says Windows XP has too many vulnerabilities to exploit, much like trying to plug all the holes in a ship before it sinks. The Java platform in particular on XP is a favorite target of Trojans and worms.

That was the common sense, now we’ll move onto antivirus and protection programs.

The majority of viruses are going to go into the drive Windows OS is in and any drive you install programs to but that doesn’t mean they won’t go elsewhere so you should do a full scan once in a while with a thorough program. Also, not all viruses are going to cause trouble right away- some attach to files or programs and will not activate until you access them which means they can lay dormant on your system and go undiscovered. Others may replicate every time you restart because they are buried in the startup, even after being removed/cleaned.

There are paid programs with yearly subscriptions and free programs that do most of the same things and no single program is going to catch everything. So what’s the difference between a paid antivirus program and free ones? I asked Hubby this and his response was that some have better scan engines and update definitions more frequently, meaning they are going to catch more and stop more. I will also add that they give you added control over your firewall but most people don’t know enough to go tweaking the settings. Besides, if you bothered to watch and track the traffic that hits your pc during the course of a normal day, it would make you paranoid.

If you want to go the paid route, he recommends ESET or Trend Micro- each company has a variety of protection programs. The caveat here is that if you don't pay the yearly subscription fee, once the 'script is up, you don't get updated virus definitions. ESET and Trend Micro also have free online scanners although in the event of a serious infection, you may not be able to get to them. To ESET’s credit, their online scanner picked up some things this evening that everything else had missed.

I personally dislike the hefty subscription fee so going with free, my first suggestion is Ad Aware by Lavasoft, specifically Ad-Aware Free Internet Security. They have a paid version with some additional features but the free version gets the job done, updated definitions included. It will pick up a lot of infections and most of your internet cookies and, if enabled, has live protection that will run in the background. If you use this enough and pay attention, you see patterns in its scanning which can alert you to suspicious activity just by how long it takes to scan a particular area (like with the defragmenter). A full scan and a custom scan are going to look for the same things but the full scan is going to take a while depending on the size of your hard drives. The custom scan allows you to decide which drives you want it to scan, saving time.

Second is Microsoft Security Essentials. There’s not much in the way of additional tools included with this program but it's live protection finds a lot of my Trojans, alerts me to hijacks the second they happen (if I didn’t already know) and removes/stops the threats. This also has full scan/custom scanning options.

Third is Spybot Search & Destroy by Safer Networking. They currently have two versions available for download but the second is still in the beta testing stages. I’ve used both but am at the moment using the original because the second, while having much more live protection and built in tools, eats up a lot of system processes when running in conjunction with other programs like the ones mentioned above. Spybot v.1 (the original) also has a Secure Shredder tool which enables you to load temp files stored on your pc and “chop them up”, effectively destroying them.

What do you do if you suspect you have an infection? Yes, I have advice for that too but get your shovel ‘cause it’s time to go digging, or at least acquire a program to do the digging for you. Assuming you’ve used your other programs, online scanners and either been unable to find it or eradicate it all, you can use a couple “behind the scenes” tools.

Trend Micro’s Hijack This. This is an effective program but unless you’re a tech, you may not know what you’re looking at so it would be a good idea to run it when your pc is operating normally and familiarize yourself with what appears in the log. This way, when something abnormal pops up, you’ll recognize it for what it is… but as the program itself warns, exercise caution when deleting entries; “if you are not a professional user Trend Micro encourages you to submit your log file to one of the HijackThis forums.”

Trend Micro’s RootkitBuster and Kapersky Lab’s TDSSKiller are both antiroot-kit utilities which can be helpful in finding and removing things buried deep within your system. They do the same thing but they aren’t going to find the same things, at least in my experience. If they find something, it usually is a problem so you should allow it to clean them out and then delete anything in quarantine. For TDSSKiller, once program loads, click on Change Parameters and select BOTH Additional options and then run the scan. RootkitBuster will not work on 64bit systems.

I’m only satisfied when one after another, all these programs come clean… for however long it lasts.  Knowing hackers and their ever-evolving code, it won’t be very long. With a few programs, I can generally service my pc without my husband’s intervention but that’s not due to just experience, I’m not afraid to look things up if I don’t know what they are. There are a multitude of support forums out there for that reason- MK

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Franken #350 Turn it Up

This is actually an older entry back from summer time but if it weren't for previously written ones, I'd have little exciting to tell you. On the bright side for me, I am enjoying my music immensely but missing my supplies. Absence makes the heart grow fonder or so they say.

