Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY: Diagonal Manicure

What you'll need:
* Transparent tape (I use 1/2" but you can use wider or trimmer, based on your preference)
* Your choice of good quality colors
* Your choice of clear top coat. (Not featured here.)
 Lucky Lucky Lavender by OPI Nail Lacquer, "Spirit (355)" by Revlon's Top Speed fast-drying enamel, and "Tribeca Silver (292)" By NYC's In a Minute quick-dry nail polish.

Nail polishes used throughout this tutorial:
Tipping: "Spirit (355)" by Revlon's Top Speed fast-drying enamel
Base: Lucky Lucky Lavender by OPI Nail Lacquer
Top coat: Xtreme Wear "Invisible (100)" by Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails
Detailing: Silver - by Orly's Instant Artist (art deco brush - thin long brush)
Detailing: "Tribeca Silver (292)" By NYC's In a Minute quick-dry nail polish

Lucky Lucky Lavender by OPI was used as the base nail color because it is fast drying and long lasting. (It is also a gorgeous purple.) Past manicures with OPI Nail Lacquer products have lasted a week or more depending on the wear and tear I exert, versus other nail polishes that have chipped the next day. Having a fast drying nail polish for the base nail color is very important, otherwise in order to get the results of this pedicure the painted nails would have to be left alone for several hours, or a day, and the manicure/pedicure completed at a later time when the polish is fully dry. (The base coat must be fully dry in order to not peel it off.)

Also - don't be afraid to be adventurous with color! Experiment. Mix-and-match. Go wild. Have fun! Just because I paired a color with white as an example in this tutorial, doesn't mean you have to. Play a little!

Step 1). Paint the base nail color coat.
This can be as opaque or transparent as you see fit. Be sure to make sure that each coat of color you apply dries completely before applying the next. Otherwise the polish will be tacky or dry on top but wet underneath the topmost layer of color. For this manicure, completely dry nails are a must.

Step 2). Once your nails are completely dry, cut a small strip of tape and stick it to one nail at an angle, leaving the top edge of the nail bare.

Press down on the tape across the top edge (closest to the end of your nail) to ensure a tight seal. For a more rounded line, as opposed to the straight line provided by the tape, you can use either the edges or ends of a band-aid. (This, however, is more costly - and as a college student I'm a fan of saving money. Plus, the band-aid can occasionally leave behind an excessively sticky residue on the nail, so plan accordingly.)

Step 3). Paint on the white (or your second color choice).Where you've left bare, paint on your second choice color! (For an example of what I mean, here is my last tutorial). Don't be afraid to paint outside the lines. Getting the nail polish all over the tape is totally fine! And if polish gets on your skin, you can either scrape it away with a fingernail or once done with your pedicure and it has dried soak the end of a Q-tip (cotton swab) in nail polish remover and carefully rub away the unwanted mess, pulling the skin gently away from the nail to do so, if you have to. It is a lifesaver!

If the white (or other color) nail polish used to tip the nail is not a fast drying nail polish, or is very runny in nature, let the polish and tape stand for a moment. This assures there is no dripping when the tape is removed.

Step 4). Peel off the tape

Take it slow. Peeling the tape off with a taught downward or upward angle, or straight across, can aid in getting a crisp line. Judge what angle you want to use by how crisp the line is as you pull of the tape. The most important, key-term here is "taught."

Step 5). Let dry for a few minutes and then (carefully) continue with the same process on the other nails.

Step 6). The detailing.

Tribeca Silver by NYC (sparkly silver!), silver Orly: Instant Artist nail paint, tooth picks, and a nail paint brush (purchased from Sally Beauty Supplies).  Ideally, you should take these all out before the manicure begins. Unless you're me, and then you have to dig them out with wet nails, praying you don't mess up your last coat.

Step 7). Detailing
Dip the rounded end of the nail paint brush into the silver Orly: Instant Artist nail paint. If you are a whiz with artistic nail paint and can use the brush that goes with it - go for it. I, however, cannot make a decent dot or circle with them for the life of me. (I've tried.) So this is the quick cheat for those of us not-so-talented with the brush.

Side note:
Originally I was going to use the tooth picks to apply color, too. This didn't work well for me. I couldn't get enough color or make the dots round enough. Instead, I used tooth picks for cleaning up mistakes and making touch-ups.

