My Nail Fix

I’ve decided my nails have multiple personality disorder.

Some days, they are strong, healthy, long.  They look amazing.  Others, they are weak and cracking which ultimately leads me to cut them all down really short and start all over again.

I don’t get it.  I use “strengthening” polish.  I keep them moisturized.  I eat healthy (for the most part) and my life is (somewhat) stress free.  Why the constant shift in attitude?

On a recent trip to my local general store I decided to purchase what I hoped to be a fix for my weak and chipped nails.   After browsing the nail polish section I decided to purchase NailMedic by Pretty Woman.   I selected Force Field – nail hardener and protector – hoping that this would whip my nails back into shape.  “A unique nail-hardening complex that instantly hydrates and stabilizes soft, weak nails while forming a shield of protection from external stress and damage. Infused with Keratin Protein, Bio-Minerals, and Vitamin E. This treatment will condition, toughen and protect the nail, improving its structure to help reduce breakage.”  OK – SOLD!

 

I rush home.  Rip open the packaging and apply the creamy texture onto my nails.  Instantly and I mean instantly my nails transform.  They look amazing already – healthy and strong.  They feel that way too.

The next day I apply another coat.  Stronger.  Healthier.  I think I can actually feel them drinking in the nutrients, kind of like a pressed juice for my nails.  I swear I hear the faintest “thank you” coming from my fingertips.

There is a whole line of products that promise to provide optimal results for healthier, stronger and longer nails.  From what I’ve seen so far, I believe it and plan to try other products like Growth Factor (which provide nutrition with keratin, calcium and argan oil) and the Nail Detox (with ingredients like witch hazel and lemon extract its supposed to prep and clean your nail for polish like nothing else)

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They also have mini-kits designs to repair, strengthen and protect.  These look like perfect stocking stuffer gifts to me.  (Yes, I’m getting a little ahead of myself)

And of course, keeping those cuticles moisturized and healthy is uber important for the nails.  They have a bunch of products that will help with that too.

So … no matter what your nail’s attitude is, I suggest checking out the products by Nail Medic.  It’s therapy for your nails … without the hefty price tag.

 

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A Gift? For Moi?

Remember a while back I wrote a piece on Mamabu Box?  (That’s creative short for “Mama Be You” in case you didn’t know)   My Zip Pouches were (proudly) part of the first ever subscription box that was shipped to women across the country.

Well, I was so excited to learn that my name was drawn as a winner for the July subscription box that was all about beautifying the digits and some inspirational words.  Me?  A winner?  I never … well, never say ‘never’ … almost never win anything.

No let’s get this straight.  Everyone loves getting a box in the mail.   What’s even better is when that box is filled with little treasures that are just for you.  Not for the kiddos.  Not for the pets.  Not something you purchased as a gift for so and so’s birthday.  A box of goodies just for you.  Little surprises that will make you feel special.

That’s the theory behind the Mamabu Box subscription.  I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed with my goodies.  That’s right… mitts off .. they are mine.  🙂

 

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When I opened the box right on top were inspirational words that immediately made me feel empowered.  That post card is now taped to my mirror so I read it every day.  Turns out they are postcards from #themomcardmovement   Simple postcards.  Powerful words.  If you want to snag some of these cards you need to email them at themomcardmovement@gmail.com

Once I tore open the pink tissue paper (yes, I’m one of those that tear it open) I was so happy to find ….

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… a little hand and feet pampering action.  First up – Wildflower Beauty by Jessica.   The Lavender Hand Cream is wonderful but the Cuticle Balm is killer!  My hands and nails look amazing already.

There is a great summer-color lacquer for my nails from LAW Beauty Essentials and nail wraps from Jamberry.   Also a great little “Bucket List” card from Intentionally Designed. (think journals, notebooks, cards, etc.)  Of course, you can’t overlook the inspiration words and challenge by the Mamabu founder, Kelley.

Thoughtful little somethings carefully selected to make you feel special.  Now that’s something every woman needs in her life.

If you’re not already a subscriber, you might want to click on over to the site and check it out.  You never know what’s in the August box ….

 

What’s Your SSB?

You know you’ve got it.

You don’t need to be single to have it.

Every woman has their SSB … their Secret Single Behavior.  You know, things you do that you wouldn’t want anyone else to see.