#350 Turn it Up is the franken polish that started the craving for new, bigger, chunkier glitters in more colors than I already owned although it doesn’t contain many from my stash. Instead this is comprised of a whole host of store bought glitter polishes and because it is, suspension isn’t an issue at all.

I like this one so much I took lots of pictures.

Photo taken in outdoors sunlight.
Turn It Up is standing in the back. In front are L.A. Colors Treasure Island and Glistening Purple, both from the Color Craze line, Sinful Colors Call You Later, Wet ‘n’ Wild Party of Five, L.A. Colors Aqua Crystals, Sassy Sparkle and Jewel Tone, also from the Color Craze line.

Photo taken indoors under lamplight.
Shown here is Turn It Up again with my red and silver large hex glitter samples from TKB Trading.

Paper swatch of Turn It Up.

Macro shot of bottle.

For the manicure if it can be called that, I layered it over a basic black polish for contrast. Yes, I am messy. No matter how hard I try, I’m messy.

Outdoors, full sunlight.
My pinkie is the only one that grows fast, like you couldn’t tell.

Outdoors in the shade

Indoors under lamp light

I wore this one for a couple weeks which is probably the longest I ever kept a single polish on. It struck me as being very colorful and loud, hence the name. -MK

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Links checked 12/12/13

- Copy and paste the award on your blog.
- Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
- Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
The only qualification is having less than 200 followers and of course you must be nominated.

First off, let me say that I was surprised but honored to be given this award by our fellow blogger, Frankenstyna (blog of the same name) about a week ago. I love your username, lady, never fails to make me smile. Thank you for thinking of me when you had to choose your favorites, I know the choice couldn't have been easy with so many wonderful blogs out there.

So it's now my turn to pick favorites and pass on the award and I think this is a fine way to pass on some recognition too. I tried to choose all franken polish blogs for mine because there are a lot fewer out there than regular swatch/review blogs but it seems that they are mostly so popular that there are too many followers to qualify. Instead, here are a some other choice picks. Technically speaking, these are in no particular order.

1. Jim from Men and nail polish gets to be "#1" because it's a man. While yes, men wearing nail polish has become popular enough that they have their own line, not many are going to be open about it in cyberspace or in real life so I have to give this man props for doing that. 

2. Kim from feedkmayeorchids is my second choice because not only does she have more than a few frankens on her blog, I like her makeup pics and nail art too.

3. Johanna of Paillette from a little nail polish journal has plenty of posted frankens and lots of swatch pictures too. The brands she has featured go from higher end salon quality to "drugstore" brands, many of which are available locally. This I can appreciate.

4. Liis K of I. R. Pale doesn't post frankens but one of the reasons I love her blog is that she has lots and lots of pigment swatches, of particular interest to me were those from The Conservatorie. Without I. R. Pale, I don't know that I would have given them a second look. She appears to be taking a break from blogging but you should still check her out.

5. Annika Noir from Nails by Noir is my most recent read-worthy discovery. Her blog strikes me as classy because it is in design and the nail polish jewelry she makes is too. Also, because she is a Swedish lady, she swatches brands I've not seen much of and certainly don't own.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Seasonal Changes

The color scheme here changed as the season changed but I'm not ready to let go of greens and embrace dead browns and yellows. As much as I love Kentucky during the fall, this year's leaves-color change happened too rapidly and the weather hasn't been nearly sunny enough.  Gloomy days contribute to my moody days and all the rain killed off the pretty leaves. Bah.

I've decided to take a break for a while from franken polish making, researching and all the other endless tasks that go along with it. It's been two years, I've been doing polish related work nearly every day since the beginning and I am burnt out. Somewhere along the way it stopped being fun and exciting or inspiring. When I started this blog, I was eager to share what I learned and I wanted very sincerely to inspire creativity in other people; I wanted women to see this was fun and that anyone could do it, you didn't have to be an artist or a polish aficionado or even know a whole lot about makeup. Maybe that sounded like a lofty goal but I've loved art my entire life and this was just another form I wanted to share. But if I'm not inspired, I don't know how I can possibly do that.