Step 8). Detailing
Using the end of the nail brush, place a few evenly spaced dots of silver Orly: Instant Artist nail paint along the crisp divider line between both nail colors. You could do this on every nail. I chose to only do this on every other nail, with only two nails per hand having the silver.

Let this dry.

Step 9). Detailing and top coat.

Let the dots dry. Then continue. Once dry, I used the end of the nail brush to apply Tribeca Silver by NYC (sparkly silver!) over every other silver dot. This gave a few sparkles to the nails. A bit of flare!

I let this dry thoroughly and then applied a top coat.

Tada! Your very own set of gorgeous, freshly pedicured nails. Classy, fun, and inexpensive! They are a great way to dress up - or compliment - an outfit.  While you're doing your nails enjoy your favorite dessert, pop in a movie marathon...make a Pamper Night of it! Give yourself some well-deserved TLC. You deserve it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

OOTD: Spring into Summer

It's back! Sky is back! He's so handsome, all shiny and new. I love and appreciate (and am grateful for) my desktop computer, but it does not make keeping in touch with friends or blogging easy at all. I was way too excited about Sky's return. There was massive amounts of hopping and jumping and dancing around my room. Even many some mad giggles.

If only you could have seen the crazy-eyed, wide-grinned smile at the first few posts on my refurbished laptop. Smiling like a giddy kid, doing happy dances to blasting country music, meanwhile all of my cleaning and organization I was working on (pre-semester prep) surrounded me in shambles. My first course of action? Update a few needed blog items.

That's it. I'm addicted. Hashtag: blogger4life.

Now, I can finally catch up on posts! First up, an old fashion from this past spring. (Yikes!) Here you go:

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. (Who am I kidding? I love them all. Each for very different, special reasons.) Spring holds the promise of new life. Behind me, our beautiful rhododendron is readying for its first bloom. First bloom occurred only a few short weeks after this shoot and was breathtaking. (Photos of the sight to come!) Before the bloom, the leaves were a deep olive green and on an unseasonably warm spring day, I couldn't help but make it my backdrop. Another favorite about spring: goodbye cold and snow, hello warm and sun! Our winter was bitter freezing snow infested a commuter's nightmare long. The photographer inside swooned at all of the snow-filled photography opportunities. Everything else was praying for an early spring.

Foot pop!
So on this beautiful, breezy spring day I dressed in my newest sundress. I jumped for joy internally! For years I never owned any sundresses - jeans girl all the way! - so this year I made it my personal mission to by several. This one of them. In fact, this was my first sundress since childhood! With all of its bright yellows, white daises, and bright aqua green, I could not pass it up.

I adore this cut-out back!

While not the same color green, I paired emerald green
crystal dangles with this aqua sundress. Thinking back
to my art days, I decided this near analogous color scheme (yellow
in daisies, green earrings (which has yellow in it), and aqua green
(which has both)) would be flattering compared to anything matchy-matchy.
Nude pumps are a cute fashion must!
My nails are a homemade mani- and pedicure designed for another outfit. (Sadly, that outfit had the photograph files corrupted. I'm in the attempts to salvage them.) There will be a DIY on those soon, too! It is a really easy, elegant design. I cannot wait to share it with you!

I just had to highlight my manicure beside
the rhododendron's buds!

  • Sweater:Old Navy
  • Dress:SO bought at Khol's.
  • Belt: Part of a skirt I bought at Khol's years ago.
  • Earrings: Khol's on clearance.
  • Rings: gifts and yard sale and Goodwill finds.  
  • Sandal pumps: Solos by Softspots bought at Walmart on clearance for $6. (Yahoo, bargain buys!)

  • Friday, August 22, 2014

    You're Melon me Jealous

    I couldn't help myself.

    One of my favorite parts about summer is fresh fruits and veggies. New England does not bode well to either of these 3/4 of the year. Summer is our only season - and a painfully miniscule short one. My family and I always stock up. We flock to farmer's markets, supermarkets, and local farmers to get fresh, in-season fruits and veggies. What we cannot eat, we freeze or bake. (We eat a lot.)

    For my mother and I, our go-to summer breakfast starts off with a green drink or juice. Something quick to get a jolt of nutrients into our hungry cells and give our digestive system the ol' kick-in-the-pants start up. To make our juices we use a powerful juicer - Wolfgang Puck Juice Press - so that we squeeze the most out of the greens, veggies, and fruits used. For our smoothies, though, we use our Vitamix. We've had our Vitamix for at least 12 years and it is still kicking - I cannot imagine not having it! We use it for everything. (Homemade almond and cashew milk, homemade flours and nut-meals, soups, smoothies, and more!) It is so powerful that you waste nothing. Mom drops in whole fruits and veggies, giving us the full potency of all of its healthful goodness.