Sure I’ve got mine and I recently added something to the list.  Sheet masks.

When I wear them, I look something like a cross between Freddy Krueger and a NHL goalie but these sheet masks are ‘da bomb!

The skinny …. You’ve probably all heard that Korean beauty products is all the rage.  Well, thanks to a friend I recently found Innisfree, a Korean company that supplies beauty products.  Everything from skincare, make up and of course, the sought after sheet masks.

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Here’s how these masks work.  Basically a sheet of cotton is soaked in all sorts of luxurious serums that promise to do a variety of things for your skin.  Clean, tighten, replenish … you get the drift.  The sheet provides a barrier, which seals in the serums underneath thereby working more effectively.    However this products effectiveness has not been put through the rigors by clinical trials yet, so the jury is still out.

Yes, it feels like snail slime when you put it on.  No, you don’t want anyone to see you while you chill for 20 minutes with the mask on.   Unless your Lady GaGa on a private jet somewhere over the Pacific.

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The first one I tried was the Green Tea sheet mask.  20 minutes later my skin glowed.   When I woke up the next morning, still glowing.  So much in fact that I left the house without a stitch of makeup on.

Because I travel quite a bit, and we all know how air travel wreaks havoc on your skin, these masks really truly help to keep your skin in tip top shape.

The Innisfree products ship directly from Korea.   I love the variety of masks they offer and you can’t beat the price.

I for one am hooked and use my masks regularly.  In fact, I’m using the Collagen mask as I’m typing this blog piece.  (I’ll save you the horror of a photo) 

There, I’ve divulged some of my SSB to you.  What’s yours?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be A Sun Bum

Ever since I was little I savored the summer days that were filled with outdoor fun and the smell of Coppertone sunblock.  It was the Coopertone QT tanning lotion in a white bottle and very little SPF.    That was the smell of summer.

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And who could forget that adorable little girl that represented the company?

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As an adult, with my own little sun bathing beauty to care for (complete with pigtails & ribbons) I was sticking with my favorite brand and I must admit, it was strictly for that intoxicating smell.

But, I’ve moved on.  I’ve grown up.  I’m not living in the past anymore.

I’ve become a Sun Bum.   (enter monkey face with shades)

 

What’s the first thing that drew me to Sun Bum?  You guessed it … the aroma.  Think Pina Colada + Warm Sand + Ocean Waves.  Combine that and you’ll smell that intoxicating aroma.  I mean intoxicating.  I swear, when I close my eyes and take a whiff I am instantly transported to a tropical island where my very hunky waiter is serving me a delicious tropical concoction.  I keep a tube on my desk and whenever I’m feeling stressed, I snap open the top and take a long deep breath.  (that and it reminds me to apply it before heading outside)

So that’s the superficial reason I love Sun Bum.  Here’s the logical reason.   Amazing product that really protects you sans all of the chemicals.  After all, you are smothering your entire body with this product.

Let me highlight some things for you.  Vegan.  Gluten Free.  Dermatologist tested.  Cruelty free.  Recyclable.  Paraben free.  Antioxidant enriched.   Water resistant.  It offers both UVA and UVB protection too.   They can’t say they are “organic” because they use a mix of both organic and inorganic sunscreens in their products, according to FDA, SCF, and ACS regulations and recommendations.  This allows them to provide you the utmost natural sun protection there is.

Not sold yet?  Let me keep going ….

There’s a variety of SPFs – everything from 15 to 70.  You’re sure to find a product that fits your needs.  They’ve got it all including sunscreen, sunless tanning towelettes, face sticks, zinc oxide, after sun lotion, lip balm (in a variety of delicious flavors), and of course, baby bum.

They also have a great variety of hair products to protect those luscious locks.  Think conditioners, sea sprays and their beach formula.

I love their lifestyle section where you can grab some cool gear that sports their adorable monkey logo.

 

So farewell Coppertone.  It’s been real … but there’s a new sunscreen in town.  I’ve switched and I’m never looking back.

How To Wash Your Hair (I’m not kidding)

Add soap.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

That’s what you’ve been taught since you were a wee-little one.  This is how to wash your hair.  Seems pretty simple right?