I put all my stuff away yesterday, polish, pigments, glitter, supplies, swatches and all the rest and while it was a little sad, it will free up more time and money for that other major passion in my life, music. I sacrificed a lot of potential music to buy polish supplies, forgot all about who released a new CD, who was worth listening to that was new, until I'm two years behind. It was time to make a choice and music won.

I have a small backlog of entries to post and I will keep up with questions/comments, followers and the like. In the meantime, enjoy your holidays- it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas before you know it. -MK

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alsa Corporation: Store Review

Links checked 12/12/13

I intended to post franken polish pics & video clips today but until the computer finishes its check disk on my failing hard drive and I re-install my camera software, it's a no-go. Instead I'll post this store review.

If you don’t already know about the Alsa Corporation from previous entries, allow me to summarize.

The Alsa Corporation manufactures automotive paint, flakes and pigments among other things and many of these appear to be on the “cutting edge” of painting. While there are similar products on the market, a few are unique to Alsa. I don’t know how long the company has been established but they are located in California, USA and sell American made products- another point in their favor. Prices are reasonable when compared to the competition but what really sets them apart is the fact that they sell sample decks of their flakes as opposed to the traditional sample chip books.  To see what a sample deck is, go here.

I have one of these sample decks but I purchased mine from Pivco LLC for a few dollars less than Alsa’s price and I was so pleased with my purchase that I featured it on this blog. By the time I did though, Pivco was out of stock (until December 2011) and so I had to refer anyone that was interested to Alsa’s website. I had had no personal contact with the company at that point so I made no comments good or bad about them.

Update 4/25/12: Lynnae, one of my readers, has informed me that the sample deck can also be purchased from Terry's Auto Supply Inc. for $28.00, $7.25 for shipping. The sample deck is located here on the site.

Recently I had the opportunity to act as a “middle man” to order a couple sample decks for Kitties26 (More Nail Polish) and a friend of hers, the plan being of course to then mail them off to Australia myself. She had some problems with the checkout process and I think we all assumed it was because of the international shipping. I prefer email as a means of communication but to be sure that they sold to regular consumers, not just businesses, I actually called. The woman that answered was pleasant and sounded American, surprising in this age of Indian Customer Support. No offense to anyone but that’s a fact of life.

I placed the order online and paid them with PayPal but there was a problem processing it (I did not get order confirmation) so I had to contact them and chose email. A woman named Linda responded, immediately straightened out the problem and said she would send me confirmation “shortly”. I never got that email or anything further from Alsa, not even when I enquired a week later about the status of my order.  They didn’t answer the second email I sent three days after that but the next day the package arrived so it didn’t matter.

The sample decks were identical to mine but contained more flakes in each individual bag (perhaps that accounts for the slightly higher price) and they included a very classy high quality print catalogue. They shipped them via Fed Ex whereas mine from Pivco came UPS Ground but shipping costs and shipping time are comparable.

In the end, we all got what we wanted but I find the customer service email lacking and would suggest that if you decide to buy from them, call rather than email. Despite the quality of their products I get the impression that the Alsa Corporation is not a large company employee-wise. Their sample deck is the most cost effective way of trying out their flakes and I would still encourage people to do so but heed my warning about emailing. I am a bit antisocial so that was the best method of contact for me but not for the Alsa Corporation.

This won't deter me from ordering another sample deck for myself in the future because while my experience with Pivco LLC was a positive one, the Alsa Corporation sold me a fuller product, at least it appeared that way and I am a "more bang for your buck" kind of gal. And you just can't beat the huge variety of colors in the sample deck for the money. -MK

12/4/11: I have had great success with all of Alsa's flakes from the sample deck. By this point I'm sure that I have used the majority of them in various frankens and none of them have bled. I encourage you to purchase your own, it's well worth the cost.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Franken #348 Heavy Metal

This franken polish looks suspiciously like OPI’s Crown Me Already but I imagine OPI’s is a heck of a lot smoother. At any rate, the resemblance is entirely coincidental. Also made this summer, its crammed full of all the silver glitters I had and two silver-glitter store bought polish, L.A.Colors Sparkling Diamonds from the Color Craze line and Wet ‘n’ Wild (Precious Metals) Steel, not shown. Nothing in this polish was measured out. It has enough Sparkling Diamonds and Steel in it that suspension isn’t really an issue.