    Our beloved drinks include a apple-carrot juice or a green drink (consisting of greens and other veggies, sweetened only with an apple or some berries). Mom has gotten to the point where she does not use a recipe book. She grabs whatever vegetables and fruits are lying around and throws together the perfect combination. I bow to her culinary skills. (The only "fly by the seat of my pants" cooking I do is with grilled cheese and pasta dishes.) Every drink is an entirely new creation.

    Next to an amazing cucumber drink she made recently, Mom's latest combo is my new favorite! (Side note: I highly recommend trying any smoothie that includes cucumber - you will rarely find a more refreshing summer drink!)  This time she wrote down the instructions so we can make it again.

    Now I'm passing it along to you.

    1 cup coconut water *
    1 whole small watermelon
    1 whole small cantaloupe melon
    1 whole small honey dew melon

    * While any coconut water can be used, my family and I have a favorite. For years we were forcing - or, uh, trying unsuccessfully to force - ourselves to drink several other brands. They made us gag. The didn't taste like coconut. They all tasted funky, disgusting. They just weren't good.  This one, though! Oh my goodness. Taste Nirvana's Real Coconut Water with pulp (packaged in glass) is amazing. Although it is not organic, the company does attempt to have a more eco-friendly business. Plus, it was refreshing, revitalizing, and incredibly flavorful - just like coconut water should be. My local health food store has me addicted.

    1. Dice the whole small watermelon, cantaloupe, and honey dew melons.

    2. Mix the three together in one huge bowl or storage container, so that they form a mixed melon dish.

    3. Place 4 cups of this mixed melon mixture into a blender or Vitamix.

    4. Add 1 cup of coconut water

    5. Blend until smooth, frothy, and well-combined. When complete, pour into glasses, kick up your feet, grab a good book and sip your way into paradise bliss! Enjoy as summer sweetness dances upon your tongue. You won't regret it!

    Serving size: roughly three tall glasses (~12oz each) of juice.

    **Drink within 24 hours to maintain nutritional benefit.

    Friday, August 15, 2014

    Guest Post: Back To School Goals

    It's coming in, it's coming in! My beautiful, wonderful Sky has officially been shipped is en route to my home. You will have bundles of post from me yet! Until then, enjoy this awesome guest post brought to you by my fellow Her Campus Blogger Network blogger, Beth. After reading this post, go to her social media links and show her some love!

    You can find Beth...
    On facebook: Wandering Forevermore
    On Bloglovin: her blog's page and her personal one
    On Twitter: here
    On Pinterest: here
    and on her blog: Wandering Forevermore

    Hello everyone! I am so excited to be sharing my back to school goals with you today. To share just a little bit about myself... My name is Beth and I blog at Wandering Forevermore. I am a sophomore transfer student at Georgia Southern University with a double major in biology and psychology. I spend my free time pinning crafts and procrastinating instead of doing them!

    I am unsure about you, but for me classes start back in less than a week. It is a scary thought and I have felt all emotions from anxiety to excitement, stress to hopefulness. I did not set goals for myself my freshman year of college which led to me having no expectations to hold myself up to... big fail on my part.

    This semester I am setting [reasonable] goals and sticking to them!

    Goal 1 - Plan my week out each Sunday
               Sunday's are easy days for me. Last semester, I used Sundays to do absolutely nothing. Even though this was nice, I do not need to allow myself to have non-productive days! So each Sunday, I will be planning out my classwork, blog needs, social life, and anything else that may come up. From this I hope to secure a sense of control of my life!

    Goal 2 - Use my agenda daily
               To be honest, I love my agenda! I practically live out of it, but I have noticed if I go a day without using it, I get far behind in my work. This semester I plan to take at least 5 minutes each morning to write down important stuff and see what all I have to get done that day or week.

    Goal 3 - Pamper myself weekly
               When life gets stressful, I notice the first thing I begin to neglect is myself. I will not get enough sleep or will begin eating healthy. I will let my nails go unpolished or fall asleep without removing my make-up. To beat this, I am scheduling in a weekly pamper session. Each Sunday, I will take time to give myself a pedicure and manicure as well as a face mask and hair mask. I know if I make this a thing I have to do the benefits will be great. I also plan to schedule one monthly professional massage, facial, or mani/pedi.
    Goal 4 - Stick to a sleep schedule
               If there is one thing I know about myself, it is that without sleep I am something from the devil. When my classes are done at 10am, I find it so easy to go back to sleep until 1pm. However, this completely messes up my sleep schedule so I will aim to do better this semester. A specific bed time and daily wake up time will help me loads. This goal does not mean I can't take an occasional 30 minute power nap!