Well, I hate to break it to you … but you’ve been doing it wrong all of this time.  (You can blame this one on your parents)

We’ve all done it.  Scrubbed our scalps hard to get it really clean.  We’ve  piled on the shampoo because more is better, right?  And than we rinse and do it all over again to ensure squeaky clean locks.  And don’t get me started on that ice cold rinse to make your hair shine. (@#!&* that’s cold!)

Guess what?  All of that is actually doing more damage to your hair than good.

So how should you wash your hair?  Let’s break it down in steps.

Step 1:  Rinse with warm water

Sounds simple right?  I’m pretty sure we are all starting with this step.  The warm water will help to loose up the dirt and oil thats on your scalp.  And, it feels so darn good

Step 2:  Long locks?  Condition first

Just a dab of conditioner on the ends of your long hair will keep the ends from breaking during the shampoo cycle

Step 3:  Lather … gently 

Just a quarter-sized drop of shampoo is all you need.  Gently later at the scalp (where the oil & dirt sit) and gently work your way to the ends.  Scrubbing hard only leads to frizz and breakage. (baaddd!)   And those ends?  Be gentle!   Squeeze the shampoo through them.  They are very fragile … like a baby bird.

Be sure to select a shampoo for your hair type.  It’s also suggested to use a clarifying shampoo at least once every other week.  I love Neutrogena’s Anti-Residue Shampoo

And stop washing your hair every day.  It’s best to skip a day (or two).  That’s what ponytails and buns are for

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Step 4:  Rinse & repeat.  N O !

Enough said. 

Step 5:  Condition

Squeeze the excess water from your hair and than apply your conditioner, from the middle of the hair down to the tips.  Putting it on the roots will only weigh your hair down.  Run the conditioner through every strand of your hair either with your fingers or a looper brush.  Than leave it in while you finish your shower.  This will give your hair a chance to soak up all of that yummy goodness

Step 6:  Rinse

Years ago we were told that rinsing with ice cold water would close the hair cuticle and allow for brilliant shine.  Well .. I think the person that wrote that just wanted everyone to go through the pain of blasting ice cold water on their naked bodies.  This step is apparently false.  The cuticle doesn’t open and close that easily

That’s your lesson for today.  If you need to bring a cheat sheet into the shower with you .. just make sure it’s wrapped in water-proof paper

Happy shampooing!

 

 

 

Charcoal + Sugar = Beautiful Skin

With each passing year it seems we get bombarded with fads in beauty products.  New ingredients that promise younger, tighter, firmer, cleaner, and glowing skin.  In fact you’re skin will be so amazing with that “must-have-beauty-product” that it will rival a newborn baby’s complexion.

Yeah …  we’ve all heard that before.

But there is one ingredient that made a splash on the beauty scene around 2014 that is holding true to it’s claim.  Activated charcoal.

So what exactly is activated charcoal?   Well, it’s been widely used in the medical industry to trap and absorb toxins.  (think stomach pump)

But in the beauty industry activated charcoal is like an irresistibly attractive man with bulging muscles.  (Take a second and go there in your mind … 🙂  

See charcoal is like an irresistible magnet that attracts dirt and oil.  Charcoal is known as the heavier lifter – absorbing 100-200 times it’s weight in impurities.

What does that mean for your pores?  Dirt doesn’t stand chance of resisting the pull of your charcoal product.  Charcoal products offer a deep clean like no other.

As I’ve mentioned in a past blog piece Are You A Drugstore Beauty there is one activated charcoal product that I am passionate about.

the Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask Here is why this product is so great.

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First, it deep cleans those pore sans drying out your skin.  After you apply the mask you can actually feel the dirt being pulled out of your face.  It’s a slight tickling and warming sensation on your skin. The texture of the mask actually changes and becomes like warm slush.   After about 7 minutes you than activate the ‘sugar’ part of the mask by gently exfoliating those dull cells away.  Your left with skin that is super clean and soft.  You can actually feel your pores wide opening breathing all that fresh air.

Here’s the other reason I love this product … the price.   Under $5.00.  Yup – you read that right.  A product that produces amazing results without costing you a fortune.

So get to the store … no … RUN to the store because you really do need this scrub in your arsenal of beauty products.