From left to right: Coastal Scents Tinsel glitter, silver glitter vial from my Hobby Lobby set, Coastal Scents Sterling Silver .008” glitter #348 Heavy Metal, L.A.Colors Sparkling Diamonds and my large size hex glitter sample from TKB Trading.

Macro shot of bottle.

Paper swatch

Outdoors, full sunlight.

Indoors under lamplight.

Indoors in sunlight.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Franken #400 SF/BF Gray Holo

Links checked 12/12/13

I was overdue posting this but this is one of my SpectraFlair franken polishes, #400 SF/BF Holo Gray. I gave you a sneak peak a week ago but this post includes a brief video clip and far more pictures.

Supplies Used
TKB Trading’s Glamour Base, #400 Gray Holo, Coarse Grade SpectraFlair, BlingFlake Gray Holo, BlingFlake Black Prism and laying horizontally is my small vial from the Hobby Lobby set, this one a black metallic glitter. Not shown are Alsa's Gunmetal and Jet Black flakes.

The bottle I used is a round 15ml bottle from Nailite Inc., important only because a small part of this franken was a 3ml mini bottle I combined with it. The mini bottle, not shown, was a mixture of TKB’s Black base, clear polish and a very minimal amount of holographic glitter. The rest of the formula/recipe is as follows: mini added to round 15ml bottle & is less than 1/4 full. Added slightly over 1/4 Glamour Base, 1 drop (spoon) Alsa Jet Black, 2 drops Alsa Gunmetal, generous amount Hobby Lobby vial of black metallic glitter, 2 drops Bling Flake Holographic Gray, 2 drops Bling Flake Black Prism, 1 generous drop coarse grade SpectraFlair (1500-35).

None of these used a top coat.

This picture is from the sneak preview so you’ve already seen it but it was taken indoors in sunlight.

This is a set of three, taken outdoors in sunlight. I thought they displayed the holographic effect as the angle changed fairly well.

This one, (more of) a macro was taken outdoors in daylight but no sun. Here there is no visible rainbow and the black glitters/flakes are less obvious. Rather than appearing dark gray the entire thing appears silver-ish.

At this angle and taken in full direct sunlight, the rainbow appears but it still looks silvery. Ignore my pinkie nail for a multitude of reasons.

With the sun not quite direct, the rainbow is fuller and the grayer side comes out.

My final display for this franken polish is the brief video clip I mentioned before. This video is posted on YouTube and located here.

I realize the black speckled effect is not what everyone would've been going for but I wanted something that was in between an OPI My Private Jet effect which I've seen on others blogs to be a black holographic and a bright silver holographic which I've already made several of;  I think I achieved that. Since all the photos I take are macros, some details are exceedingly obvious whereas if it was seen in person, they would not be.

As always, thank you for visiting. -MK

Friday, October 21, 2011

The “Hands Free” Funnel

I prefer putting pigments in a polish bottle by hand but after having spilled my expensive SpectraFlair pigment a few times, I decided it was time to utilize one of the various funnels I made, made instead of bought because you won’t find a metal funnel small enough. The problem with funnels is that they sometimes fall off the bottle if you’re not holding onto them; bump it and there goes pigment everywhere (which I’ve also done) so I improvised and made the “hands free funnel” with a few simple items I keep at my work area- Scotch tape, paper, index cards and toothpicks. 

- The first step would be making the funnel itself but I figure that’s pretty self explanatory so we’ll assume you already have one.

1. Cut a small strip from the index card just slightly wider than the neck of the bottle is tall.

2. Wrap it around the neck and tape it so it stays in the circular form- this will serve as the bottle collar later.

3. Cut several pieces from the toothpick the same length as the collar you just made and secure them at intervals around it with the tape- this will ensure that the funnel collar with fit loosely enough to slide on and off.

4. With the collar on the neck, cut a second strip from the index card but not as wide as the first, wrap it around and tape it to make sure it maintains the shape. This collar will be taped to the funnel itself.

5. Put the funnel on the second collar, check to make sure the angle is pointed straight down and tape the sides of the collar & the funnel together. You don’t want the tip of your funnel going all the way through the collar; you want it raised a bit higher.

- It ends up looking a little odd but functional.

With the pieces assembled, slip the bottle collar on the bottle and fit the funnel over it.

Your final product should look something like this.

The outer/inner collar design provides stabilization for the funnel, preventing it from falling over or off and frees up your hands for other things.

 I love improvising. -MK