    Goal 5 - Track daily fitness
               This semester I aim to workout at least 10 minutes each day (this does not count my mile long walk to class!) I also plan to track my daily fitness both on a fitness app and my blog in order to see how far I have come fitness wise from the beginning of the semester to the end!

    Goal 6 - Stick to a budget
               This was certainly something I did not do at all my freshman year of college. I blew right through my graduation money within two months of college and struggled for the other eight months. This semester without a meal plan and with living off campus I will have to work extra hard to stick to my budget I create and keep my money in check.

    Goal 7 - Have fun!
               I realize that college only lasts a short while and that I need to live it up while it lasts. While I am sticking to my goals, I also have to remember to do fun things with my friends. Spontaneous road trips and football games are things that will create lasting memories during this part of my life. I have to remember that sometimes it is ok to stray from my schedule and have fun!

    What are your goals this semester?

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    Guest Post: Summer Facial Routine

    I've been quiet as of late. For that, I must apologize. This summer has been filled with summer classes, friendship, responsibilities, and family tragedy. Soon I will be recapping and filling you all in; right now, however, my laptop is on its way to Repair Land. There I hope all of its cosmetic and battery issues mend so that it stays with me for another two years. You can do it, Skywalker! (Clarity: I nicknamed my computer Skywalker. His full name is Skywalker, Personal Mischief Manager and One Computer to Rule Them All. "Sky" or "Skywalker" is so much easier to say.)

        With Skywalker away on adventures, I am left to my own devices. This means it is just me and my main, hard-wired computer. This baby has been through it all; I've had her nearly a decade of my life and she still keeps trudging. She's usually retired to just a photo-editing and email hub. Doing too much makes her tired and wheezy. Worst of all, she despises blogger. 

        No blogging for 1-2 weeks?! Yikes! A few wonderful bloggers responded to my plea for help. Like true friends they swooped in to the rescue!

       Today, Emily from Emily's Life Lessons is guest posting. Her old blog can be found here, as she recently made the exciting switch over to and her own domain name! (The previous link, with her blog title, goes to her newest blog.) You can also find Emily at these locations on the inter-web:

    Facebook: Emily's Life Lessons
    Twitter: EmBeks219 
    Instagram: emilybeks93 
    Pinterest: ebeker 
    Bloglovin: emilybeker

    (As soon as my laptop is back, I will include hyperlinks to these locations for easy access.)
    Thank you, Emily, for helping a girl out! Don't forget to swing by her blog and social media to spread the love!
    Emily even included a photo for us all! :)

    Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. I just happen to love their products.
    I have extremely sensitive skin. Anything can make it break out even though it improved after going off dairy. This summer my complexion still hasn’t been so clear and I finally figured out why. I had been slacking in a good facial routine. This is a problem given the amount of exercising I am doing. With exercising comes sweat and it was killing my face. Now, I have it down to a science. For those who need a good routine for summer workouts or a solid, easy routine in general, take a look!
    In The Morning: 
    1) Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing and Makeup Remover. If you want to be extra diligent use a Clarisonic with it.
    2) While my face is damp, I put on Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub. It is super light, comfortable and doesn’t irritate my skin like other scrubs tend to do.

         3) Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Moisturizer. It is lightweight so you don’t feel it on your face which always bothers me about moisturizer and makeup in general.

         The Day Time:
    1) Neutrogena SPF 15 Acne Free Face Sunscreen (as needed). It is one of the first sunscreens I use that doesn’t add to my acne.

    2) Makeup or cleansing wipes after workouts to clean my face. This prevented the sweat and oil from going into my pores.

    At Night:
    1)  Cleansing and makeup remover. I found on days I don’t wash my face twice I am more prone to acne breakouts.
    2) Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Night Cream (again, use a Clarisonic if you want to be diligent). This cream is also low irritant and keeps my face moisturized throughout the night. 

    This is a super easy routine, and the line is not super expensive. You can get it at any CVS of drug store. It is natural, and feels amazing on my skin. It also made a huge difference for me this summer.