 

 

Masque Me

One of my favorite beauty products was a find while I was waiting in line at Sephora.  You know, they have those stands set up with sample-size products that you inevitably put into your basket as a last-minute purchase.

For $15 I grabbed the Boscia Multi-Masking Medley  The kit included four masques to control oil, calm my skin, and illuminate my face.  Well … I certainly need all of that so I was eager to get home and apply the first one.

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I decided to go with the Green Tea Oil-Control Mask.  I don’t have particularly oily skin but it had green tea in it, so I was sold.

 

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They come in individual packets with the perfect amount of masque to adequately cover your face.  The consistency was thick and creamy and slightly cooling.  (and a lovely shade of green that brought out the color of my eyes)  I left the masque on until it dried and than I gently peeled it away.  It came off perfectly, almost in one piece.  I was giddy at the results.

My skin was GLOWING.  It felt so clean, almost like I could feel each and every pore take in a gulp of fresh air.

I knew than and there I was hooked.  It took all of my control to not put on the next masque …. but alas I waited a week.

And so it went with the Aluminizing Black Mask (love this one!), the Bright White Mask (your skin instantly brightens) and the Cooling Blue Calming Mask (it actually chills your skin)

 

After doing some research I fell more in love with the Boscia products.   I found out that Boscia was the first 100% preservative-free skincare brand from Japan. (Score!) The benefits they boast about on their website are true.  Your skin looks and feels amazing after using their products.

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I also love giving these little kits away as gifts to girlfriends and they are the perfect stocking stuff for my sisters.

Kuddos Sephora … your tempting grab-and-go products snagged me hook, line and sinker.

My Bobbi Brown Make Over

It was a rainy Saturday in San Francisco but that didn’t stop my sister and I from making our way down to Union Square for a little rainy day retail therapy.  Armed in our black trench coats and Hunter boots we made our way through the the soggy streets to the Macy’s makeup counters.
Warm and dry inside we were surrounded by endless makeup options and enveloped in the upbeat music that instantly makes you feel like you’re out in the coolest nightclub looking nothing short of fabulous.
We made our way over to the Bobbi Brown counter, our favorite go-to makeup.   We decided than and there that we needed a make over, pronto.
We were whisked over to the makeup application area and immediately attend to.
The first product my artist applied was the Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm.  After it was applied, my skin glowed with the slightest hint of shimmer.  I knew immediately I would be adding this to my must have product list. It’s fantastic under makeup and amazing alone. (I now use it everyday)
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He used a variety of brown shades (Rich Brown 11 & Taupe 4) to line and color my eyes as well fill in the ever important face-framing eyebrows.   As he artistically applied my eye color I was taking mental notes of his techniques.
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Than the cheeks.  I can never seem to get the right color for my skin tone.  He chose Apricot 6 and paired it with a bronzer.  Perfection. Just found my ideal blush color.
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Lastly … my pucker.  He selected the Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Rose Brown and than topped it with the matching gloss.  The perfect combo of matte color and gloss and the best shade to compliment my makeup.
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The end result?  A completely satisfied ME that looked (and felt) amazing without being too over done for a Saturday afternoon.
Besides the makeup, here is what I love about the Bobbi Brown counter.  No pressure.  They don’t push products on you.  (Relief!) I guess that’s because they know the products speak for themselves.  I also love that they give out free samples.  The best way for me test drive a product before I make the commitment.  The makeup application is relatable.  It’s not over the top and definitely practical enough for everyday, whether at the office, the play ground or date night.
I ended up taking home my favorites in hopes to recreate my look.   I walked out of the store feeling like a model.  Not even the pouring rain could take that from me.
I’m one happy Bobbi Brown customer.

My Hair Secret … Clip Ons (Ssshhh)

After having a tough 2 years I’ve finally came out of a really long, dark tunnel and started a bright new life in a new state … the Lone Star State that is.  For me it is the land of milk & honey, where I can dream big (because everything IS bigger in Texas) and start all over again.

I always dreamed of having a head full of long, thick locks, but alas it’s not my fate.  That is until my amazing sisters decided to buy me something for my birthday that would make me feel more beautiful and help me in my fresh start.  The bought me a clip on.

Clip on hair extensions that is and I have to say I love, love, love them!   It’s like putting on a new lipstick – refreshing, exciting and it makes you feel spectacular.

Human hair extensions are an easy (and fun) way to change up your look and make you feel glamourous.  I got mine at Sally Beauty where they sell a wide variety of extensions – both human hair and synthetic.   For under $125 I scored gorgeous 18″ extensions that were the exact color blend of my nature hair.  In fact when I wear them people can’t believe it isn’t my own hair.

My biggest question was how to properly care for my new extensions.  After all, you pay good money for them so you want them to last.

After much research here’s a summation of how to care for your human hair extensions. (Synthetic extensions require different care so do your research)


 

Washing … 

  • Wash after using 4-5 times, or when they appear dull.  Over washing will only shorten the life of your extensions
  • Remove all tangles before you begin washing them, using a detangling spray if necessary.  The best brush?  A looper brush, like this one I found on Milk + Blush 
  • Gently wash your extensions (removed from your head) with a shampoo designed for dry or damaged  hair.   Use gentle downward stroked being sure not to scrub or twist the hair.  

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Conditioning … 

Drying … 

  • You may be tempted to blow-dry your extensions however the best drying method is to place them flat on a towel and let them air dry 
  • Make sure that they are tangle free before drying.   Use your fingers, not a brush

 

Styling & Storage … 

  • Your hair extensions should be fun!  Try new styles and experiment.   You can even use curling irons, just be sure to use a heat-protection product and have your iron on the lowest setting to avoid damage
  • It’s best to store your extensions in the plastic container they came with or even in an old shoe box.  Detangle them, lay them flat and put them away until you use them again

Definite No Nos …. 

  • Never I repeat never brush your extensions while they are wet.  You will damage the hair
  • Detangle your extensions starting from the ends and work your way up.  I always detangle mine before attaching them to my head
  • Want to change the color?  That’s fine, but leave it to a professional
  • Don’t swim with your extensions.  The chemicals or salt water will ultimately damage them.
  • Don’t use UV protection protects on them as they will damage the hair
  • Don’t sleep in your extensions
  • Never store your extensions while they are still wet

 

There you have it.  Whether you dream of having thick hair, long hair, or anything in between, you might want to look into getting clip on extensions.  You’ll be surprised at just how amazing you feel with them in.

 

 

Hot Nail Trends = Instant Style

As March roars in like a lion, many are dealing with the winter doldrums.  Cold bleak weather, snow, rain, and layers and layers of clothes.   After a while, you get buried under all of those sweaters and dream of brighter colors and warmer temps.

A quick fix to drag you from the dull gray of winter?  A pop of fun nail color to shake it up.  Step away from the dark reds and burgundy colors and try one (or two!) of these new colors that will have you dreaming of sandals, spring dresses, and bright sunny days.

Feeling Blue?   Add some sparkle to your navy with Essie Starry Starry Night.  (This pairs great with my Urban Shopping Tote in Cobalt)

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Go nude with a little metallic shimmer.  I love this color from Butter London (The perfect match with my Nude Reusable Grocery Bag)

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We know by now that metallics are hot, for winter and spring.  An easy way to sport it is with your nail color.  Check out O.P.I’s Is This Star Taken   I love the iridescent flecks in this color (Pair it with my Silver Metallic Urban Shopping Tote which will carry you well into summer) metallic

 

If you refuse to give up your red, than brighten it up.   Opt for this cherry red from O.P.I 

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Or you can add some glam to your color by using a top layer of glitter or lace.  Check out Salley Hansen’s Luxe Lace for instant chic.

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Sticking with your gray?  Hear you loud & clear!   It’s one of my go-to colors too.   Try this charcoal gray from LVX

char grayAs you shed your winter layers in hopes for warmer days, the easiest way to add a hint of spring is with your nail color.  What’s coming down the pipeline?  Think precious metals … sparkle … pastels …. matte colors … and a fresh take on French tips.

 

Here are some of your go-to colors.

 

Want to try the new French tip?  Check these out …

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This green trend screams to be paired with my Kelly Green Urban Shopping Tote.  Just add a sunny spring day.

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I was never a fan of black matte for my nails but I am swooning over this matte red.

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What will my first spring nail color be?  Gotta be this gorgeous royal blue from Essie called Boho Violet Indigo   I can feel the warm breeze already.

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What’s your nail style.   Got pics?  Post them …